Our trip to Blean Woods RSPB reserve, demonstrated just how far behind the progression of spring is compared to our normal expectations: we were wearing gloves and coats, were subjected to a down pour of hailstones and the wood sounded more like it does in winter than in spring!
We kicked off with a drumming greater spotted woodpecker (this was to be a day when more was heard than seen), a distant nightingale rather hesitantly starting up and a sulky chiffchaff. Blue tits, wrens and robins seemed to be the only birds singing much. Then the dark clouds moved in and dropped their payload of hailstones – at least we did not get too wet!
Eventually the sun came out and so did some more birds – a very noisy and colourful nuthatch was a delight to watch, a single blackcap singing out of view, green woodpeckers yaffling about us but remaining out of sight. Between the group we managed to see chaffinch, blue tit (lots), great tit, long tailed tit, coal tit (single), treecreeper, g-s woodpecker, robin, blackbird, woodpigeon, jackdaw, crow and a sparrowhawk, (the latter was missed by most of us as it flew over our heads).
No butterflies were out, but some nice plants; the recent clearing of parts of the wood had given rise to carpets of wood anemones, there were a few bluebells starting to appear and following the rain, the hue of the moss took on a particularly intense green.
Having gone round the ‘red trail’ we were grateful for our lunch and a warm drink back at the car park. Hopefully, by the time of our dawn chorus on 25 May, spring should be in full swing and we will catch up with the warblers that were missing today.