Sunday, 5 October 2014
The weather men (and women) were all at it yesterday - dire warnings of the change in temperature after the rain had swept through - get out the winter woolies - make sure that the 100 tog duvet is on the bed - batten down the hatches - find the snow shovel...
Well, the rain did sweep through and, admittedly, it was a little nippy first thing, but by late morning I was at Canons Farm, standing in a t-shirt, enjoying a warm and pleasant day. As far as I could tell it was still summer. There were plenty of butterflies on the wing to underline how warm it was, even if most of them were Red Admirals hell bent on heading south.
As for the birds it was a case of a few quick bursts of excitement with long periods of quiet. The blue skies allowed good visibility and up to 12 Common Buzzards and a single Red Kite drifted north (although I suspect that some of the buzzards were not really moving); this great autumn for Stonechats continued with at least seven being present (and how many have moved through over the past three weeks?); the female Peregrine was once again sitting in the dead tree on Stony Knob (don't ask); a loose, wheeling flock of 800 Herring Gulls looked spectacular over Chipstead Valley; and a most confiding Little Owl played 'who blinks first' with me in a barn (the owl won as can be seen above).
As an aside, I was sitting on the sofa last night reading 'The Slugs of Britain and Ireland'. My wife walked in, took one look at the book and said "Don't even think about it!" I think she was referring to me bringing any of the slimy little beggars into the house to be identified. She has a point.