As I write, the seasons are in transition between summer and autumn. Most of the swallows and martins have now gone from the wires outside my house and I have just seen my first flock of winter visiting redwings, high in the forests above Selkirk.
The buddleia in my garden has finished flowering and the few butterflies still around have moved onto the sedum, along with the bumble bees.
It is now mainly red admirals and peacocks, with the odd white but on Saturday I saw my first painted lady of the year. It was making full use of the masses of flowering clover on the new flood defence banks on the outskirts of town. Bird song is virtually non-existent now, with the exception of the robin who has now adopted its winter song which is much more wistful than its cheery breeding season version. Young buzzards are very vocal just now, but their wailing could hardly be described as a “song”.
The recent mild weather and heavy showers have brought forth a good crop of fungi in some places, particularly boletus and fly agaric. Another few weeks will see it coming to its peak.
Last week, on a particularly warm day, I was having a wander along the banks of the Tweed just above the Dryburgh Footbridge. In the shallows a small toddler was bathing, while mum looked on proudly and upstream an angler was trying his luck with some artistic casting. Goosanders and mallards lounged at the mouth of the burn on the opposite bank, enjoying the baking warmth of the sun.
By the riverside, I was watching the bumble bees on the Himalayan Balsam, when I noticed a colony of tall yellow plants, I had not come across before on my local patch of river. When I got home I looked it up, it was easily identified as Yellow Loosestrife – a plant not common in Selkirkshire, but found in a few locations in Roxburgh. This particular colony is probably well known, but to be on the safe side, I have sent a note of it to the county’s botanical recorder.
Finally, last week, I wrote about our dog “Treacle” picking and eating her own wild brambles and I asked if anyone else had a dog with such habits.
Reader D.W. contacted me to say both of his Labradors did this. One picked them from the bush but the older (and wiser) one waited until the owners had picked some into a bowl, before helping itself!