Friday, 27 March 2015

27th March - A Stranger and an Old Friend

As March slowly slips away we are still waiting for some weather that will kick start the migration.  Through the week there have been clear spells with sunshine, but the wind has been in completely the wrong direction both here and on the continent.

This morning the skies are clear, and there is sunshine but the wind is north westerly,. and the forecast for the rest of the weekend does not hold had much more hope.

At the start of the week a Red Kite was seen once again over the garden, and while I was away on Tuesday there was a very unusual visitor to the garden.  Katie fortunately saw this visitor and managed to get a photograph with her phone through the window.  It is not the best picture but clearly identifies the stranger sitting between the bird bath and a decorative tree stump, in the middle of the picture


A Red-legged Partridge, what it is doing here I do not know?  The attraction can only have been the seed on the ground table, but why it would come here I am completely baffled.

However this is not the first time I have seen one in this area, going back to the first days of the blog, a single bird flew past me as I walked up Reads Field, see here

So maybe its not just the Woodpigeon that are devouring all the seed.

The weather didn't follow the forecast today, and the sun stayed with us allowing me the chance to get out in the afternoon.  As I walked along Lymington Bottom I noticed the Cherry Blossom was out, however  this year it was not covered in Bees as it normally is when I take this picture.


As I turned up Brislands I heard what I had hoped for, at last a migrant, the first singing Chiffchaff.  It was in a Leylandi conifer, and was mixing singing with a search for insects.


I managed to get a little closer.


I heard four singing Chiffchaff on the walk, two in Old Down, and one at the pond.  Spring is here at last.

As I walked to Old Down along Brislands a couple of Skylark were singing over the fields.  In Old Down though once again it was quiet to start.  I walked the diagonal path and stopped at the gate to overlook the field.  There had not been any addition to the Lambs, and those that were with us were growing fast, pestering their mother for milk.


I turned back along the perimeter path, a rustling in the leaves and then movement behind a tree.  I waited and eventually a head popped out.


A Group of three Roe Deer watched me from the new plantation area.  There were two females and a young buck with a set of small antlers.


A Kestrel was calling from the Pines, and as I stood trying to get a good view a Nuthatch called above me.  The Nuthatch proved to be an easy model than the Kestrel, that refused to show.


At this time of year Nuthatch are very visible in the leafless trees, they give themselves away by calling or just the tapping as they search the lichen


I love the way they look twisting the head and pointing their bill skywards.


I walked around the pond, but there was nothing in the water, no sign of any toads or even spawn.  In the trees a Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker called.

I walked down towards Kitwood, and then out across the field and back towards Old Down.  Rooks were feeding together in the middle of the field, but a grey shape caught my eye, and looking closer I could see it was a Stock Dove.  I usually find them about this time of year, this is a first in this field though.


As I approached the wood I changed my mind, I was going to walk the perimeter, but decided instead to take the path to the middle of the wood.  As always when I walk this way I check the conifer in the hope that maybe Morris has returned.  I looked and at first I couldn't see anything, but then I noticed a dumpy shape.  No surely not after all this time, after all the upheaval?

I made my way to get a better look and sure enough there he was, the Tawny Owl.


Great to have him back, and I am convinced its the same bird, lets hope he stays


I made my way back to the path, and round towards the Gradwell entrance.  The Moon was out, and in its first quarter.  At one point it appeared just above the Larch trees


Robins were singing along Brislands, but I was startled by a sudden loud song.  I turned to see the owner in the tree, any guesses?


As I approached home, I could see the Woodpigeons gathering on the wires.  At this time of year love is in the air once more, and little groups of three develop, with two suitors looking to impress the female.


The female was the middle bird, and she flew off leaving the other two to enjoy the sunshine.

That was it, a little more successful today,  Things are beginning to look up, plus an old friend was a welcome find too, he has been with us now for four years.

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