Sunday, 13 October 2013

12th October - Spread Those Wings Wide and Take Me Along

Up until 18.30 yesterday evening the forecast for the weekend was all dooma nd gloom, heavy rain, strong winds, but then it suddenly changed, the rain was going north, and we would have a dry day, with even some sunshine.  When I woke it was still raining, but that passed through quite quickly, so I decided to get out early.

Stepping out into the garden I was immediately greeted with a flock of 22 Redwings heading west, there has been a large movement of the winter thrushes over the past week, and I was about to experience it.  But as I left the house I noticed a female blackbird at the top of the house next door.  This is the typical winter pose, looking down into my garden for food.

As I walked down Lymington Rise there was another large flock of Redwing pass overhead, this time away to the south west.  I managed to get on a few, but in total there were 37 in this flock.

The movement continued until about 9.30, and I managed to count 368 in various sized flocks overhead, predominantly heading west.

As I walked along Lymington Bottom I noticed the Jackdaws on the TV aerials.  I have raised it before, but they are beautiful birds, the grey head and neck with the pale blue eye.

Seeing these, it reminded me of the pair I watched yesterday just as the rain and wind started.  They were flying around performing some amazing aerobatics, in perfect harmony.  I can't believe they were doing this for any reason other than fun, it was wonderful to watch.

There were a few Chiffchaffs calling as I walked along Brislands, and as I approached the wood the sun was just beginning to emerge, this cast some lovely light down the hill towards the Watercress line.

As I walked into the wood I met a mountain biker who was about to ride through the wood.  He claimed it was a bridle way, and he could do so, but the path is a footpath, and to his credit he turned around and didn't ride through.  I wish the horse riders would do the same.  In the winter the paths get churned up enough, they don't need the help of the bikes.  Plus the forestry work is bringing trucks and machinery in, and already the paths are very wet and muddy.

On the subject of the forestry work, it is now well under way, and I was greeted by piles of logs by the entrance.

These are from the larch trees, and as I walked down the path it was clear these are the main trees that are going.  I thought they were a native tree, but I did find out that the Japanese Large, which grows very tall, like these is an evasive tree, and that they are being removed, so maybe that is what these are.

In places some of the Beech had been sawn down, and the whole area felt lighter and open, there was also quite a bit of bird song about, so who knows.

I made my way to the west end, and it was brightening up looking out across the fields.

One of the reasons for coming this way through the paddocks was to look for gulls, after a storm like we had Friday afternoon they usualy turn up on the fields, but as I walked down the path towards the lane there were none about.  All I could find were groups of Rooks, Crows and Magpies.

I walked up Andrews Lane stopping to look across the fields.  At the gate I could hear a Chiffchaff, and there were tits calling from the hedge but nothing showed itself.  By the side of the road there was a large bunch of Honey Fungus.

I came out at the top of the path, and then walked by the side of the field towards Lye Way.  Again a Chiffchaff called, joined by a small group of Goldcrests.  Walking through the grass I almost tread on this gorgeous looking mushroom.  I have searched the books, but can't find anything like it, so I am afraid it will remain unnamed for now.

There were more corvids amongst the sheep in the fields along Lye Way, I stopped to watch as a pair of Magpies seemed to fly from the back of each sheep.

With the fields yet to be ploughed the weeds and cereals that are beginning to grow amongst the stubble create some lovely patterns on the landscape.

Looking north up Lye Way the wet roads from the overnight rain, and the weak sunshine also added to the scene.

I stopped at the large gate and scanned across the field, this has been ploughed and there were small groups of rooks and crows feeding on it.

As I watched them I noticed movement of smaller birds, and was able to make out some quite sizeable flocks of Meadow Pipits with also a few Skylarks.

Scanning across the field I was once again attracted to the scene the pylons and power lines make across the landscape, they can be an eye sore, but there are times when they provide an unlikely feature.

I walked on down the lane, and then stopped to find a Kestrel on the top of one of the poles.  They are always worth photographing, and for once this young male allowed me to appraoch quite close.

As I watched the kestrel, I heard the calls of Redwings again, and a flock flew over me heading out across the fields.

Not all can be seen here, I counted 43 as they made their way across the filed and away into the distance, that made 411 for the day, not as spectacular as some of the midweek records but still a good number.

At Kitwood I decided to cross the field and go back into Old Down, as I walked across the field I thought I could see areas where the trees had been removed, but when I got into the wood I could see the chain saws had not reached that area yet, so I must becoming a little paranoid.

In the wood it was damp, and may soon create the perfect conditions for the fungi, but here wasn't much about yet, I will have to look this week to see if anything appears.

I did though find this Trooping Funnel amongst the leaf litter.

From the wood I made my way home with out a other major excitement.  The intention was now to satisfy the need for some birds I do not see around Four Marks, I have felt this way since September so if you want to see what I found then go here.


  1. A possibility for the unidentified fungi..look up Coprinus Lagopus on the fruiting body ages its possible to end up looking like your example...worth a shot...

    1. It certainly looks like some kind of ink cap, although the books and web say the Hare's foot lagopus usually appears in clumps, this was on its own. The blackness and shape though do, I agree point to an ink cap. Thanks, again!


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