The garden has been very quiet all week, this is as a result of taking in the feeders due to the birds being sick. The Robin is still about, but still no sign of our Blackbird, I am afraid we have to assume he has gone, maybe away, or maybe just gone. It is sad, but we like to think he was looked after over the last year.
Out and about this week there have been Swallows around the fields, and House Martins around the houses in Reads Field. In the trees the calls of Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers have been regular but with few actual sightings
I drove up to the pond, at this time of year when the sun comes out there is quite a show of dragonflies around the pond. Out on the water were a pair of Moorhen, and on the far bank the Mallard numbers had increased by one.
As I scanned the edge of the pond, I realised that the mallard numbers had in fact doubled as there were two more hiding in the iris bed.
There were dragonflies about, Common Darters coming over the water and onto the bank where they would settle on the grass.
They are commonly seen warming up on seats and boardwalks, taking advantage of the heat generated by the wood. This one though was settled on a fallen leaf.
I decided to walk along the footpath that runs close to the field all the way up to Lye WAy. The sun aspect was very good and with the ivy now flowering there was chance of butterflies and maybe some warblers. As I walked I could hear Chiffchaffs calling, and even breaking out into song in places.
One or two butterflies passed me, from the size I assume these were Red Admirals. I reached some tall oaks and ash trees that were covered in ivy. Butterflies were visible at the top of the trees, settling on the leaves and taking in the warmth of the sunshine. I picked out a Comma.
And a Speckled Wood.
The Red Admirals were the most numerous, with about 5 seen around the ivy.
They stayed at the top of the tree though, never coming down closer.
Chiffchaffs would appear and fly through the branches, they were also singing and calling, but never settled in view for an acceptable photograph, this was the best.
The warm weather was not just bringing out the butterflies, a Hornet was attracted to the hawthorn berries.
As I looked up at the ivy hoping that the chiffchaffs might appear I noticed a falcon overhead. From the shape it was clearly a Hobby, and flew slowly over my head.
This was the first of the year, and while they have been seen almost every year on passage in the spring and autumn, I have never been able to get a good picture, today was different.
The sun didn't help in this case, the Hobby flying into it, and making it impossible to track as it headed off towards Ropley.
Satisfied at last with a good bird, I walked on towards Lyeway. Here I walked around to the fields where there was a good collection of gulls feeding in the recently ploughed field.
There were Black-headed Gulls, Herring and Common Gulls of varying ages, and a solitary Lesser Black-backed Gull.
I scanned for any chance of Wheatear, but other than a single Meadow Pipit there was nothing about.
I walked through the farm, and then along Lye Way towards Kitwood. A Juvenile Kestrel came out of the line of trees along the bridleway, and flew off towards the south.
Again flying through the sun!
I turned towards the pond, where I was hoping I could spend some more time trying to photographing the dragonflies in flight. The Common Darters had been joined now with two Southern Hawkers. They fly alongside the edge of the pond, and patrol a territory, darting to chase off anything that came into the area.
The darters were still about, and one pair were coupled. The hawker was not happy with them being close and there would be battles as the hawker chased them off, and the darters fought back.
The Darters tended to spend their time further out over the water, and with the Hawkers about could not be seen settling on the grass on the bank.
Back home there was a Small Tortoiseshell on the very sparse buddleia flowers, and a Comma on one of the flower head spikes of the Scabious.
I have been sparse in my walks locally, mainly due to the lack of interest, but as is always the case it just takes one event to reignite the interest, and today the arrival of a Hobby has started that process, lets hope that there are a few more through to the end of October.