I can only assume it is the cold conditions we have had that is keeping the number of moths caught down. This morning there were literally two moths in the trap. Fortunately these were two different species, but i would be expecting more at this time of year.
First was a Brimstone Moth.
And its partner was a Muslim Moth, or a John Snow Moth as it looks like a character from Game of Thrones
A male House Sparrow was chirping away at the apex of the house next door. Beneath it was a House Martin nest, and it looks like the House Sparrows have moved in, serve the House Martins right for turning up late this year.
I set off after breakfast heading for Old Down. Along Brislands two Song Thrushes were singing, hidden away in the middle of the trees. A Nuthatch also frustrated me as it moved through a tree hiding behind the branches.
Brislands Lane is now looking splendid with the Cow Parsley in flower on both sides of the road.
As I came out from beneath the tree canopy and into the open fields a Buzzard flew up from the field, and headed off back into the trees.
I could hear both Yellowhammer and Skylark singing as I walked the lane, but I wasn't able to see them. There was though no sign of any Whitethroats, it would seem that they have chosen not to nest along the lane this year.
As I entered the wood yet another Song Thrush was singing in the tree by the entrance, and along the lane Wrens and Great Tits zipped about.
I stopped to listen to Blue Tits calling in an Oak tree, thinking maybe there would be young birds too. As I watched the sky a dark shape appeared in the sky above me. It was moving fast, and the wings were drawn in close to the body. It was a Peregrine and was heading across to the wood. I broke through the trees and out into the open to see loads of Woodpigeons burst from the top of the trees, and the fast moving black dot disappear. A brief but spectacular view of the master predator.
Having given up on the Blue Tits I carried along the path. The Bluebells are beginning now to fade, but in places they still manage to impress. Another feature of the cleared trees is the fact that grass has grown up quite tall, and provides a softening effect to the wood floor, where once the bluebells had died back could look quite harsh.
The canopy is beginning to close with the leaves now coming out. The greens are mixed with the copper leaves.
Just like on Friday the Wrens were very local. This individual sang on one side of the ride, then crossed to this Hazel tree and bellowed at me once again.
After singing it sat still and allowed me to approach a little closer, watching me as I did so.
Then suddenly it was off, joined by another wren, they flew close together into a pile of branches, I wasn't sure if this was the female he had been singing for, and was off to show her the nest, or if it was a rival male it wanted to chase off.
I left the Wrens to it and walked towards the Kitwood path entrance. Ahead of me I suddenly saw a Stoat dash across the path in front of me. It was shame it didn't stop, but it did draw my attention to the lovely scene looking towards the stile.
The forestry work has definitely changes the complexion of the wood, and right now I can only think for the better.
I searched for the owlets, but was unable to find either them of the adults. After awhile I gave up, and walked the perimeter path to the Old Down entrance. As I reached the end of the path I flushed a Tawny Owl. I have not seen one here before, although I have heard them calling from by the cottage.
I walked around to the pond. I had hoped for some Damselflies, but there was nothing about, not even butterflies. All I could find was a long black train of tadpoles at the surface of the pond.
The pond was empty I could not find the Coot, the Mallard or the Moorhen family. A pair of Swallows hawked over the water, and Carp lept out of the water after the same insects as the Swallows
The sun was now warming things up, and I headed back to the wood. On the way I could hear a strange call, at first I thought it might be young in a hole, but it didn't seem right. Finally I managed to locate the call to the trees alongside the field, and stood under the calling bird. I waited and finally I saw movement, then I could make out the bird. The excitement then drained completely when I realised I had been fooled once again by a Great Tit.
In the wood the sunshine had brought out the butterflies. A female Orange Tip avoided me, as did Peacock, but this Green-veined White showed well. The first brood lacks the spot on the upper forewing.
A bee flying close to me presented another challenge, and I reverted to manual focus. Quite please with this, but I have no idea what the bee is.
Another Green-veined appeared and this time posed nicely amongst the Field Mouse Ear.
A Blue Tit was busy above me, and as I watched it flew across me,and into a hole in a tree. I waited and it came out, squeezing through the hole.
Then off to continue the never ending search for the ever hungry beaks inside.
I turned down the main path, the sun lighting up the bramble. Another Green-veined White taking the chance to warm up
I turned down the diagonal path, hopeful that maybe the dead wood there would attract some more butterflies and insects, but there was nothing. A Chiffchaff sang in a birch tree. Have you ever wondered how a Chiffchaff manages to keep that monotonous song going? Well if you listen to this you will find out that after the "chiff chaffs" finish it get wound up!
The Great tits too appear to have hungry mouths to feed, I watched this Great tit go in, and then very quickly come out again. Nearby another great Tit was singing "teacher", I would have thought it needed to save it's energy
As I came out of the wood another white butterfly drifted past me and settled on a Dandelion, this was a Large White, look closely and you can just see the two white spots on the upper wing.
Back home while processing the photographs a Blackbird was getting upset in the Rowan tree outside my office. I looked and there was a Jay sitting in the tree. Fortunately I had the camera handy and was able to get some nice close shots of this beautiful member of the crow family.
The Blackbird did not think so and saw the Jay off.
Could be an interesting week ahead, hopefully some of the more elusive species will make themselves available.