As Sue is away this weekend the trip report is down to me, and I’m no wordsmith so the standard drops this week I’m afraid!
The morning started cold with thick fog when I left home, but the sun was trying hard to brighten the day by the time I arrived at the Tudeley Woods car park. Things went downhill for a while after that, as I found Sue and Ian were already parked in front of the car park which was securely padlocked and displaying a large “closed” sign. After some discussion amongst the 15 or so hardy souls who arrived we decided to split into 2 groups – some that wanted to venture onwards to Ashdown Forest, and others that wanted to return closer to home with a visit to Sevenoaks.
We said our farewells went our separate ways – some following me (with my satnav loaded with our meeting location POIs – other satnav owners, please note!), some following Ian & Sue (also with satnav), and others reliant on good old fashioned maps.
To everyone’s amazement, the 6 cars that set out all arrived at Ashdown Forest car park – the day was looking up!
We set out from the car park on the usual circuit and despite out best efforts we failed to spot any woodlark, or redstart or crossbill. We did enjoy several buzzards soaring in the thermals – we counted 4 together at one stage. We also added raven, chiffchaff and redpoll to the group year list for 2012.
The full list of sightings for the day were chaffinch, redpoll, goldcrest, nuthatch, long-tailed tit, great tit, blue tit, coal tit, chiffchaff, wren, carrion crow, wood pigeon, buzzard, sparrowhawk, blackbird, stonechat, raven, dunnock and great spotted woodpecker (thanks to Sue Griffin for keeping the list).
Having completed one circuit, we were drawn into a second lap by the promise of crossbills from 2 members of the Bexley RSPB group, but after some fruitless searching of the conifers, we abandoned that idea and returned to the car park. Some of us then ventured onto the heath with the hope of seeing Dartford Warbler, but no luck there either.
With the sound of fire engines filling the air (along with the thick smoke and distant crackling noises) we decided to call it a day.
A very enjoyable day out despite a rather hesitant start.