We have been in Iceland this week, and no not the supermarket, but there will be more on that later, but safe to say the SD cards played ball this time. We were out in the morning but had the afternoon free, and we set off on a walk. The weather was quiet, overcast with some breaks in the cloud that allowed the sun through. As we came out of the house I noticed something soaring away to the north. I thought at first they were birds, but a closer look revealed them to be man-made, gliders.
The thermals looked good though so maybe there could be some birds of prey.
The bottom of Brislands Lane is now a large building site, however the builders have tried to make the entrance to the site offices attractive by planting some flowers and laying some grass. Above the entrance though is a large caged bridge, inside which is some thick rope. We were told that this is a "mouse" bridge, and that there are four on the site costing around £60,000.
I can only assume by "mouse" bridge they mean Dormouse bridge, but it is very exposed, and extremely high, I can't really see a Dormouse climbing this!
As we walked down Brislands a Chaffinch was in full song, it must have another nest nearby.
I could hear the Firecrests calling, and as we stopped and listened it was clear that they had young out as well. They seemed to be in the leylandii. Both adults were the only birds we saw, the female had a large green caterpillar, and waited on the wires.
Helen peered over the hedge and was immediately scalded by the male. He must have been concerned that she was too close to the young. He was extremely feisty and pushed that fire orange crest up as a sign he wanted her away. We decided that we should leave them, and as I walked away I was really chuffed they had managed to fledge young Firecrests on the patch.
Out into the open fields a Whitethroat called. I finally found it in the bracken, it too carrying food so it had nestlings nearby.
The sun was coming out now, and as it did a few butterflies could be seen along the sides of the lane. I managed to reach the entrance of the wood with the sun out, and it changes the view.
Walking along the main path Helen found a Red Admiral amongst the nettles. The first of the year it posed nicely.
Finding the butterfly, we decided to walk along the main rides as there could be the chance of more butterflies. It didn't work out that way though as the sun went in. Above us we could hear the mewing of Buzzards. There were three circling above the wood, and one looked very tatty.
We took the perimeter path around to the Old Down cottage. As we walked we looked for the Roe Deer and kid. We didn't find the pair, but there was a male Roe Deer in their area, sticking close to the fence and sniffing the grass.
The garden of Old Down cottage was full of the purple pom pom flowers, and they were covered in bees. I am now not sure what this one ios so as always any suggestion would be welcome. The green and purple look lovely though.
We walked around to the pond where there were plenty of Azure Damselflies. They were settling on the small lily pads, locked together.
This year has seen thousands of tadpoles in the pond. They form large dark bands through the water, it will be amazing to see how many frogs and toads emerge later in the summer.
A clump of Iris was an attraction to the Damselflies and other insects. This fly again challenges my identification skills, and I have had to give up, but it looks lovely in the green.
I wanted a Damselfly to settle on the Iris petals, and one duly obliged. Later when I processed the images I realised that there was also a moth inside one of the petals. As always I can't identify it, but its a nice composition.
I always check the small pool at the back of the pond, this is usually a site for Moorhen, but just recently the Mallard have been here. This pair seem to be quite close, but no young, maybe next year.
We left the pond, and headed towards Kitwood. There are Foxgloves appearing, and with them come the bees. This I think is a Carder Bee, but I will always be open to any further advice. It would choose the petal it entered based on the size, knowing it couldn't get into some of them.
As well as the bees, there was a micro moth sitting on one of the petals.
We walked along Kitwood, and route I have not taken for awhile. The fields are full of cereals, and I have always hoped there may one day be a Quail here.
We soon became aware of the sound of bees, and they became louder indicating quite a large number of bees! A little further along and we were confronted with a large swarm.
They appeared to be swarming around a conifer. Bees were settling on the leaves, and would probably cover the tree.
It was now completely overcast, and the butterflies dried up, but Helen found this lacewing. Checking the books I think its Chrysopa perla, a green lacewing with a blue tinge. Apparently it is very abundant around hedgerows at this time of year.
Young birds called from the hedgerows around us, and if you stopped and waited the youngsters would come into view. This young Great Tit had a caterpillar, and was holding it between its feet and pecking at it. I wonder if it actually caught the caterpillar, or was given it by the parent.
More flowers at the farm, and another bee, A Bumble bee?
As we walked past the cow sheds a Cuckoo called from down in either Dogford Wood, or along Kitwood Bridleway. I have heard three this year, and I was informed of another calling between Alton Lane and Willis Lane, which means potentially four birds this year. A bird that looked like a Cuckoo flew in front of us, but searching the tree it flew into I found a Kestrel, and have to assume that was what flew past us.
We walked down Kitwood, and then along Hawthorn Lane past the horse stables. The swallows were flying around and settling on the wires. It is difficult to know how many pairs there are here. We could see three birds and they must have nests right now, but we shall have to see how many are present at the end of the summer.
At the junction with Willis Lane there was a lot of Goldcrest calls indicating young present. It was coming from a Spruce tree. The adults were easy to pick out, but the young ones were doing a good job of keeping hidden, but at the same time letting you know they were there with their incessant calls. Finally one came into view in the middle of the tree. The young ones lack the yellow crest to start with. It was nice to get one head on.
We walked up Willis and then took the footpath to the Garden Centre. The fields look good for butterflies, but with the sun in, and thick cloud above there was no action today.
The garden centre has a new cafe and it was a very welcome stop off with a pot of team scone, cream and raspberry jam. Walks can now be planned around this very welcome resource.
Leaving the cafe we walked the footpath towards Blackberry Lane and home. The field was also well grown, with tall grass and some nice clumps of Ox-eye Daisies.
Last year the field alongside the path had many spotted orchids, but there was nothing other than some clover. It may be a little early though, last year I didn't find them until the end of June.
The season now is all about looking harder for the things that you would not always notice. Today it was the bees and the lacewing. However today was also about the baby birds that are calling in the trees and hedgerows, one family being very special.