Strange day today, early morning rain, then a short respite before a storm raced in only to last a short while and then give way to clearing skies and a cold north westerly winds.
Early afternoon I looked out of the back window and saw a Red Kite drifting over the far trees.
As I watched it move away to the right, and towards the A31 I noticed another one just behind it.
There were three around in the autumn, so I wonder if these are the two adults, they were far to far away to tell unfortunately.
I had the the time during the afternoon for a late walk, so decided to head off to Plain Farm. As I walked up the hill towards Lye Way, I looked back at the field. Just recently sheep have been put into these fields when usually these are pastures for cattle. The view in the late sunshine looked quite impressive.
As with everywhere at the moment there were plenty of Blackbirds around. They don't feed in flocks, like Fieldfare and Redwing, and they get annoyed if one gets too close, but if there is food available they will be seen in numbers.
It was quiet on Lye Way, but as I turned into Charlwood there was a little more activity with tits and Chaffinches calling and moving through the hedgerow. I could hear a Bullfinch calling but was unable to find it.
Just past the horse paddocks, I noticed a lump in the field, closer inspection showed the lump to be a Hare that was trying desperately to hide behind the grass.
I walked along the bye way to get a closer view. The hare remained still convinced of course that I couldn't see him, despite the fact that with those eyes it could clearly see me.
Finally it realised that I was getting too close and was up and away, the run though was rather springy, a bit like a Springbok, and it would flick its bob tail up to show the white fur underneath.
It then stopped, and stood up on its back hind legs and looked around as if to see where it would be best to go next.
It stood like that for a short while then dropped to the ground and sped off towards the road.
I made my way back to Charlwood, and then towards the Plain Farm footpaths. I could see Fieldfare in the treetops, and then watched them dropping into the field, so I decided to give the field behind the cottages a look and sure enough there was a flock of 25 Fieldfare and at least 5 Redwing. This was the first feeding flock I have seen this winter.
It was very quiet as I walked down the footpath, with very little about. I flushed a pair of Bullfinches, and a Kestrel from the wire. Once on the road I could hear partridges, and then saw some movement behind the grasses and could see at least three Grey Partridges.
I moved to get a better view, and could then see that there was in fact a large covey. I counted 15, but before I could raise the camera they were off, and flew off over the hedge and low across the field to the far side.
As I scanned across the field I found the Kestrel, and then watched it fly up to one of the poles. As ever I tried to get as close as possible, but this was the best I could do this time.
At the barns a Pied Wagtail called as it balanced on the wires.
I chased three Pheasants down the lane towards the drying barns, but other than them, and a few Chaffinches it was as if everything was getting ready for the night. I crossed the road at the bottom, and headed up the lane towards the Keeper's Cottage. Looking back again the sheep in the field and the low sunshine made for a lovely picture.
All quiet from there on, but as I passed the cottage I was rushed at by the Turkeys, they had survived Christmas, and were clearly hungry.
As I reached the avenue, the sun came out in full, and the low winter sunlight cast a lovely golden light on the beech trees.
As I came out onto the footpath the Jackdaws were gathering for the roost, their clacks sounding all over the gardens, as they came from all over area to roost in the conifer trees.
I hung around for awhile as the sun dropped away, I was hoping for a sighting of an owl or raptor, but as always it wasn't to be, You can't say I haven't tried this winter!
Finally I decided to head back to the car. As I walked down the hill towards the car I noticed the state of the pasture. When the cattle are there it doesn't seem to cut up at all, but the sheep have really made a mess, leaving muddy trails all over the place.
It must be because they all seem to follow each other in line, and walk the same place that the ground cuts up.
The journey home was uneventful, it had though been a Golden Brown afternoon.