Saturday, 19 April 2014

19th April - It's Something to Remind Me

A big surprise on Friday morning as I lay in bed looking out of the window.  What I thought was a slim Wood Pigeon flying towards the window set off alarm calls from the resident birds, and as it came closer and eventually flew over the house, I could see the unmistakeable moustache of a Peregrine.  It was over so quickly, and I wonder if the local birds survived.

After a Good Friday of cleaning up the garden, we set off for a walk this morning.  Heading down Lymington Bottom the birds were in full song, and turning up Brislands I saw a brief glimpse of a brown bird down by the new fence put up around the construction site.  I waited and it turned and I could see a beautiful Song Thrush, a treat to get so close as they are usually shy birds.

We carried on along Brislands, a Blackcap was singing in the trees and we stopped to try and locate it, finally we found it singing at the top of the Oak tree.

A little further on we stopped by the rhododendrons, to see if the Firecrests were about.  I could hear the male singing and we managed to lure the male out of the cover, but it was very busy moving about all the time and never stopping to pose.  When I finally managed to get some pictures I realised it was of the female, which was nice as I haven't been able to get good views of her up to now.

The orange on the crown is not as vivid as in the male, but does not take from this lovely little bird.

We left them with the male singing and headed toward the wood.  The Ash tree which over the last two years has been the site of battles between a nuthatch and Great Spotted Woodpecker pair once again seems to be the site of a proposed nest hole.

This hole is behind the original hole, that last year had a huge bracket fungus under it.  This looks like the work of a Great Spotted Woodpecker, I do not see a Nuthatch having the ability to chisel the wood like this.

Out in the open there were Skylarks singing on either side of us.  I counted at least four pairs either in the air or just taking off.

The Bluebells have moved on from Tuesday, and are looking a little more advanced.

A party of walkers walking through the wood made us change our planned route, so we made our way across the cleared area to the south perimeter path.  The walkers must have disturbed a Roe Deer as it came crashing past us.  When we finally reached the main path we came across a pair of Roe Deer.  They both stood and watched us, and I was able to get a lovely portrait picture.  They are a lovely deer, with quite delicate markings around the face.

The Bluebells here are developed well too, and the sun on the Dog Mercury highlights the blue.

We walked down through the paddocks.  There seems to be more lambs than earlier in the week, but they were all sleeping, and it was quite quiet.  As we walked down towards Andrews Lane several Swallows past us heading north, in fact there was a general trickle of Swallows north all day.

On Andrews Lane I stopped at the gate as usual, but could only find this female Blackbird searching for food amongst the dandelions and daisies.

The Shire paddocks were back to normal, with only a Magpie on the grass, heading up the lane it was very quiet, so we turned our attention to the verge and the flowers.  Helen pointed out this Vetch, the first for the year.

It was as quiet at the top of the lane and as we walked along the path by the edge of the field.  No butterflies or any bird song, very unusual, but then there was a keen north easterly wind and the sun was stuck behind the clouds.

The Horse Chestnut are just coming into flower, probably their best time of the year.  The candle like flowers give then a majestic look.

We walked along Lye Way where there were more lambs, but like those in the Desmond paddocks they were all mostly sleeping.  I checked the hedges but other than goldfinches and Linnets there was nothing.  The copse by the farm also only produced a singing wren.

We decided to take the bridleway at Lye Way cottage, but looking back down Lye Way the leaves and blossom produced a lovely scene.

The bridleway was sheltered from the cool wind, and as a result it produced the first butterfly of the day a rather worn Peacock.

The edges of the path were also showing several Bracken fronds emerging, showing that lovely shape as they unwind as they emerge from the ground yet again for another summer.

We turned onto Charlwood and headed towards Plain Farm.  As we came out into the field the usual scan produced something, not what I have always hoped for though, but something I haven't seen for awhile, a Hare.  It scampered off, but paused to see what we would do.

Shortly after this photograph it was off again following the tractor lines, then it veered off and made its way across the field.  The background was a lovely vivid yellow from the rape in the field beyond.

We stopped for coffee, and was accompanied by a Great Tit, Chiffchaff, and Blackcap.  Along the footpath past the gorse and bushes it was quiet.  This is another of those spots that always look it should have plenty of migrants, it hasn't delivered yet, but I have confidence that it will one day.

At the cottages a Wren sang from the pylon.  I managed to catch it as it dropped down.  When birds do this they hold their feet up, but do not retract them fully into their body as you can see here.

As we walked down the lane I heard a Whitethroat sing.  This is the earliest I have found one on the patch, but it was not prepared for me to capture this with a photograph.  I could see it on the hedge, it was gone.  It flew up to the wire, but hardly stayed a second.  It led me a merry dance and in the end I had to admit defeat, definitely a Whitethroat, but no photograph!

At the barns there is usually a Kestrel, but today it was replaced by a lovely looking Collared Dove.

As we came down the hill towards the grain dryers I noticed a pair of large birds above the field, getting on them I could make out a pair of Ravens.  I only managed to get one individual as it soared above me.

At the dryers a Kestrel flew above us, and as we walked along the road towards Kitwood a pair of Buzzards were displaying above the tree tops.

Looking across the edge of the field at the Mountains Plantation there were patches of yellow, closer examination revealed these to be patches of Cowslips, these would be a huge attraction to butterflies, but unfortunately there is no way to get close.

We walked the road to Kitwood and then took the bridleway.  This is south facing and was sheltered from the cool breeze.  Consequently the butterflies appeared.  We saw Orange Tip, Brimstone, Small White and the first Speckled Wood of the year, but none of them stopped and allowed a photograph.  We carried on along the bridleway in the hope that one would, but the number of butterflies reduced the closer we got to the road.  Needless to say not one obliged.

We walked down past the school and then along Lymington Bottom.  A Robin was calling it alarm call, and when I found it in the hedge I could see it was turning its head and looking to the sky.  I turned to look in the direction it was looking and found a Sparrowhawk circling above us.

A very keen eye was warning all around that a predator was about.  A little further on a Blackbird was rattling out its alarm call, and this turned out to be because of Magpies.  The Magpie was clearly aware the Blackbird was protecting something a would fly at the smaller bird.  We managed to scare the magpie off, but if there is a nest there it won't give up.

We carried on making our way back home.

Over the last few nights I have had the moth trap out.  Thursday night saw quite a few, last night a small amount of the same species.  As I have always said this is new to me, and I can spend hours trying to identify them, and in some cases as was indicated this week I get it wrong, so if you know what species I have, or if I have made a mistake please let me know, I am anxious to learn, and it will take a bit of time.

These are the moths I feel confident o have identified correctly

A Nut Tree Tussock

A Muslim Ermine looking like something from Game of Thrones.

These are I am struggling with, so if you are able to identify them please let me know.   I think now that this is a Frosted Green

And thanks to Ian this a Spectacle

I will continue to research them, and will update should I find out.

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