Arriving at the reserve at 10 a.m., we were soon greeted by a stunning male Common Redstart within one hundred yards of the entrance gate.
This turned out to be the first of many, with a total of 15 birds seen (comprising nine males, 2 females and five juveniles).
Surprisingly, only two Stonechats were on view, a male and a female, and two Swallows were skimming low over the heathland, presumably picking off the Common Heath moths which were abundant.
A Common Whitethroat was singing from high in a conifer and a Nuthatch was calling loudly. An adult Great Spotted Woodpecker tried its hardest to lose a juvenile that was following it everywhere it went. Only one Tree Pipit was heard and three Pied Wagtails, all males, were on an area of short grass. Two Willow Warblers, seven Chiffchaffs, a singing Goldcrest, several Coal Tits and many over-flying Redpolls were also noted.
A Common Lizard, an Emperor dragonfly, 3 Broad-bodied Chasers, several Small Heath butterflies and 4 Fallow Deer were around the reserve, one of the last mentioned giving an agility display.
The best was kept for last, when Sue said that a Collared Dove had just landed in a dead tree. I was puzzled that a Collared Dove would appear on the heathland but, before I got the scope onto it, it began purring - a stunning TURTLE DOVE. A bit of a rarity these days and only my second sighting of this species so far this year. Not a bad way to end our four hour visit.
On returning home, I received an email from Paul informing me that we were returning this evening to Old Lodge for a Nightjar and Woodcock session - more on that tomorrow.
Graham & Sue