The forecast was for heavy rain through the morning, possible showers but strong winds in the afternoon. So at 10.00 with the sun out, and it dry I wondered what was going on. Plans had been changed and here was I doing chores. It was still the same in the afternoon so I decided to see if there was anything about.
As I left the house the House Martins were flying around the Larches at the top of Reads Field, but hey were distant and very mobile. I headed along Brislands, and stopped to watch a squirrel dig up a nut on a lawn, and then run off with it. I managed a picture of it carrying a very dirty and probably old hazel nut.
The Ash trees are a long way behind the oak this year, but I am not goingto bother with the proverb. Over the last few years it doesn't seem to matter what comes first we just get a lot of rain. More of a concern though was the condition of the tree, in many places it looked dead, and the buds very black and lifeless.
But then there were leaves emerging in other places.
I checked some of the branches I could reach, and they seemed to be just dead wood with no sign of the fungal disease, but it will be worthwhile keeping an eye on them.
A Blackcap sang just up from the Ash, and for once I was determined to get a good photograph of one. Typically they creep about within the trees or sing away at the top of the branches. I waited, and despite the leaves in the way I am rather pleased with this effort.
I decided to enter the wood from Gradwell, and made my way across the field. The sun would come out in patches, and there was grey and blue sky about. This produced some lovely light when the sun did shine, lighting up the lush green of the field in the distance
I walked through the wood with bird song all around. Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, Robins, Wrens and Goldcrests were all in full song. One Goldcrest came quite close but just wouldn't stay still. I took the main path, turned towards Old Down Cottage, then took the perimeter path to the west end. Fallen trees have blocked a lot of the path, and in places you have to bend under trees or walk around them, but it is still possible to make it round, and enjoy the view across the fields. The wind was getting stronger, and the grass could be seen rippling like waves on the sea, unfortunately this picture doesn't show the ripples but you can see how much the dandelions and buttercups are growing.
Off the perimeter it was down the main path to the west, I then took a deer track through the now fading Bluebells. They are now definitely past their best, amazingly this has happened in the course of five days
As I walked down through the paddocks the sky was grey away to the south, but when the sun came out it picked out the yellow in the rape fields and created a wonderful scene. You don't need full sun and blue skies to appreciate the scenery around here.
In the last field before the road, the lambs have now grown up, although they still stick close to their mothers. This individual though was catching the last rays of sun, probaly aware that the skies were darkening, and the wind was picking up.
I crossed the road and walked up Andrew Lane. The Swallows were every where, flying around the stables where they probably have the beginnings of nests. Along the lane there was I reckon three juvenile Robins, and they were still being fed by the adults. The low pitched whistles of the juveniles alerting me to their presence, but I could never quite get a picture, the adult though was different.
Along the lane Goldfinches tinkled. They would fly around in pairs, and probably don't have young yet.
It was now just starting to rain, and the wind had picked up considerably. I reached the gate that looks out over the paddocks. There were seven Magpies feeding in the field. I am not sure why there were so many at this time of year. Maybe if they can't find a mate they gathering groups, or maybe they are not mature in their first year. I need to check this out.
Woodpigeon were flying around, obviously but three smaller pigeons caught my eye, and as they landed I could see they were Stock Dove. For all the Woodpigeon we get it is unusual to see this slightly smaller dove, let alone get a photograph, and here was the chance of three.
I walked up the lane as the rain eased, the wind though seemed to be getting stronger. I walked along the top, and then down towards Lye Way farm. Looking down the lane towards Lye Way Lane the tree lined avenue looked special.
Walking past the Cold Control offices I noticed their feeders for the first time. On the wall next to them was a group of House Sparrows. As I raised the camera they all flew off, except this one, a juvenile that continued to beg for food
I waited to see if an adult would oblige but in the end the youngster gave up and flew off too. It was now getting quite dark, and the rain started. I covered up the camera, and headed off down Lye Way in driving rain. My plan had been to walk Kitwood but decided against it. A combination of rain and the strong wind was not very conducive to wild life watching so I decided to head home.
I have finally given up on being able to recover any of the Sri Lankan images from the corrupted SD card, and have now posted details of our trip, with what photographs we did manage to keep. You can get an update here, it is worth a look.