I had the chamce to pop out at lunchtime, and headed up to the pond. It was going to be a quick walk around Old Down, but first I checked the Periwinkle Bank where there was a single Speckled Wood sitting on a bracken frond.
As I headed into Old Down, a Comma flew up from the brambles, some of the berries are now rotting away, making them a big attraction for the butterflies.
A little further on another insect was interested in the bramble bushes, and was inspecting the leaves under the fruit in search of small insects. This was a Hornet, and it settled on one of the leaves.
Then turned to face me as it wiped its eyes.
The walk around the wood was uneventful, very little bird song, just distant Goldcrests calling and every so often the song of a Robin punctuated wth the call of a Wren. There were at least six Speckled Wood butterflies, and a Large White.
I came out of the wood, and instead of crossing the field walked around the outside, and made my way back to the Old Down Cottage entrance. From there it was back to the pond, where I was pleased to see several dragonflies cruising over the lily pads. There were at least two Southern Hawkers.
They were cruising close to the bank of the pond, and hovering over the water.
Giving the chance to get some very close views.
Every so often a small red dragonfly would fly close, probably a Common Darter, and the Hawker would chase it off.
Out over the lily pads there were at least three pairs of Common Darters that were coupled and ovipositing over the water.
Just before I left, a male Brimstone flew into the bank and sat in the sun.
I then made my way back home, and decided that late in the afternoon I would walk around the estate and farm.
The wind had been increasing all day, and by the late afternoon it was a brisk breeze from the north east, it was though still sunny, but with a lot of high cirrus cloud. I parked at the bottom of the Mountains Plantation and walked up the hill. I could hear Firecrests calling from the yew trees, but I didn't stop to try and see them. As I came out into the open there was a steady trickle of Swallows moving east.
I walked up to the pond, there has been an influx of Yellow-browed Warblers over the last few days, and they can be found associating with the commoner warblers. The pond is an excellent autumn spot for both Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers, and as I walked up I could hear the calls of Chiffchaffs.
I could see them moving through the ivy that was now in full flower, and attracting the insects that the warblers were feeding on.
As well as the warblers there were also a few Blue Tits and Chaffinches.
There were plenty of berries on the Elderberry bushes, and these were also an attraction to the Chiffchaffs.
Showing well as they came out into the open.
Not actually taking the berries put picking off the insects below them.
I headed down to the quarry where there were at least another two Chiffchaffs. Blackbirds were also busy gorging on the sloe berries. I headed across the road, and then up the hill past the barns and up towards the workshops. A sand mound in the middle of the field turned into a Brown Hare lying close to the ground in the grass.
I could hear the calls of Chiffchaffs all around me, and on the roof of the barns were two Pied Wagtails. I stopped at the cottages to watch the ivy for awhile, but nothing appeared, although there were plenty of warblers calling.
I decided to walk close the hedge instead of the road, the area has been cut with high vegetation on either side. The Orb spiders had strung webs across the path, in the same way that mist nets are hung to catch birds for ringing. This Spider was on show as I walked past.
I checked the fields, and flushed another Brown Hare that ran away from me as I raised the camera.
I then walked to Charlwood, and then along the lane, the only bird of note was a Kestrel that flew off one of the telegraph poles. It was now very windy, and the only birds flying were Woodpigeons. As I reached the wooded area I could hear Long-tailed Tits. I stopped and listened and found Great and Blue Tits and a pair of Nuthatches as well as the Long-tailed Tits.
Back at the car I stood and watched the fields, the sun was now dropping, and you could sense it getting cold. A Buzzard flew across the fields, and then across the tree tops aginstr the glowing sky.
I took a hopeful drive back, but with nothing being found. The wind was clearly playing a part in the lack of birds today. Lets hope that over the next few days the wind eases and the movement occurring on the east coasts makes its way south east and through the southern counties. Indian summers are wonderful, but sometimes too nice for the wildlife.