Monday, 30 April 2012

29th April - And the Rain, Rain, Rain, Came Down, Down, Down,

In rushing, rising, riv'lets.....

Since we came back from our walk on Friday evening, until the early afternoon of today it has not stopped raining. I can't remember rain like this for some time, I know we need it but I just wish it didn't have to come all in one month.  As the rain eased, and there were signs of the sun breaking through, I got itchy feet and wanted to go out for a walk.  It seemed others were feeling the same, and as I left a Buzzard flew low over the house, this was the first of many I saw on my short walk.  It would seem that the birds of prey were hungry, and that the rain had stopped them hunting.  Overall on the walk I saw at least two Sparrowhawks, three Kestrels, and six buzzards, all actively hunting or displaying.  The crows weren't too happy about this, and would do their best to annoy them, as this Crow did along Brislands.

Brislands Lane regularly floods at the junction with Lymington Bottom, but this afternoon, there was a considerable amount of water there.

The paddock opposite the recreation ground was sodden, and was full of Blackbirds, Thrushes and Starlings.  I took a picture of them, and then noticed something that was not a thrush.

In amongst the Blackbirds was a Green Woodpecker.  You will often see them on the ground, normally feeding on ants, but in this case with the ground so water logged I don't think there would have been many ants around, it must have been looking for the same food as the Blackbirds.

As I scanned the paddock I then noticed that there was in fact a pair feeding.  I have heard them calling all year, but this has been the first chance to get a photo.

As I left the woodpeckers, alarm calls went off, and Jackdaws were suddenly calling, as I looked around a male Sparrowhawk went through, upsetting all the feeding birds in the paddock.  It's attempt was unsuccessful, mostly due to the attention of the Jackdaws.  I took the Gradwell path into the wood, and around the horse stables a couple of Swallows swooped over the paddock, and were joined by a single House Martin.  The rabbits were all out feeding, taking the opportunity of the break in the rain, although some did look very wet.  They were totally unconcerned about the horses, even when the hooves came close.

The sun would come and go, and the clouds were building up once again, looking very menacing when the sun was out, but at the same time producing more dramatic skies.

The wood was also very wet, and this along with the strong winds must have been the contributing factor to the sight that greeted me as I came down the footpath towards the crossroads.  A Silver Birch had fallen across the footpath, this must have happened recently.  The tree had come out of the ground, and the soil around the roots was very wet, while at the bottom very dry.  This must have caused a very unstable base, and with the leaves coming out the wind just caught it and down it went.  This confirms the statements from the water companies about the water not getting into the ground, as the soil about 15 to 20 centimetres down was very dry.  The path was completely blocked, so it will have to be cut up, not sure who does that, I will have to wait and see.

I managed to get around the tree, and walked towards the West End.  More alarm calls alerted me to another Sparrowhawk that swept through the trees low and up into a larch.  As I tried to get closer, a dog started barking at me and it flew off, again starting more alarm calls.

The wind was quite strong now, and the trees were moving around and creating unsettling noises.  I stopped to look across the fields, and saw a Buzzard enjoying the uplift from the wood.  It soared and dived for some time in the wind, with the sun occasionally catching it and contrasting it against the dark sky.

The sun would also pick out the lush green fields looking to the south, and with the dark clouds producing once again another perspective on this lovely view.

The path was very muddy, and I made my way to the West End, and scanned across the fields, there was a significant movement of Swallows from the south west, I counted at least 15 in about 5 minutes.  I hoped for a Swift, but was unlucky.  Buzzards could be seen soaring in the distance over the trees, and a first summer Herring Gull flew through heading north.  In the distance I could see rain, so I decided to start making my way back, but not before capturing another lovely view of the trees with newly emerging leaves against the sunlit rape field.

The walk around the perimeter was difficult due to the mud, but in taking it slowly, it provided the chance to smell the wild garlic.  Plenty of flowers are now out, and they look lovely and fresh against the lush green foliage.

As I came out on to the main path leading to Brislands, looking back I saw another tree down across the path.  It would appear this one has come down because the base of the trunk was mostly rotten, Mother Nature's way of removing the old trees to give the new trees their chance.

As I walked out towards Brislands I noticed a Brown Rat on the path, as it trotted down the path avoiding the water all I could think of was rats leaving a drowning ship!

It had now started raining again, and I walked briskly along Brislands, the sun hadn't given up though, and provided a very nice rainbow over Gradwell Lane, I think I know where the end of the rainbow is falling!

Back at the horse paddock there were now even more birds feeding, Mistle Thrushes had joined the Blackbirds and Starlings, and were the first to leave very noisily as what I think was the same male Sparrowhawk from earlier came swooping across the field.  It was too quick for my camera, and it emptied the field completely.  It was clearly determined to hunt because as I walked along Lymington Bottom past the church it came low along the road, and then headed off low over the hedges to chase a Collared Dove.  The Dove saw it coming and managed to get away.

Only a short walk today, as the rain was now coming down quite heavily again.  The small window though had provided some interesting events and wonderful scenery once again

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