Tuesday was a rerun of Sunday morning's visit. There was no doubt that the Redstarts were the highlight again as they busily feed their brood in their nest-hole. It won't be long before these young fledge (hopefully).
[above] Yellowhammer in a field of chalk not snow!
Differences from previous visits included a Mistle Thrush and a Pied Wagtail in the chalky field and 2 fighting male Yellowhammers over this same field.
'Ghost of a Goldcrest'
Chaffinch (c) 2012 Phil Hargreaves
Willow Warbler (c) 2012 Phil Hargereaves
Record shot of Blackcap
Along the railway line the morning group had 5 Crossbills flying over, while in the afternoon a flock of nearly 20 flew east. Another surprise was a Willow Tit calling in an area, which has previously only held Marsh Tits. It made its nasal 'tchay-tchay-tchay' call for nearly 10 minutes. In the afternoon a little further along the line were 2 Tits, but they refused to utter any sounds at all as they busily looked for food among the lichen on the bushes & twigs. These showed a little better, and one of these is shown below.
In the afternoon a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over as we were watching Willow Warblers and then there was the call of a Kestrel coming from the Redstart's tree. We managed to frighten it off as we walked towards the tree, but while we were observing the Redstarts it tried to return on at least 2 occasions, and it was never far away. A Garden Warbler sang briefly near the old quarry buildings, but it never came into full view.
In the morning we had chance to explore a small floral nature reserve. There was plenty of Yellow Rattle, and a couple of spikes of Common Spotted Orchid just coming into flower, but no Bee Orchids in full flower. There was one specimen, which had grown leaves, and looked as though it may flower in about a week or so. The flowers seemed several weeks behind, and there were no butterflies in the heavily overcast conditions.
This is one of the most popular locations with everyone being impressed with the beauty of the landscape and the picturesque rolling hills. The Redstarts ensured that at least some of the wildlife lived upto the wonderful setting.
Common Spotted Orchid**PS I've just heard (evening of 13th June) that the Redstarts had fledged by 2pm today, and the Kestrel didn't get them all! You soon may be able to hear more about the fledglings here: http://woldranger.blogspot.co.uk/