Sunday, 21 June 2020

Whistley Wood :: 20 June 2020

My wife suggested we do a spot of birding in the morning and I thought that I'd make a concerted effort to see spotted flycatcher. GoldcrestOn the Banbury Birders WhatApp Group someone had asked where good spots were in the local area and two that stuck in my mind were Nether Worton (courtesy of @old_caley) and Whistley Wood (courtesy of @987jonty)- probably due to their unusal names. One stipulation was that, wherever we went, we shouldn't be walking in long grass (due to the frequent rain over the last week) and that there was somewhere to have a decent walk. I therefore opted for Whistley Wood as I had never been the Nether Worton and didn't know if we could easily create a circular walk.

Juvenile marsh titWe were late setting out and reached the layby on the B4525, by the entrance to the wood, at about 9.30am. Above us flew a single house martin and as soon as we got through the gate a male bullfinch fed in the tree to our left. As far as my wife was concerned, the morning was therefore already a success! There was a lot of birdsong but nothing to give away a spotted flycatcher. I heard a call to our right and thought it was possibly a jay, or had I mistaken a magpie. Suddenly my wife doubted that she'd locked the car and, as we hadn't gone far, she doubled back. As I waited a jay flew passed and landed in a tree ahead - I saw my wife returning and waved her to hurry back - she Juvenile marsh titarrived in time to see it hopped through a few nearby trees and then it gave us good flypast views.

We followed the paths encountering chiffchaff, goldcrest, song thrush and the normal woodland birds. When we reached the far end, some of the paths were blocked as (as the signs said) this part of the wood was "under new ownership". We worked our way around and eventually down a glade with grassy edges and a few meadow plants. There were numbers of flies, bees and butterflies - including large skipper and ringlet.

At the final corner, before we ran parallel to the road and the layby ahead, we stood to watch a party of blue and great tits - some juveniles amongst them. We watched and found that in the scrub below there were two tits foraging. I started to take photos and watching I concluded they were willow tit as they had pure white all round the collar. Later I found out that there was a developing white spot on the upper bill and this is a tell-tale sign that we had actually seen juvenile marsh tit (Richard Broughton @woodlandbirder provided an article he'd written on the subject.

Despite not finding a spotted flycatcher, this was really great place for a spot of birding and a walk so we will be back again I'm sure.

Sightings (22) included: blackbird, blackcap, blue tit, bullfinch, buzzard, carrion crow, chaffinch, chiffchaff, coal tit, dunnock, goldcrest, great tit, house martin, jay, marsh tit, mistle thrush, nuthatch, red kite, robin, song thrush, woodpigeon and wren.

No comments:

Post a comment