Saturday, 15 December 2012

15th December - I'm Up In The Woods

The cold weather has now been replaced with milder conditions, but in order to get this, we did endure some heavy rain on Friday.  With it warmer though the birds seem to have abandoned the garden for now, there was a few Blue Tits around this morning, and a Blackbird devoured an apple but that was about all.

We decided to go out in the morning, and as we stepped out the back door I noticed a large bird over Lymington Bottom, and as it drifted along lazily I realised it was a Red Kite.  By the time I got the camera up it had drifted further away and all I managed to get was another silhouette of a bird of prey.

The sun was extremely weak, but at least it was out, as we walked down Lymington Rise I could hear starlings calling.  Looking up they were at the top of the tree, enjoying the early morning sun, and taking the chance to sing, and preen.

Last weekend the only thrush I had not been able to find was the Mistle Thrush, but as we came along Brislands by the cemetery one flew up on to the branch above us.  They are deceptively large birds, and on many occasions I have seen one and thought it might be a small falcon only to realise it was just a thrush.  This one watched us for a while, then flew off.

The horse field was once again full of Blackbirds,  I counted them today, and was amazed to find that there were 35 feeding on the paddock.  There was also a group of 16 Redwing, and a lone Song Thrush, but no Fieldfare.  The Redwings were more photogenic though.

The light coming across Brislands changes the appearance, the cold weather has not yet killed off the grasses and they still look quite lush along the edge of the verge

Nuthatch were calling from the trees, and this individual seemed to be taking an interest in the old Great Spotted Woodpeckers nest in the ash tree.  During the spring I was able to witness some battles between the two, perhaps they think if they get in early they can claim squatters rights.

We walked into the woods, and then took the main path down towards the paddocks, it was very quiet, but still extremely muddy.  We didn't go all the way to the west end, but paused by the southern perimeter path to look out across the fields.  Nothing much was happening, there was very few corvids, and no gulls at all in the fields.  The weak sunshine though lit up the paddocks and Andrews Lane away in the distance.

There was hardly any bird calls as we made our way around the path, and through the mud.  Every so often a Great Tit would  call, and a Wren would show, but that was about it, it was very much like the garden.  We crossed the main path and continued around the outside.  A few Long-tailed Tits called, and we stopped to wait and see if anything else would go through.  In amongst the Blue and Great Tits I found a pair of Marsh Tits, and after some chasing just managed to get a photo of one high in the trees.

The overnight rain had left drops of water on the tree branches and stumps, and with the low sun, they would sparkle like little gems.  If you got close you could also see the woods refracted in the water droplets, and along with the sunshine they would provide an nice composition.

The trees are now all bare, and looking up against the blue sky some of the silver birch look quite lovely, with the white bark at the bottom stretching to the darker branches against the sky.

One fallen birch bough was covered in a fungus.  This was called Turkey Tail because of the similarity in colour, and the way it fans out like the tail of a turkey, once again the light helped to enhance the scene.

We walked back into the wood, and checked for the owl, that wasn't there.  I took the chance to replace the card in the camera trap.  I had managed to catch a badger but it only showed it's back as it walked past the camera.  A few deer were also on it, but nothing else.  I could hear crossbill calling but was not able to find them.

We walked around the outside of the north path to the east, and came out at the Gradwell footpath.  Once again I took the chance to get a shot of the four trees.

Where the farmer decided to plough the footpath and not replace it, there were now several tracks appearing as people decided on their own paths, serve him right!

As we walked towards Gradwell, I heard chipping calls from above us.  At first I thought they might be Waxwings, but as they flew on I realised they were more crossbills heading for Old Down.

Along Brislands in the hedge there was a nuthatch calling.  When we looked closer we found that there wasn't just one but three in the hedge.  They continued to call loudly at each other until one flew off.  The other two kept their distance from each other, while still calling out.  This one would call while holding its head high, as if to show off the orange belly.

On the wall of the cottages at the bottom of Brislands are some pyracantha trees.  They are covered with berries which is a rare sight this winter.  They stand out very brightly so I will continue to keep an eye on them, who knows what will be interested in them.

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