Having set off at 6.15 a.m. this morning to, yet again, trudge the six miles to collect my wife's car (thankfully, all repairs are now completed), I got back home at about 9 a.m. and we decided that it was time to make another visit to Old Lodge nature reserve.
There seems to be more Common Redstarts there this year, with 15 birds counted (8 males, 6 females and a juvenile).
Sadly, not the same can be said for Tree Pipits, normally found in good numbers on the reserve, we managed to see just a single bird.
No Dartford Warblers or Spotted Flycatchers is rather worrying. A few Dartfords have been reported on the Forest but many succumbed during the winter, and Spotted Flycatchers seem hard to find this year. Neither did we see or hear Woodlarks or Stonechats, but it was very windy and many species may have been keeping well-sheltered.The supporting avian cast included 3 Willow Warblers, 3 Chiffchaffs, 4 Common Whitethroats, a male Pheasant, a Mistle Thrush, around 10 Coal Tits, a fly-over Redpoll, 2 Green Woodpeckers and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.
A few Heath Spotted Orchids are now in flower.
Several Wood Ants nests are present and these industrious mini-beasts never fail to fascinate me, although Sue would rather keep well away from them (and anything else with more than four legs).
As we headed back towards the car park, we passed a stack of felled pine. It is a shame the photo cannot convey the gorgeous scent.
Tomorrow, we intend to visit the Kittiwake colony at Seaford.
Sue & Graham