First up was Park Wood (near Molash). This is a small wood so it is easy to cover all of it. It also has a lot of dead and rotting trees as well the more common coppiced sweet chestnut..
As I got out of the car I was sure I could hear nuthatch but my call recognition is still in its infancy - it stopped calling before I could find it.
I had not gone very far into the wood when I found the first of the target species – a marsh tit. I tried to get some pictures but it remained high in the trees out of shot .Soon after I followed what I thought was the call of another one only to find it was a great tit! Just as well I don’t trust my ears.
As I was crossing the clearing I heard another nuthatch and struck off into the wood. This time I did find it, high in the canopy with another calling in the distance but again no pictures.
I returned to the clearing and continued the walk where another/the same nuthatch started calling nearby. This time I not only found it but managed some record shots of it high in the trees.
As I reached the top of the hill the wood (adjacent to the fields) there were loads of redwing which scattered as I approached. I could also hear something different calling - this time it was a pair of bullfinch. Now that was a call I should have recognised!
A tawny owl called a few times but I couldn’t find it – I know that’s normally the case but last year I did find one in this wood so for now I still try.
The only other interesting bird I found in Park Wood was a tree creeper.
Several great spotted woodpeckers were in the wood with one drumming – but there was no sign (or sound) of a lesser spot.
By now it was about 11.00 and the wood was going quiet so I moved on the Kings Wood.
I’ve only ever gone to Kings Wood to see tree pipits and nightjars and normally I’ve been successful but I’ve never been there to bird in a more general sense. Today I was after lesser spots (I know Dylan found several there last year).
Things started pretty well. As I got out of the car I could hear some tits calling so went to investigate and found 4 coal tits in the road-side trees.
However once I’d got into the wood itself I found and heard absolutely nothing. It was totally dead. After ~ 45 minutes I gave up and departed. As far as I can see most of the wood is sweet chestnut at various stages of coppicing – never a very productive environment. I’ll have to have a chat with Dylan.
My final port of call was Denge Wood.
By now the sun was shining strongly – no sign of the gloom forecast. I went down to the clearing and decided to wait for stuff to come to me. Hawfinch being the main target.
First up were a couple of marsh tits and this time one came into camera range (just about). These continued calling all afternoon.
Next a saw a small black and white bird flash past and land on a tree trunk but immediately moved to the far side. After a minute or so it came out onto a side branch but immediately disappeared into the wood but I did get a decent view – a lesser spotted woodpecker.
Siskins were vocal the entire time I was there and towards the end of the session actually showed well if distantly. Finally the hawfinch turned up - 6 or 7 in total today.
As normal they perched in the very tops of the trees but today they didn’t linger in one place too long – often only a few seconds before flying to another perch as a consequence very few pictures were taken.
Still a nice change of scenery, some decent birds - I’m glad I took no notice of the weather forecast.