Leading on from yesterday’s wildflowers, there are several different public footpaths leading through fields, but also this one which leads alongside the old MOD site, eventually crossing a neighbouring field.
Looking at the start of this path, you wouldn’t believe it actually is a right of way; I don’t think it’s all that well-used given the way the wildflowers have grown across.
It used to feel like you’re in the countryside, but at the top of the hill there’s now two large new housing developments on the site of an old Ministry of Defence site. They’ve already added in some grassy areas, but the entire site looks totally different to how it used to.
What hasn’t changed however, is the abundance of wildflowers on the side of the road, in and around the wall. I think it was a bit too windy for any butterflies to be feeding on the nectar, but I can imagine on a calm day these flowers would be covered in them!
Two fields on from the sheep, we found just a few more cows than we’d anticipated seeing.
Judging by the number of cows staring at us, it was probably a good reason to not follow the public footpath through the field!
They all looked content to just munch through the grass, almost in a competition with the sheep to see who could eat the fastest!
We’re used to seeing horses and cows in the fields nearby, but although we’ve heard some sheep before, we’ve never spotted them in the field…. until now!
There was something about the way this particular sheep was munching the grass while staring at us, that was too photogenic to pass up. They didn’t seem to mind the blustery weather which was surprisingly fresh for August,
I’m not sure this particular sheep was overly keen on having her photo taken – that look really does seem to say “hurry up and go so I can carry on eating this grass”!
A slightly clearer pathway for today, although you do have to be careful of the stinging nettles on each side. The tree to the right seemed to be chirping – as we got closer, lots of small birds flew from the hedgerow on the left, into that tree. They hid behind the leaves, so I’m not certain what birds they were, but from the noise I would guess they were either Goldfinches or Hedge Sparrows.
Either this Blackbird was very comfortable around humans, or just particularly hungry. He was carrying what looked like a worm in his beak, but still kept on rummaging around in the grass verge.
As we walked past, he flew into a nearby hedgerow, but returned to the grass verge once we’d passed. I’m guessing he had youngsters to feed, and one solitary worm wasn’t going to be enough!
It certainly didn’t sound like a Buzzard – more like a seagull with a sore throat, but when it flew over, it certainly looked like a Buzzard! I didn’t catch a photo of it at that point, but I heard it again later on, and despite the strong wind trying to blow me over, I was able to get a couple of photos in focus.
Not the clearest, mainly due to the wind and the distance, but I think these are the best photos I have so far, for seeing the detail on the wings.
I’m not 100% certain what bird of prey this is. I had thought it was a Buzzard, but the wing tips aren’t held out like ‘fingers’ in quite the same way.
I’ve lightened the photos to see a bit more of the colouring, and it is looking quite Buzzard-like, although it was quite a distance away which made identification a little more challenging!
The other thing that makes me wonder if it was actually a buzzard was the way it flew – most of the ones I’ve seen before just soar, with hardly any wing flapping. This one however seemed to flap its wings a little more frequently.
Another bird of prey today – back to the Buzzards! They seemed pretty vocal for some reason – I’m not sure if it’s trying to scare off the gulls, or just communicating to another buzzard.
I think this one must be moulting – there’s a lot of wing feathers that seem to be missing!
At least the missing feathers made this particular Buzzard easily identifiable!
Spotting this bird circling reasonably high, I took a few photos thinking it was the local Buzzard…. but when I got the photos onto the computer, it was quite clear that the tail is considerably longer than a Buzzard’s. So just what is this bird?
I asked on the RSPB community “identify this” forum, and was given a couple of possibles: a Sparrowhawk, or a female Kestrel.
Personally I’m inclined to think it’s a Sparrowhawk – the way this bird was circling, was a totally different flight pattern to the Kestrel I spotted hovering over a field recently. Hopefully it’ll return and fly a little lower next time, so I can get a clearer photo!