Tuesday 01 March – Forest of Dean Leader: Nick Hawkridge

Despite being an overcast morning with a chill wind and mediocre weather forecast 26 people mustered at New Fancy View, hopeful of seeing Goshawk, Crossbill and whatever else. Goshawks are notoriously elusive, hunt within the tree cover and it wasn’t the weather for the spring display flight, so we weren’t optimistic. At the viewpoint, facing straight into the wind and getting steadily colder, some people got quite expressive, or even drifted off muttering about having their coffee back in their cars. One or two Crossbill flew over, some Goldfinch and some Siskin. We saw Ravens where we thought a Goshawk ought to be, then a Buzzard, then two more Buzzards. Eventually though, we did see a male Crossbill which posed in front of us like a field guide illustration. Then finally, for those who had waited, a Goshawk, a little way off, but very definitely what we had been looking for. Chilled, we drove close to Speech House, where a log had been made into a feeder for plenty of small and medium sized passerines, and signs everywhere of boar activity. We didn’t see a Hawfinch but two people had seen and photographed one in Parkend churchyard on their way over. That marked the end of the morning but those of us who had brought lunches went on to Cannop Ponds, and after eating, saw, among others 30 plus Mandarin, six Goosander, a pair of Raven being pestered by crows and more evidence of porcine activity. Very many thanks to Nick for leading. Dru Brooke-Taylor