Thursday, 6 April 2017

Forest of Dean - 5th April, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Wild Boar

The mission today was to try and see a Hawfinch which would be a lifer for us. An early start then across the Severn Bridge to the Forest of Dean and the RSPB Nagshead reserve where Hawfinches have been seen.
We arrived at about 8am to sunny blue skies with a cool breeze. First stop was the Campbell hide but unfortunately there was not anything to be seen. We did however outside the hide get a great view of a Great Spotted Woodpecker
From the hide we decided to walk the long nature trail that took us through woodland and out onto a small area of Heath. Along this route we spotted a Mandarin Ducks quite high up in the trees.  Plenty of Coal, Great and Blue Tits seen as well. Pretty sure that I had a 5 second glimpse of a Hawfinch before it flew through the woods. 
From our beautiful walk around the reserve we then paid a visit to the Lower Hide for a coffee break. As soon as we arrived a young Boar was pointed out to us. Despite being young the Boar still looked pretty big to us. Didn't realise they were that big.
We spent quite some time at this hide which overlooks a large pond area. Very lucky to see Pied Flycatchers, Redstart as well as Grey Wagtail, Treecreeper, Green Woodpecker etc from here.
A return visit to the Campbell hide and we saw both Chiffchaff,  Willow Warbler and Goldfinches come down to drink from the small pond. Still no Hawfinches!
We decided to take our lunch down to a Hawfinch hotspot at Parkend. A few sunflower hearts were placed on a rock in anticipation but still no Hawfinches. The sunflower hearts were however enjoyed by a couple of sheep!! 
A very quick visit to Cannop ponds saw some more Mandarin Ducks however we decided to return to Nagshead for one more try for the elusive Hawfinch.  Again we had a great view of the Redstart from the Lowerhide and a few Blackcaps. Great to see a few Comma butterflies on the wing as well. 
28 birds seen for the day including Coal Tit, Blackcap, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail, Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Nuthatch, Buzzard, Mandarin, Treecreeper, Green Woodpecker, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest. Not forgetting the Wild Boar.
A great reserve to walk around, we will return and hopefully find a Hawfinch.

   Through the trees we spotted a pair of Mandarin Ducks, this one a female. Quite strange to see them in trees.

                   Wild Boar from the lower hide. Our first ever sighting of one

                   Still with its stripes the Boar is a young one, it still seemed pretty big!

                   Very vibrant colours on a Grey Wagtail 

                   This Green Woodpecker stayed in this position for some time


                  Singing Blackcap, plenty of males singing for their territory 

   Chiffchaff making its way down to drink 



   Thirsty work this migration- Willow Warbler 



                    Handsome male Mandarin at Cannop ponds


                  A watchful eye on me

                   Splashing around - Blue Tit

                   Beautiful Comma butterfly

                   Redstart, a fine male with striking colours. Viewed from the lower hide and right        
                   at the back. Brilliant to see this lovely Spring migrant return.

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