September and oaks on the wooded valley side are turning. Fierce downpours alternate with bright sun; heavier clothing needed, first time for many months. Low since May, the river was in full spate last evening whilst we gathered the third flush of Chanterelles from green moss along the riverside. Hooked and lost the first sea trout of the season under the bridge in the village this morning. Almost at full casting distance with Teal Blue & Silver, right at the bottom of the pool, heavy thump on the line and a pale belly turned in the flood, only to twist off moments later. Water levels, tides and sunset look auspicious for the next evening or two, so we shall see…
Orchard trees are heavy with apples and plums; just waiting for the soil to dry to collect windfalls from between fast-growing potato rows and broadcast fodder crop. So many apples have inspired the ordering of a fruit press, juice for cider and pulp for the pigs. The two Oxford Sandy & Blacks are growing fast; initially the size of Jack Russells, after just three weeks more like short-legged Labradors. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, shoulder of pork from the previous Gloucester Old Spots is de-frosting to make Chorizo to dry and hang over winter.
The odd Chiffchaff is singing again in the woods. First migrant to be heard in March & April, the simple two-note refrain continues right through Spring and early summer, ceasing mid-summer along with other birds once breeding is done. Southward migration started back in July, so perhaps we are hearing birds new to the area stopping over on their way south whose instinct is to sing to establish territory on arrival in new woodland. It would be interesting to know if they sing in their winter quarters.
Wildlife Activities: www.wildlife-wales.co.uk