Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Flying Visit to the Forest

My parents are moving house from my native Forest of Dean to Devon in a few weeks time so I went back at the weekend to rescue a few items from the skip. Mum tried to fob me off with a scrapbook of cards and notes which I had sent her over the years. I declined and pointed out she was moving house, not dying.

Blackcap - one of many songsters at Nagshead RSPB

The visit provoked some mixed feelings: no longer having the family home to visit in the place you grew up is a bit sad; no longer having a convenient, free place to crash before early morning visits to Nagshead RSPB (or one of mother's hearty breakfasts to look forward to on returning) even sadder.

Pied Flycatcher - male

On the other hand, when I go back now, there will be less risk of offending the folks by neglecting them in favour of Wood Warblers, Pied Flycatchers and Redstarts down the road. And a whole new world of opportunities to offend them by bunking off to look for wildlife in North Devon when I go and visit them there.

Pied Flycatcher - male

Anyway, Dad joined me this morning for a 'last' look around, and we were treated to a singing Wood Warbler near the main path, it's whole body shaking with the effort.

Pied Flycatcher - male

Any melancholy was quickly washed away by the Warbler plus good numbers of Pied Flycatchers, a close but all too brief Goshawk through a gap in the canopy, and a drumming, calling but ultimately unseen Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.

Rabbit near the visitor centre

No Redstarts seen today but I did hear one singing high in the oaks. Pied Flys seemed to be doing very well though. Most of the Flycatchers and the Wood Warbler bore rings - presumably returning birds ringed at the nest here?

Wood Warbler - male

Such a good place it seems churlish to complain about the cricked neck from trying to see out of the arrow-slit hide windows from badly positioned bench seats. But I've heard them moaned about far and wide (most recently in the ergonomically-challenged hide at Abbotsbuty Swannery where would-be Stilt-watchers needed stilts to see out), so why not.

Wood Warbler - male

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