Thursday, 18 September 2014

18th September - God Damn, It's So Exciting

More of the same from the weather this morning, although there was a slightly stronger breeze, but still from the north east.  Through the morning the cloud became higher and thicker and we were treated to a small rain shower, the first for over two weeks.  It didn't last long though, and the sunshine remained and the temperature soared again.

And so it remained through the early afternoon, but then the clouds built up from the north, and the rumbles began.  These rumbles got closer and with it large spots of rain.  Soon the rain became torrential, and the thunder and lightning intense.

The storm was slow moving, and the amount of rain substantial, but finally it  stopped and the radar showed that it was clear for a good while so I set off for Plain Farm, and the estate.  The roads were flooded in places, the amount of rain falling too much for the drains.  I parked at the bottom of the footpath, and looking to the west the sky was still quite dark, but with the sun coming through it seemed quite a pleasant evening.  Remember this scene.

As I walked up the track there were a group of yong male pheasants, you can see their adult feathers coming through, although the tail still has some growing to do.  I wonder what fate awaits them through the winter.

A little further up the hill I could hear tits calling from the hedge.  There were Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits seemingly sheltering with in the hedge.  I made my way closer and one of the Long-tailed Tits came out on the edge of the hawthorn .

I finally left the clump of hawthorn, and walked towards the small pond.  It was quiet here for once so I headed down the path to the estate path.  I mentioned on Tuesday about the number of Jays being seen, and as I walked down the path one flew across in front of me.  I watched as it flew to the nearest Oak tree, showing off its splendid blue wing flash and that distinctive white rump.

A Kestrel flew ahead of me as well, and then perched in the tree at the end of the path, it didn't stay long and was off when I was just getting close.  Overhead there was a passage of Swallows and House Martins, the first I have witnessed this autumn.  As I walked I could hear the contact calls of them above me.

I crossed style and walked into the field where I immediately flushed a young Hare.  I could hear a Buzzard mewingg but could not locate it in the trees.  I decided to head back to the avenue, and decided to walk down iit, something I have never done before.  A Blackbird was ringing out alarm calls, and I wondered if maybe there was an owl in the tree, but I couldn't see anything.  At a dead fallen tree there was quite a bit of activity with warblers and a Robin showing.  It was dark, and back lit so the pictures are not brilliant but this is a Willow Warbler catching flies.

The birds then left, and I picked out a male Blackcap with the warblers.  Ii carried on down the avenue which lined with Beech trees has also a nice carpet of fallen orange beech leaves.  In amongst them were broken fungi, but one was still a perfect specimen.  This is a Snakeskin Grisette.  So called for the markings on the stipe.

As I turned to walk back I noticed a flock of six Mallard flying towards me, I am not sure what is going on, but I seem to have ducks everywhere.

Back at the fallen tree, the Willow Warblers were back.  It was still quite dull and the photographs are rather grainy, but it manages to show the two birds.

Coming out and back onto the main footpath the Jackdaws were busy getting ready for the roost.  At this time of night they can be quite vocal as they group together before heading to the roost, in this case it may be in Chawton Woods, the site of a very large corvid roost in the winter.

The sky was still quite threatening to the north east, clouds were building up stretching high into the sky, a sign of possible thunder storms.

With the sun now set, it started to get misty as you can see looking down the track.  As I took the picture I noticed the Hare that had come out to feed on the grass.

I had hoped I might see the Barn Owl, the conditions were perfect, still and warm, I waited in the appropriate place but it never showed, so I decided to set of for the car.

Walking down the path to the car, away in the distance the mist was drifting across the fields producing a strange landscape.

Remember the Mountains scene when I arrived bathed in sunshine.  This had now changed and it almost completely shrouded in mist.

I drove around Lye Way Farm, and then down towards Swelling Hill.  I stopped at the gate in the field, and again the mist was creating unique landscapes that I had not witnessed before.

On the other side of the road corvids, mostly Rooks and Jackdaws, were gathering on the pylons and the wires. ahead of flying off to their roost.

I went to the pond where i hoped to find some Bats, but again I was to be disappointed and nothing showed.  I was though treated to a calling Tawny Owl, and a fly past of 21 Mallard, what is going on?

Coming down past the school I once again had a new landscape to deal with, this time a distant Old Down Wood emerging out of the evening mist.

Perhaps not the wildlife I would have wanted this evening, but the scenery and landscape more than compensated.

The moth trap overnight was following the same pattern as the weather with many of the same species present.  Whilst I have shown the Dusky Thorn before I just wanted to be able to point out their amazing antennae, they remind me of the horns you would get on a Viking helmet, perhaps it would be better called a "Dusky Thor"

Sorry about that, back to reality these next two photographs are the same moth species, the Shuttle-shaped Dart.  I have no idea where the name comes from, but you can see there is a variation in the colour of this moth with a dark phase

To a light phase

It seems the moths that are about this time of year all have many variations in appearance.  These are all Lunar Underwings, another moth I have featured recently, but here you can see the different colour variations.  They can have you searching through the guide books for hours, the key though is the pattern on the wing

My hope has been to catch an immigrant moth, hopefully the Convolvous Hawk-moth, so I will keep trying for now, maybe some of the forecast thunderstorms might help the situation.

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