Coming back from Basingstoke in the early afternoon the sun was out, but it was still very breezy. As we came through Bentworth a Red Kite drifted over the road being mobbed by all things, a Swift. Swifts are rare around the patch, we just don't haver the concentration of buildings to attract them so we have to wait for them to pass through. I decided that maybe it would be today, so I headed down to Plain Farm for a walk around the fields there.
As I got out of the car a Whitethroat sang from the hedge, and there it remained despite all my best efforts to get it to show. I had fleeting glimpses as it moved about in the middle of the hedge singing away, but it never showed.
I set off up the hill, listening hard in the wind for songs, and scanning the sky for that Swift. There was a Robin singing, but no Swift. I stopped at the pond to see if there was anything about taking shelter from the wind, but there was quiet too. Scanning across the field I found a single Lapwing. It took off and flew around calling, usually an indication there are others about but I couldn't find any. Finally it settled back on the ground.
I walked back down the path towards the quarry. The grass and cow parsley is growing quickly now, hopefully ideal for butterflies. The quarry did not deliver anything, but all around the side of the footpath were small blue flowers. Colloquially known as "Bird's Eyes" these are actually Common Field Speedwell, and then brighten up the green of the grasses.
At the barns I was trying to photograph the Swallows again. They would hang in the wind, but just as you got on them they would pull their wings in and drop away, and then bank back. As I watched the Swallows this Nuthatch flew over, it is carry food so probably has a nest close by.
As I came up the hill, the sun and pale blue sky combined with the Dandelion seed heads in the field to produce a lovely scene.
The Swallows were now flying low over the field, and then up to dive back down again. I managed to catch this one, but I still have a long way to go to get the perfect shot.
I disturbed a Kestrel on the fence and it flew off, and as I watched it I heard a Cuckoo call. Only recently lamenting the lack of Cuckoo in the area, this was my second. It was away off in the direction of Winchester Wood. Knowing the difficulty of pinning them down I decided not to rush off after it.
I did though scan across the field in case it may be at the top of a tree, and as I did so I disturbed two young Hare. One shot into the rape field, but the other decided to try and hide in the long grass.
I managed to get quite close, and able to see those wonderful bright eyes, finally it decided I was too close and it was off, very quickly.
But then it stopped again, safe in the thought I wasn't a threat, and if I was it could out run me. It is a young one, but they do grow up fast. There is just something about them I love.
As I turned back on to the path a Mallard and her ducklings walked past me. Once they saw me they rushed away, probably to the small pond by the cottages. They are quite old, and I can count 15 here which is some achievement from the mother.
It was still breezy, and not the conditions for butterflies. I had seen one white one from a distance, but then this one appeared and settled on the Cow Parsley.
The Cuckoo continued to call as I walked along the footpath towards Charlwood. The area here has always looked good for migrant warblers, and as I walked I heard two Garden Warblers singing and a Willow Warbler. The Willow Warbler came out and sang from the overhead wires, but the Garden Warblers never showed.
At the bottom end of the path there were at least three Blackcaps singing, a Chiffchaff and a Whitethroat, could I consider this a fall? I am not sure but for once this little patch of gorse, broom and scrub had produced something.
By now the Cuckoo had drifted away across the field towards the Ropley Road, again I scanned the trees but couldn't see anything, and the calls were becoming quite distant.
I walked down Charlwood Lane, and past the paddock and houses. A Yellowhammer sang from within the tree, probably sheltering from the strong wind.
The flowers at the corner of Lye Way and Charlwood looked lovely in the sunshine. Predominantly Red Campion and Cow Parsley there was also some Bluebells and Mouse-ear as well.
As I came down the hill towards the car I noticed a shape by the side of the road. Checking it with binoculars I saw that it was another Hare. It just sat there until a car came by and it shot off across the road and into the field.
The leaves on the beech trees are now almost fully out, and it changes the light in the woods. The Beech trunks are grey, and with the backlit leaves it makes a lovely panorama of Winchester Wood.
I noticed two birds drop into the field by the Mountains plantation. I crossed the road and peered over the hedge. For the second day running I had found Stock Dove. Two this time feeding together in the field.
I scanned the rest of the field, there were no birds but there was yet another Hare crouched down and almost out of view enjoying the sunshine.
Back at the car the Whitethroat was still singing, and I had another go, but the stubborn little bird would not show at all. Despite the wind it was quite an interesting short walk. Another Cuckoo, plenty of warblers, 15 ducklings and of course all the lovely Hare.