Not much weed was cut in June, the river has dropped off quite a bit and already there are signs that blanket weed is set to explode. The Mayfly hatch went on well into the June weed cut although, for the past week, fish are fed up to the back teeth with them. Numbers of sedge in the evening are up on last year, with many still bumbling around on the river the following morning before setting themselves down in the fringe. A bat has also been flitting about on the bottom bends in the middle of the day. While clearing cut weed just before lunch, it careered around above my head. I assume it had some demanding youngsters who needed a feed, driving their mother/father out at an ungodly hour in search of sustenance.
Recently, we were invaded by the local over 60’s, for an afternoon of entertainment and sticky cakes. My employer laid on a Falconry display on the front lawn. The Chap in charge had a boot full of birds. Two types of Scops Owl, a Tawny Owl, Harris Hawk, Peregrine and Lanner Falcon, and a tiny American Kestrel. As soon as the birds were put out in the sun, a couple of local buzzards appeared, along with a Red Kite who swooped low to suss out the new kids on the block. From another box on the back seat he produced a Kookaburra. A whistle from his master set him cackling, and the sky above filled with crows, jackdaws, and many more eager to see the voluble alien creature. He didn’t fly the Kookaburra, but the Hawk went up, and the Falcons bombed across the lawn at speeds that were too quick for some eyes that had already wandered to the cake table.
My concerns over the Orchids proved to be unfounded. I have topped most of the meadow, rounding the Orchids as I spotted them. Walking through the half acre that we leave for Gamecover at the top of the beat there are a couple of places where there are a dozen in a square yard.
English Nature and English Heritage have set about the Iron Age defence ditch that forms one of our main drives on a shooting day. Most of the woodland has gone, although the mature Yew and Ash remain. A substantial Holly Tree was one of the first to go, revealing the mother of all Badger sets. Brock had gone to town in his endeavours to create “Chez nook”. Never mind me and my Pheasants damaging this ancient ditch, this bunch of badgers have flown in the face of English Heritage and dug a swimming pool, sauna, and chucked up a conservatory with mock Tudor frontage. It is quite a development and has impacted considerably on the historically important site.