There was a terrific flurry of bird alarm calls this morning. They mingled with the frantic fluttering of many wings as blackbirds, sparrows and wood pigeons took flight. In its panic one of the pigeons hit the garden room window, but still managed to fly off.
Only the magpie remained, perched in the willow, relatively unmoved as a sparrowhawk shot across the back garden.
This was probably a young bird, searching out a good territory of its own. There was a similar visit a few years ago at the beginning of the autumn, but that sparrowhawk was more daring. She swooped out of nowhere, so that sparrows burst out of the pyracantha in all directions, like an exploding firework of feathers.
We drove westwards through humid heat to return to a mist-shrouded Dartmoor. Clusters of rowan berries hung over our heads like bright lanterns against the greyness when, later, we walked alongside the river in the wooded valley on the edge of the moor.
In the overcast light the park railings in The Lizard seemed to have sprouted a row of new features on their top rail. A line of swallows perched side by side, casually preening, mainly just resting, getting ready for the next stage of the autumn exodus, the crossing of the sea.
The yellow hulled boat floated peacefully on the slack tide of a Helford creek. In front of it a family of swans were just as decorative, but only momentarily at rest. Otherwise they were busy foraging under the water for the plants the retreating water had made more available.
Here and there flowers of gorse and heather lit up the Cornish hillside, chiefly covered in thick prickly stands of greenery and thickets of russet bracken. Near the summit a small pond fills part of the floor of an old quarry, and as we passed it a snipe through up. My collie had not disturbed it, but the bird burst up almost beside my feet, swooping away low and dipping quickly out of sight.
Autumn berries are appearing decoratively everywhere. Strands of black and red bryony berries drape the Cornish hedges, while scarlet clusters of honeysuckle berries hang overhead like tiny lanterns.
Cornish Pig’s Snout apples dangle from the tree in the Cornish garden. Back lit by the evening sun, they look like strangely shaped garden lights strung through the branches.
If you have any comments, please send them in. They may be published on the site.