Sunday 23 March – Forest of Dean.

Just over 35 people met at Nagshead RSPB reserve and just as Ed was introducing the morning a Hawfinch flew over ‘ticking’. During the morning’s walk around the woodland Nuthatches dominated the birdsong along with Blue Tits, a few Great Tits, and Coal Tits. A Chiffchaff was singing by the meadow while Redwings sat at the top of the oak trees. Towards the end of the walk the group had good views of Treecreeper and Goldcrest, and earlier a Stock Dove flew past. A single Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard ‘drumming’ while various Siskins called as they flew overhead. We moved on mid-morning to New Fancy View, and before the rain and hail set in we had distant views of at least two Goshawks above the horizon along with a Buzzard. Closer by two Ravens were displaying, and in a nearby pine tree a pair of Crossbills were feeding – the male was bright red-orange. As we headed back to the cars a flock of 13 flew over ‘chipping’ away. We finished off before lunch at Cannop Ponds where our first Swallow of the year was flying over the water. Nearby Tufted Ducks, Coots, Little Grebe, Cormorant, and Mandarin Ducks were feeding. A pair of Grey Wagtails were down by the stream, and a tame Raven came down by the ponds. Nuthatches also dominated the soundscape and we finished off the walk around 12.30pm in glorious sunshine.