The birches too have suddenly changed colour and dropped leaves everywhere.
The garden and surrounding area has been busy this week, Sparrowhawks have been chasing the resident Starlings and a Red Kite drifted over. Tuesday saw Fox on the front lawn late in the evening, and the Tawny Owls continue to call from the surrounding trees early in the morning when its not raining.
Ian joined me today and when it finally stopped raining we set off up Brislands and I showed him the hoards of small rodents swarming across the rope bridge, an amazing sight.
Unfortunately the rain returned and we had to shelter for a while, but the rain didn't last that long and we came out from the cover of the trees and headed along Brislands. Looking across the field towards Old Down, the colour in the trees stood out.
In the middle of the field a lone male pheasant sat.
we could hear Skylarks calling above us and once again there was a steady trickle of Skylark moving across the filed towards the south. As we scanned the filed to the north we could also pick out more heading towards us.
The distinctive call of a Great Spotted Woodpecker alerted m e to one at the top of the nearby oak tree, but it decided that it was going to be shy, and hardly showed at all.
We headed into the wood pausing to see if the entrance scene had changed at all.
It hadn't really, it hadn't been the best of choices for a repeated scene this year, never mind.
The perimeter path has now been covered by more fallen trees, the ash and hazel have been cut back opening up the area again, and the fallen branches have just been left there. There was though a few fungi about, and the pick was this clump of Stags Horn.
We managed to get onto the path heading through the middle of the wood. This was no mean feat as the path was totally covered with cut branches. The open areas of the wood though did allow the chance to see colours in the beech trees.
And looking back down the path the orange of those beech leaves was picked out by the emerging sun through the clouds.
Wee walked down to the West End, and stopped to watch a mixed flock of birds feeding on the beech mast. The pick of these were four Marsh Tits, but there were also Goldcrests, Chaffinches, Blue and Great Tits, and this Treecreeper.
Looking out over the fields towards the Watercress Line, the woods that line the railways looked stunning in their autumn colours.
lat week we found Porcelain Fungi on the branch of the beech tree by the entrance. The fungi had gone and was now fully developed and looking beautiful.
We also noticed that higher up in the tree the branches were also covered in the fruiting bodies of this very delicate fungi.
We left the wood and headed down through the paddocks. A Blackbird rattling out an alarm call in the hedge alerted me to the probable presence of an Owl, but despite searching I couldn't find anything that it may have been upset about.
We headed up Andrews Lane, the Hornets nest seemed to be still active, but it was not so busy as it has been. A little further on we could see thrushes in the tree tops, and for the first time this autumn I was able to get some credible pictures of Redwing.
Andrews Lane shows signs of water erosion, with some furrows and gorges running down it. Today was the first time I have been able to see the water actually flowing down it. It comes off the field at the top, and fairly gushes down the lane, weakening the tarmac that is still left, and flattening the grass.
The power of water can be very impressive, and here we have the start of our very own canyon.
As we walked along the path at the top we could hear a Field fare calling but despite more best efforts we could not see it. The sheep in the field were being served by two rams, the rams with their tupping bags strapped to their chest, and the ewes with colourful patches on their backs.
We walked down the lane to Lye Way road. We stopped to scan the fields, and there was a Hare sitting at the far end of the field, but of more interest was the number of Skylark feeding in the field, I counted about 18 , but I am sure there were more. Away across the field the light from the autumn sun was lighting the trees that lines the field.
There had been a lot of Song Thrushes along the lane calling from the hedge. These must be migrant birds coming through. A little further on there were Mistle Thrushes in the tree tops squabbling over berries, and in the far tree tops Fieldfare.
They seem now to be here on force, their chattering calls ringing out across the trees. They also seem to have a way of hiding in the trees, and then when one flys out they more just seem to appear in numbers.
We walked along Lye Way road, and then up to the estate. A stop for a bite to eat saw a Hare running through the fields, and a large flock of Redwing descend on the berries on the trees in the garden.
We set off along the main path towards the park, and then turned down the avenue of trees. The only birds of note was a large flock of Jackdaw in the trees. We turned back down the footpath past the quarry. So far today there had been no sightings of raptors to talk about, and no Buzzards.
The walk up through Plain Farm only produced a Pied Wagtail, and at the end of the Lane we flushed at least four Bullfinches. We could hear Partridge calling but could n't see any of them. By the cottages we found at last the first raptor of the day, a Kestrel.
Along the footpath there were more calling Bullfinch, but we never saw them. At the end looking back towards Plain Farm the filed was empty.
We made our way to Charlwood, and then turned onto the bridleway, where Sheep are now feeding in the field, something I have not seen before. The sheep seemed to attract the Meadow Pipits as there were six on the wires going across the field. I have not seen pipits here before.
The bridleway took us back on to Lye Way. We stopped to scan across the field again, the Hare still there in the same place. I heard a familiar call and then suddenly two Golden Plover flew low across the hedge and headed away from us.
We watched them flying around, and then back over our heads. we walked down to a vantage point where we could scan the field to see if the re were others about. All we could find in the field though was another Hare, plenty of Rooks and Crows, some Pheasants and four distant partridges that were probably Red-legged, but no Golden Plover.
As we turned towards the farm the filed we had walked past earlier withe sheep was now joined by a sizeable flock of Black-headed and Common Gulls.
It was now getting gloomy and a little cold, the walk down Lye Way Lane revealed nothing but the mist gathering in the valley bottom along Kitwood Bridleway.
At the Kitwood footpath to Old Down the mist was also providing an atmospheric scene.
And as we walked down the road towards the school looking over towards Old Down Wood the mist had stretched across the field.
There was very little about now, Robins could be heard singing, but above these was the song of another bird, normally heard late January, the unseasonable weather was definitely having an effect on this Song Thrush as it sang heartedly from the top of an Oak tree. Interestingly another sat quiet just below it.
There is still no sign of the proper colder weather we would expect at this time of year. In the lanes Red Campion and Herb Robert still flower, and the leaves are still green despite the change this week for many. Autumn has been warm , but with plenty of rain. The forecast is for more rain storms, but no sustained spell of cold weather. Still there is every colour available out there and now is the time to enjoy it.
There was nothing really special about today, but as always it was gret to be able to share the time, and enjoy what what we were able to find.