Dusk walk – the day after mid-summer’s day

8.30pm. Friday. 2012. Breezy, dry but not warm. There’s a pink haze lying over the valley as I walk down the hill. No sound, just a few birds singing and horses tearing at grass but otherwise silent.


The growth is so thick I can’t see the badger hole in the bank of Knapweed meadow. Maybe I can put my camera there one night to watch. My hunch is it’s a maternity sett but I can’t be sure.

The stream is running fast after the torrential rain. It’s the highest I’ve seen it at this time of year. No signs of otter spraint on the stone.

The tall hedges are smothered in sweet smelling honeysuckle.


As I reach Stable oak there’s no sign of the little owls. Maybe they’ve decamped to Adam’s Oak on the hill where there’s more cover and food?

A song thrush is singing from a telephone line near the Mission, while a female gathers worms from a nearby field and swallows dive low over the lane.

Walking back down the lane bats take advantage of the knats. Several fly just over my head. Pipistrelles I think.

Knats in the setting sun

The stream that runs between the fields is overflowing onto the footpath and road. I’ve only seen it do this in the winter. It’s usually a dribble by now.

Reaching Knapweed meadow I spot a roe deer. There are no horses in the field at the moment, so the grass has grown long. Watching her with my binoculars I spot a fawn, then another. Twins… obviously not very old but steady enough on their feet.

Roe deer-001


Autumnwatch 2009: BBC Change the Autumnwatch Format to 1 a week!

Autumnwatch 2009 will be spread over a longer period this year but just one hour per week. The first programme will be on Friday 2nd October and the last on Friday 20th November. Is this a good idea?


Sika Deer at Dorset Wildlife Trusts Nature Reserve on Brownsea Island Continue reading