Saturday, 7 July 2012

7th July - And What Did You See My Blue-eyed Son?

There seems no let up to the continual rain, as I write this another passage of heavy rain is pouring down outside.  During the week I was in Munich, and the weather there was hot and humid, and it is that warm moist air that has been a contributor to the torrential down pours we have been experiencing, the warm humid air hitting the cooler jet stream over the channel and delivering misery on so many people.  Fortunately we are not vulnerable to flooding, all we have to moan about is the depressing site of more and more rain.

There was a small window of opportunity this morning, so I drove down to Plain Farm and set off up the lane past the farm buildings.  Swallows were flying around the barns calling to each other, and from the tail feathers it would appear these were recently fledged youngsters calling to the parents.  In the field on the south side of the lane I found a pair of Hares.  They were sitting quite happily until one decided to get a bit closer, and its companion took offence and charged at it and chased it off.  I can only assume the chaser was a female, as they are the ones most likely to get annoyed at too close contact.

The rain started again as I walked past the open barn.  On the power lines Linnets sang despite the weather, and Blackbirds came up from the adjacent field to perch on the wires.  I noticed a Kestrel hunting a little further down the lane, and it was also joined by another, clearly the rain doesn't stop them hunting.  I decided against walking by the hedge, as the grass was very wet, and I doubted that in the this weather there would be many insects.  As I reached the bottom of the lane one of the kestrels flew past me and then perched up on to the pole.  It sat there looking across the field, probably thinking the same as we all have these last few days, when will it end!

Coming off the tarmac road I set off along the footpath, I had walked this way last Saturday, but the conditions today were a lot different with standing water almost everywhere.  The ground wasn't saturated, its just that the clay soil prevents the water from soaking through, so when the rain is heavy it just sits on the top of the soil.  This is one of the reasons why the aquifers are not filling, the water evaporating before it gets the chance to soak in.

I walked to the end of the footpath today, deciding not to cut across the field.  I took the time to shelter from the heavier rain, and scan the filed edges, but nothing was moving or showing.  I then walked down Charlwood Lane towards Lye way.  All alongside the verge were lovely blue flowers, checking these out at home, I found out that they are Meadow Crane's Bill, a member of the Geranium family.  They are apparently quite common on chalky grassland.  I didn't see them last week so they must have emerged in the week.

Despite the now persistent rain there was bird song around me.  In the trees both Blackcap and Chiffchaff sang, along with the Blackbird and Dunnock, while above in the sky the jingling song of the Swallow could be heard.  But the most dominant song was that of the Yellowhammer, once again they seemed to be on the top of every pole, on every wire, and almost every tall tree.  This one was really putting his heart and soul into the song throwing his head back while perched on the top of a dead branch in an oak tree.

As I headed towards Hawthorn Road the rain became very heavy again, fortunately the road is covered by the Beech Trees in Winchester wood.  Some of these trees are massive with extremely large trunks, these trunks have been turned almost black by the rain running down them, and it made quite an impressive sight as you looked into the wood from the roadside.

As I stood looking into the wood, I noticed a Buzzard flying quietly through the trees, as it made its way gliding around the trees you could hear the alarm calls every so often of the song birds.  As I came down the hill towards the Rotherfield estate, I looked across the fields towards the Mountains Plantation.  Quite a large part of this field has been left to grow, and there are feeders along the edge, This is another area that will need to be watched in the autumn and winter, as I am confident this will be the year something turns up!

I looked to the south across the fields, and the tree that has featured in a few of my photos of the area, stood out between the cultivated cereal field and the grassland of the estate, fortunately you can't see the road from hear so it made a very nice scene.

I took the lane up towards the Rotherfield House, this is marked as a footpath, and it then veers off to the right through grassy fields, however I decided to turn back this time, as the fields looked very wet and again I didn't think there would be any butterflies to look for.  As I walked back down the lane I noticed a huge mushroom under an Oak tree.  The Cap was almost a foot across, but was a little tatty, due to age, and probably being the subject of food for some animals.  I thought it might be a Horse mushroom, but on reading up I found that there caps only get to 15 cm diameter, and this was much bigger which means it may be a Macro Mushroom, which grow caps up to 30 cms, which is more like a foot!

I walked back along the road.  Young buzzards called from the woods, and an adult glided over the tree tops, and out over my head.  It was raining quite hard now so Decided to call it a day and head home, hoping that maybe the weather tomorrow may be a little kinder, but not holding my breath!

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