Autumn coming our way at a pace

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An amazing walk round Selkirk Hill at the weekend illustrated perfectly that this brilliant summer is fast running out of time.

Everywhere purple heather was in full bloom, providing a stunning foreground to the distant hills of Yarrow and Ettrick, dappled in sunshine.

Here and there rowan trees were festooned in clumps of berries rapidly changing from yellow through orange, towards their eventual bright red in a few weeks’ time.

It was a forager’s paradise with plump juicy wild rasps everywhere and a couple of crab apple trees whose heavy fruit crop was just turning rosy red. They would be too hard and sour to eat, but fine for culinary use in a month or so.

I came on one bush of red-berried elder covered in fruit, but I would hesitate to try them as their edibility is questionable.

Amongst the heather, many late summer flowers were in profusion. In particular, the purple thistle-like heads of knapweed were nodding in the stiff breeze, making life difficult for the bumble bees trying to land on them. The wetter areas held good numbers of the blue pompom headed devil’s bit scabious, while the drier banks were dotted with harebells whipping back and forth on their thread-like stems.

By the burn, water mint was in full flower and I couldn’t resist crushing a leaf to release that gorgeous minty aroma.

The Skating Pond is virtually filled with vegetation now, having been cleaned out a few years ago, but still retains lots of wildlife interest.

I was rounding the golf course end when I heard a rasping call coming from the marshy area. With virtually no other birds calling, it was easy to spot the perpetrator by just standing for a few minutes.

A small brown bird soon appeared in amongst the vegetation then began spiralling up a tall flower head, calling as it went. It was a young sedge warbler, its distinct eye stripe and churring call giving it away.

I stood for several minutes watching it and taking photographs until it eventually disappeared back into the long grass.

The people of Selkirk are very lucky to have this facility on their doorstep and for me it never fails to produce something of interest, no matter what time of year I’ve visited.

Contact me by email – corbie@homecall.co.uk