If we thought the heat of Saturday oppressive then Sunday took things to a whole new level. By nine that morning there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and not a breath of wind ruffled the feathers of our resident Swallows as the mercury crept towards thirty. Despite this another hearty breakfast instilled us with an ill-founded confidence that we could tackle a walk so, with nothing more than a photograph of a 1:50,000 OS map to guide us, we set off into the surrounding fields. Passing the scene of my Barn Owl encounter we dipped down into a narrow stretch of woodland before bursting once more into the blazing sunshine. We almost faltered here upon finding a steep hill ahead but somehow our group continued, making the summit to fantastic views back towards our accommodation and a realisation that we’d lost the path completely.
In reality we were always chancing it by expecting to pick up a little used footpath without proper maps but we had at least made a stab of things before admitting defeat. Our intended goal had been a stream at the bottom of the valley so once back on the quiet lane we followed it down between two mature hedges which were positively bursting with life. Thick and full they were a far cry from the scraggly often neglected things we get at home and the wildlife was taking full advantage. As with yesterday bees and hoverflies abounded but my best find was a Hummingbird Hawk-moth. It was moving rapidly along the lane with periodic flights into nearby fields and I virtually cooked in my attempts to keep track just on the off chance that it would pause for breath. Alas it was not to be and my sweaty exertions came to naught.
I had a little more success upon spying this Brown Hare sheltering in the shade of a hay bale. They say hares are mad but when I compare his actions to ours in the midday heat I think I might have to re-evaluate that sentiment.
Stream reached we returned to the cottage for some shade of our own and a delicious Sunday roast. I managed almost an hour of rest this time before once more being tempted out by the call of that elusive male Yellowhammer. This time at least he had the good grace to stay put but no matter how hard I searched I just couldn’t spot him through thick foliage. This Pied Wagtail on the other hand couldn’t do enough to attract my attention and turned out to be a real poser.
All good things though must come to an end and by mid afternoon we were well fed and saying our goodbyes. It had been a truly enjoyable few days and I have a sneaking suspicion that this may not be the last time that we find ourselves here.