Tuesday 29 April 2014

If You Go Down To the Woods Today

Nagshead Nature Reserve, Forest of Dean Gloucestershire April 28 Sunny 

In the heart of the Forest of Dean, Nagshead Nature Reserve (NNR) Nagshead Nature Reserve
has a series of scenic trails through stands of ancient Oak and Beech trees. The forest floor at this time of year is carpeted with Bluebells while in the canopy Tree Pipits and Pied Flycatchers have returned to nest. The cacophony of bird song is something to behold. Starting at 5 a.m. and until after dark I have never heard so much birdsong anywhere. Later in the month Nightjars will be heard.
As I settled into one of the two hides (blinds) a pair of Song Thrush come to drink and bathe in a small pond, a rabbit busily feeds in the open, despite the chance of being predated by a nearby Buzzard and in the distance a Blackbird sings from the branches.
Blackbird (Turdus merula)

The Blackbird is the most common resident breeding bird in the UK. The Blackbird leads the dawn chorus and often sings late at night. The male bird (above) is jet black while the female is brown. They usually have two or three broods but have been known to produce as many as five.

A Song Thrush (Turdus philomelus) takes a bath.
As I was observing the Song Thrush bathing, my attention was caught by the sudden flash of black and white about thirty feet away, finally I get to see but not photograph a Pied Flycatcher. As I looked through my binoculars I noticed some movement behind the birds. Imagine my surprise when not one but six boar, a sow and her brood appeared. Slowly over a period of fifteen minutes they  ventured  out into the glade next to the pond. From my elevated view I watched them for an hour.
I have provided a link to those who are interested in how the boar, which escaped from a farm near Ross-on -Wye have over the years multiplied and have polarized the community by their sometimes destructive presence.

A young boar comes down to drink at the Campbell Hide.

The boar are about the size of a labrador dog. There are an estimated 800 of them in the Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley and they are spreading rapidly.

Good Birding 
John Gordon

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