Sunday, 20 September 2015

19th September - Same Tale Every Time

It was a misty start, but gradually the mist lifted, and a watery blue sky started to appear, by 9.00 am the mist was gone, the sky was blue and after all the weather through the week it was a lovely day.

I had the day, and had decided to walk as much of the patch as I could, as I set off I noticed how much the sycamore tree across from the house had changed into autumn colours.



 I walked up Brislands, and then turned into Gradwell, as I walked I counted the number of Robins singing, and from Reads Field to the footpath in Gradwell there were 21 Robins in song.

A Buzzard flew low over the road changing some of the songs to alarm calls


Walking up on to the footpath, there was a calling Bullfinch, and a male flew out of the bushes and away.

 Out over the field a Red Kite drifted away to the south.  As I walked towards the wood there was a loud call from a Rook, and then others appeared calling too.  I then saw a Sparrowhawk fly across the trees, and then dart into the wood pursued by two Rooks.  The calls seemed to bring other Rooks from the field, and they flew into the are where the two birds had chased the Sparrowhawk.



I walked into the wood, and then headed own the main path towards the footpath, I had to step carefully because the path was covered in Dor Beetles.  There were plenty of calls ringing out, with Wrens and Robins the loudest.,  I disturbed a Green Woodpecker that flew off through the trees.

I made my way through the paths, and down to the open area close to the Ash Trees.  A Dunnock sat in the dead branches quite close to me


 A little further on, there was an area of activity, I could hear Blue and Long-tailed Tits, so stood and watched and waited.  There were at least three Marsh Tits feeding on the seeds of a clump of thistles.



At the back of the area there was an elderberry bush, which had plenty of berries on it, and in amongst them was a male Blackcap.



Leaving the birds I walked down to the West End, and looking out across the fields to the woods in the distance.  Some of the trees were already showing signs of autumn, yellow and orange patches standing out amongst the green.



I walked down to the paddocks, and climbed the style.  Looking along the hedge line I saw a bird on the wire fence drop to the ground, as it came back up there was a flash of red.  I had my hopes but wasn't sure, the bird then disappeared, and in its place a Robin.  I walked along the hedge, and kept looking, then on the fence again the bird appeared and this time it showed a bright red tail, yes, a Redstart, just what I had hoped for.  But unfortunately it was off, and flew away from me the tail flashing red as it flew.  I watched as flew ell away from me, and then out of sight.

I waited to see if it would return, but nothing happened.  Nevermind, I had my Redstart, and a migrant at last.

From the paddocks I walked up Andrews Lane.  As usual I checked all the paddocks but the only bird of interest apart from the swallows above me was a Jay in one of the fields.



for a change I walked along the path from the Larch gate, and here I found yet another Marsh Tit, I did though have to look closely as there was the chance of Willow Tit, this being the area where I had last seen one.



At the top of the lane in the sunshine there were plenty of Speckled Woods about, sunning themselves on the leaves.



My walk then took me along Lye Way, the fields and bushes very quiet with very little movement in them.  There were a few Woodpigeon in the fields, and I stopped to scan the field to the south as I always do as this is a good spot for Hare.  As I scanned the field a pair of Woodpigeon flew low over the ground, and then as I watched them a dark shape appeared and flew straight into them, sending a cloud of feathers.  Realising that it must have been a raptor I waited to see what happened.

The Woodpigeon flew off, and then the dark bird broke the skyline and I could what it was, a Peregrine, another year tick.  It flew up spiraling in the sky, gaining height, and then drifting towards me.



As it gained height it drew the attention of the swallows that were moving through.



I watched as it continued to gain height.



And then move away to the north, still with the accompaniment of the Swallows


Elated I walked on, the side of the lane was still covered in the yellow dandelion like flowers.



I walked around the back of Lye Way cottage, and along the bridleway.  On one side was a field with sheep, on the other the hedge which was full of young Goldfinches that were dropping from the branches to bathe in the puddles in the tyre ruts.



In the sheep field there were several Meadow Pipits, and more unseen calling, one or two would perch on the wires crossing the field.



When I turned onto Charlwood I decided to change the route, normally I would walk to the Farm at the bottom of the lane, and then past the barns to the main road.  I felt the best chance of finding birds was along hedges, so I was debating turning around, and then walking back along Lye Way and around the estate and then back through Plain Farm, and across the fields back to Lye Way farm.  This route in the past has not been that good so I was in two minds, but decided to go with my gut, and turned around

It was now mid day, and the sun was quite warm.  The trees still green with leaves along Lye Way.



