After a grey start the weather turned for the better, with brilliant sunshine and clear skies by noon. A walk along the Ridge to Bush Wood and then returning along the Ash valley was the order of the day. Highlight were common buzzards, all soaring on the thermals. Firstly, one was recorded from the Ridge, being mobbed by a carrion crow (see photos), secondly another was observed whilst I sat on the bench at Bush Wood and then, remarkably, 3 were seen together from Chapel Lane, soaring over to the north west. Obviously, a successful breeding season.
Also, yellowhammers and chaffinches sang throughout the walk, whilst swallows and swifts fed continuously albeit at different altitudes. A hare was watched in its usual field and several species of butterfly were recorded; namely speckled wood, peacock and small white. There was a large emergence of spotted crane flies, all appearing from the ground near bush wood and making their maiden flight into the trees for safety and rest. The top photos depict the brilliant male and much dowdier female yellowhammer whilst the last 2 are distant shots of the mid air dog fight between common buzzard and carrion crow. In the second photo the buzzard is almost flying upside down, with talons pointing at the advancing crow. This skirmish lasted a few minutes before the crow returned to its territory.