Tuesday, 16 October 2012

14th October - Yellow Eyes! Don't be Afraid

Another glorious blue sky today, but with it came the first real frost of the autumn, the cars were covered in the white frost, and they took some clearing early in the morning.  My father was staying with us so around mid morning I took him for a leisurely walk along the road past Plain Farm.  Over the last few weeks I have visited here during the evening, so it I felt it was time I had a look during the morning.

Once again coming around Lymington Rise the ivy was attracting the butterflies, there was not the numbers of yesterday, but there was still a few Red Admirals, and pleasingly a Small Tortoiseshell.

We strolled up the road past the farm, with House Sparrows calling and flying from the grain houses.  There was also a couple of Pied Wagtails calling from the roofs of the barns. 

As we came into the open of the fields Jays could be seen flying across the field from the trees.  I counted at least six different birds in the area.  Meadow Pipits would call as they flew over, and a Skylark could be heard singing, but out of sight in the big field to the left of the road.

Once again the wires over the hedge were popular, there were Linnets, with Chaffinches and Goldfinches.  As usual, as I tried to photograph them all they flew off, and left just these two chaffinches sitting there.

A little further on a Kestrel came over the hedge by the side of the road and glided over the field.  It paused to hover over the field on a couple of occasions, but as I went to photograph it decided to fly off, I later saw it was being chased by a Magpie.  Another nice silhouette shot of a falcon.

We carried on up the road, a Comma butterfly was sunning on the hedge, and blue tits called from inside the hedge.  Suddenly the contact calls changed to alarm calls and I managed to pick up a large raptor coming over the fence.  This time I decided to go with the camera, and see what I could get, it was definitely a hawk, and a big one at that.  Fortunately it came close, and the light was just right.  When I got home and looked at the images on the computer I focused on the underwing, and belly.  The barring on the belly in this picture looks very fine and in the light appears very white, while the baring on the wing seems to fade out towards the secondaries.

This would point to a possible Goshawk, but when I looked at the next image the barring is more complete on the wings, and I feel this is a female Sparrowhawk, albeit a large one.  I love the piercing look of the yellow eyes.

Excitement over, we turned back and made our way down the road.  As well as the tits, a Chiffchaff showed itself at the top of the hedge, and two blackbirds scolded from the other side of the trees.

The jays continued to fly across the fields, busily carrying the acorns to some hideaway.

A Pied Wagtail provided another identification puzzle at the barns, this one was calling and feeding on the roof top.  it is a very pale individual, but from the head markings I believe it is a juvenile Pied Wagtail.

As we pulled on to the drive at home, I noticed a Buzzard soaring above the house, and as I said yesterday I never tire of watching them.

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