May 2006

Walking in the Forest of Dean on the evening of 28th . At Nagshead I saw and heard 2 wood warblers, and heard garden warbler and redstart. I then walked along the lake at Woorgreens, and up into Kensleyridge enclosure and onto Crabtree Hill. I saw a tree pipit carrying food, heard another wood warbler, and saw two flying woodcock, one of which was calling. There were lots of fallow deer in the forest.

I had an interesting late afternoon at Chew on 25th - click the image below to see the photos.

Chew Valley Lake photo link

After the rain had stopped on 21st, I headed for Marshfield, the major area of arable land in Avon. The weather was very windy, and not ideal for listening for birds. I saw several red-legged partridges, 2 corn buntings (below), a brown hare and a red fox. A surprise find was a singing male nightingale in scrub near Tormarton.

corn bunting

corn bunting

The local dog walks are interesting at present, with regular views of hobbies. Two red kites seen between Didcot and Reading on the London train on 19th.

14th Brean Down, looking for mealy (common) redpolls during the late afternoon. The birds were difficult to find, and when I found two they fed while hidden in a hawthorn tree close to the cattle trough near Fiddler's point. A group of about 10 redpolls also flew in. One male of the pair that I obtained reasonable views of had distinct white streaking on the back, and was probably a mealy, though I've never been convinced of the validity of splitting lesser and mealy redpolls into distinct species from a biological perspective. Molecular evidence suggests they are rather similar, and the evidence for lack of interbreeding in areas of sympatry is somewhat limited. James Packer has some excellent photos on his website. There were also lots of whitethroats present, and singing willow warblers. Got locked in the car park because I left after 7pm!

Green-winged orchids are flowering at Chew, and great crested grebes are still head flagging.

green-winged orchid

great-crested grebes

Bluebells - Long Ashton.

impressionistic bluebells

bluebells

Cuckoo heard in the Mendips, and one seen near Barrow Court in the first week of May. Three Dartford warblers in suitable breeding habitat in Avon seen on 1st.