Monday, 31 May 2021

Patch Gold

 Not gonna beat around the bush I found a Nightingale on my Hurstpierpoint Patch today!!! Whoop, Whoop, Whoop!!!😁😁😁😁 Unfortunately the  blighter was camera shy, but managed a video of him singing!!

So bit of ahead of myself there, another early start failure, so was 8 o'clock before I was "on Patch" the first field had nothing going for it, though could hear a Skylark , this field has been poor this year, last year there was a good field margin this year it has been planted right to the edge which I think is the main difference.
The glades are looking good with swathes of Buttercups and what I think is called Campion though could be wrong, still a bit boggy down here though the rest of the area was pretty dry!

The Glades

Plenty of birds singing along here but difficult to see in dense foliage, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, possibly Garden Warbler though I struggle to tell the difference on song alone and everyone I got the bins on was a Blackcap! Was a nice Whitethroat which perched up nicely, if briefly!


Common Whitethroat

Different Chiffchaff

One thing that wasn't hard to see were the Beautiful Demoiselles, there were loads of them, they were present in good numbers last year, but were loads more today!! A few pics below! 

A Red Kite flew over low however the overhanging trees prevented a clear shot and by the time I got into the open there was no sign of it!!! Annoyed I continued out onto the "patch" proper, but was pretty quite with the exception of the Nightingale obvs!! Overall so far this spring things are a lot quieter than they were last year, there are at least 4 places where Common Whitethroats were last year that didn't have any today and numbers of Blackcap and Chiffchaff seem well down as well, even local birds such as Bullfinch, Greenfinch and Goldfinch seem thin on the ground this year, I'm hoping it's the cold, wet start to the spring hopefully things will spring into action now it's warming up! 
The Red Kite did take pity on me and return but was pretty distant, it's presence causing the local Buzzard to take to the air in half-hearted pursuit!

Red Kite

Common Buzzard

Lot of Hawthorn still in full blossom at the patch!
I headed out onto Church Lane more Demoiselles here, a Willow Tree full of them, they were pretty much everywhere today!! Was a very vocal and showy Robin here as well.

I continued around to the Church, The gnarly tree which, even though it has a perfect perch for excellent photography no bird will land on it, particularly annoying are the Swallows which zooming about the area refuse to land, even though they land all the time on the cables just a few feet away !! I thought for a minute my luck had changed when a Nuthatch landed on the tree,but loitered around the side rather than heading for the top😑😒!


Swallow on Cable!

I went down the path next to the churchyard, the large dead tree where the Stock Doves usually are, though devoid of Doves did have another of our finest Songsters holding forth and he wasn't as shy as the Nightingale!

Song Thrush

I decided with the Blue Skies and a bit of breeze a walk up to the Vineyard could be productive for a bit of Raptor watching, could hear a Skylark singing here, sadly however the farmer has already cut the grass on this field, so I imagine any attempt the Skylarks, who were singing here last month, had made to breed will have ended on the mowers blades. Still a Rook seemed to be enjoying the freshly mown field, probably tucking into smashed eggs and chicks!

Cut grass


The Raptorwatch started well with another Red Kite appearing and a Cormorant flying over, however it was extremely hazy, I picked up 3 Buzzards spiralling up in the extreme distance,but apart from that it was disappointing.

Red Kite


Buzzard in a Tree
No sign of the Linnet flock in the vineyard presumably dispersed to breed now the weather has improved, there were a couple of Whitethroats singing in the field at the bottom of the vineyard and Skylarks could be heard as I walked back up to the car but the weather was well hot now and think the birds had taken the the sensible option and headed for the shade which I thought was an excellent plan so headed home!!


Sunday, 30 May 2021

Lazyish Weekend

 Having had my 2nd Jab on Thursday, I was feeling a bit strange on Saturday so decided to spend the day sitting around doing nothing, so not much change from normal I suppose!! Stayed on the sofa for the most part and watched the Champions League Final, good performance from Chelsea, a well deserved win and a quite entertaining game, be Leeds in a couple of years time obvs, MOT! I did however make some Organic American style Pancakes for Breakfast and rustled up a nice Organic Fruitcake as well, so not a totally wasted day!! Cake has Black Treacle and Dark Muscovado sugar so is quite tasty!!

Quite a thick batter for the Pancakes

A few Blueberries added during cooking for health reasonsπŸ˜€

Quite a lot of organic Maple Syrup added also for health reasons

The Fruit Cake

Nice and dark very tasty!!
So having rested up Saturday, we decided to visit somewhere different on Sunday, you would think with all the rest and an earlyish night we would be up nice and early? Nope!! It was gone nine when we arrived at the Mens Nature Reserve, near Petworth. On the plus side the small car park was empty, kitted up we headed into the woods! Was a very nice, calming, relaxing walk mainly cos we didn't see anything!! The trees are impressive very large what I think are Beech but with so many leaves visibility was at a premium which was a shame as there was plenty singing.

Sunshine through the leaves

Sun shining through the canopy
I heard 7 Great Spotted Woodpeckers calling before I saw one. Plenty of Crests calling and I had good views of a Goldcrest but couldn't get the camera on it, lots of Robins, Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Dunnocks heard, a few glimpses of Blue and Great tits but it was quite hard work, a family of Long-tailed Tits came by and one of the young-uns posed ok and a Grey Wagtail was on a shed roof randomly! Quite a few flowers in the wood as well although I think the Bluebells were mostly the Spanish variety.

What I think are Spanish Bluebells

Grey Wagtail

This Dunnocks upright stance had me thinking Spot Fly til I got the Bins on it!!!

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Young and rather cute Long-tailed Tit

Long-tailed Tit
We at this point we got well lost, despite What3words, Google Maps and my Footpath App!!! Margie's famous sense of direction kicked in, which made things worseπŸ˜‚and I, despite my legendary tolerance and patience found myself getting a tad shirty (I blame the jab)😑😈😱!! However after much turning of phones up the wrong way, accosting of strangers and general wandering about we came to the road, turns out we was both right and a combination of a ripped out footpath sign and the path not following the road had foxed us!! As we headed up the road towards the car park  Margie spotted a couple of Buzzards, one of which gave us a low flyby probably thinking in our exhausted state they could be in for a large dinner!😱😰!

Common Buzzard

Bit further away!!
We arrived back at the car park, several more cars here now, as we was divesting our equipment, I heard a Firecrest singing, after much scanning of Holly Bushes Margie finally spotted it and it eventually posed ok, although trying to get pics was a mare with the light, shade, leaves and twigs which my camera prefers to focus on, anything but the poxy bird!!! However due to mighty perseverance I managed a few pics I was quite pleased with!

For once it didn't focus on the leaf!

Possibly my favourite shot of it!!


Talk about the bird that saved the day!!!

We then decided, despite our exhaustion, to pay a visit to Ebernoe Common a nature reserve we hadn't been to before and one that wasn't that far away, We arrived after a journey without incident and set of around the reserve, we bumped into a guy who was looking for Birds Nest Orchids, so decided to see if we could find some, long story short we couldn't although we did find an Orchid but not sure what sort it is, wasn't quite out yet anyway
Orchid Sp by Margie
It seems a very nice place some beautiful Meadows covered in Buttercups, unsurprisingly few birds at Midday in the blazing sun, we didn't stay long as we was knackered but definitely a place to revisit in the future, a few more of Margie's pics below

So a nice trip out, Firecrest are always good, as is a walk in  spring woodland, no good for photography but good for the soul!!