Monday, 26 September 2016

25th September - With Kisses on Cheeks

Yesterday was warm and very breezy, and a very interesting day along the south coast at Keyhaven and Pennigton.  Overnight a cold front moved through and early morning saw a lot of rain.  By 9.00 am though the skies were clearing, the wind was fresh and from the north west, and it felt much cooler.

I decided to have a walk around Plain Farm, but headed there along Lye Way in the hope of maybe some stray migrants.  Unfortunately there were none, so as I parked up and walked up the hill towards the estate I was wondering what the morning would bring.

Walking up the hill plenty of House Martins moving through above me.  As I reached the top of the hill a Red Admiral flew off the Ivy flowers, circled around and then returned to settle again on the leaves.

I walked up to the pond, usually a good site for migrants at this time of year, they like the deep cover and the ability to safely get down to the water.  There were no tell tale calls as I walked up, and the only bird I was able to find was a single Robin, but it was coming down for a drink.

From the pond I headed down the footpath towards the quarry, as I entered into the leaf covered corridor I noticed a strange shape in front of me, the shape then moved slowly and I realised it was a Roe Deer, and for a moment she watched me walk down the path before turning and leaping away through the bracken.

The quarry too was quiet, a flock of Long-tailed Tits flew through but apart from that there was very little about.  I passed through the gate and then up the hill towards Plain Farm.  In the hedges around the farm house a large flock of House Sparrows had gathered, I can only assume this is to take advantage of the grain spilled from the dryers.

Walking through the fields there was little to excite, a Robin sat on one of the fence posts, a Buzzard cruised through and of course there were plenty of Woodpigeon about.  At the cow sheds a pair of Pied Wagtails were chasing each other around the roof.

I expected some activity as I passed the barns, here the ivy and and the elderberry are always a good spot for small migrants as well as the resident birds, but apart from the House Sparrows in the hedge, and Blackbirds foraging at the base of the shrubs there was very little else.

What was a field of maize has now been cut, and here there was a large flock of mostly Linnets and Meadow Pipits.  They were distant but would fly up calling before dropping down out of view in the stubble.  Some would fly up to the wires, and I could see that there was also a few Yellowhammers in amongst them.

I walked on to the bottom of the lane.  In the bushes and trees around the area which has become an old tipping place there was plenty of activity.  All of a sudden there were calls everywhere.  Robins and Dunnocks would appear from the scrub, and in the surrounding Ash trees I could see at least four Chiffchaffs fly catching from the branches in the sunshine.

The dappled sunshine has caught this Chiffchaff, making it look like a White-eye.

Most of the small warblers kept distance but this one actually came closer.

I stood watch, listening and waiting to see if there was anything else present.  Bullfinches called but never appeared, and in the Oak tree on my left a Willow Warbler called, and then immediately chased a butterfly across the path, carefully avoiding the camera.

Calls from behind heralded a large flock of Linnet and Meadow Pipits that flew overhead, circled and then headed back to the stubble field.

It became clear that there were only Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers present along with more typical birds such as Dunnock, Wren and Robin.  As a result I decided to walk back down the lane.  In front of me in the distance I picked up a Red Kite circling above the far fields.  On the wires Linnets gathered to rest after their exertions in the stubble field.

I checked the hedges and the fences and posts once again but nothing else was showing.  I headed down the hill past the farm house and barns.  Ahead of me through the trees I noticed the gamekeepers Cottage on the far side of the road and valley.  It looked quite chocolate box like in the September sunshine.

I made my way back to the car along the road, and as I approached the gates and cattle grid I hear the call of a Raven, and picked up two birds as they crossed the field and then distantly cruised along the top of the trees in the Mountains Plantation.

Back home there was the chance to take this little character out for a walk before lunch.

Once again there were plenty of calling Chiffchaffs about but little else.  On the plentiful Ivy flowers that are now all out I saw a single Small Tortoiseshell, and this Red Admiral

After the overnight rain the sun was now quite warm, and it was a really nice day.  Walking down Gradwell lane the leaves still look a lovely green, I suspect though this will not be for much longer.

So it was back home for a lovely family Sunday lunch.

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