Saturday, 22 September 2012

21st September - Hear Him Pickin' Out a Melody

It had been overcast all day and the forecast was for evening rain, so when the sun started to shine in the afternoon I decided to pop out to make the most of it.  I decided on the usual walk, and as I came around Lymington Rise a Green Woodpecker came up from the lawns.

I don't normally bother with the squirrels, but I was fascinated watching this one make itself across the road on the power line, and then down the pole.  It watched me all the way, stopping and starting as it gradually made its way into the cemetery.  The agility and speed with which it did this was amazing.



A little further on I also found two swallows sitting on the power lines, they were busy preening, one looked quite dirty, I am not sure how it would get so dirty, as they do not spend time on the ground.





As I watched the swallows I noticed a Sparrowhawk being mobbed by House Martins.  The Sparrowhawk gave as good as it got, but decided enough was enough and flew of to the south.


I am sure these are resident birds from the horse paddock in Gradwell Lane, but as I made my way along Brislands I could see many swallows and house martins flying low across the fields.  There must have been over a hundred of them flying back and forth low over the field, and then they would split off, and make their way over Old Down to the south.  It was getting late so I am not sure where they intended to roost, or whether they would keep going, I suppose it would depend on the weather.

I walked around Old Down on the outside, and looking out across towards Ropley, the sky was full of gulls.  This maybe a result of the slurry being spread on the fields now, but for the second walk running I don't think I have seen so many.


A familiar knocking alerted me to a young male Great Spotted Woodpecker in one of the oak trees, it was really hammering away at a dead branch, and had chiseled a good sized hole.



The sky was beginning to look quite threatening now, and I decided I should change my plans on where i should walk.  Looking to the west the sun was getting lower in the sky, and the darker clouds were producing quite a dramatic scene.


I turned back into the wood, and followed the main path through to the south side.  A further sign of autumn was the the golden leaves on the beech tree in the middle of the wood.  Only a patch of leaves were changing, the rest staying green and contrasting the orange and yellows.



I came out of the wood and walked towards Kitwood.  The pond was quiet except for the Moorhen family feeding in the corner.  The fallen tree has now been cleared and you can walk around the pond again, but the jetty is still broken.

Crane flies and midges were everywhere, there was no wind, and you would find patches of these insects just under the tree branches.


I walked along Lymington Bottom, and was again alerted to a woodpecker.  This time it was the "Chick" call, and another Great Spotted Woodpecker.  It took a while to find it as it was right at the top of a pine tree.  It sat there calling, I never understand why they go so high on thin branches, maybe it has something to do with territory.


As I reached Lymington Rise I found yet another Great Spot, once again at the top of a pine.  This one didn't stay and flew off quickly.  By now it was very dark, and there was rain on the way.  The weather though looks good to produce maybe some migrants tomorrow, so fingers crossed the may be something about.

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