31 August 2020

2020 / 55

06:15 – 09:00
Clear, bright and blue forecast. 12*C

Simon is here, the shooting season for Roebuck is open until end of October.
I look forward to catching up with him later, but will not disturb for now.
Which way shall I go? down Q1 as usual I think, to check for migrant birds along the stream course.

Green Woodpecker yaffling. When will I get to SEE this elusive bird…


I am here before the sun, which is casting an early pink glow on the thin cloud as it begins its ascent behind the Aviva pines. There is a chill in the air and a mist at ground level. I can hear Robins – probably three – several Blue Tits, a Wren and at least two Nuthatch. All individual birds, no flock here yet today but I will doubtless come upon a gathering at some point. For now, its just nice to walk, alone among the trees and the damp grass on a beautiful morning.
At butterfly corner, there are several examples of flowering Scabiosa which is an encouragement. Butterflies have had a short season this year.
Sixth sense alerts me to look up, and a thin flight call identifies the small passerine overhead as a Tree Pipit. Most excellent – I am on such a roll here this week or so, adding new bird species to the annual record all the time. Other birders locally have been picking these up, so its good to have one on my patch. It is the time now for migration to start picking up and there is a sense of new vitality returning to the Wood.

There’s a Great Spotted Woodpecker calling from the Broad, somewhere to my left. A couple of Chiffchaffs and a Wren.

A gunshot. Simon has hit his target.

At the crossing, an understandably skittish female Roe deer bounces off as soon as seeing me. And here’s a small flock of birds… mostly Coal Tits. Goldcrest and a lovely Treecreeper among them. Listening as they are hard to see. Down below, just off Upper Velmore, a Firecrest. Wondering about the Hobbies as I stand here. Are they still around. What time last year was I seeing the young birds. Have they survived the Goshawk arrival…?

It’s no surprise to feel an uneasy quiet around the clearfell, and only a Mistle Thrush call is off any note.
Simon’s second kill at exactly 7.00 makes me edgy too, and I am not sure I should circumnavigate the whole clearfell as was my plan. SO I move slowly and cautiously along the northern edge watching mostly Dunnocks and Great Tits flitting between the track and the trees.
One Great Tit is chasing a large beetle through the air, twisting and turning acrobatically in its pursuit. Unsuccessfully. It is great just to watch nature in its home, going about its graceful business. There is beauty in these small everyday acts that we seldom get a chance to see., but which are immensely fulfilling and mindful.
Up where the tracks join, I turn and come back along the same route, noting with a smile that two female Roe Deer are still out grazing among the restock.
Three more Pipits overhead, together, but I *think* these are Meadow, judging by the call. Nevertheless a good record and a sign of things moving along.

And here is Simon. Handshakes and smiles. It’s good to talk. Come back this way with me, I’ll introduce to to my boss…

I am flattered and encouraged to be ‘accepted’ among these professionals and experts in different aspects of forestry. Robin appreciates my records and diligent reports of campers, bikes etc. he is not a naturalist, but is respectful and encouraging. Beside him is a contractor, Louis, here to work on the drainage, dig more ditches at the side of the track and clean up the pipes etc. We walk purposefully together for half an hour talking ponds etc, budgets and the challenges of a restock subject to such intense deer grazing.

The BTO Ringing Group are in, setting up in the middle of the clearfell now that Simon’s work is done. Blackcap and Bullfinch added to the day’s tally. A few Willow Warblers are passing through along the stream course, including several bright yellow juveniles

What happens next is a little bit mind-blowing.

“We have caught this too”…

What an absolutely stunning find, in the nets down along the stream course. A very young bird too – and a real scarce visitor to even the county

87th Patch Tick, and a quite remarkable eighth new bird species added this year. Not one I predicted, so who knows what will turn up next.

Great to be a part of the stewardship team that connects with and cares for this remarkable place.

One thought on “31 August 2020

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