Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Wyre Forest ~ Post Lockdown

☁️8C to start then ⛅️23C ~ Wind ↘NW@5mph Tuesday 26th May 2020 ~ My first trip further afield since lockdown with an early morning start in the Wyre Forest Worcestershire.

Pearl-bordered Fritillary from today's visit displaying the all-important underwing.
In normal circumstances, I would usually visit the Wyre Forest a couple of times during the spring period. Firstly in the early part of May when the target bird species such as Wood Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Tree Pipit and Redstart are in full song and thus easier to find and for the Pearl-bordered Fritillary butterfly, one of the earliest Fritillaries to emerge.

Also from today's visit a very pristine looking Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary.
My second visit would then take place later in the month or in early June when Spotted Flycatchers have arrived and the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, which has a later emergence date begins to replace the earlier Pearl Bordered. In fact, if you time your visit well like today, both Fritillary species can be seen, although the latter is usually becoming quite worn.

A Redstart obviously in the process of feeding young makes a brief appearance.
Of course, spotting the birds was a little harder today with the trees now in full canopy and less song to point you in the right direction but thankfully it was a good visit and a long one, spending over six hours on-site. I did manage to record all my targeted species for the day with the remarkable exception of Wood Warbler, which I failed to connect with or even hear during the whole visit! Remarkable in the fact that I would consistently record double-figure numbers of my favourite leaf warbler on any visit to the forest at this time of year.

One of the eight Spotted Flycatchers seen during the visit.
Despite the disappointment of dipping on my favourite warbler one of the highlights of the visit was an amazing count of eight Spotted Flycatchers, which now rates among my highest UK counts in any one session.

Pied Flycatchers were having a busy day.
There was plenty of evidence too that Pied Flycatchers are doing well with another good count of six birds (male & female) some busily gathering food and moving in and out of various nest boxes and two birds found in full song.

Tree Pipit ~Another specialist of the Wyre Forest
There was just a single sighting of Tree Pipit today, thankfully singing and parachuting down from the canopy, always a lovely sight.

Heath Spotted Orchids
Other highlights of the day included a Tawny Owl, Cuckoo (heard only), Lesser-spotted Woodpecker (heard only) and a number of Heath Spotted Orchids. There was no sign of any Dippers likely due to the number of people on the stream track by the time I got down there, although two Grey Wagtails seemed less bothered.

Pied Flycatcher