Monday, January 07, 2008

Woodland Walk

Our first walk of 2008 was a trip round Salcey, which was a bit of a gamble as nothing of interest has been reported there for months now. On south stretch of the 'Woodpecker Trail' they are clearning a lot of trees, having cleared big patches on the easterly stretch last year. If they carry on at this rate it'll be Salcey Coppice soon instead of Salcey Forest!

Helen's favourite bird is the Long-tailed Tit, seen here:

Or the 'badger bird' as we call it. There were loads of these gregarious birds in the wood, all calling to each other as they go about their business. They tend to follow humans and watch them as much as they themselves are watched.

In addition to the Long-tailed Tits, Salcey also houses a large number of Coal Tits, another woodland specialist:

The Coal Tit has that distinctive headstripe. All around Salcey too are large numbers of Marsh Tits, distinctine from Willow Tits primarily in voice, but also in their 'bib' size and the smooth neck:

Finally on the walk back to the car park, this female Reed Bunting was looking confused sat in a bush by the path:

I was surprised to see a Reed Bunting in the forest, possibly why the bird looked confused too?

The Forestry Commission now charge £2 for parking at Salcey but you get a pound off food and drink at the cafe (the 3-bean Chili on jacket spud is excellent) which seems to have worked for the Commission and the cafe, we'd never seen the wood so busy.

From Salcey we stopped off to feed the ducks at Ravensthorpe before heading up to do a 5-mile loop close to Hanging Houghton. The weather turned and from brilliant warming sunshine we developed an overcast afternoon with a very cold wild blowing, the temperature dropped away quite quickly.

The combination of the wind and a couple of local shoots meant there was almost no bird life around, which was a shame as we were hoping to see the reported owls, but no such luck.

Sunday the sun was out again but time for some gardening. At one point I looked up and spotted three Siskin in the fruit trees, including this one:

Our first, recent, visitor must have been back on brought along the family this time :)

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