Sunday, 8 September 2013

8th September - A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall

Over the last few weeks I have been sorting the photographs from our trip to Namibia in August, and at last they are finished and I have started to post the outcome on the "Away From Four Marks" blog here.  I will not put them all up at once but will upload over the next few days, so keep checking, it was an amazing trip.

Suddenly it really feels like autumn, the warmth of the middle of last week replaced now by a cooler breeze, and rain showers.  We were just about to set off this morning when the clouds became very dark and it started to fall down.  This was ok by this Wood Pigeon though, and we watched as it lifted its wings as if in a shower.  Obviously as soon as I got the camera it stopped doing it, and just sat on the aerial with its eyes closed.

Finally the rain stopped and there were patches of blue sky, so we set off to walk between Blackberry Lane and Alton Lane, and then past Garthowen, and then down to Kitwood.  There was not much about as we came down the footpath to the field at Alton Lane.  A Speckled Wood flew past us, it looked larger than normal, but was definitely a speckled wood. A Buzzard called from the adjoining field, and we caught a glimpse of what was probably a juvenile flying low over the fences.

It wasn't until we were by the glasshouses at Garthowen that we saw any other birds.  There was quite a bit of activity, with at least two Chiffchaffs catching flies around the elderberry bushes.  They were very mobile, and I had to wait for this one to show to be able to get a shot.

As well as the warblers there was a pair of Dunnocks, and a few blue tits, the elderberries attracting the insects.  We carried on and walked down the footpath by the Shetland ponies.  I hoped that maybe there would be some birds in the bushes and on the fence but there was nothing.

We crossed the road and walked up the other side towards Kitwood.  There were a few calls from the hedge, tits and a few chiffchaffs, but nothing showed.  A small moth caught our eye, mainly because there was nothing much else about.  Its a Straw Belle, which is easily disturbed by day apparently.

From Kitwood we walked along the road to the pond.  There were two adult Moorhens and a juvenile on the water, as usual the adults scampered away across the lily pads, but the juvenile stayed.  I am sure it will learn that it can't behave like that.

The only other thing that caught my eye was a small clump of Reed Mace.  Sometimes these are called bullrush, and many think they are.  It was nice to see an almost perfect specimen, as they will very soon be pulled apart as the seeds develop.

We walked from the pond into Old Down.  It was very quiet here, and every where it looked as if the wood had given up, and it was just waiting for autumn.  We walked around the paths, and checked the owl roost, but it wasn't there, and there were no signs.  It may be that it has moved now.  I will have to wait until the leaves fall to see if I can find it again.

However as we walked along the perimeter we saw some signs of autumn, fungi.  The area here is mixed between Beech, and Pine.  This is a Beechwood Sickner, there were quite a few groups emerging through the needles and leaves on the wood floor.

We came out of the denser trees and into the open where there are lots of old dead tree trunks and branches.  On one of the trunks there was these little yellow frongs appearing.  This is Yellow Stagshorn

As we reached the entrance to the wood there is an area that has been cleared, and every year you can find quite large clumps of Conifer Tuft around the tree stumps.  These are now just beginning to appear

With signs of fungi about, you find yourself looking at every log, or open ground.  Helen found this tiny clump of Yellow Fan that was just beginning to emerge.

We left the wood, and  behind us we could see dark clouds forming once again.  We had been out for two hours, and that was going to be the most we could do between showers.  Fortunately there was nothing worth stopping for as we walked home.  Unfortunately we didn't make it in time before the rain came, but al east we had managed to get out.

some points of interest from over the weekend, on Friday evening while waiting for the traffic lights at Festival Place we watched a Peregrine harassing the pigeons around the tall buildings, we saw it perch on one of the buildings so it may be resident around here.  Then on Saturday we went to the Alresford Show, and I just had to share these two, gorgeous!

For the record, we have a Little Owl on the left, and an African White-faced Scops Owl, maybe the Scops was seen in Namibia?

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