The last day of my summer

The heath at Backley, near Sawley Beeches, New Forest, 30th August 2013

The heath at Backley, near Sawley Beeches, New Forest, 30th August 2013

Yesterday was to all intents and purposes the last day of my summer. I spent it out in the New Forest on not one, but two walks with my family, because I’m greedy and it was a nice day.

Our morning outing was to a place called Backley grassground and Soldiers Bog, which if you’re driving south from Stoney Cross on the A31 you can see on your left… though it’s probably better and safer viewed as a passenger!

Clouded Yellow, male, near Sawley Beeches, New Forest, 30th August 2013

Clouded Yellow, male, near Sawley Beeches, New Forest, 30th August 2013

The heather (mostly actually Ling, which isn’t heather at all really, but what most people think of as heather), like most other plant-life this year, is late, so still giving a glorious scent, though the further down into the bog you walk (on a good path), the more it get’s mixed with the equally heady scent of bog myrtle! Walking down we saw two Dartford Warblers, and I got my first ever clear view and photograph of a rarish summer migrant butterfly, in from the continent, a Clouded Yellow! It made my day, and we’d hardly started 😉

Down in the bog, whilst the husband was chasing dragonflies (we were meant to be working with two cameras but it became a slightly amusing squabble for the one we both prefer), the lad shouted “baby frog” but it turned out to be even better – a young Common Toad. We even got a video clip for my husband to use in school.

A young Common Toad in Soldiers Bog, New Forest, 30th August 2013

A young Common Toad in Soldiers Bog, New Forest, 30th August 2013

We were expecting Hobby’s to be visible working the valley bottom for dragonflies, but not a raptor was in sight, so after a little while leaning on the bridge in the bottom watching dragonflies, we climbed the hill again, this time startling a young Fallow Buck about 3 years old, before wending our way back to our access point to the open forest.

You'll have to trust me on this - the silhouette is a young Hobby sat among the Scot's Pine it was born in, New Forest, 30th August 2013

You’ll have to trust me on this – the silhouette is a young Hobby sat among the Scot’s Pine it was born in, New Forest, 30th August 2013

After lunch at ‘home’ in Lyndhurst, I was greedy for more and determined to see a favourite raptor, so we set out again to a spot I visited last year where my son and I found a Hobby nest. After a little distraction from a fading Holly Blue on the ling/heather, I heard the sound I’d been straining for – a juvenile Hobby calling from the same clump of pine that we’d found the nest in last year. There were in fact two, and both were well fledged and off the nest, though still clamouring for food from a parent. The light was against us so my poor photo was only in silhouette, but we saw all three birds clearly before walking in high spirits back to the car and ‘home’ once again.

Today, we drove properly home to Yateley again, where the wildlife can be as good, and we have wi-fi to upload the pictures! There are more of them, and some snaps of Curlew and Fountains Abbey on my Flickr site – accessible via the left column.

Now things start to get really busy again, so I shall enjoy the memory of this lovely end to our summer, as I start to get back into the grips of ordination training.

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About ramtopsrac

Church of England Priest, child of God, daughter of the New Forest, wife and mother.
This entry was posted in life, wildlife and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The last day of my summer

  1. lindasgalvin says:

    It sounds like an idyllic day and one that leaves you well prepared to return to your studies. It’s always good to a wonderful store of memories to recall from time to time

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