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The call of the waves

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I'll be back!

An enjoyable early Autumn walk this afternoon, in one of my favourite places.  I never tire of the view from this hillside, and with Edinburgh Castle on the western horizon and light shining along the Firth of Forth, I went in search of damsons.  They are there, but not quite ripe enough to collect today.  I'll be back though!  Delicious little flavour-packed plums and far too good to miss.  I have been looking forward to picking them all year!
If Radio 3 can launch their Christmas carol competition for budding amateur composers, I can definitely post this photo without apology.  I will definitely be back for these ripening berries - if the birds don't beat me to it between now and mid-December!

Empty skies

So they've gone now.  The last of the swallows, about fifty of them, left on 4 September.  They are probably over France somewhere by now.  
Our skies seem very empty without them, despite the daily gangs of starlings (not enough for a murmuration) and finches, the ever-present flock of seagulls, a few curlew and some oystercatchers.   Roll on springtime.

Last day of August

We set off to walk around the mega field, but when we arrived the half growing corn was being harvested.  Far too much dust and noise, so we chose a different field to circumnavigate!  
We hadn't walked very far along the field edge and I thought that the few birds in the field, away to our right hand side, looked a bit odd.  I stood and shielded my eyes as I peered into the sun when a voice, from nowhere, said 'Hello".  That was a surprise!  And there was a character who would have stepped quite nicely out of Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals.  Quite eccentrically dressed from head to toe in various sorts of camouflage material, adorned with a number of badges and bits and bobs, and accompanied by a beautiful black and white spaniel, this chap emerged from a ramshackle hide on the edge of the field.  It was a quite a large affair and I did briefly wonder if he actually lived there!  The odd looking birds were his own version of decoy birds, only they were r…

Here today, gone tomorrow?

There was a big gathering of the clans this morning, around 8 o'clock.  Swallows and house martins were lining up along the telegraph wires, around two hundred in number I reckon.  I think that today may have been the day they have chosen to head south for the winter.  I can hardly bear to see them go.  In fact, I can't bear to see them go.  Their swooping, soaring, chattering, skimming across water and teasing of Ted has given breathtaking joy and pleasure this summer.  I will definitely be counting the weeks until they come back again.  Brave little souls, psyching themselves up for that long perilous journey.  
Little miracles. Travel safely.

Mellow fruitfulness

Our little Victoria plum tree is absolutely dripping with fruit!  I do applaud it.  The tree has weathered the beast from the east at the start of the year, Storm Hector in June, and a long hot summer with a few buckets of water which I have chucked its way, and look how true it has been to itself!
And what do you do when you have lots of luscious plums?  Make cake, of course.  And no doubt jam too!

Wednesday afternoon walk

One of the things I love best about this time of year is the opportunity for new walks.  The fields are being harvested, one by one, once the crop has been cleared away the coast is clear for walking around the edges, or across the middle - whatever.  The dogs and I had an enjoyable late afternoon walk around a new field yesterday.  The hedgerows are beginning to look very fruitful and abundant.
One the way I saw a couple of things I haven't seen for a long time, both the product of tiny gall wasps.  On a wild rose there were one or two Robin's Pincushions, which are feathery looking rose-tinted galls, created by the larvae of a tiny gall wasp, Diplolepis rosea.  
Further along, growing on an oak in the hedgerow, I found lots of oak apples.  I have rarely seen them since I was a little girl. I knew then that they had bugs inside, I now know they have been created by the oak apple gall wasp, Biorhiza pallida.  There is an Oak Apple Day, or Restoration Day, observed annually on 29…