Sunday 13 July – Forest of Dean

 14 members met on a warm and sunny evening at New Fancy View. We first climbed up to the viewing platform. It was relatively quiet although Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, Mistle Thrush, Green Woodpecker, Blackcap, Nuthatch and Swift were either seen or heard or both. We then drove to Cannop Ponds and had a delightful walk round the eastern shore of the southern Pond and then back along the cycle path to the stone works. We had a really good view of eleven juvenile Mandarins. Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins swooped down over the pond feeding on the abundant insects. We then walked through part of Russell’s Inclosure, where Nightjars had been seen the previous year. Although the ground of the plantation had become somewhat densely covered with bracken there was a particular part opposite which looked promising. After a 45 minute wait and the light fast fading we were rewarded with a Nightjar flying over our heads and landing in a tree a few feet away. It was then really good to hear it “churring” at such a close distance. About 30 species were encountered. However we decided it was very much the quality of the experience rather than the quantity of birds that made the evening memorable. Mike Johnson