Mar 082013

At last a lovely bright sunny day without the need for all the thermals and layers.

My usual weekly wander took me to Bossenden Wood this week. We parked in a side road and as we donned the walking gear there were lots of birds enjoying feeders and shelter in a nearby garden. First off were Greenfinch and Siskin with Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin and a Starling with the longest beak I have come across – it looked more like a hummingbird beak than our familiar Starling!

Starling with a long bill

Starling with a long bill

We took the lane towards the wood and found Goldfinch, Long-tailed Tit and Stonechat and at least 17 Meadow Pipits. The latter were washing and foraging along the side of the path in a small ditch which held water, as we moved along they flew ahead of us, ending up in a nearby tree until we had passed and then they returned to their preening and eating venue.

Chaffinch, Jay, Magpie and Crow were seen in the fields and hedges, two Great-spotted Woodpeckers flew overhead and another was heard drumming.

Green Woodpecker was the next bird we heard, then Pheasant called and a group of Wood Pigeon perched in the tops of the trees nearby.

In the wood our first flock consisted of Blue Tit, Great Tit. Siskin and Long-tailed Tit, all lovely to see and hear. Our mid-morning stop was accompanied by the insistent “teacher, teacher” of Great Tit. In fact the whole day was just full of birdsong, the sun doing it’s work bringing out their joy which just encouraged ours too.

The afternoon started off down a wide ride between the trees. Signs of spring were not just restricted to birds with a Water Boatman [or Backswimmer] Notonecta glauca which had got itself stranded on the path, so we moved it back to the puddles. We saw Butchers Broom Ruscus aculeatus again – Sally remembered this from our last visit. A strange plant with leaves that are actually flat shoots known as cladodes which give the appearance of stiff, spiny-tipped leaves. The small greenish flower sprouts from the middle of this. A ladybird was using the closed leaves at the end of one branch as a safe haven.

Water Boatman

Water Boatman or Backswimmer

We added Song Thrush, Blackbird, Buzzard to our list during the afternoon which was punctuated with many more of the mornings species, and a couple of Pied Wagtails when we got back to the road again.