Today saw the first real bite of winter. It was grey and damp, with a very blustery northerly wind. Early morning a Grey Heron drifted over the house, A single bird is seen in the winter cruising the gardens for fish ponds. I wonder if this is the same bird I have seen for the last five years or whether it is just an opportunistic bird.
Once again the garden was quiet, a maximum of three Blue Tits calling from the trees, and Goldfinches and Greenfinches arriving every so often on the feeders. By the early afternoon the weather seemed to have become even colder, but fortunately the rain that was forecast had moved away, and it was dry. A huge flock of corvids came over the house around 15.00, and were heading in the direction of the roost in Chawton. This was very early as the large flocks usually drift across the house after sunset at about 16.00. They must have had enough for the day.
My plan had been to take a walk around Old Down in the dark, when I planned it the forecast was for a good evening with calm conditions, that was not the case this evening, but at least it was dry. I drove to the pond, and parked up and took a walk around the pond. There was still some light, but the torch was needed. I scanned the trees and the edge of the water but found nothing.
From the pond I walked into Old Down. The wind was quite strong, and the trees were swaying about. This did not bode well, I would not expect to see any Tawny Owls out in the open, and they would probably not be calling as the wind was quite noisy. Still I decided to walk on. One thing I did find were many flying moths. It was difficult to identify them, but they were at least two centimetres in size, and white. They seemed to be flying everywhere.
I made my way to the crossroads, glad that I had put wellingtons on, as despite the torch it was difficult to pick out the deeper mud. I turned to the east, and found a group of four Roe Deer, their eyes shining back at me as I scanned the torch.
More in hope than anything else I scanned the trees and squeaks and noises from the trees moving raised hope but there was nothing. I walked back to the crossroads, and scanned across the beech wood, several pairs of eyes reflected back again, this time another three Roe Deer. They were to be the only life I could find apart the moths, and the guinea fowl calling from Old Down House.
I came out of the wood and walked back to the pond. I took another circuit around the pond, checking the trees, but with nothing showing. I was pleased with the torch, the beam being very focused, and the distance very useful. There will be more time to find the owls, I just need a calm still evening, a frosty one would be nice. For now this was only a junior walk(er).