I did some bird surveying in the good weather last week. It involved me standing at certain points, and noting what birds and how many I could hear. All to assess our woodland for birds. It's one of the nicest things I get to do, though it's not easy!
At last, there are some migrants! I heard whitethroat and chiffchaff, willow warbler and blackcap. There's also been a tree pipit around (sadly not on my survey, though...).
Today's birds included a firecrest singing in holly trees at the far end of the headquarters car park.
Our chainsaw sculptor Patrick is busy creating an amazing sculpture in the bluebell wood. This will mark a small and beautiful corner of the reserve where people can remember their passed loved ones. If you pop down this week, you will see it all happening. Once it's all cleared up, it should look great, and be a quiet, natural area for us all to enjoy.
With the winds turning to the south and a warmer feel to proceedings, the first spring migrants have slowly been appearing. After last weeks chiffchaff, several swallows were over the reserve at the weekend and sand martins have been in the local area as well.We are just waiting for our first willow warblers and blackcaps to be reported now. Still a touch of winter in terms of the birds still here; a couple of bramblings, around a dozen redpolls and the odd siskin are still using the feeders before they decide to fly away and leave us and a large flock of fieldfares and redwings have been on Sandy Ridge. Red kites have been seen quite regularly, being mobbed aggressively by the ravens at the weekend. A single crossbill was reported from the hide pools on Sunday, but there has been no sign of the larger flock of 30 birds recently. The next few weeks should be exciting on the bird front!
Photograher Alan Reynolds has just kindly sent me this splendid picture of a nuthatch, taken at the hide.The nuthatch was collecting moss and mud to line the nest it is building nearby.
Hurray- at last- a chiffchaff has arrived and it greeted me with its welcome and constant 'chiffchaff' call from the New Heath when I arrived at The Lodge this morning.This is the first confirmed report as far as I'm aware and its at least three weeks later than the usual arrival dates! It's business as usual apart from this small glimmer of spring, with bramblings, redpolls and siskins around the feeders and fieldfares and redwings on Sandy Ridge. There is one other difference of note today, with the song of many birds filling the air and celebrating the arrival of warmth and sun! At lunchtime, the hooting of a tawny owl was heard near the hide to join in with this joyous chorus.