Saturday, 3 October 2015

3rd October - The Lights Don't Shine No More

More cloud about today, and it was a little misty too.  The area around the estate and Plain Farm seemed to me to be the best place to walk today, the hedges and open area being attractive I hoped for migrants passing through.

As I got out of the car at the bottom of the Mountains Plantation there were Chiffchaffs calling from the bushes.  They were difficult to see though as they either kept low in the bush, or made dashes between them very quickly.  As well as the Chiffchaffs there were Goldcrests calling as well.

There was a mist about, and the dew was highlighting the spider webs on the remains of the cow parsley.

Leaving the warblers to call from within the bushes I walked up the hill, looking out across the fields towards Plain Farm the mist was hanging just above distant trees.

I stopped at the cattle grid and listened to the bird calls, there were Goldcrests, and in amongst them a faint call from a Firecrest.  I waited to see if either would show but all I could see was distant movement.  I decided to head on to the pond, and as I walked along the path a Great Spotted Woodpecker called.  I could just make it out on a very distant conifer, once again at the the top of the tree.

At the pond there was no movement for once, but in the arboretum alongside the pond a Chiffchaff called.  I decided to walk along the main path towards the estate park, as I did so I heard a familiar chipping call above me, and watched four Crossbills fly overhead in a westerly direction.

Walking on another Great Spotted Woodpecker called, and true to form I found it at the top of a conifer, but this time the weight of the bird was bending the branch.

Jackdaws were swirling over the house, calling as they did so, and I could hear the call of a distant Raven.  At the avenue the beech trees are just beginning to change, buit the green leaves are dominant.

Under one of the trees there was  quite a bit of bird droppings, and on a closer look I also found several pellets, some of which were slightly falling apart showing several small bones of a small rodent.

I walked down past the Keepers Cottages where there was a Marsh Tit, and several Long-tailed Tits.  Then I walked down the hill and crossed to walk up to the barns at Plain Farm.  In the stand of Poplars in front o the barns there were several warblers calling and flitting about in the branches.  At first I thought there might be a Willow Warbler amongst the Chiffchaffs, one looked very bright as it preened in the branches.

But then when it dropped on to the wires close to the tree I could see the dark legs and then as it turned the short wings that the Chiffchaff has.

At the dryers there was a large flock of House Sparrows, and overhead a Pied Wagtail called.  As I walked up the hill a reddish bird dropped on to the path, at first I thought it as a Robin, but as it flew up to the Bramble I instantly saw it was a Stonechat, a male.  As I watched it flew to the fence, but the remains of the Cow Parsley made focusing very difficult.

The bird then flew off, and I found what I thought to be it back on the fence wire, however this one was a female.

There were in fact a pair present, and briefly both appeared on the wire together

I tried to get a better view of the male, but it kept on flying ahead of me as I raised the camera.  In the end it flew off past the workshops, the female though did behave and allowed me to get close before she flew off to join the male.

Great to have another sighting of Stonechat, and yet again a pair, I wonder if they were the same pair that was ion Charlwood, possible but probably unlikely.

I carried on up past the cottages where there unusually there were no calling birds.  I stopped to scan the fields, and a flock of approximately 50 Meadow Pipits flew over along with 18 Skylarks.  One Skylark could be heard singing away in the distance.

Looking along the edge of the field I found two Brown Hare, one ran off while this one sat by the edge of the field.

As I turned to head back to the road a Chiffchaff flew up on to the wire alongside a Yellowhammer.

There were several Woodpigeon sitting on the wire, but amongst them was a different shape, this belonged to a Kestrel, and as usual I did the "take a picture, walk on, take a picture" routine, and ended up with this.

Then as I got too close it flew off.

I walked down the footpath towards Charlwood, in the fields two Pheasants were squaring up to each other, one decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and turned away leaving one on its own.

In the hedgerow a pair of Bullfinches teased me by calling and the flying just ahead of me, quickly disappearing into the thicker vegetation.

Heading along Charlwood, a Mistle Thrush flew across me, and then up into the trees.  It was a reminder that soon we will be seeing the winter thrushes arriving.

As I approached Lye Way the Sycamore trees were showing a lot of colour.  It would seem this year that the trees are changing a lot earlier than the past few years, its possible we could have the best of the colour in October this year.

At the junction with Lye Way there is a small pond, and plenty of Ivy on the trees, a good spot for warblers, and as I walked up to the pond I could see the movement in the ivy, and then one warbler appeared.  It was quite bright, but I was thinking more Chiffchaff.

As I watched it, the bird turned and finally showed more of its body, and most importantly its legs.The legs were pale, and the wings longer than those I had seen of the Chiffchaff earlier.

At last a confirmed Willow Warbler, and with tha it disappeared into the ivy, appearing briefly to catch flys in the ivy flowers.

I walked on towards the car.  Once again there were calling Long-tailed Tits but I didn't stop to watch them, I headed down the hill back to the car.  A calling Buzzard flew out of the tree by the car, and as it flew low across the field it continued to call, and then up into a tree, where it still called.  From this I assume it was a juvenile bird.

I watched and waited to see if an adult appeared but there was no sign of any.  So I set off back home, driving along Lye Way past the sheep and the farm but apart form a large flock of Jackdaws it was very quiet.  On notable observation today was that there were no hirundines seen at all.  

The weather is due to break on Monday, it will be interesting to see what this brings, I could do with a Lapwing!

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