After what seemed months of wet weather at last the sun has been shining!
Dragonflies dart over cut hay and a myriad of insect life abounds. Bumblebees cluster on the crimson clover, while hedge browns flutter in the glades of the copse. It’s good news for the leaf warblers and summer migrants that travel thousands of miles to come and feed themselves and their young on the English summer.
Despite the late arrival, due to March snow, of the early migrants such as chiffchaff, the summer has delivered a fine array of colourful life on the wing. I was particularly pleased to come upon a pair of redstart flicking in and out of some oak, like expectant parents looking for insect fodder to take to the nest. Crisply plumaged pied flycatchers have been reported, as has the yellow breast of wood warblers. These western birds are a joy to stumble upon not least because they are just that little bit more unusual.
The crops on the estate are not quite so pleasing. Wheat has suffered this year at the hands of last autumn and winter. Having been sown late it is still filling rather than turning slowly to ripeness. It will, I suspect, be a leaner harvest and repair work will need to be done to the soil to regain its natural structure in readiness for the autumn’s sowing. Some areas, especially by the brooks, proved too wet or difficult to sow to crop at all and these have been given over to mustard as a green cover. This will be ploughed in as a green manure to try and retain nutrients and give body back to the soil. After these past few days of beautiful sunshine, here’s hoping for a kinder autumn than last year.
NB: Take a look at our Wildlife gallery which shows some of the wildlife you might just see during a visit to Eaton Manor.