A gloomy start to a gloomy month. Looked like avian 'flu had hit Henbury – 3 dead geese beside the big field-flood on the first morning. A new skein of six or so flew over as Dot and I walked, obviously intending to splash down and then having circled, had second thoughts and flew on. If you have domestic birds – lock 'em up (or in or down)!
After a few seriously rainy nights the big field-flood had re-collected hugely – and the smaller field-flood behind Henbury Rise began to show itself with a few gulls swimming around.
The morning of the day before Bonfire night was beautiful. It started foggy but by the time Dot the Dog and I set off across the fields the denseness had burned off. There were patches of remaining frost (first of the season?) in shady places, and the hedges and wire fences were again festooned with cobwebs – you would not have seen them if you looked away from the sun but sunwards they were picked out by water droplets and sometimes all the colours of the spectrum. A rather eerie mist was rising from the big field-flood – I imagined Count Dracula emerging from St Tom's graveyard... No doubt DtD would have seen him off!
A crow with a sense of humour mimicked the reversing hooters of the machines on the building site – "beep, beep, beep" was followed by "caw, caw, caw" in perfect time and I thought this a coincidence but then "beep, beep, beep, beep, beep" was followed immediately by "caw, caw, caw, caw, caw" in perfect time again. The bird was sitting high in the chestnut tree above the gate into the little top field.
A skein of fifty or more geese flew honking loudly over but ignored our flood – a man with headphones clamped over his ears on his way to Whirley didn't even notice them...
Has climate change hit Henbury? 20 years ago the mahonia at the far end of our garden reliably bloomed in late December or early January. Now it's in full bloom in early November. Its history is interesting – many years ago I was at a medical conference in what was once Bedford College (where S was an undergraduate) in Regent's Park in London and I pocketed some seeds from a mahonia in the park. This one took, and goes on exuberantly.
The big field-flood swept on – moving into the building site. Rather amused by the wire mesh boundary fencing having collapsed into the mire and a number of people in high-viz jackets staring forlornly at it.
A foul, wet and windy morning after several beautiful, sunny and even warm walks with DtD. Once again the sort of rain that gets through any waterproof (except apparently Dot the Dog's coat – it just runs off and any residue can be shaken off as soon as she gets inside the back door...). I decided to cut the walk short – DtD did not concur and made me do the whole trip.
Still, damp air on some days meant that diesel fumes from the building site hung over the whole area, but the smaller field-flood behind Henbury Rise reappeared almost overnight after the heavy rain. A flotilla of ducks rapidly took up residence and a few gulls popped in to investigate.
The garden bird feeders were in great demand during the bad weather. We had goldfinches, starlings, nuthatches, at least one greenfinch, coaltits, bluetits, greater spotted woodpeckers and we await the siskins and great tits. A pair of collar doves have appeared again together with the inevitable woodpigeons. DtD loves to chase the latter because they are so aerodynamically impractical that she can very nearly catch them.
One night DtD discovered a hedgehog near our little pool. When she was a pup she alerted us to one desperately trying to get out of the pool, it having fallen in one summer evening. It was rescued and eventually scuttled off. The following day I built an escape ramp. Maybe it's another example of climate change – shouldn't hedgehogs be tucked up for the winter by now?
More wet weather led to standing water in the fields and the smaller field-flood briefly hosted fifty or more geese – here today, grazed a bit, gone tomorrow. The big flood had now invaded the building site very satisfactorily, so that it looked like some work had been held up.
The number of gulls living on the field-flood seems to have grown. They sit on the builders' fence like the targets at a fairground shooting range! No deceased gulls yet observed...
And so we head for December. I know that because the first Christmas decorations appeared outside houses as November reached its end.
Horrid of Henbury