After my mum's funeral on the 5th a few days later I took myself off to Dungeness for a second visit in a fortnight one morning in search for Cattle Egret and more Wryneck.
I went for the Cattle Egret first, in fields in amongst cattle at Boulderwall Farm, and managed to see two including one perched on a cow that was lying down on the grass. It was fortunate I went to visit early, as later in the day they were more difficult to see.
|Cattle Egret at Boulderwall Farm|
|Wryneck at Dungeness|
A few weeks later I was delivering some of my stock car books to a friend in Stevenage who was passing them on to a seller at the tracks for me. The weather on the day was appalling, with treacherous conditions on the M25, but luckily the rain subsided and sun came out early enough for me to go over to Therfield to try for the juvenile female Pallid Harrier. After a bit of a walk I found the spot it had most recently been seen at.
The only Pallid Harrier I'd previously seen had been at Burpham in West Sussex, for a very obliging juvenile in 2011. Therfield is very similar to Burpham and The Burgh area, with ideal raptor habitat and a local farmer who is in tune with wildlife.
|The juvenile female Pallid Harrier at Therfield in Hertfordshire. Note the trailing leg.|
|Raven circling directly over urban Redhill|
Another highlight since August has been the regular visits of a hedgehog in our courtyard garden. It was getting to the point where as soon as we put some food down for him as it was getting dark he would appear, while we sat very close by and watched him feed. A real joy and a first for us in more than 20 years living in Redhill.
However, for the past two or three nights the food remained on the plate – he has not been. It feels a bit too early for him to be thinking of hibernating – but maybe I'm wrong. Whatever the reason for his sudden disappearance, we hope he (or maybe she) is OK.