Saturday, 2 October 2010
A Rainy Autumn
A DAWN ON THE SWALE NNR
"my birthday began with the water-
birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
above the farms and the white horses
and I rose
in the rainy autumn
and walked abroad in a shower of all my days..........."
So wrote Dylan Thomas in his Poem in October, and I just love that line "and walked abroad in a shower of all my days."
I guess its something that we all do at times as we walk in the countryside, we reminisce, we remember that special bird or plant, we think of good times back home, we hum a favourite song - we experience a shower of all our days!
Its been quiet this last week on the reserve as we've more or less said goodbye to most of the summer birds. Now and then there's the odd "last one" that pops up in a reed bed or bush but apart from the still occasional blanket waves of hirundines passing over, we now await the winter visitors. The initial spearhead of these arrived in Kent this week as odd Redwings were seen around the coast and these were followed in The Swale by the first 1,000+ Brent Geese. I could hear them on the mudflats across The Swale early this morning as I made my way along the seawall in the half light of a quite spectacular dawn. Dark skies became blue as the light increased and several con trails across the sky, all seemingly leading back to Manston, gradually turned from white to pink as the sun rose above Whitstable.
That's another autumn sign as well - where the sun rises. In the summer it rises above the wind turbines on the Kentish Flats, then by October as it rises later, it has moved round to behind Whitstable before it appears and then in mid-winter it rises from behind Seasalter.
The rain still hasn't made any impression in the dryer ditches, I had a look at the "S" Bend ditch this morning and while the mud is now well wet we still haven't that first film of water across it yet. But its had an effect on other parts of the reserve, the grazing areas have greened up and the grass is making an effort to put on a bit of growth before the first frosts hold it back. The cattle will be glad of that, they've had a pretty lean time this last month or two and have been turning to the phragmites and bullrush leaves. The first mushrooms have also started to appear, always a nice treat at this time of the year, chopped in an ommlette or soaked in garlic butter and fried whole - yummy!