I set off for a quick walk in the evening, it had been a lovely day, and the sun was still shining as I walked down Brislands. I popped into the field again to see if there were any finches on the seed heads. There wasn't but at the back by the trees there were about 30 House Martins flying around, obviously feeding.
The wind had picked up considerably, and the house martins would fly close to the trees to exploit the shelter to feed.
Jays were still busy by the cemetery, and a male Blackcap was eating blackberries in the hedges by the junction with Gradwell Lane. As usual there were plenty of long-tailed Tits calling in the trees joined as well by goldcrests. I walked along Brislands towards Old Down Wood. In the filed to the north I noticed some brown "bumps", as i got closer I could see they were Red-legged Partridges, this time four. As I got closer they started to run away over the hill. They never fly unless they have to, probably concerned at this time of year they may be shot!
Both fields were once again covered with low flying swallows and house martins, the majority though were in the corner of the field on the north and east side of the wood. Again they seemed to be exploiting the shelter the trees provided from the wind. I walked around the outside on the eastern side, and scanned the swallows for either a sand martin of something else. There were mainly swallows with a few house martins and unfortunately nothing else.
I noticed on the edge of the wood a Roe Deer, it was a young male, and was standing looking at me. Whether it could see me I don't know, it probably could hear me but the trees were providing cover. This allowed me to get quite close.
As I watched this individual I noticed there was another to it's left. This was another young male. The Roe Deer rut takes place in the late summer, and is not as dramatic as the Fallow and Red Deer ruts, these two males seemed quite happy to hang out together.
Finally I got a little too close and they ran off and into the wood. I continued around the outside for a little further, then turned into the wood and along the perimeter footpath to the Gradwell footpath entrance. As I came out of the wood I was met with many more Swallows and House Martins, once again they seemed to be everywhere flying low over the field, and then swooping up and around. As I walked out along the footpath they were zipping past me.
The light was now very poor, I needed to increase the ISO up to 1600 and more, and the result of this was very grainy and blurred pictures. I do though like this one, the grain and blurring giving the impression of speed as they flew over the field.
It was almost sunset, and the sky over the wood looked very dramatic. As I looked to the west over the wood you could still see the swallows and house martins flying around.
Cloud had built up with the wind to the west, and the sun had almost set now, and was peaking out from under the cloud, turning the sky a brilliant orange to the west. The trees look like they are on fire, but the swallows can still be seen flying around.
I decided to head back, but as I did there was a series of calls from the swallows and all of a sudden they flew up from their low level hunting, and gathered together in a large flock higher in the sky.
Almost as soon as they had come together high up they spread out again and dropped to the field. I can't understand the purpose of this other than maybe they had a meeting to decide whether they should keep feeding.
Over to the east the clouds on the horizon had bellowed up, and were being lit up by the light from the setting sun. Very gradually the colours in the clouds changed, developing into some wonderful oranges, mauves and purple. It was a spectacular sunset, something that has become expected here in the October.
As I watched the clouds I sensed something close by, and I turned to find the two male Roe Deer looking at me again from the field. Roe Deer are typically crepuscular feeders, which means they feed at dusk or dawn, which is when they are typically seen. These two must have followed me through the wood and were now watching me in the gloom.
Turning my attention back to the distant clouds, I watched a kestrel make its way across the field, stopping every so often to hover and look. Spectacular stuff against the evening sky, another raptor silhouette.
By now it was very gloomy, but the swallows were still flying around like bats. I would love to know where they go to roost. The rooks and crows though were also making there way to roost. I watched them fly across the field heading in the direction of Chawton Wood.
That was that, the sun had set, and it was getting dark. I walked home once again amazed at how mother nature can conjure up so much beauty around the village.