The south of the country was supposed to be blessed with the best of the weather but who could have guessed what a beautiful, warm spring day it would turn out to be. 15 of us gathered in the car park to be greeted by singing chiffchaff, great tit and drumming great spotted woodpecker. Once we had decided which route to take we proceeded along listening and looking for other signs of spring. There were certainly many bumble bees out and about and a comma butterfly was spotted warming itself in the sunshine. We could hear more great tit and blue tit in the tree tops but they were surprisingly hard to spot, only catching glimpses. A great spotted woodpecker gave us good views though as he drummed on the side of a tree. We followed a path that led down to the boundary of the wood and then opened out onto a field. A late redwing was spied high in a tree and jackdaw were rooting around for food on the ground. A flock of small birds flying hither and thither were identified as linnet while overhead 2 buzzard circled and a sparrowhawk flapped by. Skylark were singing along with wren and robin and some of us had fleeting glimpses of a goldcrest in the undergrowth. On our return journey, little more was added to our list but a few early spring flowers were noted, lesser celandine and wood anemone.
We headed for Grove to have our lunch, where we sat on the picnic benches in our shirt sleeves! Once we had negotiated the road we scanned the field in front of us and had good views of 2 mistle thrush with more buzzard overhead. From the mound, there was an array of water birds from lapwing, teal and pintail to snipe (very hard to see but which seemed to keep increasing in number), black-tailed godwit, and a brief view of a green sandpiper as it flew in and then immediately out again. Above, or should I say quite low over the reeds, we saw several male marsh harriers throughout the afternoon. We visited both the next hides adding mallard, gadwall, reed bunting and pied wagtail to our list. As we retraced our steps to the mound we discovered that a great-white egret had dropped in. The finale was watching lines of cormorants flying high above us heading west, presumably to roost. A lovely end to a lovely day.
Irene and Terry.
Thanks to Irene and Terry for leading and for the report and photographs. Nice to see lots of group members attended – “private”, where were you?
Sally and Malcolm