Trying to spy out autumn gentian and frog orchid in poor light, hoping to identify birds drained of all colour, is a challenge. On such rainy days you may find solitude and the weather is volatile and thrilling.
I love to be outdoors so windswept is my natural state and I rather like it. I love to see the halo-effect of runners back-lit, their hair a blazon of sunlight. I like to sense the wind: to hear it as it hits the escarpment cliff and lashes the trees, to feel my hair airborne. There's sunlight enough for shadows and there I am imaged on the escarpment like a Jane Austen portrait in silhouette- dishevelled. Dishevelled, 15 century French, descheveler- untidy. Natural, I would say.
So, on the last rainy days of July and 1st August I relish the wind and rain. And look for autumn gentian and frog orchid. I enjoy meeting Sally who likes cloud-watching, as I do. I return to the cluster of autumn gentian I came across earlier in the week, to find them still in bud. And I find another cluster in a place I'll easily relocate. One hot and humid Friday between cooler, rainy days still finds them in bud. I scour the earth for frog orchid but cannot find them.
Swifts are vocal, their migration must be imminent. At Bradleyfiield Farm I hear swallows. Not many, but they have bred and I can see the pale flanges about their beaks and a food-begging posture. They are newly fledged and I hope August will bring them strength enough to accomplish their own migratory flight in September. Even at a respectful distance - I don't want to disturb them- I see sunlight in a blue sheen on their wings.
I hear and see great spotted woodpecker and green woodpecker but the light is so poor they are drained of all colour.
Mistle thrush begin to flock and they call from the tops of larch on Helsington Barrows and a moment of sunlight shows them pale in the grass.