Despite living amongst suitable habitat, it’s only now that the wheatears have been seen around my house.
In fact, as I write this there is one sitting on a fence post in my garden and swooping down onto my wildflower lawn to feed. The lawn is hoaching with insects, so I’m pleased to see that it’s attracting in some vertebrate life.
It’s a time of transition: summer to autumn. And let me tell you there is a real change in the air. I almost need a blanket on my bed again (waking up a bit chilled in the night, and telling myself not to be daft. It is still August, after all!) and the crispness and freshness in the air has arrived.
I like the feeling. It has been a wonderful summer. Plenty of hot days, outdoor swimming and short-wearing. It’s been great. But summer does start to feel a bit dull after a while. Autumn is definitely my season. The wildlife is better, although it is sad to say cheerio to the summer migrants: the swallows, the corncrakes and, of course, the wheatears.
Soon the glens will be echoing with the roar of the stags – they’re already looking rather majestic, but before that comes the hills are still purple with heather, and they look utterly resplendent. It will be my first autumn on the islands, as this past season was my first entire summer and I continue to feel very excited about seeing the changes as they happen.
Autumn is not here yet, but it’s easy to feel that wee shift in the air which promises cold. And the amassing wheatears are testament to that. They are feeling the pull to begin their migration and to head off to the south, but they’ll be back and as the cold of winter looms, it’s comforting to know that our summer will return.