Monday, 26 May 2014

25th May - Yeah, He's A-Peckin' It All Day Long

A holiday weekend and a strange weekend for the weather.  Saturday was meant to be heavy showers, but where we were in the New Forest it was dry and sunny all day long.  The forecast had been for a good day on Monday, but by Sunday that had changed, and as I sit here typing this it is pouring.  I therefore took the decision to pop out in the late afternoon, while the sun was shining and there were some lovely white cumulus clouds.

Walking along Brislands House Martins were circling above the trees, you don't often see them here.


The rhododendrons along Brislands Lane are now in full bloom.  They look beautiful against the lime green of the maple next to them.  I waited for the sun to come back out to get the beauty of them.


I decided to go into the wood by the Gradwell entrance.  As I passed the copse there was plenty of alarm call ringing out.  I wondered if this is where the fox cub had come from the other evening so I took the time to have a look, but all I could find was a single Magpie.

Walking across the field the scene ahead of me would change as the sun came out, and then went back in behind the clouds.  The lush green of the crops being highlighted.


I could hear the twitter of Swallows and suddenly they were zipping past me, never one to turn down a challenge I had yet another go at photographing them in flight.  These two were not bad, but I still have some work to do!.



As I came into the wood I heard a strange call, but then behind it would be a typical Chiffchaff song. I found the bird in question and it was a Chiffchaff, but the song would start with a "Chee chee chee", and then the typical chiff chaff.


The bill looks extra long, and the supercillium is more distinct.  It flitted about in the lower branches continuing to sing strangely.



All I can research points to a normal Chiffchaff, and there has been a Chiffchaff here all spring singing normally, so maybe it had become a little bored with that song, or it felt a change might get the message across.

As I walked down the main ride, I disturbed a stag Roe Deer, it shot off, than paused to watch what I was going to do.  It was a little dark at this time and the picture is not one of the best, but you can see the rather grand antlers, already for the rut in July.


When the sun did come out it brought out the best in the greens of the wood.  The Beech leaves are currently at their best.


I walked around the perimeter to see if I could find the Roe Deer and kid, but there was no sign of anything in the field.  I then made my way out of the wood and to the pond.  I was still debating what to do and where to walk, but I hoped it would be possible to find the woodpeckers at their nest.

Around the pond the Yellow Irises have shot up and into bloom.


I found the nest hole, and could hear an adult woodpecker close by.  I settled down with the camera focused on the hole Louise and I had found last week, but nothing happened.  The I heard young Great Spotted Woodpeckers calling, and I saw the adult fly in...To a completely different hole!

As I watched the male Great Spotted Woodpecker came around the tree towards the hole, and was greeted by a youngster coming out of the hole.


After the male had left it continued to poke its head out of the hole and looked around.


Then the female arrived and the youngster came out even more to let it's Mum know it was there.


Once the female was gone the male returned they were coming back and fro very frequently, and it must have been different youngsters they were feeding.



On one visit by the female she actually went into the hole, and then came out carrying what looks like fecal sacs to deposit away from the nest.


I decided to leave the woodpeckers to get on with family life, and turned out on to the lane.  Above me I could hear more young birds calling, and stopped again to investigate.  At first I thought they were tits, but then I saw the adults and realised it was a family of Goldcrests, the fledglings call to be fed.

The adults worked busily hovering under the leaves to catch insects and spiders, and then over to the begging young ones.  They were very tiny, and very difficult to focus on amongst the leaves.  When I finally managed to get one in the open it turned its back on me.  So here is a tiny bundle of feathers, and you will have to take my word its a Goldcrest, but you can just see the wing stripe.


Moving on, I headed down Kitwood towards the school.  Looking across towards Old Down it was turning into a lovely evening, a shame about the forecast for Monday.


I carried on down Lymington Bottom, with Blackbirds and Song Thrushes singing.. They seem to be moving onto their next broods, and sing while their partners sit on eggs.

As I passed Belford House I noticed a brown blob at the top of their lawns, and on closer inspection I saw it to be a dozing Roe Deer, enjoying the evening sun.


Ever alert though, as I moved for a better position it heard me, and looked straight across.


I made my way home wishing the weather could always be like this.  There was though the feeling that the spring migration had come to an end for the birds, and it was into the summer doldrums.  A time to look for orchids and butterflies, but for that you need warm sunny weather, and there was not going to be much of that about over the next few days.

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