Late Thursday morning I headed to my usual parking spot near the River Mole but decided to take a totally different route. This time it was a short walk upstream and then heading uphill while trying to stay upright on very sticky, wet chalky footpaths.
Taking a brief rest at the railway bridge before the uphill journey into uninspiring woodland consisting mainly of nude grey Ash trees and a few green Yew dotted here and there. For the first half hour or so it was deathly quiet apart from the occasional 'squawk..squawk' of overflying Parakeets and 'krra..krra..krra' of the local Carrion Crow population.
The verdant green mosses covering previously felled logs and....
Ferns recolonising an old stump show just how damp the understory canopy is throughout this hillside. My journey eventually got me to the edge of Updown Wood where it borders the open farmland with a greater mix of trees including some Birch and Beech. Here the bird life began, at last, with Blue, Great, Coal and MarshTits. Then through the branches I heard a Nuthatch calling and eventually managed a couple of record shots just to prove to you that I actually saw something!
My attention was then drawn towards a group of Long-tailed Tits and scanning through the flock I eventually located 3 Lesser Redpolls (another tick for 2010) but only a rear end shot..not for publication.
View over the open farmland and river valley to the 'posh' houses on the opposite hillside.
Lots of 'Old Man's Beard' (Clematis vitalba) decorated both sides of the trackway as I headed
downhill and out into the open fields to see Green Woodpeckers, Jackdaws and several Mistle Thrushes with Redwing feeding amougst the stubble field.
On the way home I stopped at Epsom Common Pond, still partly frozen over, and no water life at all.
Only met one dog walker...not surprising with these underfoot conditions. On the edge of the woodland I heard the thin repeated call of a Treecreeper which then flew onto a nearby tree but quite high up.
This is the first time I've attempted to capture this well camouflaged species and the shots in this collage are all cropped slightly.
Finally the reflective quality on the little pond devoid of any fishermen.
Hope you all have a good wildlife watching weekend. FAB.