First day of a new month and a wander north east and then to Millennium Grove Wood before returning along Hoecroft Lane to the war memorial and then along the River Ash. A stop on the bench at the Ford offered the usual suspects which I noted. A new call was heard and soon I had tracked down a grey wagtail, male, on the roof of Ashford House. Obviously camera shy as it disappeared along the river as soon as I focused on it. Good plumage with bright yellow underparts.
As I walked up to Muggin's Wood I became aware that all the birds appeared to be jumpy and nervous. After 5 minutes of watching it became apparent that the reason for their behaviour was a large female sparrowhawk perched in the hedge next to the wood. It eventually flew off south. Great, blue, coal and long tailed tits were heard and seen as yellowhammers and skylarks called from the hedgerows and sky, respectively. Plenty of pheasants were seen around the wood and a solitary jay had a disagreement with itself. On the field just before Millennium Wood 15 meadow pipits were consorting with a small flock of buntings, predominantly, yellowhammers.
A kestrel was seen from Hoecroft Lane before I headed south to join the footpath that heads back to the village. Here, 3 hares gave a great boxing display. First day of the month, so they were living up to their name. 100's of rooks and jackdaws were also registered on the same field. Several redwings were seen in trees around the war memorial; with the warm weather at present it won't be too long before they have moved northwards to Scandinavia to their breeding grounds. Fieldfares seem to have already migrated as the large flocks south of the village have now gone. 27 species in all, a most pleasant wander in glorious, if blustery conditions. Not a good day for my hat! The first photo is of the distant hares whilst the second one shows the date of the red brick wall in Chapel Lane. Similar brickwork on Ford cottages shows the date 1866.
An overview of February's highlights can be found at http://www.thehadhams.com/images/stories/lithadmag/08-03.pdf which is the online parish magazine.