Friday 13 May – Highnam Woods Leader: Gareth Roberts

Lewis Thomson from Gloucester RSPB met twelve of us on a fine and still evening, much to the delight of the local insects. The reserve is managed to encourage Nightingale. This is their most north-westerly breeding site in the UK, the nearest other site may now be Salisbury Plain, most are in the south-east. New strategies are being tried against Muntjac (we heard barking), to allow a dense understorey, and to coppice larger areas without brash barriers. Song Thrush (some mimicking Nightingale), and Blackbird sang throughout the evening joined by Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Robin, Wren, Dunnock and Chaffinch. Our first, brief Nightingale song was heard at 20:00. Just after 21:00 we heard good periods of song close to the path, joined by another in duet, magical! As we returned to cars a fourth male was starting up. They think they have five singing males this year, but for how long? 16 species in total. Many thanks to Lewis for guiding, and to the generous members who donated on the night towards the conservation work. (Thanks to Gareth for organising). Gareth Roberts