Country diary: the autumn arrivals are swelling in number now

Country diary: the autumn arrivals are swelling in number now

Pulborough Brooks, West Sussex: It’s almost springlike in the trees with all the birdsong, but the marshes are filling with greylag geese, joined by more and more ducks

The dark rain clouds are lifting after a night of heavy rain. The paths and leaves shine in the morning sunlight. Standing at the top of the hill by the visitor centre, I watch the swallows swoop low, chasing insects over the green field below. The trees are full of birds and their calls, like it’s spring again. A wren chases a chiffchaff. A male and female blackbird, indignant at the arrival of two mistle thrushes, pursue the incomers, chattering. Blue tits, great tits and long-tailed tits seep, whistle and chirrup as they move through the branches.

I hear the soft whistles of bullfinches, hidden in the dense foliage. A large finch flies out from a tall birch, flashing its white rump and black tail, and lands in another tree. The bright pinky-red-breasted male sits on a branch for a moment, spotlit by the sun, and then is gone.

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