8.20 a.m.: A times the dull humid weather feels like a warm version of autumn but there are reminders that it really is still summer. House martins, at least eight, probably twelve in total, are swooping around at rooftop level, six of them in loose formation: perhaps a family group. It’s been a good year for the martins nesting on neighbours’ houses. At a higher level, above the treetops, three swifts are soaring.
In back gardens across the road a song thrush is going through what sounds like an improvised routine of varied thrice repeated phrases. We can probably thank the song thrush for the pristine state of the hosta by our front door; normally at this time of year it is looking very much the worse for wear with leaves stripped to skeletons by snails. A month ago when the song thrushes were feeding young in a nest in our beech hedge, there were broken snail shells scattered around the path, driveway and the flower bed over a period of several weeks. This must have taken a toll on the snail population.