Rain yesterday – quite a bit – but down the slope past Burn Hill to the river at Weir Cottage the ground is still very hard.
As I’ve said before, there’s not much floral diversity here but thistledown is clogging the air, and it’s good to see the edges of the large wheat field below Burn Hill left long with red and white clover and vetch – all good pollinators.
At Weir Cottage, however, it’s really encouraging to see, from the bridge, fish of varying sizes and species. Small-to-medium roach and perch were joined by four huge fish, either chub or, maybe from Eythrope lake, common carp.
Sadly, there is no fresh otter spraint at the site nearby where recently I’ve spotted it. I hope it returns.
There are lots of banded demoiselles, and some other dragon/damselflies which, with my annoying colour blindness, I fail to identify (I take a blurry picture to send to someone more expert).
And then, as I stop to look for more fish, a kingfisher lands only two feet away from me. I try to extract my phone from my pocket to take a picture, but – so careful am I – it flies off, still unaware I was there. Kingfishers are still as thrilling to see close up as when I first saw them as a child.
Away from the river, in the hedgerow as Eythrope Road starts to climb back up to Stone, a yellowhammer first calls and then shows itself, and, back in Stone a kestrel (which I’ve never seen here before) is hovering over a field near the municipal cemetery. I sense it had been a good year for kestrels: they are visible every day as one drives along the Stoke Hammond bypass.