Since the last notes, the undergrowth in the woods has changed from mostly green to brown. It’s now much easier to pick your way through the trees, avoiding the trip hazard of the low-lying brambles, and still a real pleasure to walk through, and sometimes to share with other people.

And, joyously, as the fields recover after the hay harvest, there seem to be even more butterflies. The meadow browns have been joined by dozens of tiny cream-coloured moths and gatekeepers, skippers, and others – quite a few insects too, which is lovely to see. But, to my chagrin, they are no easier to photograph! My phone is full of rejects after my forays for these notes. I feel almost intrusive as they flit round each other before settling for what seems only a second or two to mate, but I did catch at least a couple of decent pics in the end…This gatekeeper did me a favour by posing perfectly, as you can see. And the six spot burnet moth magically appeared on my finger the other afternoon and even stayed there as I struggled to get a pic with one hand !!

Meanwhile back in the garden the starling visits are becoming absurd. On several days I counted at least thirty or more, with seeds vanishing at a proportionate speed! But, of course, as the youngsters follow their parents, begging and hoping, out I go to top up the feeders again! Blackbirds seem to be raising more than one brood, with especially the males out early and busy all day long. sparrows, wrens, finches and all the tit families also seem to be doing well, which is encouraging, with some reports of lower numbers elsewhere.

As usual the swallows in the Lavant stables are flourishing, with four youngsters all thriving . And this year they’ve been joined by pigeons nesting almost beside them! At least two babies are settled up on the swallow’s shelf, with my friend Sally not knowing which way to turn with swallows darting round her and pigeons nearly bumping her nose. Here, sadly, we’ve only seen a couple of distant swallows, and no swifts, or our house martins – but hope still lingers for next year. And may most of them be safe on their journeys home!!

P.S. if anyone has a few minutes to spare, and more woodwork skills than me, I’m sure the ducks would appreciate an easier exit from the water with just a few more inches on those ramps! Cheerio till September!

Sue J