This week the local farmer has ploughed the fields, bringing worms to the surface. Among the flocks of herring gulls and corvids that have come in to feast are two buzzards picking about near the fence by the path, also taking advantage of the easy food source. They look gangly and ragged, so perhaps they are juveniles still growing their adult feathers, maybe even siblings from the same clutch, or else they may be adults in the midst of their yearly moult. They are skittish though, and launch into the sky as I approach, using the wind to hover steadily over the field waiting to land again once I’ve passed.
Further along I catch sight of a large blue and black dragonfly, warming itself on a sunny patch of soil. What is noticeable as I walk is the absence of songbirds, now that many of the summer warblers have fled to spend the winter somewhere milder. Even the resident birds seem hard to find, except for the occasions that I catch sight of a sizeable cloud composed entirely of twittering goldfinches that seems to be a regular feature of autumn here, alongside starlings which line the rooftops – the construction work surrounding the fields has intensified and perhaps the more solitary birds have decided it’s hard to get any peace in the nearby thickets and moved to other roost sites.
On the quiet branches hangs a good crop of hawthorn berries, sloes and rosehips, waiting bright and plump to nourish the winter migrants that will soon move in to replace the summer crowd. Blackberries grow too on bramble borders, but appear decidedly small and shrivelled; perhaps people have already picked the best ones for themselves, but hopefully the wildlife will be able to poke their beaks and claws in to reach those hidden deep between the thorns that human fingers can’t steal.