Cormorants and nests

A new bird (actually two) on the list for The Farm today. I spotted the familiar and distinctive shape of two Cormorants sitting on a dead tree about 100 yards down the river from where I was mowing. They disappeared in due course, but then one flew back over the garden. An unusual ‘garden’ bird… There were several Grey Herons about today as well, and lots of Swallows and House Martins. Several Martins are still actively nesting, and I also saw a Great Tit with a beak-full of caterpillars heading into one of the hedges – so I presume it too had a brood to feed. Perhaps, after the poor weather in August, second clutches of eggs have been pushed back into this warm and sunny beginning to September.

As far as gardening goes, it was mowing as usual: not much fun as I was finally able to tackle the long and damp grass in the Walled Gardens. It will need another – tidier – mow in due course, but looks better for now. I also did some major weeding in the herbaceous borders; fishing out as much bindweed and other rubbish as I could, and cutting back the last of the A.mollis before it seeds everywhere. The annuals I sowed back in April are still going strong, albeit patchily where they have to compete with the spreading Geraniums and Alchemilla. Poppies (Field and Californian), Marigolds, and Cosmos continue to brighten the otherwise uninspiring top border. That was always the idea – quick and cheerful flowers to make the most of the area trampled in the course of wall repairs. 

One other patch of poppies is the one I sowed around the pillbox, as a small act of remembrance. The pillbox would have been built virtually overnight in early 1940, and stands as a reminder of those brief, but desperate, weeks when the possibility of a Nazi invasion seemed very real indeed. The poppies are still flowering, and will be next week on Battle of Britain Day when, with luck and good weather, we’ll hear the roar of Spitfires and Hurricanes overhead as they visit their former airfields at Old Sarum and Middle Wallop. 

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