November has been a very strange month so far, with the weather behaving as if it was spring. But while the temperatures have been high it has either been wet, windy or misty, not very conducive to getting out and about in the open. It is not just the UK where thios strange weather has been evident, I was in Bavaria this week, and there afternoon temperatures were around twenty degrees, but with the added bonus of blue skies and a lovely warm sun.
This morning saw clear blue skis and quite a breeze, the tail end of The Storm Abigail, our first named storm that has hit the north west of the country, but as the morning drew on the clouds rolled in and we had some quite fierce showers. Checking the weather radar I decided I had about an hours window of opportunity at lunchtime so I decided to head up to the pond, and have a brisk walk around Old Down.
First though a walk around the pond where there were no Mallard, or Moorhen, but on the sunny bank the Periwinkle were in flower, something that you only see here in the spring.
The pond water was calm, providing reflections of the surrounding trees with a scattering of fallen leaves.
As I walked into the wood something fluttered past me, at first I thought it was just yet another leaf, but as I watched the leaf flew under control and settled in the sun on a large dried leaf. It was a Comma butterfly, not my latest sighting, they are seen in November, but my first for a while, and yet another indicator of the unusually mild weather were are having.
The wind was now quite strong, and was blowing the trees about as I entered the wood. I quickly realised that it was going to be nigh on impossible to see or hear any small birds in the trees, so I decided to focus on the lovely colours once more.
The Beech trees at the crossroads look wonderful.
I walked around the main paths, hearing a Green Woodpecker above the wind, and flushing from the path a Buzzard. In more sheltered spots I could hear Long-tailed Tits and Goldcrests but never managed to find them.
I walked around the south perimeter in the hope of maybe finding some fungi, but these also seem to be in short supply this year.
Back at the crossroads I was struck by how lovely the golden Beech leaves look in the sunshine, true Gold Leaf.
I walked along the Kitwood path, and then the north perimeter. In times when it is so quiet I look for little bits of inspiration, and came across this image of the moss on the trunk of a fallen birch tree, lit up by the sunshine and highlighted by the darkness of the area..
As I came out of the wood I could hear Mistle Thrushes calling from the trees around Old Down Cottage. I watched them as they flew away across the field, then decided to try and get a better look at some finches that were also in the field. The finches flew off, but as they did some larger birds flew out of the trees as well. One or two settled a short distance away, and I was pleased to see that they were my first Four Marks Fieldfares of the season.
It is amazing how these large and quite brightly coloured thrushes can completely disappear into the leafless trees and as I watched they just seemed to appear, I counted about 30 birds in the trees, some though did show well.
Finally coming out into the sun lit areas to show what a handsome bird they are.
As well as the Fieldfare I could also hear Pied Wagtails calling, and I finally managed to find two birds on the thatched roof of the cottage.
The window was closing, and the skies were darkening from the west so I decided to head back to the car. As I walked towards the pond, the red berries that have now ripened on the Holly trees was a reminder of the season we are now in despite the mild conditions, Christmas is just around the corner, as we near the end of yet another fascinating year.