15 of us met at Hothfield for our walk at this KWT site which provides the only peat bog habitat in the south east. From the car park we heard whitethroat, chiffchaff, blackcap, chaffinch, and nightingale. We also saw a Jay.
Our first birds on entering the reserve were blue tit and blackbird, with a nightingale singing close to the path. Despite our best efforts we could not see the bird but the range of its song was superb and everyone heard the wide range of its repertoire well. Squirrels were running along the branches dispersing birds which were somewhat elusive in the newly leaved trees. However willow warbler, robin, great spotted woodpecker and great tit were seen by members of the group. Julie spotted a hornet which showed itself to great effect moving some of us nearer and others further away depending on their feelings about hornets! A bright green caterpillar (id to be confirmed) attached to a wellingtonia tree caused interest and afforded great photo opportunities. Bluebells were blooming throughout the woods and in some areas pink and mauve versions were seen, apparently an aberration (thanks Jeff).
As we moved towards the edge of the reserve wood pigeon, nuthatch, mistle thrush and jackdaw were seen, along with orange tip butterfly and small copper.
Walking along the boardwalk over the bog we were into botany where cotton grass (eriophorum angustifolium), common milkwort (polygala vulgaris), tormentil (potentilla erecta), lousewort (pedicularis palustris) and round-leaved sundew (drosera rotundifolia) were seen. Thanks to Pauline for the scientific names. Broadbodied chasers and large red damselfly were enjoying the spring sunshine.
As we moved from the main bog area, we spotted a linnet, kestrel, buzzard and sparrowhawk high over the treetops. Walking across the reserve a rare species of sphagnum moss was found by Julie and Chris, as there are 12 different species at the reserve 2 of which are nationally rare we are unable to confirm which this was. Bogbean was present in one of the pools, which also attracted more broad-bodied chasers, large red damselfly, azure damselfly, alderfly, and a wren!
The return journey, although full of bird song – proved to be a plant and insect walk with our feathered friends choosing to stay hidden in the leafy trees.
Thank you for all those who attended this walk. Hothfield is a really interesting habitat, and we all brought different knowledge to the group and ensured that we got the most from this great site
Bird Species seen today – 19
Bird species seen YTD – 115