Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Fragment of Ancient Woodland

Rook - with pretty full crop
Great Tit Treecreeper - note the detail in the plumage
Record shot of Treecreeper
Record shot of Chiffchaff
Wood Anenomes
For the first class of the Spring term the classes visited virtually the only fragment of ancient woodland in our area. The weather was ideal at first, and the dazzling blue iridescence of the Rook's plumage was picked out in the strong sun. Some of the group walked to the venue, and saw their first Swallow of the year. Tessa spotted the Mistle Thrushes immediately on the pasture -we were later serenaded by a male throughout most of the day. The Wood Anenomes and the Wood Sorrell were in full bloom, but only a couple of Bluebells had opened up. We could hear Chiffchaffs almost as soon as we entered the wood, and we were later to watch a pair nest-building under a holly spray, and underneath a Great Spotted Woodpecker. In the morning there was a strange loud noise, which sounded like a miniature Jay, or a cross Grey Squirrel - it turned out to be a group of angry Blackcaps, but wasn't there normal alarm calls! On the other side of the woodland we saw a few Yellowhammers, and a Linnet flew over, but this area was less sheltered and the birds were harder to see. It was even worse during the afternoon, as we were hit by a heavy shower of drizzle, and strong winds. However, this didn't last long & the afternoon crowd were rewarded with several views of Bullfinches. This venue will improve over the next few weeks, but the birds will be much harder to see when the leaves open. On a rather melancholy note there was no sign of the Marsh Tits (which used to be present at this site), or the Nuthatch which recently visited this venue the other week.

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