Seeing as how the repaired lens will not be coming out with me on the next three days volunteering , the plan was to get out early in the sunshine , give the lens another good test , before the forecasted cloud moved in at lunchtime . Only problem with that was that the temperature was still about 0C as I set off , and it didn't move upwards by much whilst I was out . I headed for the North Downs , hoping for a raptor or two , as I have had them often before in the area . Trouble was , no one told them that I was coming to photograph them , so they didn't put in an appearance . Not surprising really as there was a keen easterly wind blowing , but out of that , it wasn't too bad . A couple of hours walking produced not a single photo opportunity and only interest found was a flyover of 6 Fieldfare , calling , and on the far side of a large field , a large flock of Gulls , which , on inspection turned out to be mainly Common , with just the odd Black-headed here and there . The cloud started to roll in about half an hour after my arrival , but by the time I got back to the car , the sky had almost completely filled in . At the car , I had put my gear in the back and was warming up with a coffee that Carol made to take with me . Out of the wind it was pleasant , then I noticed four Thrush sized birds , scampering about the field alongside . I watched them by eye as I drank my coffee , and as I did so , two of them came closer . The coffee finished , I reached back for the binoculars and watched the two come closer and closer . I rested the camera on the partly opened window and started shooting .
The first of the two birds turned out to be a nicely marked Mistle Thrush , and although realising I was there , didn't seem worried . The other bird , which turned out to be a Fieldfare , also clocked me , but even more surprisingly , wasn't worried either . The pair carried on feeding on good numbers of earthworms that they were finding in the field , but every now and again , making sure that they were not in danger . Eventually , they got as close as they were prepared to come , then about turned and headed off back down the field . I then got the binoculars on the other two who were feeding much further away , and they turned out to be a similar pairing . At least the lens got some work , eventually .
On the way home , at the far end of the bottom lane , the mini Rookery that supported two nests last year , has increased to three so far this year . In the horse field , the Rook's relation , the Carrion Crow , seemed more intent on feeding than nest building , although I saw one fly across the back garden before I went out with a stick in it's bill .
On the feeders at home , the Starlings are constantly attacking the fat balls , and as can be seen , the bill is turning yellow as it comes into breeding plumage . When the fats balls are free , the Blue Tits take their chance . They don't seem to be able to make up their minds as whether to use the nestbox on the side of the garage or the one on the end , as we see them in and out of both at frequent intervals .
And finally , although I've posted many shots of the species , I couldn't resist this oneon next door's Laburnum , in milky sunshine .
Tuesday and Wednesday will be up on the Greensand Ridge , will it be mild enough for my first Adder of the year ?
19 hours ago