Monday, 19 May 2014

18th May - Why Did We All Run? Man Was In The Forest

The good weather continued, and today was even better with a beautiful clear blue sky.  I went off for a walk with Louise, she wanted to see some of the places I talk about, so we headed back down Brislands to Old Down.  Unfortunately it was a little late for the Firecrests and they didn't show probably due to the gardening going on, I hoped that wouldn't set the tone for the walk.

For once an Orange Tip settled on the leaves by the side of the lane.  They won't be about much longer so I took the chance for another photograph of one of my favourite butterflies.

The Whitethroat was singing again from the oak Tree, and we stopped to try and find it.  We scanned the tree canopy, looking for movement, I saw some but it turned out to not be the owner of the song, but a Great Tit no doubt foraging for insects amongst the oak leaves.

I finally managed to pin the Whitethroat down, high up in the canopy singing away.

As we walked off I looked back down Brislands Lane at the Cow Parsley lined road, such a different sight from the flooded road that was present back in the Winter.  How quickly nature can change.

Another scene that keeps changing is the entrance path into the wood, not nearly as dense as previous year it is gradually being over taken by the nettles and bracken.

A Willow Warbler sang by the gate, it hadn't been there yesterday so maybe dropped in overnight.  Despite my best efforts I was not able to find it, although I think I may have seen it fly off deeper into the wood.

Again there was the contact calls of Tits, and maybe even young ones about demanding to be fed.  This adult Blue Tit though was taking the opportunity to have a clean up, and we watched it preening in the tree.

Its so fluffy!

We took the perimeter path, there was a lot of airborne tree seeds about, mainly from a few willow trees.  On the floor here the Bluebells were almost gone, but I was pleased to see that the Early Purple Orchids were still flowering.

Even the one that Helen had rescued and supported with a twig  was still in full flower.  We walked around the outside of the wood then came in and walked up the main path.  Looking up, like yesterday it looks wonderful with the many different greens.

We turned off the main path and walked the perimeter path.  Here it is quite tricky because of the fallen trees and broken branches, and as a result new paths skirt around the debris.  I was keen to show Louise the field and spot where last year I had seen the Roe Deer with her kid.  As I pointed out the spot from the path I noticed we were being watched too.  A female Roe Deer was watching us form the middle of the field.

It couldn't be a coincidence that she was there, and she was not making any effort to run off, which is usually what happens, the wind though was in the right direction so we decided to see if we could get closer, as we walked around the deer moved closer to the fence.  Finally we were in a better position to see the deer when Louise said that there was another set of ears in the grass, and all of a sudden the doe shot off followed by a kid.

We carried on around the path, looking to find an open spot.  Suddenly we saw them again, this time they just looked straight at us.

Then the doe was off, quickly followed by the kid.

A close up of the little one, spots and all.

They shot off across the field, the doe outstripping its baby by leaping over the grass, the little one manfully ploughing through it.  They headed for the far side of the field where there was a wire fence, and we watched the doe leap the fence and disappear into the wood.  The kid came up to the fence and stopped obviously realising this was not something it could achieve, and then proceeded to look for away through.  When it realised it couldn't get through it seemed to panic a little.  Looking into the wood over the fence, then scanning out across the field.

These are heavily cropped views taken from a distance, but they tell the story.

We continued to watch as the kid was clearly concerned, but then suddenly the doe returned leaping back into the field.  The two then walked alongside the fence, making their way to the area of safety I had expected to find them in.

We left them then, and made our way back around the path and out to the main path..  From there we walked to the pond, passing the holly bushes in the hope of a Holly Blue, but there was no luck at all.

At the pond we were confronted with an unusual sight.  There were thousands of tadpoles forming a line that was reminiscent of the sight of wildebeest migrating from the air.  They seemed to follow a definite path across the pond, winding as if they were following currents in the water.

We inspected the tadpoles fro signs of development, but of all those present it was probably only possible to find one or two with anything that could be called rear legs.

I then managed a first for the blog, a photograph of a Water Boatman on the top of the water.  Just after this was taken it engaged in a little scrap with the pond skater.

There were also quite a few damselflies about.  This one is a Large Red Damselfly

And this one a Azure Damselfly.  We have seen them before, but it is always nice to photograph the first of the year.

In fact they weren't just sitting around some were engaged in copulation, and as they sat on the leaf entwined others would attempt to break them up.

We walked around the pond where there were more tadpoles but not in the same number as by the road.  I could hear the calls of Great Spotted Woodpecker nestlings, they always seem to give away their nest holes, and I quickly found this one, in an oak above the little bridge.  

They are not that loud yet so are quite young, so it may be possible to get some more shots before they depart.

Leaving the pond we walked down Kitwood and then crossed back into Old Down.  Louise wanted to see where the owl was, and I showed her the tree, but sadly not the owl, it has been gone quite awhile now.

We turned onto the main path towards the Gradwell entrance.  A few Large White butterflies passed us, and then a small one, it wasn't flying like a moth and looked off white.  As it came closer I could see it was blue, and even closer, a Holly Blue!  It didn't stop but disappeared into the conifers.  I had almost given up hope, but here was one at last.

We left the wood and made our way home.  As we walked up Lymington Rise the regular Sparrowhawk appeared over the house tops.

Back home I was getting changed when Helen called for me to come and see what was in the garden.  A Jay of all things had just used the bird bath and was perched on the fence.  Another beautifully plumaged bird, and one you raely get such a good view of let alone photograph.

Finally I had to include this male Starling.  I know I have loads of photographs of Starling, but I want to ensure everyone appreciates this wonderful bird.  Full of voice, character, and stunning plumage.

It was lovely to share the patch today with Louise, and without her I probably wouldn't have seen the Roe Deer kid!  


  1. Hello,
    I do realize this would sound strange, but I am an international student who has secured a job in Four Marks for a year. And I have a dilemma deciding if I should live in Four Marks or in Alton and commute everyday.
    From your perspective, which would be more accessible?
    Thank you!

  2. Alton has more facilities than Four Marks, I would opt for that


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