The day started off wet, then there was a nice spell of sunshine, the common factor throughout though was the wind, it was very, very blustery, and as a result dark clouds were never very far away.
As a result of the risk of encountering wet weather I decided just to have a drive around the patch while I had the chance. First stop was the pond, I was intrigued to see if the Mallard were still there after the amazing count on Tuesday of 60. As I got out of the car the first thing I saw was the usual sight of a Moorhen dashing for cover in the iris bed.
I walked around the corner, and sure enough the duck were there, although I could only (only!) count 41. I am developing the theory for why they are here, and I am settling on shallow water with a good supply of food, and the fact that the first to arrive were the ducklings from Plain Farm, and they have subsequently attracted in others.
They seem to have paired up though, these two getting it together in the weeds.
I checked everywhere just in case they had atattractednother species, maybe a Teal, but I couldn't find anything. This is a good opportunity though, as wildfowl are attracted to these sort of gatherings.
I left the pond, and drove along Lye Way. I stopped at the gates and scanned across the fields. The wind had increased, and the clouds were dark away to the west. As I watched the field a small group of Swallows and House Martins flew through heading south. I wonder if these will be the last I see? These were birds moving through, all the resident birds have now gone.
From Lye Way I drove to the Estate, parked and walked up the hill. Over the tops of the trees in the Mountains Plantation Three Buzzards were hanging in the air, using the lift generated by the wind hitting the trees. Every so often they would pull their wings in and dive, only to pull them out again and drift back over the trees. Does this constitute play? It seemed like great fun to me.
I walked up to the small pond, but the wind was far to strong and noisy to be able to hear any birds. There was no sign of the Hare either, but I did manage to get quick glimpse of a Kestrel in the distance, again using the wind, but in this case to hover and hunt.
The trees were being buffeted by the strong wind, and leaves could be seen in the air everywhere.
I decided to walk back down the hill, and looking across to the west the sun was breaking through the dark clouds and lighting up patches of the fields.
To the south the same was happening but with a different view.
I set off in the car and headed back along Lye Way, but continued to Ropley and then up Swelling Hill Road. I wondered if the gulls had gathered in the fields, but all I could find were Rooks and Jackdaws. It was then it started to rain, and it came down. Later in the afternoon there were several Thunder storms that passed through with hail and torrential rain. It would seem the Indian Summer is well and truly over.