After a very hard and damaging winter here we experienced a very dry and cool spring. The lack of rainfall had the hill streams dry up and the lochans reach high summer levels. Then the first two weeks of June saw torrential rain with some minor flooding then summer settled down to overcast yet warm conditions week on end. While still waiting for the totally blue skies about three weeks ago I noticed an area of bracken showing a slight yellowing. Then the odd self-seeded sapling was seen to be rubbed. Then quite suddenly the Stags all cleaned and coloured apart from the odd spiker and began to break up into pairs or go singly. The Sika Stags who I saw every day in velvet have now disappeared as if by magic and the molinia grass has taken on that strawy dieing look. Flocks of Fieldfares have arrived to strip the megre Rowan Berry harvest and a few geese have landed on the lochans.
All good signs of true Autumn Then last night I found a huge crop of Hedgehog mushrooms which I usually dont see till October and often fill the rumen of Sika Stags shot then. Thses are excellent to eat but the deer often beat me to them.
On this mornings dog exercise -joy-the three piercing whistles of a Sika Stag. The first of the year and for me the sure sign that Autumn is here.
On another matter. Could I take the chance to thank you all who have written and phoned in support when my son Angus was taken into hospital with kidney failure. He is only 9 and it was very worrying. After a week of diaysis he is a lot better but has a long uphill journey ahead of him. You lads who have met him will know what a keen boy he is for all outdoor persuits. Perhaps an illustration-when coming out of an anaesthetic a doctor asked him what he would most like. Thinking he would say an ice-cream the man was surprised with the reply" To go deer stalking and Pike fishing" Thanks again.