Wednesday at 7am found me at Bob's on route for our annual winter trip to the Forest of Dean...except of course this was now Spring!
Targets the same as ever - Goshawk, Raven, Crossbill, Mandarin and Dipper.
A40/M40/A40 our route down - usually we go on a Sunday so it was interesting(!)doing it mid week.We must have seen 50 Red Kites on route! Some very close. Such a lovely
We ate Breakfast at our usual Little Chef at Burford - which is a converted old Barn and the food is good!
Buzzards eventually replaced RK as we neared and entered Gloustershire.
Our first stop was New Fancy Raptor Watchpoint - where we arrrived as Lee Evans was leaving-he spotted my sticker for Olivaramatours and then Bob - who he recognised and there followed a conversation about the Espana Lynx .....I changed into my wellies and got organised whilst they chatted.
We located a couple of Gos, a buzzard or 2 - then at least 3 pairs of Ravens flew over around and past us. A close male and female Crossbill perched up.
Whilst Bob watched a Goldcrest - his first for the year(I still havent seen one!) I saw an Owl - well I called it a lady next to me saw it fly into the trees and Bob dipped! Damn because my first though was seo - and then we thought LEO as the habitat is right for LEO - the flight is right for either but I didn't get agood view of its head! so Owl sp it became!
Bob and I walked down into the Forest and saw lots more Crossbills and all the variety of Tits except the Willow!(no Swingers but then they aren't really tits!)
Then it was onto Speke House and in the arboratum there were so many Nuthatches we both decided we had never seen so many in a day before! Thrushes of all varieties - except for Fieldfares altho we soon saw many of those as well!
Past Cannop Ponds were we were able to see Mandarins from the road and on to Park End to see the lovely Dipper behind the pub.
Then it was up to the Church where we did see some large Finches take off but couldn't really id them but we both thought Hawfinches!
Back to New Fancy and very distant views of Gos - a bit disappointing as we didn't see them displaying.Thena Male Siskin displayed in front of us and perched up- we had it in our scopes and what a delightful bird he was in all his finery - that clear green and yellow and black! Beautifully marked head. Yes as the sun came out!
Then he was replaced by a male Crossbill - much closer than the mornings bird! Great.
A small flock of Hawfinch flew over - yes defo!
Now the time was 3.30 where too?
A Green -wing teal was at Slimbridge and a Ring-neck female at Frampton (well the Ring-neck was commuting between Slim and Frampton!
Ok - off to Slimbridge - its further than you think so we got there with 15 mins to the close! Well it would have been ok - but most of the Teal were sillouetes!
Dipo. off to Frampton and search for the RND.....well tens of hundreds of diving ducks and another dip. So we ajourned to the Bell and ate Duck! Well it was Gressingham!
A lovely meal and a good days birding despite the dips - we should have gone for the ducks earlier!
Still the year list struggled over 140.....
Thursday morning saw me in Finchley to catch the solitary Waxwing which I thought I had missed earlier in the week.