Wed 1st April 2015
A morning’s sunlit walk witnessed a rich crop of woodland birds. It was definitely the place to be before the trees are in leaf. The call of nuthatch dominated, seemingly answered by a distant echo. I had great views of a treecreeper foraging on the moss-laden limbs of a big oak. In the rookery there seemed to be birds sat on at least some nests, whilst many more danced or hung in the stiff breeze overhead. Of the tits, I saw, blue, long-tailed and great. One of the latter was engaged in a wing-fluttering display, presumably soliciting food from a courting male? Two tiny goldcrests explored the tree tops whilst their troglodyte match, the wren, traversed tree stumps.
Other birds seen included blackbird, several chiffchaff, wood pigeon, a stock dove, (I think) and robin. Yaffle, great-spotted woodpecker and a bullfinch were heard. Herring gull passed overhead.
Few, if any, other finches.
Hearing a tremendous commotion of magpies and jays coming from the Quarrylands and anticipating a sparrowhawk kill, I went to investigate and heard a strange hard-to-locate sobbing sound. Thinking it was further away, I inadvertentlyly put up a juvenile sparrowhawk, and its prey, a jay, managed to fly up into a nearby tree, its down littering the ground. I cursed my poor fieldcraft for depriving the hawk of its meal and myself of a photo.
I took rather more care, pausing prior to entering the open turf of the Quarrylands and was rewarded with a close view of a fox, slunk, close to the ground, masquerading as one of many anthills.