What has become our annual spring visit to St Omer took place in beautiful warm spring sunshine and light airs. En-route to and from the coast Black Redstart, Swallow, Grey Partridge and several Hares noted. After dropping off the ladies in town we headed for the woods.
Clairmarais Forest-Virtually the first bird we saw on arrival was a cracking Middle Spotted Woodpecker flying around our heads, shuffling up a mature oak tree and calling loudly. A superb start and through the morning two others were heard across the forest. The bare canopy was alive with the song of Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, tits and finches. We also noted plenty of Jays, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Short-toed Treecreepers, Nuthatches, plus several Bullfinches and my first Tree Pipit and Cuckoo of the year. Common woodland butterflies were on the wing with Brimstone the most numerous. A scan across an adjoining valley delivered soaring Marsh Harriers, Buzzards and Sparrowhawk.
Romelaere - The afternoon was spent on the wetland with a circuit of the boardwalk. Sedge and Cetti`s Warbler were in good voice along with the former trio seen in the woods. From the hide there was much activity around the Little Egret and Cormorant colony and we were surprised at how advanced the latter were with well grown chicks in several nests. A huge Black-headed Gull colony contained at least six Mediterranean Gulls and a White Stork flew across the valley. Also noted, two Black-necked Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, White Wagtail, Wigeon, Shoveler and Shelduck, two Musk Rats and our first Grass Snake of the year swimming across a lake.
Back in town we had brief vies of Serin and Grey Wagtail. A great day out, as always, in the Pas-de-Calais and many thanks to Chris for driving.