Sunday 07 July – Forest of Dean Leader: Mike Jackson

22 members assembled at Cannop Ponds on a dry but humid evening. We crossed the causeway, passing a Pied Wagtail family on the picnic tables. Inspecting the top pond we saw a Common Sandpiper perching at the far end. Also on the pond were a Lesser Black-backed Gull, Little Grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Mandarin, Tufted Duck, Mallard and ducklings. The male ducks were in eclipse. There was a Mute Swan on a nest on the bank with an egg plainly in sight. We moved through the woods, hearing Treecreeper, Jay and Wren, down to the lower pond. On this were more Coot, Mandarin and Mallard, also a number of Greylag Geese and another Mute Swan. A Grey Heron was on the bank and a Kingfisher was spotted perching on a branch on the far side before we got to the stone works. At the far end there was a Grey Wagtail on the fence next to the weir. At about 20:15 we set off for Speech House and met up with other members for the walk to Crabtree Hill. There was mention of wild boar being seen on the road. There was a Goldcrest amongst the conifers not far from the car park. More Blackcap and Wren sang from the woods. At Crabtree Hill, three Linnet were seen on the path, Stonechat including juveniles amongst the scrub and a number of Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler. Some deer were seen including at least one Fallow Deer. As it became darker, the first of the Nightjars began churring and calling. Then up to four at a time were seen flying in front of the trees. One settled for a while on a known favourite perch, giving us good views in silhouette through ‘scopes. As it became darker, the Nightjars began flying in the open and came quite near – a most pleasing encounter. Two Woodcocks were also seen flying at separat e times. 34 bird species were seen or heard. Thanks very much to Mike for leading the walk. Alan Daniells