The Countryside About Us: August 1992

posted 25 Jul 2012, 09:36 by James Mansell
We who, most days, can look skywards to see the “ducking and weaving”  by our  Bentwaters friends in their Fairchild A10 “tank busters” no longer spare a cursory glance so familiar have they become. It is quite another matter when serious aerial combat is enacted by a different species. A heron, rather an ungainly flier, was plodding its ungainly way across the middle distance, with a backdrop of grey clouds promising a much needed shower of rain. For no obvious reason some twenty or so rooks decided it was their air space and not that of the passing heron.  With much swooping and tumbling they attacked the lone flier who had no choice but to flap more vigorously, and, I’m glad to report, escape to more tranquil air space unharmed. In the same half of the day a jay, much more deserving of a hostile reception, was seen off at speed, by a squadron of starlings. It quickly outflew the threat but I daresay it will steer away from that particular woodside for a day or two.

Do not let this summertime pass by, if you can avoid it, without taking an evening walk along the footpaths that interlace our parishes. Choose the time of  day when the sun has not quite set, and the wind is still and dusk an hour away. Landscapes have a more defined look when the sun is low in the sky. On the relatively high ground that surrounds Earl Soham any compass point allows a vista that takes the eye to  familiar points, maybe the top of the church tower, Hill Farm or Earl Soham Lodge. Often at this time a silence is taking over the countryside. A skylark might be heard trilling its last cascade of sound for the day. Watch the meadows for you may be fortunate enough to see the ghostly barn owl on patrol. What you will certainly see are rabbits! Almost every hedgerow seems to have its own “Watership Down”. Nature seems a little out of balance in this respect, just now.

Roger Sykes