Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Tuesday 2nd.September 2008

What a morning . Volunteering day was cancelled , just as well , the field would have been like The Somme . It did give me the chance to do maintainance on the hedgelaying tools I used on Sunday , as the season with Surrey Hedgelaying Group begins on the 20th. of this month .
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 .
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 .
Along near the farmhouse was an eyecatching splash of colour provide by Common Toadflax .
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 .

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 .


John Young said...

Hi Fred, nice post, just cannot fail to be awed by migrating birds, so fragile and resilient at the same time.

Simon said...

Interesting to read about the Elder flowering!