A Strid Wood Walk
At this time of year, Strid Wood is a wonderful sight with a carpet of bluebells and many spring flowers below the light green leaves of the beech trees. High-level footpaths are helpful in scanning the upper branches for warblers, whose songs were heard all around, an aid to identifying Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Blackcap.
It is also the time when Pied Flycatchers return and we were privileged to have good views from the start, around many nest boxes. We had brief views of Redstarts, but the Wood Warbler reported as being present earlier eluded us. Most tit species were seen, along with Nuthatch, Treecreeper (feeding young), Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers. In the fields near the aqueduct, we watched a pair of Curlew feeding, an Oystercatcher calling, with Swallows, Sand Martins and a Buzzard overhead.
We were entertained at our lunch stop by a male Chaffinch circling his mate with his courtship dance; he had chosen a hollowed-out tree stump as his stage !
On the river, we were pleased to see Common Sandpiper, Dipper, and Grey and Pied Wagtail, plus the resident Mandarin Ducks. The return walk from the Cavendish Pavilion was rather hurried due to rain showers. Overall a very enjoyable day with over 30 species seen and/or heard.
Leaders Sheila & Colin Ginger
Photos : Blackcap, Grey Wagtail, Pied Flycatcher, Treecreeper by Ian Hughes