October is an indifferent month here, usually something of nothing as the trees stay green, but this year due to the dry weather it would seem they are starting to change earlier this year. Maybe It could bring some surprises
Conditions were overcast with some rain as I set off for Plain Farm, and as a result I decided to drive around Lye Way. I stopped at the fences, alerted by a lot of gulls flying around, as I got out of the car there were a lot of Black-headed and Common Gulls in the field. As I reached for the camera and binoculars the gulls all took to the air, and out on the field a pair of male pheasants were scurrying away towards the hedges.
I looked out towards the pylons and saw what at first I almost dismissed as a Woodpigeon, but there was something about the rapid wing beats that it was maybe something else. It flew up to the pylon, and then I knew that it was a Peregrine Falcon. It perched up at the top of the pylon, and scanned across the field, while behind it the gulls circled around.
Both sides were under scrutiny.
Then it dropped off the perch and flew back away from me
It flew to the next pylon.
Settling again at the top.
October has been the month to see Peregrine here regularly over the last few years, it can be no coincidence that this is also the time when the large flocks of Woodpigeon start to congregate.
The gulls regrouped, but decided to leave the field and crossed the road the field on the other side.
I left and made my way to the farm where I parked at the cattle grid and then walked up the hill. As I passed the Yew tree I could hear Goldcrests and Coal Tits, but despite waiting they never showed preferring to stay in the cover of the dense yew trees.
Further up the path I could see a Kestrel using the wires across the field as a perch to search for prey.
Two falcons could this be a good raptor day.
I stopped at the pond but there was only a couple of Chaffinches present. From there I walked down the main path towards the Beech avenue. I could hear Mistle Thrush calling, and managed to locate them at the top of the birch trees.
As I walked along the avenue several Chiffchaff called but again I couldn't find them. In the Autumn the numbers of Chiffchaff increase as migrant bird swell the local birds. In complete contrast we never see Blackcap or Whitethroat coming through, the resident birds disappearing in August.
As if to confirm my thoughts about why the Peregrine was seen today a large flockl of Woodpigeon burst out of the Beech trees.
Another bird with increased numbers was the Blackbird, they seemed to be everywhere, but despite some close inspection I couldn't manage to turn any of them into Ring Ouzels. This female sat in the middle of the hedge clucking away.
By the barns the House Sparrows were chirping away, some from the middle of th hedge while others like this male were happy to show themselves.
As I walked up the hill I noticed that another barn was being constructed, that will be good news for the Pied Wagtails, more roof space to run around on.
The Bull and his friend were enjoying some fresh hay as I passed, the way the hay fell from its mouth reminded me of a beard, the Bull of ZZ Top.
At the cottages I walked around the bushes, again there were plenty of Blackbirds and several agitated Wrens in the Ivy.
Overhead were several Skylarks, despite the fact that they were calling they seemed to be resident birds and not migrants moving through.
The wires here run just over the hedges, and the birds come from the hedge to the wires. There were Linnets and Yellowhammers plus a few House Sparrows, then on its on I noticed a slightly larger and sandier bird. It was a Reed Bunting. Having seen several in the New Forest last week I did wonder if I could find one here today, so was pleased to see it sitting there on the wire, the first of the year.
Past the cottages along the footpath there were a lot of Yellowhammers on both sides.
Rather than walk around Charlwood I decided to head back the way I had come, however there was not the birds about that I had hoped for, this Robin being the best opportunity for a photograph.
As I came past the barns and stables a Red Kite drifted past me on the far side of the field.
As it came up over the trees another came out of the tree calling. I can only assume that this was a juvenile pursuing the parent in the hope of food.
Past the drying barns a large flock of Long-tailed Tits were calling in the Poplars. There were several opportunities as they perched out in the open, this was the best of quite a few.
Coming down the hill a Buzzard flew across towards the Mountains Plantation, the fourth raptor of the day, and then a Kestrel low over the field imitating a Merlin!
I walked along the road back to the car, and in the fields the Pheasants were gathering close to the edge of the road. They have been everywhere today, do they not know that it is the season to be shot!
So quite an eventful morning, some great views of Peregrine for once, not just a flash as it passes through, three more raptors and the first Reed Bunting of the year. It would be nice to find one of those Yellow-browed Warblers but there is still time.