Wednesday, 28 August 2013

27th August - Where is Everybody?

A misty morning, but the sun burnt it away by the late morning to leave unbroken sunshine.  By the late afternoon it was still warm, and with plenty of reports of migrants such as Yellow Wagtails and Flycatchers turning up in the county, there were also several reports of my bogey bird, Wryneck, I set off to walk around Plain Farm, with some hope of something interesting.

As i walked up the road towards the pond a Buzzard soared away in the distance, and Swallows swooped low over the fields either side of me.  The harvested fields were full of Wood Pigeon, and in the tress I could hear the calls of long-tailed Tits.  There was only a few Small whites around the pond, and it was only white butterflies on the thistles by the side of the path.

I haven't walked along here for a long time, and it looked so different, the footpath used to be flanked with high grass, tall enough to hide deer, but now the path and field had been mown, leaving it open and empty.



I walked on with the occasional Tortoiseshell joining the whites, but never stopping long enough for a picture.  The quarry was dead, nothing called sang or even moved, so I turned and walked across the road to Plain Farm.  The Grain drier was in full swing, and it was dusty as I walked past.  I would have thought this would have been a big attraction to the sparrows and finches, but again there was just nothing about.

Wood Pigeon were flying around the field to the south, and a Kestrel flew along the hedge to the north.  At the cattle sheds there were no birds at all.  Walking along the lane there was a sizeable flock of House Sparrows in the hedge, and a small group of five Linnet on the wires.  

I scanned both fields either side of the path, and was only able to disturb a female Pheasant that scurried away from me into the unharvested rape seed.  It wasn't until I reached the end of the path that something worthwhile appeared to photograph.  It was what looked like a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker, that perched on a dead branch for sometime.



It had a ring on its leg which looked quite new, so I wonder if this has been ringed by the group here at the farm.



It sat in the sun for awhile, then made its way to the top of the branch, where it just seemed happy to sit an look around.



I left it sitting there and walked along the lane.  I disturbed a bird from the blackberries, and after some calling and patience it showed itself in the bush long enough to allow me to confirm a Whitethroat.  A little further on two Chiffchaffs called from the bramble, but despite my best intentions they just would not show themselves. 

I crossed the field and walked along Charlwood Lane.  I could hear the sound of harvest from a close field, and as I came around the bend was confronted with the end of the process, the grain being poured into the trailer.



There were swallows around the stables, but that was about it.  When Helen and I were out Monday we commented on how better the Horse Chestnut trees were looking this year, the leaves not showing so much attack from the leaf miner moth caterpillars this year.  The leaves on this tree were looking very good, as were others around it.  Why this should be I am not sure, lets hope nature is helping the tree fight back.



The walk along Lye Way to the car just about summed up the whole experience, it was deadly quiet.  As i walked along through the beech trees of Winchester Wood I heard a buzzard mew, but I never saw it.  It had been a disappointment, but then as I keep say if you don't look, you will never see.

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