The song from the woods is gone; nuthatches and woodpeckers still occasionally sound off but the small woodland birds now rove in chattering flocks. Migrating and local turtle doves are feeding in the sunflower fields but scatter on approach, unsurprising as they are a favourite quarry hereabouts. A young buzzard mews persistently and will remain on the territory until next spring. A stonechat bounces from one fence post to another. Starlings cluster in tight flocks and forage on the pastures and kestrels have favoured perches on telegraph poles and sally for grasshoppers. Local swallows gather on the lines and more come through each day as do migrating yellow wagtails.
In the woods by the mill, a black woodpecker squeals its extraordinary sound; a spotted flycatcher sallies silently over a pond where a kingfisher whistles through like an azure express; and marsh frogs leap from the edge to the sanctuary of the dark water. At dusk, a female hen harrier comes into roost and perhaps might stay the winter.
Fat fungi are up along the track, where signs state “Cueillette de champignons interdite”, alongside the last flowers include autumn hawkbit, betony and devil’s-bit scabious. The woodland edges along the track are being blocked up with dead branches laid between the trees like untidy hurdles, presumably to funnel fleeing deer and boar and so aid la chasse.
The last butterflies are on the wing with clouds of meadow browns and a handful of others. The autumn air is cool and full of change.