To help with birdsong recognition, Judy was persuaded by Alison to lead this meeting ,but in fact the best birder in the group was Luca, a young Italian who had picked up the meeting from our website -as had Lucile, a young French girl. With Brenda and Stephen, who also travelled by bus, we six made up the entire party. It was blustery with showers, but sheltered within the woods, where there was abundant birdsong and we constantly had to stop to identify the variety of songs and sounds heard. Two Stock Doves were seen perched on a bare tree trunk and also heard –which delighted Luca as he had not heard the call before as they only winter in Italy. Blue Tits, Great Tits and Coal Tits flitted about, together with one Long-tailed Tit, but not the Marsh Tit which had been seen by the mill on the recce two days previously. Several loud Blackcaps sang, but only one was seen; a Green Woodpecker laughed in the distance and Luca heard a Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming. A Grey Wagtail flitted down the stream and there was a Mallard pair on the pond. As we scaled the steps to the Folly, we had a glimpse of a Raven, and a Nuthatch lurked in the bushes in full song. At the end of the walk, we saw two Mistle Thrushes; one of which obligingly landed and serenaded us with its song. Other songsters included Chiffchaff, Song Thrush, Goldcrest, Robin and Blackbird, and a screeching Jay, which together with the other usual culprits seen around Blaise, brought our total up to 25 species. This was a pleasant morning in a wonderful habitat right on our doorstep and an extremely useful session in identifying bird song in the field.
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