Friday 17 February 2017

Walk in the woods

Lade - mild and misty, light airs - A stroll across the shingle to the lake was quickly thwarted by a sea fret rolling in off the bay, but I just had time to note a Great White Egret in a reedbed and a Marsh Harrier disappearing into the murk.
Park Wood, Appledore - By mid-morning the weather had improved considerably with warm sunshine bringing forth several bees and a small tortoiseshell butterfly in the garden, so we headed for the Wealden uplands as originally planned and a walk in the woods. Several other local birders also had the same idea and after swopping woodpecker news we spent a pleasant couple of hours criss-crossing this semi-natural deciduous wood in search of the elusive Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. I last found one here two years ago, but had no luck this morning, despite the calm weather and time of year being suitable.
  However, there was no shortage of Great Spotted Woodpeckers rattling away and we must`ve heard at least ten birds `drumming` merrily in the still air. Green Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Goldcrest, Jay, Mistle and Song Thrushes and Bullfinch were all either seen or heard amongst a host of common woodland birds. Walking along the south-facing flank of the wood, beside the vineyard, a red admiral butterfly basked on a hornbeam stump and several patches of primroses were nearly in bloom on the boundary bank. The vines are positioned in a sun-trap between two `arms` of the wood on sloping ground, the perfect aspect for drainage and receiving maximum sunlight.
  Looking out across the scattered woodland of the ancient Orlestone Forest and beyond to the landscape of the Romney Marsh, four Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk soared above the distant canopy. We could hear no human-made sound, just bird song and a light zephyr causing the hazel catkins to drop their pollen dust, and for a moment everything seemed so right with the world...

                                Trees and vines, ancient and modern

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