Monday, January 22, 2018

📖 2018/Update #6 ~ Forest of Dean

🌤 10C Monday 22nd January 2018 ~ My timing was impeccable as I arrived at Plock Court Nature Reserve, Gloucestershire for a look at the long staying Penduline Tit. Immediately on arrival, the bird was paying its first visit of the morning to the small reedbed where it frequents, this according to the gentleman next to me, who couldn't believe my luck, having himself been waiting for over two hours!

Penduline Tit ~ Plock Court
Whenever I decide to go on, what for me is a rare 'twitch' I'm always keen to plan a whole days birding and thanks to my short wait for the Penduline I was able to head off pretty smartish to my next stop of the day, Cannop Ponds, in the Forest of Dean. These are a series of manmade ponds and a great place to see Mandarin Ducks, which are regular breeders here. With the reasonably fine weather, the area was busier than normal but despite the dog walkers, ramblers and cyclists I did manage to find twelve birds, mainly skulking in the flooded wood opposite the main pond! A cronking Raven overhead, Marsh Tit and several Coal Tit around the feeders were other day ticks!

Mandarin Pair ~ Always looking stunning, even in the gloom!
From here a quick stop at Parkend, which yielded eight Hawfinch opposite the cricket pitch high in the canopy, but with local patch birds being seen regularly I didn't linger here for too long!

Two of the four Wild Boar that took me by surprise!
My next stop was New Fancy viewpoint, which on arrival seemed devoid of any birds. Indeed a vigil on the lookout area, which I have to say is fast becoming obscured by trees, was a little disappointing, with only the echoing song of at least three Mistle Thrush reverberating, two Goldcrest and the odd passing Siskin. In fact, It was back at the car park where the action took place. Firstly, two Common Crossbill passing overhead, but no sooner had they grabbed my attention than I got the fright of my life. When no less than four Wild Boar appeared from out of nowhere, one intent on barging through! To end the visit in style, having thought I'd initially 'dipped', my one and only Goshawk of the day passed low over the treeline, before being obscured by the low sun, it was time for a well-earned cuppa!

Grey Grey Shrike, Crabtree Hill
I struggled at first to find the next species on my list, a Great Grey Shrike at Crabtree Hill, an area I'd not visited before. With all my information pinned and stored on Google Maps, it doesn't help when you have absolutely no phone signal for the majority of the day, EE take note! Notwithstanding I reverted to the good old Ordinance Survey Map, parking near Woorgreens Nature Reserve and after traipsing across the bogged ground for a good hour eventually found him! Well, actually he found me, they do like to be nosey! Worth mentioning too that the lake held (11) Goosander and the surrounding alder a huge flock of mixed Lesser Redpoll/Siskin, circa 200!

Dipper at Wenchford in the fading light!
My final stop of the day was Wenchford Picnic Site for Dipper. Although I've seen Dipper hear before I'd dipped (forgive the pun) during my last visit with the Brandon Marsh team. No such issues today, when I found one just off the bridge which leads down to the car park.

A few more images of the day....

Great Grey Shrike

Wild Boar

Mandarin Duck