Tuesday 13 May – Priors Wood – Bluebell Walk

 The wet, slippery and very muddy conditions of the previous week had fortunately dried up well in the sunshine and we were able to avoid the worst of it by keeping to the main path rather than the usual side track. Blackcaps were singing everywhere, also Wrens, Robins, Chaffinches and Goldcrests, though only one or two Chiffchaffs. On a thin downward-facing branch of a tree beside the path sat a Mistle Thrush, which I assumed to be a juvenile as it didn’t move while everyone traipsed past. Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were heard in the distance and a Song Thrush was singing. When we eventually arrived at the Bluebell area we found them to be profuse and stunning amid the green bracken. AWT had kindly left some sawn tree trunks nearby for us to sit on so we stayed there for our break, but when we reached the slope leading down to the stream we almost wished we’d waited. It was paradise – Bluebells and Bracken, surrounded by a forest of green and some Copper Beeches and a blue blue sky. Orange Tip butterflies and one Brimstone added to the colour. We only lost two people before the climb up to the fields above Noah’s Ark where our first Swifts were flying. Towards the end of the walk a Sparrowhawk was noted by the frontrunners and we heard one Whitethroat. In the village at the start we had 12 House Martins, House Sparrows, Starlings, Jackdaws, Blackbird, Collared Dove and Goldfinch. Rain threatened at one point but stayed away, and we ended up with 35 species (24 people). Judy Copeland