On Friday I mentioned how the Blackbirds are all in full song now from some very prominent places, this male was singing well after sunset last night from the aerial next door, he was still going at 10.00pm.
We decided last night that we would get up early, and head off into the wood before the dog walkers arrived. We are determined to see the deer and it's fawn, and this seemed like a good plan. We got up at 5.00, and headed off just as the first rays of sun were coming through the trees and houses. The view down Brislands was quite dark, but as we reached Gradwell, the scene looking back was very nice with the sun picking out the trees beyond the recreation ground.
The birds were in full song, and you could hear Blackbirds, Song Thrush, Robin, and the cooing of the Wood Pigeon. When ever I hear the Wood Pigeon it always reminds me of one of my first scout camps at Longworth in Oxfordshire, the weekend of the first moon landing. This Wood Pigeon was enjoying the warmth of the sun.
The air was still quite cold, and others were taking the chance to warm up as the sun climbed higher in the sky.
As we turned into the wood the bird song seemed to increase. The Blackbird from Friday was still singing in the same tree, and now there were the calls of Great and Blue Tits, and Robins and Chaffinches singing. Every so often a Wren would explode into song, and off at the tops of the trees there was the "check" of the Great Spotted Woodpecker.
The path into the wood now looks splendid with the Cow Parsley coming into flower, it was helped by the low sunshine. Very soon this will become completely over run with nettles. Fortunately you can't make out the ground in any detail in this picture.
At the crossroads we turned east, and immediately found a female Roe Deer, she looked like an adult but was alone. She walked away from us but continued to stop and watch us as we walked by. We turned into the footpath heading towards Kitwood, and again the sun picked out certain parts of the scene creating a nice image.
At the stile we stopped to see if the Firecrest was singing but we couldn't hear it. Instead there was a Wren making sure we knew it was there, and again a lovely view of the stile and footpath lit up by the morning sun.
We walked around the perimeter, and could hear the calls of a Buzzard from the vicinity of the nest, but we were not able to see anything. As we approached the main path a Garden Warbler was singing close to the fence, song song similar to that of a Blackcap, but much faster and more scratchy. I tried to find it but the leaf cover now makes it extremely difficult.
We crossed the main path and continued around the outside, looking across the field around the edge of the wood. The grass here is quite long, and when I picked out a deer, I thought we were going to be lucky. However it turned out to be a Roe Deer Buck, sporting some little antlers.
It was in the right place, and we have seen trails through the long grass close to the fence. This buck made its way around the edge of the wood and out of sight. We walked on, stopping to watch a Marsh Tit high in a birch tree, it was calling constantly. I have seen them here before, and maybe there is a nest close by.
As we came around the bend, Helen indicated for me to stop, and pointed out another deer in the field. Unfortunately once again it was the buck we had seen earlier, and it stood quite still watching us. You can see how tall the grass is here.
The Roe Deer rut starts much earlier than the other deer, and this one has a neat set of antlers. It will be interesting to see if there is any sign of rutting in the wood next month.
We carried on, following the trails through the bluebells, and pausing to wait and see if anything would appear. It didn't and with the sun not catching this side of the wood it was becoming quite cold. We walked as far as the west end, then came back on ourselves and headed back up the main path. At last the sun was getting through, lighting up patches of the grass and bracken by the side of the path.
We carried on, and headed out of the wood through the Gradwell path. We didn't see any more deer, and we hadn't found the fawn. It will probably be seen today by someone with a dog that flushes it out, oh well!
As we came along a Gradwell, a Dunnock was singing loudly from the telegraph wire, clearly happy in the warm sun.
The Dunnock may have been warm, but we were both quite cold. The wind was still very cool, and we hadn't worn the right clothes, so it was back home to a nice hot cup of tea. Its June now, usually a time when things go quiet and we turn to insects and butterflies, but this year there is still chance that something unusual may turn up, migrants are still arriving in quite high numbers, a 1000 Spotted Flycatchers at Portland yesterday was incredible