With its rufous body, angled wings and forked tail, this majestic raptor is easy to identify. I was lucky enough to spot this Red Kite in our field, doing something unusual. It was splashing in a puddle, bathing itself. It stayed there long enough for me to grab my camera and capture its image and a short video.
While we were sitting outside eating lunch, we became aware of some paragliders flying over us. In total there must have been around eight. Some were high, and a few were quite low. I was expecting these to land in fields around us. They recovered and found some lift and were soon very high.
They were moving in a north easterly direction being blown along by the south westerly wind. Where had they come from and where were they going? I had heard of previous flights from Combe Gibbet and Milk Hill and landing somewhere in Norfolk. I read a report about a flight on the 26th of July from Milk Hill to Kings Lynn but have not seen any reports of this August flight.
We have had a dry and very cold few days in the United Kingdom. The temperature in Kingswood dropped to -11C and has been below freezing all night and day. I haven’t felt anything as cold as this since we first moved here in the late 1980s. Despite this cold patch, the UK average temperature for 2022 averaged more than 10C, the first time ever it has topped 10C. The cold weather went on until the 18th, but of course warmed up for Christmas.
I grabbed a few pictures of the frost patterns on cobwebs and vegetation using my mobile phone.
Unusually we had the Kingswood Firework party this year on the actual fifth of November. But, as is usual, we had a magnificent bonfire & fireworks & BBQ. No guy to burn this year, despite plenty of candidate effigies, such as a lettuce, a Liz or a Boris. The weather was a little damp, although the rain did hold out to the end of the firework display. Those finishing off the burgers, bangers, beer and wine did have to shelter under the canopies when there was a short torrential downpour.
For a few, the evening ended in a Kingswood house where a considerable volume of whisky etc was consumed, amidst much camaraderie.
The second of our two local pubs, the Akeman (formerly the Crooked Billet), the one we don’t often visit, has a vegetable garden. Planning permission was granted several years ago, but COVID came along and delayed the opening of the vegetable patch. This year all changed, and the garden was planted with veg, while plastic poly tunnels were erected to grow heritage tomatoes. The intention is to supply fresh vegetables to several of the Oakman inns. We went with neighbours to an open day with the gardeners and management on hand to explain their vision. It looked impressive, but would it be able to supply much veg? Who knows? Let us see what happens next year.
Of course, it would have been rude not to have had a glass of beer in the bar.
On the 31st of October a strong wind blew through Aylesbury Vale. It was an exceptionally strong one which drew my immediate attention to the outside world. The poplar trees in the garden were being whipped around by the gusts. Luckily they did not succumb to the wind, but they did blow around, losing leaves and a few small dead branches. We lost a few larger branches from our willow trees. The large willows near the field pond were flattened even more. They were already going over, being supported by their neighbours and the hedge. Outside our home the A41 was covered by the last of the autumnal leaves.
I walked out to investigate the road block down the road, but soon stopped. There was this weird hissing sound, and then the smell of gas. A tree in Kingswood had lost a branch and broken a link pipe between two bulk Calor gas cylinders supplying the local eatery. The sound of the escaping gas could be heard throughout the village.
We were worried the gas could ignite and cause a serious problem, so called 999 to asked for the fire brigade. But it took so long that we hung up and tried again. Finally, we were put through to the fire brigade which answered immediately. They said they would come out. In the meantime a neighbour had sorted out the gas and was able to turn off the taps. Called the fire brigade again. They were already en route but said they would still come so they could check as a precautionary measure. They took some time to arrive from Aylesbury, because they had to negotiate several blockages on the A41 due to fallen trees.
On Sunday 18th July, just before I left for my Sunday Clay Shoot, a hot air balloon hove into sight from the North. The wind was extremely light, and it was drifting very slowly towards us. At one time I thought the dirigible would land in our field. Then the zephyrs shifted and blew her towards the East. It spent an inordinate time tracing the hedge between two fields, edging closers and closer to a row of houses on the main road. She did land at the edge of the field. The pilot kept the canopy inflated, waiting for the recovery vehicle. Without help, the canopy could have been damaged by falling over the nearby house and fence. I suspect the house & fence could also have been damaged, but luckily no harm.
On the 7th of July, R and I went for a nearby walk at the BBOWT Rushbeds Wood. Rather muddy underfoot on some of the paths, so we forgo our normal route. The flower meadows were spectacular with the colour and insects. We met a couple of other people in the woods and fields. So quiet, except for the occasional London to Birmingham train.
There has been quite a bit of tree felling in the woods, the Ash trees are dying. There is replanting going on, which requires barriers against the deer. who appear partial to young trees.
Over in the field pond, I caught several songbirds on camera while trying to capture foxes, badgers and Moorhens. Here is a Thrush, Blackbird, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Moorhen and Pigeon. The last shots are birds drinking from the pond. I do have a small video of the Moorhen and chicks coming soon.