Yesterday I spent the morning at RSPB Arne, and the afternoon watching Ring Ouzels in the New Forest. The weather was showery yesterday, but this morning it daned clear and bright, and as I set off in lovely sunshine the hope was that maybe the many Ring Ouzels that have come through the county over the last few days could be feeding on the berries around Four Marks. My thoughts were encouraged as I heard the first Redwing of the autumn call overhead.
Coming down Lymington Rise I noticed a pair of Goldfinches feeding at the top of the birch tree.
The feeders have had to come in again in my garden, I just can't seem to get rid of the diseases, and sick birds can still be seen. I suppose if other feeders are still out locally the birds will just transmit the disease there, when feeding away from my garden. Maybe we need some cold frosts to kill off the virus.
As I turned into Brislands a Skylark flew over calling, and in the conifers I could hear Goldcrests.
The Roe Deer pair have been around all week in the same field, and this morning theey were once again lying down in the sunshine dozing.
Along Gradwell a Chiffchaff called, and crossing the field towards Old Down saw several Meadow Pipits calling in the field. I stopped to check the hedges. The hawthorn are covered in berries, but there were no birds at all, not even any Blackbirds feeding on them..
I crossed the field, and overhead a Red Kite flew over being mobbed by a single Rook.
The Kite simply gained height and the Rook gave up, the Kite drifting away towards Kitwood.
It was very quiet in the woods, I took the perimeter path hoping to find some fungi, or to see birds on the berries but neither appeared. I turned back towards the main path, and tyhen at the crossroads back towards Swelling Hill. A pair of Nuthatches were calling in the oak trees.
These birds are highly territorial ,and as one flew away the other chased after it to make sure it got the message.
Chiffchaffs were calling and I could see them flycatching and buzzing through the oak leaves above me. There was movement everywhere, a Great Tit appeared and then a Wren high up in the Oak. I thought it had come closer but the Wren had changed into a Coal Tit
There were at least six Chiffchaffs and I began to hope for maybe a Yellow-browed, again they seem to have been all over the south coast this weekend. The Chiffchaffs appeared closer, and I was able to get some good views
But unfortunately there was no sign of anything different, just some nice views of the Chiffchaffs.
The small birds then moved through, and I headed off towards the pond. Again I hunted the bushes and scrub, plus the area of damp ground in the hope of some more warblers. They were there but once again only Chiffchaffs.
In the far corner sleeping amongst the lilies were a pair of Mallard, it is about now that the numbers start to build up, and it will be interesting to see how many gather this year.
There was a few fishermen around the pond, and there was no sign of any dragonflies. I walked on towards Kitwood, as I reached the bend I heard a Crow call, and looked up to see it chasing a Sparrowhawk. Both birds were very distant. IOn the hedge there were more Chiffchaffs calling, along with Blue and Great Tits and a pair of Chaffinches.
I walked the path down through Homestead Farm, the path is fringed with hawthorn bushes and they were covered in berries, would this be where the thrushes were? Unfortunately again, no it was empty other than for a single calling Chiffchaff, and above me a Buzzard.
It was one of three circling above me.
Closer to the farm I heard a Bullfinch calling, the female appeared and promptly disappeared again, the male though sat nicely for me in the sunshine.
I crossed the road and headed up hill towards the garden centre, again, plenty of bushes and berries but no birds.
From the garden centre I walked through the field to Blackberry Lane, once more Chiffchaffs called but that was all. The hedges at the bottom of the valley are normally the first polace I find the winter thrushes, bu again there was nothing about,m well not actually nothing there was this Great Tit. Interestingly it kept extending its head, as if to show of the yellow breast and black band to someone.
As I made my way home another Buzzard drifted over, and I also had a quick glimpse of a Brimstone butterfly as it came over the fence and away from me. Unfortunately none of the special birds that seem to be all over the county but not here in Four Marks. It seems to be the way October goes around here.