by Andy Johnson
Summer is over and after a very good breeding season and swallows, house martins and swifts are on their way to Africa. Most of the swifts were gone by the end of July, but one returned night after night, to roost in Margaret Ward’s roof until leaving on the 6 September.
Whilst gardening this summer and sitting out enjoying the odd glass of wine in the evening, I am surprised at the wide variety of birds that I have seen. Scruton is situated on a migratory route down the Swale Valley and the Vale of Mowbray and in addition the village appears to be a refuelling post, especially for insect eating birds. A hobby has made regular visits chasing after house martins and insects, especially dragon flies.
More unusual sightings have been red kite, golden plover, lesser whitethroat, cuckoo, whimbrel, yellow wagtail and two views of spotted flycatchers which means that they may still be nesting in the village. The best sighting happened recently when I was alerted to a commotion over the Parklands. A pair of crows and half a dozen rooks were seriously mobbing what I thought to be a large sparrow hawk. On closer inspection I could see it was a goshawk. As a young man I would regularly do a bit of ‘twitching’, but now I am of an age where they can come and find me!