Sunday, 28 October 2012

Farewell British Summertime

Sunday 28th October 2012
The sun has moved a long way along the horizon
since last time I saw it rise.
This was the last we saw of it today!
Well, British Summertime is over!
For everybody else that means an extra hour in bed.
But not for me, since nobody remembered to tell the sun to get up an hour later! So, at 6:45 the alarm went off. I was tired, as in the middle of the  night Gerry had woken us up by pulling the curtain off its rail doing some night-time abseiling!

I was in a good mood though, for most unexpectedly I got a LIFER yesterday. At 3:25 in the afternoon I heard about a Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll in the dunes at Holkham, where I had been a couple of days ago. Time was tight so I jumped straight in the car and had a somewhat hair-raising journey into North Norfolk, through hail storms and heavy rain. I pulled up in the car park an hour later, paid the extortionate parking fees and ran / fast walked the mile or so through the pines and dunes to where the bird was hopping around not 6 foot away from a small and appreciative audience. It had probably never seen a human in its life. Less than ten minutres later it hopped over the dune, never to be seen again. Phew! That was a bit tight. Depending on which official list you follow, this was my 514th species in the British Isles.

But that was still (allegedly) British Summertime.
Today it is Greenwich Mean Time - otherwise known as Wintertime. At least I got to see a proper sunrise this morning and I couldn't believe how far our nearest star had crept along the horizon since it was last sighted. I can just about understand and imagine why the sun appears to move along the horizon as the year goes by. But what I can't get my head around is that it reaches a certain point and then heads back the other way.

But before I had any time to further contemplate this I was struck (not literally) by the flocks of Fieldfares and Redwings coming in over the fields, many briefly alighting in the roadside hedge. The redwings tend to dive straight into the berry laden hawthorns, whereas the fieldfares head for the tops of the tall trees to survey their surroundings before descending to feed.
If anything there were even more thrushes than yesterday, flocks up to 200 strong coming in every couple of minutes. The light was much duller as the sun had already finished its brief appearance for the day, but I still spent a damp couple of hours again desperately trying to pick out a ring ouzel.

Much as I am determined to find one, I was quite glad when it was time to head off to the auction to see if there were any bargains to be had. We have a shed coming on Monday and a couple of dog kennels which will be converted for the ducks and geese. We also met a gorgeous Jack Russell pup - one step closer to getting a dog methinks!

From there it was off to Wisbech for the FGSC (Smallholders Club) harvest lunch. Soup, bread and puddings, of course all home made and most delicious. We enjoyed some good company and I managed to narrowly avoid being nominated as Treasurer! Though we do intend to get more involved and to give something back to the club.

Then it was quickly back home in time to feed the pigs and poultry before it got dark, which is now, of course, one hour earlier.

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