Friday, 21 April 2017

20th April - Just You And I And Nature

A slight change in the weather today, more cloud, and maybe a little warmer, but with the overcast conditions it maybe didn't feel so much.  When I got home this evening I debated whether to go out, but finally the lure was far too much.  There were breaks in the cloud and it looked like these might become wider allowing some evening sunshine.  I drove to the pond and set off from there, my route was going to be through the wood, and then out across the paddocks to Andrew Lane, then back down Lyeway Road.

 Walking through Old Down the Chiffchaffs were singing again, and away under the Larches there was a single Blackcap in the song.  I turned to the west at the crossroads, and then took one of the man made tracks through the Bluebells.  In flower amongst the bluebells were the first Ransome's of the year.



The main event though were the Bluebells, here a ring of Bluebells around a wonderful old Beech tree.


With the overcast conditions the bluebells seem to come into their own, no dappled sunshine to to change the hue, the emphasis under cloud is the intensity of the iridescence colour in the flowers.


There is still plenty of time to enjoy the spectacular, and more than enough time for probably many more photographs.


Walking down through the paddocks I noticed a lone cow well away from the others lying down, not usual, but then I saw why.  Lying beside her was what looked like a newly born calf.


Mum clearly very proud.


A little further on I could see on the far side of the field another cow and calf, this time it looked as if they were an even younger family.


I crossed the road and headed up Andrew Lane.  With Swallows at both Charlwood and Gradwell, I was surprised not to see any around the stables at Andross Farm.   Heading up the lane several Blackbirds were singing in the hedge and trees.


I checked all the open paddocks, and fields, there was plenty of rabbit activity, but no sign of any migrants.  Blue and Great Tits sang from the trees, the new leaves being a source of caterpillars for them at this time of year.

I stopped at every viewing point to check the fields and the hedges.  A male Orange Tip surprised me, not expecting to see one on the wing in the conditions.  Of course it didn't stop.  There was very little else about, but I was then surprised to see this yellow head appear from the long grass.


At the top of the lane the number of lambs had increased dramatically, and while there were new ones the older lambs were gathering in little groups and marauding around clearly up to no good.


I walked around to Lye Way where I scanned the fields for anything of interest, but could only find pairs of crows, not what I was looking for.  I walked a little way to scan the sheep paddocks in the hope of maybe a Wheatear, but only found a single male Pied Wagtail.

As I walked back I noticed the many Dandelion seed heads in the verge.  It reminded me of five years ago when at this time of year, and through the summer there were hardly any Dandelions about due to the persistent rain we had.

As I headed west the weak sunlight was catching the seed heads.


Another aspect.


I suppose it was a sign of the amount about this evening that I spent time photographing the dandelions, and as I walked down Lyeway Road towards Kitwood I thought about the absence of Swallows tonight.  Then just as I did so I heard one above me, and a little further on I came across two sitting on the wires above the road.


Photographing them on a wire against the bright background is almost a bigger challenge as trying to get them in flight.  This one turned to look at me just before flying off.


As the Swallows flew off they were replaced by a male Linnet.


I made my way back to the car at the pond.  A Great Spotted Woodpecker drummed from the trees surrounding the pond as I arrived, and a Chiffchaff was in full song at the back of the pond.

When I got home, Helen was sitting in the garden and of course she was surrounded by the birds.  Both pairs of Robins were about, and as a result there were some interaction.  This Robin, one of the hedge pair was squaring up to one from the fence 


The Blackbird Scruffy has become a little braver, as a result of the whatI can only assume are a few mouths to feed.  One thing we have not seen before is the fact that his bill is twisted with the upper mandible bent over the lower.


Not sure what the impact of this would be, as it clearly does not affect his ability to feed.  It could be a reason for the feather wear, maybe it doesn't allow him to preen properly, and the stress of raising a family adds to the toll.

I love the brightness in his eye, plus probably a reflection of me taking his picture.


The Robins move across the lawn picking up any stray mealworm.  When we appear at the door or window they appear.  When the door opens you can hear one call with the high frequency whistle, and in the distance its partner will respond, they then both appear and guilt you into putting more worms out.


The Robins will take a maximum of about four worms off to the nest, but the Blackbird just fills up.  It is amusing to watch him try to pick one more, and then drop one and have to pick it up.


Anything a Puffin can do, so can a Blackbird.


More mealworms required today.

First thing in the morning and late into the evening the garden is alive, and it is wonderful to watch everything that is going on.


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