Thursday, 7 April 2011

Thursday 7th.April 2011

With the work on the Common finished until late Autumn , and with high temperatures on the cards again , I set off early to the land of Pooh , Ashdown Forest . For those who haven't read the books when younger , this is where the 'House at Pooh Corner' and the bridge where 'Pooh Sticks' was played , can be found . I arrived at Old Lodge Reserve , managed by Sussex Wildlife Trust to blue skies , but a cool wind . The first bird I heard , in the far distance , was my first Cuckoo of the year . A most enjoyable visit followed , the highlights being : One of several male Stonechats seen around the Reserve . Just the expected species were found when I reached half way , where one of the massive Wood Ants nest , about 60/70cms. high , was found under the telephone wires . A bit further on , the Cuckoo was heard again , this time , coming towards me . Also heard was the 'cronking' of the two Ravens , in the same spot where I saw them last year . before turning down into the valley , a Pied Wagtail on the horse paddock was joined by a Wood Lark on the ground . I closed the distance between , but the horses spooked both and the photo opportunity was gone . Some consolation was a Common Buzzard that drifted slowly overhead . Just before dropping down into the valley , the first of three singing Common Redstarts . This one , the only one which I managed to get a shot of , was at the top of the highest tree in the area , but it certainly did 'throw' his song .Quite blustery just here , as this overflying Jay found out .As I crossed the little stream at the bottom of the valley , not one but five Common Buzzards were enjoying the thermals , this being one of them .Climbing the other side , this male Stonechat kept a beadie eye as I did so .Almost at the top , and distant 'cronking' announced that the Ravens , at least one of them had moved .All around the reserve , Willow Warblers , like this one , were singing their decending scales .Not a photogenic specimen , and in trees moving in the wind , one of a pair of Tree Sparrows found near the car park .As I sat and eat my lunch in the shade , a Goldcrest flew in and started preening , looking as if it had just had a bath . 3 Tree Pipits were also heard , but not seen . Just one male Brimstone was seen on the reserve , and even though I was on heathland , just 3 Common Lizards were spotted . In total , 37 species were recorded , not bad given there is no open water nearby .Having looked as I passed on the down , On the way home I stopped to see if the Early Purple Orchids were flowering yet , as this site always seems earlier than any other , and I wasn't disappointed . But the numbers are getting less and less each year , just two in flower , this one about to flower , and just one other specimen not yet having produced it's flower spike .
Have been meaning to mention , the Rookery on the bottom lane has slowly increased from 6 to 9 nests , a bit late I would have thought for the latest ones .

Back in the garden having a Cup of tea with Carol , another male Orange Tip , a male Brimstone and the first Holly Blue that I have seen this year , most probably a male the way it was chasing about , but it did not stop to confirm , or get a shot .


Warren Baker said...

Some birds on your list that I can only dream of here Greenie. That pooh place sure has got the right habitat!!

Phil said...

A good list of species there Greenie. Haven't been to the forest for a number of years, might get there soon after reading your post.
Hand on heart.....did you play pooh sticks?

Greenie said...

Warren ,
It's not all pooh there .

Phil ,
Hand on heart , no , I didn't get down to the bridge .
Had I done so , I would have had a go .

Ken. said...

Hi Greenie.
That seems like a great place to visit. I remember you going there last year.
You saw some very good species of wildlife on your trip today. Nice photo's.Like Phil, I really must pay it a visit.