Tuesday 05 July – Lower Woods Leader: Jean Oliver

Seventeen of us met at the entrance to the Lower Woods Nature Reserve. The weather promised to be fine and dry. We set off along a broad ride through the woodland, admiring the plants in the verge, which brought butterflies but no sign of any bird; no birds until we emerged into a more open space to be greeted by the sight of three Red Kites and two Buzzards. We walked on through recently cut hay fields and a wonderful wild flower meadow, each field bringing something new – some Kites and Buzzards perched in a “raptor” tree, a small flock of Starlings, plenty of singing Chiffchaff and Blackcap and one visible Whitethroat. Ravens had been calling and soon we saw four, maybe a family, then a fine male Redstart up ahead. Before we splashed our way across the stream we were entertained by a flock of young Goldfinches. Crossing back by bridge gave a glimpse of a Grey Wagtail. A few saw the Marsh Tit as it shot out of a bush. In the woods where two paths joined, we had a flurry of small birds including a Nuthatch and, at last, a Spotted Flycatcher. We ended the walk with an invisible Bullfinch singing loudly and the sight of a Robin. In spite of early misgivings 36 species were seen. It had been a wildflower filled walk with stands of Common Spotted Orchids; many Meadow Brown, Ringlet and a few Marbled White and Silver-washed Fritillary butterflies; one Muntjac and one Roe Deer. Thanks to Alan Daniels for keeping the bird list and thanks to our leader Jean. Anne Crowe