Sunday July 29th 2018
Autumn on the hill is always a quiet time for birds and, not surprisingly this was a very low count both in terms of indvidual species recorded in the hour (a mere 15) and numbers (no single species got into double figures, not even the woodpigeons!). The Rooks have all left the colony and will be out in the fields looking for leatherjackets (daddy long-legs, crane flies or tipulidae larvae to be ‘proper’), but with the hard ground this will be difficult for them and indeed Autumn is the prime time for mortality in Rook populations when crane flies are hard to come by. The Jackdaws are also largely away by now, with only 6 seen. Also completely absent, or more likely quietly feeding out of sight and undergoing their wing moult, were any remaining summer migrants – no Chiffchaffs or Blackcaps recorded – though overhead there were still some Swifts to be seen, though they too will be leaving in the first week of August.
So the highlight was undoubtedly not a bird, but our resident Roe deer and in particular the twin fawns with their mother lying up in the brambles in the Braeport meadow area. The fawns can only be a couple of weeks old at a guess – all spots, floppy ears and large eyes (sic!) – and staying very close to their mother. I watched them for a while and tried to leave them undisturbed, though the doe had seen me straight away. Rabbits also seemed to be present in greater numbers than on most visits, but otherwise it was a quiet and largely green vista – the purple of the Rosebay Willowherb providing at least a splash of muted colour, as also the occasional yellow of Meadow Vetchling. A few late Raspberry berries provided a welcome addition to my breakfast as I passed by!
Image: Wikipedia. Karelj: “Fruit on a wild raspberry”. Public domain.