Wyre Forest - warm, dry and sunny - With Mrs PT on a course in Worcester, Barney and me spent the day in the forest exploring the Dowles Brook area, a steep sided river valley with flower-rich meadows, old orchards and a babbling stream. We found at least 10 pairs of Wood Warblers amongst the hanging oaks including one pair feeding juvs just out of the nest, along with Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and 2 Garden Warblers. There was no sign of any Redstarts or Pied Flycatchers and chatting to the locals they seem to think that Pied Flits are finished here. However, we did see several pairs of Spotted Flycatchers, Grey Wagtails and Marsh Tits, plus all the usual woodland birds: Jay, 2 peckers, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Long-tailed and Coal Tits, Goldcrest and Bullfinch. A raptor watch from a bridge delivered good soaring views of Raven, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and a Goshawk.
As the weather was sunny much of the afternoon was taken up with butterflies. We saw plenty of Orange Tips, Speckled Woods and at least 10 Pearl-bordered Fritillaries along the grassy banks of the old railway line where they were feeding on Bugle; photographing them with my camera gear was a different matter however... We met several helpful local butterfly hunters who suggested that Small Pearl-bordereds may well be on the wing too and to pay carful attention to the markings on the underside of the hind wing. There were several day-flying Speckled Yellow moths on the wing.
I shall be returning to site tomorrow to have another go at the fritillaries and also attempt to find Dipper along the brook.