My wife Sue and I returned to one of our favourite birding sites today, Old Lodge Nature Reserve.
This beautiful reserve on the Ashdown Forest is superbly managed by the Sussex Wildlife Trust and is home to most of the usual heathland bird species.
Today's visit produced two male Common Redstarts, a Tree Pipit, a Woodlark, a Cuckoo and ten Common Crossbills, all of which were year ticks for me. (We must have missed a few birds as Matt Eade and Dick Gilmore reported on the Sussex Ornithological Society website that they had seen 8 Common Redstarts, 30+ Crossbills and 2 Siskins around the reserve late morning.)
Male COMMON REDSTART
A distant WOODLARK
Two silhouetted COMMON CROSSBILLS
The supporting cast included two Ravens, at first just heard but then seen on the ground and in flight, two male and one female Stonechat, two Common Buzzards soaring together over the MOD land, three Nuthatches, five drumming Great Spotted Woodpeckers, many Coal Tits, three Chiffchaffs and three Willow Warblers, nine Lesser Redpolls, one Skylark and 3 male and one female Pheasant.
A LESSER REDPOLL doing a magnificent job of keeping out of view.
A blurry male STONECHAT.
At least fifteen Fallow Deer were around the reserve and, despite the really warm and sunny weather today, the only butterflies seen were one Brimstone and one Peacock.
Worryingly, we didn't see or hear any Dartford Warblers and one has to wonder just how badly the populations have been hit by this past winter's weather. The most numerous species by far today was the Chaffinch. At least fifty were seen around the reserve.