As we arrived back last Sunday this has been the first weekend where we have had free time for a long while. Yesterday the weather was damp and quite dreary, but this morning the sun was out and the sky was a lovely blue. Yesterday driving to Basingstoke the trees and road looked dull and dirty with the rain and cloud, this morning it was a bright and fantastic colours, the perfect weather for an autumnal walk. Just as we were about to leave Helen called out for me to see a male Sparrowhawk perched at the top of one of the trees in our garden. There have been up to six Blue Tits at any one time on the feeders, and once again the presence of the small birds has brought in the predator. he was gone though as I tried to get a photograph
We decided to head off in a different direction, walking up the hill towards the footpath that runs between Blackberry Lane and Alton Lane. As we walked a Red Admiral passed over our heads. Walking down the footpath there was very little about, no sight or sound of Redwing and Fieldfare, just the odd warble of song from a Robin.
From the footpath we turned up Alton Lane heading for Telegraph Lane, a Buzzard flew low across the open field, and drew the attention of a Rook, the Rook wasn't really that interested and left the hawk to head towards us.
It came around the fir tree, and as it saw us banked away and then returned back across the field
We walked along the lane with marsh Tits calling above us, and Bullfinches too. Other than that it was still very quiet. rather than walk through Lords Wood we walked up Brightstone lane. In the hedgerow another Red Admiral was sunning on the bracken leaves.
At the cross roads we turned left and headed on past the golf course and then to the right to walk down to Newtown Farm. They have changed the fields around, what was once pasture is now planted with winter wheat.
As we reached the stables a few Meadow Pipits flew up calling and settling on the fence .
Always a good spot for Pied Wagtails a smart looking male was sitting on the barbed fence with the perfect background for a black and white bird.
In fact it was such a good composition I took some more.
We carried on past the barns and the stables and then around past the cottages. Rooks and Jackdaws were covering the fields, and every so often they would fly up in a black cloud. As we turned to walk down towards Lye Way the colours in the trees and bushes alongside the footpath looked splendid, autumn is well and truly here now.
We walked on, taking the bridleway, and then up the hill to Kitwood. The fields here had held maize through the summer and with them now harvested the Rooks, Jackdaws, Woodpigeons and Pheasants were feasting on the fallen corn.
I hoped for some thrushes at the corner with Swellinghill road but there was nothing about. The clouds had rolled in and the wind had picked up making it quite chilly. With nothing much of interest so far we decided to head down past the school, and on towards home. The forecast was fro the first frost tonight, maybe it is not just autumn that is here, but winter is not too far away, what will it be like this year?