Crushing news this week, with the sudden death of my father on Thursday, a few days after his 89th birthday.  My usual eloquence has rather deserted me.  I owe him so much and we’ll miss him so much.

(He was also responsible for about half of the hits on this website.)

Here’s a picture from this time last year of Dad in his favourite place: surrounded by his family.

With migration beginning to tail off, and most of the available birds seen, the focus is a bit more on walking than birds, underlined by my early morning seawatch on Friday, that was practically dead.  On Saturday we had a walk with a bird targeted: the Turtle Doves at Woods Mill.  It was a lovely pre-dawn walk, but a bit cool and cloudy.  We got to Woods Mill at 0600, having walked through Beeding Brooks, continuously accompanied by Cuckoos.  Unfortunately the Turtle Doves didn’t get the memo, and never turned up.  Nevertheless, it was a very pleasant 25 mile walk.  A shorter walk today had more butterflies than birds.

Splendid isolation

Karen had an outbreak of sanity, deciding a start at 2:00 am was too silly and decided to leave me to it.  Obviously she was right, so the plan changed and I left at quarter past midnight instead.  A brisk walk got me to my fist stop at half past three (with a Nightingale belting out its song at 2:30) and the Nightjars were already churring and the Woodcocks roding.  The views were shocking, but it was great to hear them back.  Next stop for another early morning specialist, Grasshopper Warbler and found three in one location and at least three in another.  Job done, and a good supporting cast to boot, it was back home, still quite early.  It was a long walk, but for the majority of it I didn’t see a soul.