A fantastic number of thrushes can currently be seen around Nagshead feeding on the abundance of berries. There is a small rowan at the back of the car park which is being defended by the Mistle Thrush below. The Mistle Thrush has a real battle on its hands, I watched at least five Blackbirds raiding the berries every time the Mistle had its back turned!
Mistle Thrush - Turdus viscivorus, RSPB Nagshead (Photo: Lewis Thomson)
There are also large numbers of Redwings on the reserve at the moment, the best places to see these Scandinavian visitors are on the hawthorns as you turn into the reserve and around the holly trees along the hard track just beyond the Campbell hide sign. There have been at least 40 stripping berries here, some of which have even been heard singing! Flocks of Fieldfares, another Scandinavian visitor, can be seen passing overhead on most days, listen out for their 'chuck chuck chuck' flight calls. Song Thrushes are fairly common on the reserve, a good area to look for this species at the moment is around the bright red viburnum berries next to the nursery meadows pond, Bullfinches have also been seen feeding here.
Redwing - Turdus iliacus, RSPB Nagshead (Photo: Lewis Thomson)
We are running two Winter Wander guided walks in the next week, one at Highnam Woods on November 27th and one at Nagshead on December 4th, if you would like to join us and see some of the fantastic wildlife that spends winter on the reserves then please do get in touch by ringing the office on 01594 562852 or emailing us at email@example.com. The walks will take place from 11am until 1pm and booking is essential. Price: Members £2, non-members £4, children FREE.
As well as following our antics on the blog, you can now follow us on Twitter @RSPBnagshead for all the latest news, events and sightings from Nagshead and Highnam Woods!
I've just returned to the office from Nagshead and have to share the wildlife spectacle that I have just witnessed. First let me set the scene, it was rotten earlier today with heavy rain and strong winds, but this afternoon the wind dropped and the sky cleared, the low sun lighting up the yellows and oranges of the oak and beech leaves. I was walking the hard forestry track running along the western ridge near the heath which is lined with mature beech trees. I could see a Fallow doe further up the track with her fawn, both were busy munching on the fallen beech mast before realising I was there and moving down the slope into the woodland.
At the northern end of the track I could hear Hawfinches calling quietly from the top of the trees, I stood motionless with my eyes trained on the area where the calls were coming from. I eventually had brilliant views of at least four feeding on the mast still attached to the tree; they were actually quite agile for a large finch, hanging on thin twigs to reach mast at the end. At the same time around 20 Bramblings were coming down to feed with Chaffinches on the track that I was standing on. Despite being in winter plumage I still think male Bramblings look stunning! To my left was a fairly small birch tree which was absolutely smothered in Lesser Redpolls with a few Siskins mixed in. They were constantly bickering and feeding on the birch catkins, there had to be at least 70 birds in that one small tree! As if that wasn't enough, five Crossbills wheeled overhead calling loudly before landing in pines nearby. I backed up leaving the birds to feed, amazed at how many fantastic finches were in such a small area.