At the cattle grid I stopped to scan the fields before heading up the hill past Mountains Plantation.  Looking across the field a Buzzard sat on a post in the middle.


As I passed the Oak tree I noticed a spider that was hauling itself up from the ground into the leaf canopy.



There were a few calls by the Yew tree, so I stood and waited.  Then I heard the call of a Firecrest, and one appeared in amongst the trees.



Once again no apologies, more photographs but they were not as confiding as they were on Thursday.



Back into the sunshine, and a male Brimstone flew past me, and settled on the White-dead nettles.



Then what I thought to be a butterfly flew towards me, it was red, and I wondered what it could be.,  As it came closer I could see that it was a Vapourer Moth, it kept flying away from me though.

I made my way to the pond, always a good spot at this time of year, and it didn't disappoint, as soon as I arrived I could see a Chiffchaff by the water hunting for insects



There were at least three birds present moving through the reeds and bushes searching for insects.



I had lunch in the barn, then walked down the main path, stopping for a lovely Red Admiral on a bramble leaf.


The avenue of trees looking quite splendid in the sunshine.



I made my way down past the cottage and across the road and up to Plain Farm.  It was quiet as I passed the grain dryers, and then up the hill past the cattle.  On my right hand side I could hear a call, at first I though a phylosc, but then I realised the call did not change tune, and was more clear.  I scanned the hedge on the other side of the field, then saw movement and another flash of red.  Then up on to a post a lovely male Redstart, this time I could get a picture.



It moved from the post to the field, and then on to the fence, flicking its tail all the time.


Again just what I wanted, and again in the area where I feel is the best for this time of year.

At the barn by the cottage there was a lot of movement, a Whitethroat that was determined to keep hidden, and a couple of Chiffchaffs on the ivy.


As I watched the warblers I could hear Swallows calling around the barn, looking up I could see them settled on the wires, so I walked over to see if I could get some close shots.

They were juvenile birds waiting for the parents to come and feed them, settled on the wire they were preening their feathers.


Sometimes stretching the wings and tail feathers in preparation for a journey that they have no idea about, well we think they don't.


I walked down the lane with Goldfinches and Linnets calling on either side.  On the footpath there were loud rustles in the hedges probably coming from Roe Deer that were settled in there.  At the bottom of the path an orange butterfly flew past me, and settled on the nettle leaves.  It was a Comma the first for awhile, in immaculate condition it must have just emerged.


I climbed the style and turned onto Charlwood, and then took the footpath that crosses the field.  It was now quite hot as I walked across the field, there was little about other than a few Linnets that flew up from the path.


I stopped to styles in on the path for a drink, and as I stood sipping the water, I noticed a Goldfinch fly up, and I expected it to land on the bracken.  I could see a bird on the bracken, and looked closer with the binoculars.  It wasn't a Goldfinch, but the bird I had hoped for here, a male Whinchat.


My hunch had paid off, I thought there might be better chance of finding one here, the fields and hedge being just perfect, and there it was.  I then tried to get closer but as I did so it flew off, so I returned to my back pack and another drink.  As I stood there drinking I noticed that there was a bird back on the bracken, it had come back.  But then another appeared, I looked closer and realised that this was not the Whinchat, but a male Stonechat, and the other bird a female.


Once again I moved to get closer and this time the bird was more confiding, allowing me some lovely views.


The female was not as approachable, and she flew off, but the male stayed for me, even though it did fly off it came back close once again.


I couldn't believe it, I had a feeling this area would deliver, and it was the third time I had walked here, definitely third time lucky.  Two chats that are normally difficult to find, but this was the right time of year, and definitely the right place.

I left the Stonechats and continued on.  As I crossed the last field to pick up Lye Way, I flushed 19 Skylark from the stubble and there were at least 12 Yellowhammer in the hedge.

My walk then took me down to Swelling Hill alongside the field, and a quick check of the pond where there was only a single Moorhen, and two Southern Hawker dragonflies coupled together.  I then made my way through a silent Old Down Wood and out  at the Brislands entrance.  I did stop though at the logs to see how the Dryads Saddle was, and it still looked in good condition.


It was then down Brislands to home.  As I walked I thought about the days events, probably one of the best days for birds I have had since I started seriously working the patch, definitely a day just for the birds!

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