Another breezy day, with some sign of sun, but with a cool temperature. It seems the Blue Tits have been replaced by House Sparrows, but it is difficult to tell at the moment if they have hatched. On the other side of the house more Starlings are getting louder by the day as the adults bring food continually.
The week has just not allowed me to get out, and when it was dry, the wind has been so strong there was no point. I finally decided to take the plunge in the afternoon, and headed off to wander into Old Down. As I came around Lymington Rise there were quite a few House Martins flying around the trees, a tactic they seem to employ in high winds.
Along Brislands I could hear the calls of young Blue Tits, but with the leaves now it has become very difficult to locate them. I watched the adults fly in, but just could not find the youngsters. I walked along Brislands towards Old Down, the Rhododendrons are not in full bloom. They are about six weeks later than last year. Against the blue sky and the white of the passing clouds it reminded me of the Indian adventure that now seems such a long time ago.
Where the footpaths join the lane I could hear a Robin calling. It was very dark but as I walked along the path I was able to see an adult feeding a juvenile. I just managed to get this very dark grainy shot of the juvenile before it flew off after the adult.
Just before the entrance to the wood I could hear young woodpeckers calling. I stopped and searched the trees, and finally found the hole in one of last years "Four Trees". Again I waited and waited but the adult didn't turn up, so once again I decided on a picture of the nest hole, and left them to get on with raising the youngsters in peace.
The wood was full of bird song and calls. Blackcap by the entrance, Blue Tits along the path, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker by the big Oaks. I didn't see one, and this was to become the pattern for the walk, the canopy is now closed over, and the trees full of leaves making it very difficult to locate anything, and the reliance is on sound. There were a few butterflies about though, this Green veined White giving the chance to see the upper wing.
Last Saturday there were still some remnants of Bluebells around, this weekend they are gone, and the floor of the wood now looks like a scene from a tornado strike, everything blown to the ground and flattened. It is is extremely dark on the floor and there is now nothing flowering.
I walked around the perimeter, coming out towards the west end in the hope there might be some insects. Along with the white butterflies there was a couple of Peacocks, but the wind was much too blustery.
I walked around the perimeter towards the Old Down Cottage entrance, and checked the field for any sign of the Roe Deer and Kid. I couldn't find any deer, but as I scrambled through the undergrowth to get to the fence I came across this lovely bracket fungus on a dead trunk of an Oak tree.
Finding this in the books was difficult, but I think it is an Oak Bracket, this was quite large, and fleshy which fits the description, and apparently they start cream in colour and progress to yellow as they age. It looked quite new, I will keep an eye on it to see how it develops.
With no sign of any deer, I walked around to the Buzzard's nest, here too there was no activity, and I have to surmise that the nest has failed, probably as a result of the Raven activity. I left the nest, and walked through the centre looking for deer and any sign of owls. Neither was found, and I stopped to just listen and watch on the main path that leads through to the Kitwood entrance.
Out of the corner of my eye I noticed something at the top of an Oak tree. I was hoping for a Hairstreak, but it turned out to be a Red Admiral.
The wait did not deliver anything new so I walked around the edge of the wood to the Gradwell entrance. Again there was plenty of bird calls, I could hear Long-tailed and Coal Tits, but I couldn't find them. I was able to watch a pair of Chiffchaffs near the entrance, but hey would not stay still, despite giving some lovely views.
I walked out of the wood and made my way along Gradwell, and then Brislands. Surprisingly this Large White Butterfly stayed very still on a buttercup in the face of a strong breeze.
As I walked home I rued the strong wind, it had completely foiled my plans for the week, and I hope this quieten down this week, as I would like to get out with the bat detector in some of farmland around the patch.