Orlestone Forest - warm, dry and sunny - With this being the last of the settled days forecast for a while CP joined us for a morning stroll around Longrope and Faggs Wood. The habitat and weather conditions were ideal for searching for the elusive Lesser pecker (if indeed there are any here) but all we could muster was a handful of Greaters and a couple of Greens; infact the numbers of woodland birds seen or heard was depressingly low. We did, however, note a few Long-tailed and Coal Tits, Goldcrest, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, singing Chiffchaff, Jay, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Buzzard and best of all three Crossbills and 10 Redpolls.
There seems to have been a certain amount of mechanised undergrowth clearing in places, particularly in Longrope Wood, that has the potential to attract Woodlark, Tree Pipit and Nightjar later on in the spring. One section of dead oaks (presumably due to flooding) was also of interest. First Primroses and a single Brimstone of the year lifted the spirits in the warm sunshine, but otherwise it was a pretty grim experience; just what has happened to our woodland birds in recent years?