Today was a magic day. It was quite cold this morning but it was beautifully clear, with hardly a breath of wind. After a doing a few bits and pieces at home I walked along to the top of Bockhill Farm, and spend some time wandering round the big, birdy stubble field.
From this high point I looked across to the cliff top and the distant sea, and even for here it was possible to see the total calmness of the channel, where a flew days ago there had been a ferocious swell. So flat and clear was it that I could see the reflection of the clouds in the sea.
There seemed to be fewer birds in the field, although once they settle down into the the stubble and Fat Hen most become invisible until they fly. There were quite a lot of Skylarks, at least thirty, a small flock of Linnets and a few Meadow Pipits and Yellowhammers, but I didn't manage to find anything else. At the weekend five Lapland Buntings had been seen in this field and I still have hopes that it will produce someting really good before the end of the year, or it's ploughed up. I walked down to the farm and decided to walk round the Freedown, a favourite area and one that often turns up a surprise.
I noticed a bird perched up on one of the Hawthorns. it was a Fieldfare. They seldom hang around here for long before moving inland, and they are normally quite shy and jumpy. Using some other bushes for cover I approached as close as I dare and took a couple of record shots before moving a bit closer, fully expecting it to fly.
At this point a second bird came out from the dense part of the bush and joined it on the top. It soon took off, chacking loudly as it went. The first bird remained where it was and it's companion circled the area calling loudly.
I thought I'd pushed my luck a bit too much when the first bird took off, but it only moved a few yards to a lower bush and sat there. I moved slowly closer, taking a couple of pictures every few steps, until I was as close as I needed to be. The other bird was still not far away, having landed in the hedge and was still calling all the time. It did cross my mind that the bird I was photographing was a first year bird and I wondered if the other was an adult, more experienced in the dangers of the world.
Whwn it stood up it had a nice juicy worm in it's beak. Whether or not it had spotted the worm from it's perch in the tree or whether it had just come down to feed I don't know, but it was certainly pretty quick to catch the worm.
Once the worm had been disposed of it hopped over to the fence and sat on top to survey the options.
I again got closer than I would normally expect to be allowed. When I left the bird it had dropped over onto the newly growing field of winter wheat. The crop is only just coming up and the ground is so wet that it would expect it to have a good time finding worms.