Sunday, 7 February 2010

Sunday 7th.February 2010

After spending yesterday hedgelaying near Lingfield , in glorious sunshine and blue skies , although Carol wasn't as lucky at home , today was the total opposite . Dull , dank , miserable , with occasional drizzle , and the temperature reduced by half .
Regardless , the bird survey at Down House was overdue , so off I headed , with headlights on . The grounds were enshrouded in mist , and the cat thermometer showed that the temperature had fallen another couple of degrees since leaving home . Well wrapped for the conditions , I set off to almost silence . Just a single Wren scolding me from one of the formal flowerbeds . Absolutely nothing was seen in the walled vegetable garden , I think that was a first since staring the survey here . The large meadow produced a few common species , the best of which were two Green Woodpeckers feeding on the ground . I tried to approach them for a photo , but they were off well before I got anywhere near . The small woodland , the path around which Darwin walked whilst thinking about his theories produced a single Stock Dove and 4 Jackdaws . Looking down to where the path loops around to return on itself , something moved in the gloom . Having found Deer in this area in the past , I got the camera ready and waited quietly . Then , from behind the trunk of a large Beech , a female Roe Deer emerged , casually browsing the pathside vegetation . The lens focused on her , but , because it was so gloomy , the inbuilt flash clicked up , and she heard it . I took the shot and as you can see , the flash was caught in her eyes . It didn't seem to scare her , as she just had a look around , giving me another opportunity of a shot , then strolling back behind the Beech and out of sight . I made my way as quietly as I could , using the Beech for cover , but when I got to the tree , there was no sign of her . Getting back to the bird survey , the Cricket Field and the two small meadows produced just a few more common species , and by the time I got back to the house , a measly 13 species was all that I had got , apart from very cold hands . Only other interest was that the Jacob's Sheep are grazing the meadows , but even they looked pretty fed up with the weather conditions .
On the way home , I stopped at Keston Ponds , now finally defrosted , to check on the Mandarins . I counted 15 , split 9 male and 6 female , all roosting on overhanging branches .
I arrived home just in time for the week ahead's weather forecast , which looks as if we are returning to the 'W' word , especially in the east , with overnight temperatures below freezing .


Warren Baker said...

Is the Cat thermometer a newly evolved species Greenie - Darwin would be pleased!

Your right though, is was a real cold, dull one today. :-)

ShySongbird said...

It amuses me how you and Warren always seem to pretty well coordinate your posting times!

That was a nice encounter with the Roe Deer.

I saw the weather forecast, hope it isn't too bad for you this coming week.

Simon said...

Congrats on getting the photos of the Roe Deer, I am suprised the flash didn't seem to scare her - quite jealous!

Greenie said...

Warren ,
I'm sure Charles had a smile at that one too !

Kingsdowner said...

"It didn't seem to scare her , as she just had a look around "..... the poor thing was probably blinded!

Good result from your well-prepared bushcraft though.

Anonymous said...

We can only hope that the return of the wintry stuff pulls in some decent species, like it did last month.

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie.
You did well getting the shots of the Roe Deer.The weather doesn't look too good for this week.Well done for getting out there.