Saturday 15 July – Forest of Dean – Leader: Robert Hargreaves

Arriving at Nagshead around 15:30, eleven of us braved the adverse conditions. We spotted House Martin, two Crows, a Chiffchaff and a dung/dor beetle and heard a Song Thrush. It was very wet, but though uncomfortable it did brighten the green of the forest. A brief patch of sun brought out a Chaffinch, Blackcap, Swallows and Goldfinch. At the second hide we saw a Robin, Mandarin Duck, Long-tailed and Great Tits, whilst learning how many species of insect oaks support and how hospitable marble galls are. Carrying on back through the woods we saw a number of Swallows overhead. Wood Pigeon flew across a pond as well as Wren and Grey Wagtail distinguished by the yellow underside. Beside Cannop Pond were Ringlet and Gatekeeper butterflies. The stoneworks car park seemed an unlikely place for sightings; however we saw Grey Wagtail, Siskin, Blue Tit, Great Tit and Nuthatch. On the Pond were Mandarins, a Mute Swan with two cygnets, Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, Little Grebe, five ducklings and many Moorhen and Coot, with Swifts and House Martins overhead. A Dipper was next to the stream, then we saw a family of Treecreepers chasing each other around a tree trunk. Back in the woods, we heard two Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Song Thrush, Jay and Dunnock.
Starting about 20:30 we walked from Speech House car park up to Crabtree Hill and saw two Buzzard, one Tree Pipit and heard a Green Woodpecker. At dusk we heard a Nightjar. As we set off back to the car park we saw two birds chasing each other. By the squeaky calls, we determined these must be Woodcock. A bat detector yielded a recording of a Common Pipistrelle. We arrived back at the car park around 23:00. Many thanks to Robert for leading in such difficult conditions! Emily Fitzgerald