Saturday, 30 April 2022

Wyre Forest :: 24 April 2022

I'd started to see photographs of pied flycatchers appearing on social media and thought to get in touch with a chap that lives on the edge of the Wyre Forest to see if the population there has started to return - not only did he reply but he also said that he was going to the forest on Sunday morning if I wanted to join him. He was on - I checked if it was OK for Kev Heath to join and make it a party of three - pied fly would be a lifer for him - it was. In fact, I have only once seen a pied flycatcher (a male) and that was bizarrely at Grimsbury Reservoir of all places. John Friendship-Taylor had found the bird along the river and we all dropped in to see it; I went in my lunch hour without a camera and so have had a four year itch to get a photograph of one. Last spring I had a go for a female that Dylan Parry-Davies located amongst spotted flycatchers at Wormleighton.

We met and made our way to the visitor’s car park and were soon on the main track and listening for anything interesting. In trees overhead there were feeding lesser redpoll, a species I've managed to avoid up to this point and so a welcome tick for the year list. We pressed on and as we reached a favourite spot we stopped as a pied flycatcher called to our right. We stood on the edge of the trees and listened soon spotting both male and female pied flycatchers, chasing one another. What tremendous birds - I took a few photos and had that treasured prize. The photos that follow are the same birds but as we stopped at the spot on our return at the end of the visit.

Pied flycatcher
Pied flycatcher

We pressed on and came to a clearing and slope to our right and spotted a chap setting himself up with a camouflage net and getting into position to photograph the pied flycatchers. We stopped, watched and decided to make our way down to the brook to see if we could find any dippers - one on our target list as Kev doesn't see them most years. As we left the area a male pied flycatcher dropped onto a nearby bush but took to the wing as I got my camera on it, then landed on the path behind us! Again, as I got focus it was off again and into the bushes. I took some more photos and was well happy - Kev could have his dipper now.

We reached the brook and saw a dipper fly towards and then away from us - I wasn't quick enough to get a flight shot. We reached a building with benches outside, and a very friendly robin sat right beside us - people likely feed the birds here and so the sight of people started to draw in a few other birds, mostly tits. Suddenly a marsh tit joined - another bird that has eluded us. We followed it along the brook and managed a few photos as well as some of a beautiful grey wagtail. Along this stretch we had at least three pairs of marsh tit.

Grey wagtail
Grey wagtail
Marsh tit
Marsh tit

From the path running along the edge of the brook we continued to see flying dippers and it wasn't long before we also had great views of one feeding. It was turning into a magical visit for us - probably the same for our host but regular as he lives only 5 minutes away.

Above our heads we could see a nuthatch drop in and call, followed by a second - some pairing going on by the looks. Tricky to photograph due to the direction of the light but good to watch.

Nuthatch
Nuthatch

Coming up from a mill house we passed an area which was apparently good for tree pipits but couldn't see or hear anything. As we climbed, we could hear a common redstart and spotted one deep in a distant tree - no point in trying to photograph it. Rather than walk through the meadow we rounded it hoping we may encounter the bird at the other end - we didn't but could hear one call ahead - stopping we soon found it in the tree canopy. As we scanned around a tree pipit dropped into the tree to our right - a lifer for Kev and I. The redstart then treated us with views at eye level, although mostly against the sun - OK for viewing with bins but not so clever for photography.

Redstart
Redstart

We heard tawny owl calling but the call of a wood warbler evaded us. What a magical place. I'm sure it will only be a few weeks until we return and see if we can find our missing target bird and perhaps get a photo of a tree pipit.

5 comments:

  1. Great stuff! I've tried to see piecatchers soooo many times! Wyre Forest is where I finally managed to get a male 2 years ago, but a bit late in the year so foraging for the chicks - too distant (& flighty) to get great pics....

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    1. Thanks for looking at the post! Forest is really great at the moment and probably improved since we were there - I think they are in full song. We were probably a week too early for the wood warblers but I think they are showing well now - seen some great photos now of both and the tree pipes which was unfortunately not in a position for a photo by the time I tried. Hopefully catch up with you somewhere. Cheers.

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    2. :o) Even when I don't comment, I always enjoy you blog, Kyle! I'm hoping to get up there in the next week or 2, though I might be late again if it has to be 2 weeks....

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  2. Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting? I'm pleased I discovered it though, ill be checking back soon to find out what additional posts you include.
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    1. Thanks for reading. All photos are my own and the rest is just a commentary of how I remember the day - no literary quality and just a diary entry.

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