17mm (0.7”) of rain fell over Monday: 8 gallons per square yard falling across the mountains bringing the river up to just normal level, though cloudy with silt picked up from the dry bed. A relief to hear the rush of water through the village once again and interesting to see how fast newly broadcast mixed fodder crop germinates in the paddock, though much pasture is still parched and brown. Farmers have appreciated the dry June, making hay instead of silage for a change.
Most wildlife seems busy raising young just now, though isolated birds are still singing loud and hard, perhaps having lost their original partner. A Song Thrush belted out repeated couplets from a telegraph pole at the start of the wildlife walk last Saturday, still audible from the estuary almost an hour later, drowned only by sound of waves on shore. Similarly, a Whitethroat has moved into new territory on the morning run route, harsh, desultory rattle given from gorse tops or in halting song-flight overhead.
Running the woodland path yesterday, a plaintive buzzing whistle, similar to roding Woodcock at dusk, came from the wooded slope towards the old sea cliff. Approaching the spot, stepping gingerly over brambles, all went quiet and a large dark form moved off silently between oak trunks. Dense brambles forced a detour and having reached the spot the original sound now came from three separate locations and another large bird laboured heavily across a sunny glade. Returning to the path, unable to make further progress, the call now come from more or less overhead. Eventually, an adult-sized, still downy young Tawny Owl was found high up in the oak canopy, bemused by a tiny mobbing warbler. Hearing movement below, two dark eyes peered down, the gaze at once familiar and blankly alien.
Wildlife Wales Activities: www.wildlife-wales.co.uk