I managed to get out in the afternoon, and decided to try the area around Plain Farm. I decided to do the walk backwards and made my way up the hill past Winchester Wood. The Beech trees in the wood looked a dull grey against the background of the sun lit leaves.
I stopped at the junction with the lane to the farm, and listened to see if there was any sign of the Firecrest i had heard before. There was the hueet of a Chiffchaff, and a pair of Blue Tits but no Firecrest.
As I walked on further it was plainly quiet with very little bird calls. The field had been recently ploughed and was full of Crows, Rooks and Jackdaws. As usual the Rooks flying away as soon as I broke the line of the hedge. A little further on by the junction with Lyeway there was a group of Rabbits. I seem to be taking quite a few pictures of Hares just recently, so I thought I should balance the situation by including one of there cousins the Rabbit.
As I walked along Charlwood I could hear the tinkling of Goldfinches, but never really saw them clearly. There was though a male Yellowhammer that posed nicely in the tree, the yellow contrasting against the blue sky.
I was hopeful there might be something of interest at the horse paddocks, there wasn't, but a little further on I flushed a Whitethroat from the hedge. I tried to get it to come out, but it stubbornly refused, so I had to give up.
The rest of Charlwood was quiet. I climbed the style into the field, and made my way to the footpath. The wires were full of small birds, and as I got closer I could see they were Linnets.
As always I scanned the fields and noticed three lumps at the far end of the field. At first I thought they were Hares, but on closer inspection I could see they were Buzzards. From the distant mewing I could hear I also assumed they must be juvenile birds.
I walked down the path with a few "hueets" from the gorse bushes, but never getting the chance to see them well. At the bottom end of the path I checked the field again, and this time flushed a small covey of Red-legged Partridges, I counted eight.
Other than a quiet call from a Bullfinch in the hedge I didn't see anything along the lane. I walked out to check the field on the other side, but other than Woodpigeon it was empty. The smallarea alongside the field still had plenty of flowers, and was attracting Large Whites. In amongst the green I was impressed by the determination of this Poppy to hang on to Summer.
At the barns there were more Linnets on the wires.
And under the trailer I could hear the soft quacks of the Mallards. Looking closer I could see the mother and the young ducklings, but not the adolescents.
Walking down past the workshops, the cattle were making their way out to the middle of the field.
As i walked past the farm building I watched a Collared Dove accelerate up into the air, and then stall and drift down. As it did so it headed for a dead branch in the tree, and seemed to surprise a kestrel from the branch and it flew off as if scalded by the dove. The dove then took its place.
By the barns, a young Hare was feeding by the edge of the path.
I walked down past the farm, and out on to the road. I could hear another buzzard mewing, and scanning the distant tree tops I found it perched at the top of a conifer.
I walked up the hill past the conifer, and then made my way to the small pond. Immediately I could see movement. There were Chaffinches, Blue and Great Tits and a Robin. Then a warbler appeared and made its way to the reeds and down to the water. It was pecking at the reeds clearly catching insects.
A Blue Tit then appeared in the open, and I could resist this portrait.
An Emperor Dragonfly flew around the pond, and as I watched it a small moth flew over. The dragonfly immediately flew up and caught it, the speed very impressive.
There was a little more activity away from the pond, and I could see warblers, with some a brighter yellow.
I checked all the birds carefully, looking for Willow Warblers. Despite the brighter plumage These were all Chiffchaffs for me. The length of the wings determining the identification. Chiffchaffs have shorter wings than the Willow Warbler, the wing tips reaching beyond the rump in the Willow Warbler. In this picture you can see they just reach the rump.
I left the Chiffchaffs, and walked down the path. I stopped again to see if there were any Firecrests, but All I could hear and see was a Robin.
On the way home I drove around Lye Way Farm, which was quiet, and then along Gradwell, but there was no sign of any substantial numbers of hirundines. The weather has to change soon, and hopefully this will get us out of these doldrums, but for now it is summer hanging on.