Monday, 3 August 2020

Whistley Wood & Bucknell Wood :: 31 July - 02 August 2020

On Friday last I decided to use the last day of my carryover annual leave as it was due to expire. NuthatchWe opted to make a visit to Whistley Wood in the morning - better to be in woods, rather than out in the open with the temperature due to reach 34°C; by lunchtime. We headed immediately right and round the perimeter.

There wasn't a lot of action until we encountered a nuthatch - as we watched a number of tits fed in the same tree and a spotted flycatcher appeared on the opposite side. It was the last time we had close views of 3+ flycatchers as they skipped high in the tree canopy. In the woods we saw larger numbers of speckled wood butterflies. A nice walk but only a moment of excitement. Willow warbler

A couple of visits to Bucknell Woods then followed on Saturday and Sunday, the first on my lonesome and then with the missus. For the past couple of weeks there have been reports (initially by @987jonty) of crossbills - up to 21. Walking up the path from the main entrance I found a few chiffchaff and willow warbler. I continued to scan the treetops of fir trees but no joy, at least until I approached one group of trees only for a small flock of 14 crossbills to take to the wing. They circled but then away and out of sight.

I reached the crossroads and turned left, immediately spotting a female cossbill land in the top of a distant fir. CrossbillAnother four circled and disappeared into the trees beyond. Soon it left and headed in the direction the small flock had taken. As I was getting close to where I'd parked the car, a family of goldcrests were feeding. The parent seemed to be looking a bit rough but the young were in good form, following obediently and being fed regularly.

Arriving back at the car there were five large dragonflies hawking around the cark park and the road immediately ahead. I'd often heard people talk of visiting this wood and am glad I'd now managed to follow suit. Goldcrest

The next day and we decided that another morning walk would be good and so I thought I'd show Charlotte Bucknell Woods - well I had enjoyed my visit the day before.

Walking up the first path we again found a few chiffchaff and willow warbler, but there were no crossbill where I'd seen them the day before. A rather showy roe deer crossed the path and was a real treat. A spotted flycatcher chased around the trees to our right but didn't wait for it's photo call.

Roe deer

On a long path parallel to the road we saw someone ahead scanning the treetops and it turned out to be @987jonty. He was watching around 18 crossbill and said he'd heard some siskin too - never laid my eyes on those. Once we'd had a chat and @987jonty had moved on, we watched a pair of spotted flycatcher hunting in the trees directly in front of some crossbill.

Spotted flycatcher

There was also an array of butterflies along the side of the pathsas we walked, including common blue, large skipper and (I'm told) silver-washed fritillary. We really enjoyed the visit and so I'm sure we will be back soon.

Sightings in Whistley Wood included: blue tit, carrion crow, great tit, long-tailed tit, nuthatch and spotted flycatcher.

Sightings in Bucknell Wood included: blackbird, carrion crow, chiffchaff, common crossbill, goldcrest, goldfinch, great spotted woodpecker, great tit, jay, red kite, spotted flycatcher, willow warbler, woodpigeon and wren.

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