Sunday, 21 August 2016

21st August - Lets Go Dancin' In The Light

After the warmth and sunshine of the week, the seasons suddenly changed on Friday with heavy rain almost all day, and then strong winds and gales with storm like showers Saturday.  This morning there was rain early, but this cleared, and slowly the skies cleared to give an afternoon of sunny spells, but still with a fresh wind.

The garden remains busy, with the feeders continuing to be emptied at a fair rate.  The Nuthatch and Siskins are still about along with the usual Tits Robins and Blackbirds.  Unfortunately Scruffy seems to be suffering again, the feathers even after moult showing signs of wear once again, it is very sad to see him like this.

There was then a certain amount of uncertainty about what I would find as I walked up the hill towards the the Rotherfield Estate early this afternoon.  The walk up the hill was almost in silence, with only the odd contact call from the yew trees.  I made my way to the pond where there was nothing about, and then around to the barn and down the main path. 

In front of me a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly fought the fresh wind to land on the grass in the middle of the path.

As I walked around the clump of bramble another flew up and away from me.  I crossed the main path once again, and disturbed a very pale butterfly.  I waited for it to settle, and to get a better look.  When it did I could see that it was a very, very pale Meadow Brown.

I walked on to the quarry, then across the road and up the path past the Plain Farmhouse and grain barns.  Coming up the hill into the fields the cows were feeding in the field, silhouetting against the sun lit sky.

At the cottages at the side of the lane is full of seeding plants, and consequently there were lots of birds feeding on them.  They were also taking advantage of the dust in the lanes to bathe in.  Here House Sparrows and a Yellowhammer

In amongst the seeding Cowparsley were juvenile Goldfinches.

Taking the chance to preen the new feathers.

With Goldfinches, Yellowhammers and House Sparrows it only needed Linnets to complete the set, and one appeared on the wires above me, a good sign that leaving these plants to seed and not cutting them down benefits these seed eating birds.

I walked on, and made my way to the footpath just past the cottages at the end of the lane.  The path was sheltered from the wind, and almost immediately, with the sun out there were butterflies about.  Several Speckled Woods.

A lovely Green-veined White, that are probably over looked as just a "Cabbage White", but have a very delicate appearance.

And finally one of the butterflies referred to as a "Cabbage White", a Small White.

At the end of the path I walked through to view the field.  It had been harvested, and was now being ploughed.  I saw one Buzzard fly across the field, then heard to calls of several others.  Then they started to appear for the field, calling and chasing each other.  I counted at least five, and there may have been at last three juveniles.  They continued to chase each other around with the mewing constant.

The field where the butterflies had been in July was still there and with most of the flowers gone to seed.  I decided not to walk through, so turned and made my way towards Charlwood.  Unusually for here, a dragonfly flew past me, and fortunately stopped in a tree.  It was a Southern Hawker.

Walking along Charlwood, the field to the west and over towards Ropley had just been cut, and the straw lay on the ground, turning it a lovely golden brown.

Reaching the horse paddocks the skies were full of Swallows, adults and juveniles flying around calling, and performing acrobatics in the wind.

They would hang above me, as if practicing and exercising their flight skills, to prepare for the long journey they will undertake soon.

The juveniles can easily be picked out by the lack of tail streamers, although the adults by now may be worn.

The air had been full of seeds being blown by the wind.  The reason for this is the predominance of a pink flower in the hedgerows and along the lanes.  This is the Rosebay Willowherb, a tall flower with spikes of pink flowers.

As I approached the car I could see a shape in the nearby field that looked familiar, as I go t a little closer it was clear it was a Brown Hare that was enjoying the sunshine.

Then it realised i was watching it, and it became more alert.

I drove along Lye Way just to see what may be about.  Just past the farm the field has recently been ploughed and was full of Rooks.

The Rooks were also joined by at least five species of gulls.  I could see Black-headed, Common and a single Herring Gull, and Great Black-backed, and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

I then made my way home.  The skies were becoming overcast once again, and while there were some items of interest, it was quite quiet, as is usually the case at harvest time.  Hopefully as the fields are ploughed and left they may become an attraction to migrants moving through.

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