Wednesday, 20 May 2015

19th May - Everybody's Gonna Get their Fill

The morning started sunny and with plenty of blue sky, but by the time the afternoon arrived the clouds rolled in and the forecast showers arrived, along with a very stiff north westerly wind.  Not the best conditions for an evening walk but I decided to go anyway.  As I set off there were dark clouds all around, and I had just come through a heavy shower in Farnham on the way home.  I was hopeful though it would stay dry and the clouds would zip away to the east.

Along Brislands a Song Thrush was singing loudly, and in the oak trees the contact calls of Blue Tits could be heard, but I could not see any fledglings, I think that the calls were adults hunting for caterpillars amongst the leaves.

I managed to get a good view of one Blue Tit that is beginning to look a little worse for wear as it brings up and feeds to youngsters.

At the junction with Gradwell another Song Thrush was singing, at first from the centre of a tree, but then it flew out and for once perched in the open on a wire from where it continued to sing with an incredible amount of enthusiasm.

I continued down Brislands with Skylark and Yellowhammer songs coming form both sides.  At the entrance to Old Down a Chaffinch was singing as if guarding the entrance.

I wanted to see if I could find any more Deer, so walked down the middle of the wood along the new track towards the West End.  A doe Roe Deer appeared in the hairy grass and just stood looking at me.

I walked towards her and she stood her ground, always a good sign that she is reluctant to leave the area, and I decided to search the grass.  She moved away a little further, continuing to watch me closely.

I couldn't find anything, and looking behind me I watched as she raced off away, probably signalling that there wasn't anything worth looking for.

I continued on down the path.  In the clearing Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps sang, and every so often a Wren would rattle out a song letting you know they were there too.  I turned back up the path.  Ahead of me the skies were still looking threatening despite the sunshine.

As I turned off the main path onto the perimeter alarm calls rang out and a male Kestrel glided through the and out into the open field.  I scanned across the field but couldn't find him, all I could see was the distant trees that were making up a lovely view.

The Kestrel's mate was till sitting tight in the nest box.

I came out onto the main path, and headed back towards the centre of the wood.  A pair of Nuthatches were busy by the large beech tree, and it seemed as if they were collecting food and possible had a nest in the tree.  I managed to find what could have been a suitable hole, but the birds never returned so I am not sure if it was a nest hole or not.

Last night I had a lot of difficulty in locating the Blue Tit nest hole I had found on Sunday, it being that little bit later the birds were not feeding.  This evening it was a little earlier and a Blue Tit flew up to the hole as I walked up to it.

It checked all was clear before entering.

Once happy in it went

After a few seconds it appeared at the hole form the inside, checked again all was safe.

And then was off to search for more food.

I stood watching them for about ten minutes and in that time there was a bird going into the hole nine times, they must have amazing energy, and they do have an incredible commitment.

Leaving the Blue Tits I walked around the corner and saw a Coal Tit fly from a broken tree stump.  When I managed to get on it it was searching the nearby leaves and already had a beak full of small insects.

It then flew closer to the stump, and was joined by another Coal Tit.  Both seemed a little wary, both were carrying food and one was flicking its wings as if in agitation.  Realising it was probably because of me, I backed away and took some cover.  The Tits continued to hold their ground, but were also still collecting insects.  They were then joined by what I thought was another, and considered that maybe there was a fledgling out.  It turned out the third bird was in fact a Chiffchaff, it was probably attracted by the Coal Tits activity searching for food.

The Chiffchaff moved away, and finally the Coal Tits felt comfortable enough to go to the nest, which to my surprise was at the base of the stump close to the ground.  I kept my distance and watch both birds go in and come out again.

My next stop was to be the area around where we had seen the owl last night, but once again the search was fruitless, and I made my way around to the great Tits nest, but this too was quiet, with no sign of any Great Tits, just this Chiffchaff feeding in the Oak tree lease, it has been a busy night for the Chiffchaffs.

I headed out of the wood, and across the field.  Swallows were skimming the field in the very stiff wind.  Away to the west the clouds were looking extremely threatening, so I quickened my pace to get home before the rain came.  I didn't quite make it, the rain starting as I turned up Lymington Rise.

We are now beginning to see the start of the doldrum days as we move towards the end of May.  Unfortunately the weather has been very cool and this has suppressed the rise of the summer insects to add some alternative interest.  The forecast for the coming week is encouraging, but still not what I would call late May temperatures

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