Monday, March 12, 2007

Salcey Forest

Monday morning - it's raining in Southport and we've long wanted to do a walk in Salcey Forest, close to home, on a weekday, but we had to check out Marshside one last time before heading home. We did - it was cold, windy and very similar to Saturday so we lasted there about 20 minutes before decided to join the queues on the M6 south. After another three hours we pulled into the car park at Salcey Forest. The cafe has it figured! There's a number of nut feeders (including a new feeding station) which attract a number of woodland birds. Today it was mainly Blue Tits, Chaffinches and Great Tits, although there was one brave Willow Tit amongst them:

So we had a very distracted lunch watching all the comings and goings of the birds. After a while this Coal Tit showed up too (note the distinctive stripe on the back of the head):

Officially the Woodpecker trail is a 6 mile path around Salcey but we reckon they lie to lure in the unwary or optimistic, it's got to be 7 - 8 miles. Part way around we spotted this Coal Tit, that looks so scruffy we reckon he's in moult into spring/breeding plumage:

But it was good to be so close up. In the same area, this Wren was rummaging through the undergrowth, which allowed this close-up:

South of the road (that runs through Salcey, if you start in the main car park) is by far the better birding, as there are fewer humans around to disturb the birds. Some scum had fly-tipped the remains of a bathroom fitting in the second car park, I hope they're caught and have to clear it up with a toothbrush! All in all we saw at least six Treecreepers, this being the best snap:

They are hard to photograph being both fast moving and jumping in and out of shade at pace, so nothing particularly crisp despite a lot of effort. Further along, while my wife was watching a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker (her first, i've not yet seen one so I'm jealous!), I snapped this Willow Tit as it took off from a branch in front of me - a particularly pleasing shot:

(Go on: click on the the picture for a closer look!). We'd seen and heard a number of Nuthatches throughout the afternoon, this was the best snap I managed:

Salcey is one of my favourite spots in Northamptonshire. It gets very busy at weekends, but during the week it's almost deserted. I'll have to set some time aside next year...


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