Sept. 23rd. Now that our hardy cyclamen are in full bloom we can see that they are quite a bit thinner than they were last year. We know that the badgers had dug up a few corms during the drought but they must have taken more than we thought.
Sept. 24th. Although the birds are not very hungry yet I have put out some peanuts and sunflower seed as a cousin from Canada is here and he likes to see what birds we are getting. He keeps a feeding station going to which the commonest visitor is the chickadee which is very like our blue tit. We are seeing blue, great and coal tits in roughly equal numbers and 2 willow tits are coming regularly.
Sept. 30th. As I watched about 35 geese, many of them in vee formation or staggered lines, sail majestically over the village I thought how rarely we saw geese years ago. On a few occasions we did see a skein flying high on a course from the Severn estuary to the wash area or vice-versa. Of course most of the ones we see now are the semi tame Canada geese which were apparently first brought to this country in the 17th century. I once read in a very old book, that “Canada geese were introduced to grace ornamental lakes but have never been known to breed here” which makes me wonder how they kept their lakes stocked for all that time. Be that as it may they have certainly increased over the last fifty years. By 1953 there were thought to be about 3,000 in the country, by the mid sixties there were over 10,000 and now they breed on every suitable piece of water, of which there are more in this area than there were fifty years ago.
Oct. 14th. As I drove towards Enstone today I noticed several old beech trees looking poorly and still holding their leaves which were withered by the drought. Some of the older beeches at Edge Hill are in a similar condition. The old trees seem to have suffered more than the younger ones and their future must be in doubt.
Oct. 17th. I was saddened to see the roadside trimmer at work near the Elm taking off the dead heads of keck, docks, sweet cicely etc. that as well as providing winter food for birds would have been beautiful when coated with hoar frost. It is a pity that we have become so obsessed with tidiness. Although a few more farm hedges are being allowed to grow to produce haws etc. for winter bird food more could be allowed to grow without detriment to crops.