Sunday, 29 December 2013

Common Crossbill, Orlestone forest

Female common Common Crossbill, Orlestone forest
I've been on the look-out for Crossbills in the forest since late summer, and whilst they're undoubtedly present a lot of luck and patience is required to find them. This is the fourth group I've found in as many months and all have been in different areas of the forest. This morning my first walk to an area of Norweigen Spruce revealed nothing. My second walk was successful. I found a small group of 4 birds feeding high in the canopy of Scots Pine. The birds made just the briefest of calls and I could only locate them from the sound of cones falling to the woodland floor.  Frustratingly, try as I might to follow the birds, I quickly lost sight of  them as they moved slowly through the canopy to feed.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Fairfield Church, Brookland - a watery Boxing Day world

Late afternoon on Boxing day at Fairfield Church, Kent. Clear windless skies and flooded fields a perfect recipe for a crisp reflection of a iconic Romney Marsh Church.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Christmas Day - storm aftermath and Tortoiseshell butterfly

Black headed Gulls share the same flooded fields with the local horses
A break from work and a break from the persistent daily rain, meant in the garden we were able to watch a Peregrine falcon take a swipe at the Gulls that are congregating in the flooded paddocks behind the garden. Once the Peregrine had flushed all other birds away, a Buzzard came into land just yards from the garden fence attracted by a bounty of worms brought to the surface of the water-sodden land.

A quick walk in Orlestone Forest revealed a small number of large trees had fallen in Sundays storms. One was a large Cherry Tree, almost cut in two, it had fungus growing through its trunk. Other Trees fallen included some of the mature pines in the plantations. There demise will help the forest appear more natural and wild in years to come. We had a pleasant walk, a small flock of Goldcrests were feeding in the larches, but sadly no sign of any Crossbills today. A Tortoiseshell butterfly flying along a glade in the unseasonally warm and sunny weather was the biggest surprise. It had better find secure shelter soon before the next gale arrives on friday.