23 group members gathered in the car park at Tudeley Woods RSPB reserve on what turned out to be a very warm day (we certainly didn’t need thermal vests anyway, as I soon found out……). Luckily for us RSPB
staff were meeting & greeting the public in the car park & Matthew Allen, Assistant Warden, kindly talked to us about the reserve and the wildlife we might see.
We started out on the North side of the wood and soon heard a number of woodland birds. Most were rather elusive though, being hard to actually see. Chiffchaffs were plentiful, all day, chiffchaffing away at the tops
of the coppiced trees, but Green & Great-spotted woodpeckers, nuthatch, coal tit & blackcap could be heard but were very hard to see. A bullfinch was spotted & seen by some of us. Three buzzards circled overhead, their concentric circular patterns underneath showing nicely.
A wood ant nest was looking lively, those of us who went too close found they crawled up our trouser legs in no time. We returned to the car park for lunch and here saw Brimstone and Holly Blue butterflies.
After lunch we visited the regenerating heathland and saw a sparrowhawk and jay. The jay no doubt planning to take an ‘acid’ bath in the ant’s nest later (as described by Bill Oddie). The woods & heath seemed very quiet, we had hoped to hear more spring birdsong, but we did see some delightful spring flowers, including primrose, violets, wood sorrell, cuckoo flower, barren strawberry and lesser celandine, & a good number of small creatures. Peacock, orange tip & comma butterflies, to add to the holly blue & brimstone, tiger beetles on the heath, bees with legs of pollen returning to a hive in a tree & ants everywhere.
The warm weather had brought us all out & it was good to feel the heat of the sun again. I feel a touch of autosuggestion coming on…..
Total list birds;
magpie, chiffchaff, robin, buzzard, nuthatch, chaffinch, wren, great tit, blue tit, long-tailed tit, coal tit, bullfinch, green w’pecker, gt w’pecker, blackcap, sparrowhawk, jay, mallard, blackbird. (19)