Sitting in the garden on a warm summer's evening with just a gentle breeze rustling the trees is both a relaxing and rewarding experience.

Under a cloudless blue sky six swifts wheel and turn, sometimes flying straight at incredible speed ( up to 70mph has been recorded), their sickle wings scything through the air, then braking, with quivering wings, occasionally uttering their piercing cries. The six birds are nesting nearby compared with dozens twenty years ago because since then their population has declined by nearly sixty percent. Very sad.

Gradually the breeze eases as the light begins to fade. A deep buzzing, sounding like a huge bumblebee announces the arrival of a male stag beetle (pictured), zig-zagging around the garden. Unlike the aerobatic swifts above his flight is bumbling, laboured, his body almost too heavy for his smallish wings. He has probably scented a female wafting pheromones into the dusk somewhere nearby. But before long he crashes into the house wall and falls to earth lying on his back, legs flailing uselessly above so I pick him up and place him in the safety of the shrubbery.

Suddenly another male beetle zooms in  so maybe they are arranging a stag party!

As the light fades, two pipistrelle bats flicker around the tree tops hunting for flies. My local blackbird finally stops singing and at nine-thirty the swifts drift heavenwards, their cries becoming fainter and fainter as they ascend to sleep on the wing .

Then unusually for this time of year a fox begins barking loudly nearby and continues for half an hour.