The week has been one of some very heavy rainfall, the one day that was supposed to be clear, Tuesday saw a storm come through in the middle of the afternoon that put paid to my chance of a late afternoon walk. Today though was bright, dry and sunny, a little windy, but from the north west. I took the opportunity to pop out at lunch time, just lately leaving it until the afternoon is risky, as that is when the rain rolls in.
I drove up to the Farm, and parked at the bottom of the hill. As I walked up the hill the herd of young cows that were feeding by the cattle grid started to follow me up the hill. Concious of them behind me, I would turn around, and the cattle would stand still. This went on as I made my way up the hill like a children's playground game.
Braving the approaching cattle, I stopped by the yew trees where there was a lot of movement and a few contact calls. I watched the tops of the trees for the birds to appear. Long-tailed Tits flew out and across the the trees on the far side, then a couple of Chiffchaffs flitted through the leaves. A little lower down a few small birds appeared and I managed to get on them, and could see immediately that they were Firecrests. I counted three birds, one definitely a male, then again higher there were another three but with two Goldcrests.
As I stood watching one bird came into the open.
Not the best, but things got better, the bird was in immaculate plumage.
I pished at it turned to watch me.
Once again no apologies for the quantity, I love these little birds and could watch them and photograph them all day long.
The calls and movement carried on, and reluctantly because I was restricted by time I turned and left them, and headed up the hill to the pond. Here there were two Chaffinches in the hedge, but above there were three mewing Buzzards and this lone Raven.
I thought at one point the Raven was going to mob the buzzards but it kept well away in the end, and they all went their separate ways.
There was a steady trickle of Swallows heading south as I walked down towards the Quarry. I was also disturbing Speckled Wood butterflies from the damp grass, they would fly up into the bushes.
As I walked down the hill past the Quarry there were more Long-tailed Tits calling, but they were constantly moving through the trees. I crossed the road and headed up the hill to Plain Farm. There were a lot of nettles by the hedge, and I watched more Speckled Woods, but then caught sight of this large cricket.
It hopped through the grass, coming out into the open, where I could see it was a Dark Bush Cricket.
There was a large flock of House Sparrows drinking in a puddle by the dryers, as I approached they flew into the hedge. There was also a Robin singing, but every so often it would pause and you would see two birds chasing each other. A little close and I was able to see the singing bird chasing off a rival for its territory, the dominant Robin always being the one that is at the highest position.
Having seen off the rival it returned to the task of letting every one know this was its territory.
I walked up the hill towards the workshops. On either side of the lane were white butterflies, but as I got closer I could see that one butterfly was actually two, these two Small Woods engaged together.
It was relatively quiet as I walked along the lane past the barn. The odd Goldfinch could be seen on the wires, and a single Whitethroat flew in front of me, and quickly disappeared in the hedge. The Swallows continued to move south , while there were also several Meadow Pipits about flying low into the fields.
Along the footpath track there were more Chiffchaffs and a foraging Grey Squirrel, and more swallows flew overhead still heading south. At the bottom of the path there were two Red Admirals on the grass in the sunshine, probably pleased the sun had returned after all the rain we have had.
The walk along Charlwood, and past the houses was quiet, a Yellowhammer on the wires, and a Chaffinch and Great Tit around the gardens. I turned on to Lye Way to walk back to the car, not expecting much else. A little way along the road I heard a call, I assumed it was a Pied Wagtail, but then realised it wasn't a Pied Wagtail calling. I then saw a yellow bird fly up from the field, and fortunately onto the wire running alongside the road.
Having seen one in January, and not expecting to see one again for awhile, I was extremely surprised to see this was a Grey Wagtail, probably a juvenile bird. Fortunately it stayed in place for a better picture.
As it stood there tail pumping away in that characteristic fashion, I couldn't help wondering what it was doing a many miles away from any significant water, I wasn't complaining though.
I carried on after the wagtail had flown off, passing more calling Long-tailed Tits, and then down the hill to the car. It was nice to get some fresh air, and in the sunshine, everything felt quite clean after the storm, and for a short walk it delivered once again some quality birds.