This afternoon's visit to Canons Farm was made with birds firmly in mind. We are now into late August, the time for chats, warblers and hirundines to build in numbers as they pass through on their way southwards. Southern coastal watch-points are doing OK as it goes, and as much as the inland birder does not set their sights as high as 'our friends by the sea', it is fair enough for us to hope for a few ornithological crumbs to come our way.

After a couple of hours of tramping around the patch, I was deflated. The hedgerows and copses were empty. No calling warblers and no proudly perched chats. To save the day I needed to take off my ornithological hat and replace it with my botanical one. The new destination was the steep field to the east of Fames Rough, where a rather fine colony of Devil's-bit Scabious can be found. Was it having a good year? Oh yes! Tens of thousands of flowerhead were blooming - and this is a scarce plant locally. Take a look for yourself:

I walked back across Canons Farm buoyed by such a sight - I do like a mass flower! And seeing that in my beatific state the lack of passage migrants was all but forgotten, of course one decided to pop up, a lone Whinchat in Poultry Field (top). It kept its distance but was savoured all the same.


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