Today was another glorious day with the temperature into the twenties; there were though wispy clouds around. I decided to make the most of the weather and made my way down to Plain Farm. There was a sign at the cattle grid stating that there was a bull in the field, so I made sure I was alert as I walked up the hill from the cattle grid.
I checked out the barn, but there was no sign of any owls being present, hopeful thinking maybe. Leaving the barn I walked along the footpath to check the bushes and grass. A Mistle Thrush called from the top of a horse chestnut tree, and chaffinches and robins sang from the garden. Coming back a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly was sunning itself in the longer grass.
A Blackcap sang from the bushes by the small pond, and as I got a little closer I could see quite a bit of activity at the edge of the water. I could see a female Blackcap, and a pair of Chaffinches, but they stayed in the bush. A Blue Tit was a little more adventurous and came down for a wash, but was scared out of the way by this Coal Tit that was very brazen about having a really good bathe; it didn’t seem concerned about anything.
As I walked around towards the quarry a male pheasant made its way sedately across the field, for once there were no females around, so maybe he had some that were sitting on eggs.
As I walked down the path at the quarry an Orange-tip flew past me, so far this year they have evaded my attempts at getting a good picture, and whilst this one did pause on a dandelion, it still is not what I want.
Behind the butterfly was a small group of Cowslips, always very nice to see, and not that common around here, despite the chalk. There isn’t any areas that they are normally associated with like open grassland.
The quarry itself was very quiet with only a single Chiffchaff singing. I left it calling out, and headed down the path towards the farm. The odd Swallow would sing out as they flew across the path by the grain dryers, and House Sparrows and Chaffinches were calling from the bushes. As I came up the road towards the workshops, I could see plenty of Swallows, and probably House martins around the cow sheds, and some were also on the ground in the mud. As I got closer I was able to identify about six House Martins amongst a flock of approximately twenty Swallows. I waited to see if they would return to the ground, but began to attract the attention of a rather large bull, that seemed to think I was interested in his cows, so I decided to move on.
Walking along the lane, the sound of House Sparrows was everywhere, they is a very large flock here, and they seem to be doing very well. I walked by the hedge but could not find any more butterflies. Turning into the field, I noticed a lapwing quite close to the edge of the field. It is not usual to get close to them as they are very flighty. This one watched me cautiously.
Then did what they normally do, flew off!
I walked along the lane to the cottages listening to the songs of Linnets, Yellowhammers and Chaffinches. At the waste ground there was once again quite a few House Sparrows, mostly males chirping away amongst the bushes and old machines. Along the footpath I could hear Whitethroat and Blackbird, and at the end a Willow Warbler was singing. I wasn’t sure if there was more than one as the song came from different areas, but I finally managed to find at least one bird.
I walked across the field to Charlwood Lane, and a Chiffchaff sang, or called, (I am never sure whether they do sing?) from the trees by the edge of the field. Along Charlwood lane there was another good show of Dandelions, but also in abundance was the Field Mouse Ear, a small white flower that has petals that look like mouse ears, apparently.
A repetitive call from the trees at the end of the field stopped me, I was sure it was going to be Nuthatch, but there was an element of doubt, which soon disappeared when I saw the Nuthatch on the branches calling.
By the horse paddocks a Yellowhammer was singing from a fence pst, the evening sunshine picking out the yellow breast,
From there I made my way to Lye Way, and back towards the car. Birds sang from the open areas, but as I walked along past Winchester Wood it was quiet. I was thinking how this always seems to be a dead wood for wild life, and that my attempts to find anything here have always ended with nothing, when a Buzzard flew up the road towards me and into the wood.
Back at the car I looked across to the west, and could see that the feint white clouds were becoming more substantial, a sign that a cold front was approaching, and with it probably rain overnight and tomorrow morning. The good sunny weather was not going to last.
As I scanned across the fields to the east I saw a Hare sitting in the sunshine making the most of what was left this evening. I hope it doesn't go away for too long.