2019 / 84
06:45 – 08:30
Cold (5°C) but clear and bright after several overcast days of heavy rain. Light N.
One of the beautifullest of all the times I have spent here, after such a disappointing circuit last time and inclement, uninviting weather for the past few days. In autumn, when the sun comes up early and the sky is clear, there is a golden light in the Wood that is little short of magical. Mist lingers at dawn, hanging over the stream courses on the clearfell and flittering the sunlight. Yellow, bronze and copper leaves glow and sparkle with a new brightness, and a freshness that really lifts the soul.
I indulged in several photographs from the High Seat as I sat just watching the morning unfold around me:
I came in today via Woodside, which I have not done since early August. Gardens change less with seasons than Woods do. But they remain full of birdsong – Robins, Blackbirds, Dunnocks and Tits. Jackdaws and Woodpigeons. Right at the top, in a known territory, I stopped and called to the Firecrest. Two birds appeared, a pair, calling back to me and showing remarkable well. Great – it is going to be ‘that’ sort of day.
On the fields, one smart male Pheasant, and 5 Roe Deer in the mist at the bottom
Perhaps the most striking toadstool I have ever found.
Huge – almost 30cm high. I thought at first it was a partridge…
A couple of nice Common Earthballs too
Overhead, one GREY WAGTAIL, calling distinctly as they do. First record this year, bringing the yearlist up to 67 species. Both 2017 and 2018 returned 70 species, so this might be a tough call this time. I need to get lucky. No Sand Martin or Yellow Wagtail this season…?
On the clearfell, a familiar “chak-chak” call announces the presence of 2 FIELDFARES in the top of a Yew. First record here since 15 January, and what splendid birds they are. In fact, there’s a dozen or so here and a similar number of Redwings associating. Less ‘Mizzies’ today – probably only a half dozen. Also two Meadow Pipits and a Buzzard overhead.
In the beautiful sunshine, there are a pair of amorous Stock Doves mating – and a single Chiffchaff creeping around with a few Great Tits. The finch flock is now around 60 birds – mixed Green, Gold and Chaffinch.
But today, as heralded by the first bird of the day at the top of Woodside, it is all about Firecrests. Just walking past the west wood I can hear two, and there is another in the corner where the tracks join. Down at the small hidden pond, I have another, creeping about in gorse. I risk calling to him, and he stops for a cursory inspection. But a few metres further in, where the sun falls between tall trees, there is one bush with FOUR amazing birds in, two giving really close views. Both males. This year’s young…?
Back at the fields on the way out, a Raven flies towards the Wood from the Roughs. I step out, and I can see him check and turn. He circles me, lower and lower, banking and croaking. I call back, and we converse as he wheels around, moving his head to look down. A fabulous connection – he’s off on his way when the second bird approaches – I am smiling and done. Good to see you again. Work is calling…