19 November 2020

2020 / 72

0700- 0915
Mild and initially overcast but soon becoming clear and bright.
F4 WSW so quite breezy

The gate is wide open this morning?
Atter a bit of a search, I found the padlock pressed into the ground rather as if it had been driven over. Not sure of the best repsonse, so I have locked it all up again. Anyone here lawfully in a vehicle will have a key…

I am here in the prelight of dawn, before the sun and unfortuantley fo rthis first half hour at least it is quite gloomy and there is a relatively strong breeze. Birdsong escapes the safety of the tree cover only in scattered fragments and it is a while before I actually see anything. Even then, as I walk around the track and down The Broad, there is just a couple of Stock Doves and the occasional Jackdaw overhead. One or two Blackbird-rockets shoot across.
My instintively preffered road is to come down the wayleave int he mornings to get the best of the sun, but I am well ahead of anylight coming through here yet and the heavy cloud – although moving eastwards quite rapidly – is suppressing any kind of daylight brightness. Apart form a ragged gang of about 25 Redwings coming out of Lower Velmore and heading fr the farm there is nothing to report. The trees are noisy in the wind, and it is raining dusty larch needles…

But the wind is dragging the night away like a thick, heavy duvet and the cloud is rapidly dissolving. An orangepink colour washes the remnants, scruffy scratches of grey white hastening eastwards. By 8.15 it is a different scene altogether and – as one last wisp of ‘fluff’ hurries across the blue as if late – everything is bright and blue. Some Blue TIts have woken up; there is a persistent Chaffinch calling, celebrating the rosepink wash on the back of the clouds. Song Thrush, Robin, Nuthatch.

Steppng out into the BIg Arena at the clearfell is like stepping out of bed into new day. Everythng ‘opens up’ before me – light, sky and space

This is the scene on the north side of the clearfell, walking up towards the corner Where the Tracks Join. Which I shall now temporarily refer to as “Where The Crossbills Were”. And indeed still are. Four birds this morning, but again vocal and flighty not really offering perched up views at all. Every few minutes or so, two or more birds appear, fly around calling overhead and disappear back into the tops of the pines. Six weeks now these birds have been around, commuting between Hut Wood and Lords Wood just a mile or two south-west of here.
There are two large flocks of Redwing – at least 150 birds. Two Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Mistle Thrushes and a couple of Magpies. The clatter of ‘some’ unseen Fieldfares. Considerably fewer small finches thn of late. They have probably started to head off to Europe now. It is great though when one has made a note of less than 20 bird species so far and that includes Crossbill! And even better to add Raven as well. Here comes the regular bird, low level circling slowly. Calling and curious. I like to feel we ‘know’ each other, and I make an attempt to grunt and kraw back to him.
Fifteen minutes or so just watching this corner rom on the clearfell. Golden glow. Yellow morning light. Shifting, shaping. Making sure I always stand in the shadow of a Yew tree to minimise the disturbance of my presence. Roe Deer (two) and a skittish Muntjac.

Skywatching. Tme to admire and appreciate the simple glory of creation – the colour, the infinite space above us. The blue around yew

The light pooling and peeping round corners coyly as if trying not to be seen but keen to make its presence known

Looking through gaps in tree lines, seeking new angles

There are gulls, gleaming in the sun. As white as the aircraft above them.
Six Black-headed Gulls with their pointed purposeful flight and slate grey dark underwing, in formation; two Herring Gulls washed with an orange glow, their translucent secondaries always distinctive. And three Lesser Black-backs, elegant and darker – all distinctly different ‘jizz’ and styles.

I never tire of this beautiful place. A small inscape of magical peace, uplifting tranquility and rich natural diversity. Stewardship, experience, mindfulness and connection.

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