On the wires in front of the farmhouse , the Swallows were resting and preening , in between sorties into the fields to top up on insects . Constantly jabbering amongst themselves , and probably chatting about the great adventure they are about to take part in .
Along near the farmhouse was an eyecatching splash of colour provide by Common Toadflax .
As I turned into the Bridleway , heading back home , I was a bit bemused to find some Elder bushes in flower , and further along , the berries were fully ripe .
By about 3 o'clock , it looked less threatening , so I took myself off to the local wood and farmland . The wood , as usual , turned out to be an excersise in keeping out of the dog's mess . Very quiet birdwise , just Robin , a variety of Tits , Chaffinch and Wood Pigeon heard/seen .
On a toppled Ash , was a common fungus , Daldinia concentrica - King Alfred's Cakes /Cramp Balls . King Alfred's Cakes probably because they look like burnt buns , I don't know where the cramp bit fits in . The concentrica bit of the latin denotes that they are made up of concentric layers of material . They used to be used to carry fire around from one encampment to another , as once the dried inner material started to smoulder , it could be kept smoldering slowly until the new site was reached , when fire was readily accessible .
Breaking out of the wood onto a footpath through the farm , Pheasant , Rose Ringed Parakeet and seval corvid were seen . In the hedgerow alongside , Wild Hop was scrambling over everything else to get to the top . Also in the hedgerow , Ivy is in flower and providing a late season feed for insects before the cold sets in .
Along the country lane , Holly and Hawthorn berries are well on the way to ripening .
I left them on the wires , and headed home , when they all took off and started swirling around . The cause was a Hobby coming in from out of the sun behind the hedgerow . By the time I got back to the corner , the Hobby and all the Swallows had dispersed . That was probably the first and not the last problem they will have to contend with , before getting to South Africa .