Fyfield Down is a National Nature Reserve, primarily due to thousands of sarcen stones littering the grassland, a result of the last glacial period. In the past the whole area looked like the photo above, but in the middle of the 20th Century scrub clearance opened up the site as a high plateau grass chalk downland. And very nice it is too.
At the top of the Down is a small wood, which yesterday offered some shade and respite from the sun, though the sun did allow the ride we walked along to be awash with brimstone and peacock butterflies.
In the middle of the wood we encountered some Reeve's pheasants. This is the first time I've seen these native game birds from China, they have stunning plumage and the male of the species holds the world record for the longest tail of any bird. However what we didn't realise are they are very aggressive towards humans.
As we walked through the wood they repeatedly ran towards us pecking our legs and boots, any effort to out pace them was matched by the birds doubling their efforts and attacking us even harder. It could have been quite intimidating if you were a small child or nervous but yesterday they were just a flippin nuisance.
Eventually though we escaped a little flustered but otherwise unhurt from the wood, but I have to say being attacked by such an impressive bird is a pleasure.
Sadly we never saw any ring ouzels, but a pair of ravens, green woodpecker and many other birds made this a day to remember.