Tuesday 15 June – Lower Woods and Wetmoor Leader: Jean Oliver

A group of ten enjoyed a calm and sunny day of birding in the woods and surrounding countryside near Wickwar.  We started out in Lower Woods, which is a Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust nature reserve. Very quickly we began to see a good number of Common Spotted orchids and a wide variety of other wildflowers, and hearing, if not always seeing, a good number of birds. Early on in the walk we disturbed a Muntjac deer and I believe someone also saw a Roe deer.   Many of the birds on this walk were heard rather than seen due to the lush foliage on trees. However we did get good views of some juvenile birds which provided an opportunity to see birds in different stages of plumage.  The juveniles seen were Song Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher and Robin.  At least one of the Spotted Flycatchers provided some very obliging views for us as it flew from open branches out to catch insects and then returned to the foliage.  As we were watching the Spotted Flycatcher, a Tree Creeper made an appearance much to our delight.  There were many Blackcaps on the walk as to be expected, but luckily for me I was with someone who spotted a Garden Warbler which I could have sworn was a Blackcap. Maybe one day I will be able to recognise the difference!  Our walk also took us across open countryside which provided a nice contrast in environments and plenty of opportunity to see a variety of other wildlife such as dragonflies, butterflies, and moths.  Some of the highlights for me were the Beautiful Demoiselle (male and female), Chimney Sweeper moth, and Burnet Companion moth.  Thanks to the experts in our group (Gareth and Jean) I was able to learn the identity of these beauties.  The total species count was 27.  Thanks to Jean for leading the walk. Linda Moysey