Orlestone Forest - warm, dry and sunny, NE 4 - Spent the day guiding for Cedric concentrating on bird song, which was a bit of a challenge as its about a month past the peak period. However, a circuit of Faggs Wood turned up all the usual resident species, mostly heard: Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, a Tawny Owl, Buzzard and the like, plus Garden Warbler and Nightingale amongst the migrants, but best of all a `purring` Turtle Dove, our first of the year which we eventually glimpsed. As memorable though was the fabulous display of Common Spotted Orchids throughout the wood, particularly around the car park area.
Warehorne - A stop off by the canal delivered singing Yellowhammers and more common finches and warblers, plus a host of regular grassland butterflies and damselflies.
Scotney - Wagtails were the target species here and both Yellow and Pied Wagtails sang and showed to order along with Corn Bunting, Reed and Sedge Warblers, Swallows and Stock Doves. The Avocet island out back held at least six adults and there may well have been some chicks lurking in the cover. Little Egret and all the usual feral geese also noted here.
ARC - More warblers were heard, plus good views of a family party of Lesser Whitethroats, a migrant that has been noted in above average numbers this spring. From Screen hide we had protracted, but obscured views, of a hunting Bittern in front of the hide as well as a close male Marsh Harrier.
Burrowes - We finished the day checking the islands for waders which held a scattering of Dunlins, Ringed Plovers, Redshanks, 12 Curlews and a Whimbrel. An immature Little Gull showed well in front of Firth hide and it was good to see several Common Terns on the new raft in front of Dennis`s hide.
We ended up recording 82 species of birds throughout the day with Turtle Dove and Bittern the highlights amongst the birds, but for the sheer spectacle the orchids in the forest took some beating.