Monday, 15 October 2012

12th October - That'll be a Jay!

It was a sunny day following the rain of yesterday, and the Red Admirals were back, and could be seen sunning themselves on the south facing bushes and leaves.  A big surprise in the morning was a Jay that came to the feeders in the garden.  This is the first time I have seen one actually in the garden, and is maybe another sign of the increased numbers about at the moment.

There were some sharp showers around during the afternoon, but towards the evening they eased off, and I was able to get out for a walk.  I walked up Brislands with the intention of walking to Old Down, and then following the edge of the wood in the sunshine.  As I came to the cemetery, I noticed a Jay fly across the field and then up into the oak tree.  I have remarked before about the increased sightings of Jays this autumn, and if you ever wondered what they were up to as they flew across the road and up into trees, I can now provide an insight.

First they find an acorn in the oak tree.

Then they hold it on the branch.

Then they chisel off the cup

Hold the acorn up...

and swallow it

But it seems they don't swallow it, from this view it looks like they hold it in the crop, possibly to take it somewhere to hide or bury.

In the fields beyond the Watercress Line there were tractors ploughing the field.  While they were doing so they were followed by Gulls and Corvids.

Looking down the fields out to the west, the view looked stunning in the wonderful light of the setting sun, the shoots where the seeds have sprouted in the ridges of the field being lit up and looking a vivid lime green colour.

There were some gunshots to the north from the field beyond the railway line, and this disturbed the gulls and corvids, they flew up into the air and formed a huge flock.  As they settled the flock appeared to divide, and eventually the gulls moved off to the west in large groups streaming across the sky, and the corvids headed to the east.  I am assuming the gulls were off to roost on Alresford Pond, as it was now getting late, I thought the corvids may be off to roost too, but they then started to drift everywhere, probably not ready for bed just yet.

I carried on around the outside of the wood.  I paused for a while to watch a small group of Swallows coming across the field, they would make several passes, but didn't stay and continued off to the south.  Scanning across the field, I picked up a Sparrowhawk skimming the hedge along the footpath that goes down the hill in the direction of North Street.  It flew along the top of the hedge, and then up into the large oak tree.  Hopeful I may be able to find it perched and walked around the field and down the path.  When I got close to the tree, it was clear it must have carried on as there was no sign.  A Buzzard annoyed the sheep in the filed beyond the hedge, and as I made my way back to the wood, another small party of Swallows flew over, and a group of six Pied Wagtails.

The small Poppies are still hanging on along the edge of the field, and this one caught my eye as the sunlight caught the small and delicate petals making them translucent.

I scanned the paddocks, and then just stood for awhile watching the sun sinking away to the west.  As the sun went down, the air became much cooler, another reminder that the colder darker days of winter were approaching.  The sinking sun also produced a lovely effect on the distant trees and woods.

Looking at the sky I felt that when the sun finally did set it would produced quite an impressive sunset, so rather than get stuck here, I decided to walk quickly back through the wood while there was some light, and view from the footpath at Brislands. 

The trail through the wood was very dark, I was glad I had decided to go when I did.  It was made even more difficult by the wet and muddy pools.  I decided to come out of the wood before reaching the footpath, and I was glad I did, as I came across this young male Roe Deer standing in the field.  The sun was still out, and was putting a lovely glow around the deer, and also highlighted the insects that were still about and flying around the field.

I watched the deer for a while, conceding the fact that the sun was going to beat my efforts to get to the footpath.  Cloud had now built up, and it was going to prevent the colourful sunset  I thought we were going to get.  Away to the north, small groups of Jackdaws were making their way off to the south, and I managed to capture this group as they passed in front of the only piece of colourful sky.

I made my way back to the footpath, and down Brislands to home.  The sun though had one final effort left, and suddenly over towards Kitwood the clouds were once again lit up in a beautiful orangey red colour.

The cloud that had prevented the sunset was then gone, the sun well away to the west.  It suddenly felt very cold, but was a good sign for a perhaps a nice day to come tomorrow.

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