It was an overcast start to the day, and very drizzly rain set in from around mid morning. From my office window I could see this Collared Dove trying to keep out of the rain in the Rowan tree.
By the end of the morning the rain had eased, and the skies cleared, but as a result a quite substantial breeze picked up. By the late afternoon it was sunny but cool so I decided to set off for an evening walk. I headed up Brislands, and decided to check out the open ground now reserved for the housing estate. The thistles seem to have spread further, and the field was covered in seed heads. Surprisingly there were very few Goldfinches. I was only able to find one adult and this juvenile.
I headed down Brislands, and then along Gradwell and then took the footpath to Old Down Wood. the field has finally been cleared of the bales, but it was still a haven for pigeons and rooks. As I walked along the path the Wood Pigeons would scatter from their feeding amongst the stubble. The Wood Pigeons were made up of youngsters and adults, the younger birds being identifiable by the lack of a white neck patch. The bird in the foreground here is a young one, although it is not easy to see the lack of white on the neck
I walked around the east perimeter, hoping that where the wood is more open there might be some activity. I came across a group of Long-tailed Tits, which were also joined by some Blue and Great Tits. They called loudly from the oak trees but never stayed long enough in one place for a photograph.
I decided to walk around the wood from the outside, as this was in the sunshine, however it did not reveal anything of interest. When I reached the entrance at Brislands, I decided to take the footpath down to the A31, however where the field has been ploughed the path was gone. I looked for the original footpath sign in order to get some bearings, but found that this had been allowed to be overgrown, completely blocking the entrance to the path.
There has been a lot of controversy around this area with private signs going up, and locals being prevented from walking where for years they have been able to. I understand that this land is farmland, but I have never seen any abuse, and it is not used for livestock. The footpath is recognised on maps, and there is no reason why it should be removed. I walked a little way across the field where I considered the path to be, took this view across the watercress line, and then came back and walked down Brislands towards home. I am sure those that video and photograph the trains from this field will very soon restore the footpath no matter what the farmer thinks.
On a TV aerial close to home I found a group of Starlings. They were obviously auditioning for a murmaration, as they would settle, then fly off around the houses only to settle again on the aeriel. They look like young birds and are sporting their winter spotted plumage. I wonder where these will end up this winter.
A short walk, but a pleasant way to end the week.