A Little Owl was our first exciting spot as we drove along the country roads, I just love seeing Owls, it doesn't happen often, which probably makes it more of a joy?!
Straight away the birds were everywhere, Song and Mistle Thrush, a GS Woodpecker flying overhead, a Kingfisher flew down the river and two Common Sandpipers were on the rocks. A Willow Warbler was singing too and we saw the first of many Mallard chicks.
More Mallard chicks on their way in the not too distant future!
The smell of wild garlic followed us through the woods, it's such a strong smell and seems much nicer than the garlic we buy. A Curlew was just heading over the hill in the field next to the woods and a little further along an Oystercatcher was heading the same way. Three Oystercatchers were flying about making a lot of noise. Lots of Sand Martins and a few Swallows were skimming the water by the banks the Sand Martins nest in. A couple of Red-legged Partridge were in the field over the river.
Into the Strid woods and it was raining quite heavily by now though there was some shelter from the trees, The woods were full of Bluebells. I think the rain must have put off the Pied Flycatchers as although they are back in the woods we didn't see a single one and we looked hard! A pause for a snack in the hut at the top of the woods, seed is put out regularly around the hut, I think just by people who visit often, we had brought a little with us so we sat and watched the birds for a while.
Chiffchaff (I think, it refused to sing!)
Blackcap and Chiffchaff were singing as we walked down towards the Pavilion, having a bit of a drama on the way when my daughters boots laces somehow got tangled and she went flying onto the floor! Thank goodness I carry plenty of wipes and tissues, she was a little muddy and bruised but soon back on her feet. We stopped for a cuppa at the Pavilion to warm us up a little.
A male Goosander was on the river here and further along we found a female asleep on a rock. Grey and Pied Wagtails were all along the river, we did only spot two Dippers today, unusual for here. The Common Sandpipers though lived up to their name, i've never seen so many here, they were often flying, chasing each other around, their loud call an instant giveaway. We also saw several Mandarin ducks, only one female though, who had already paired up. Other birds spotted include Greylag Geese, Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gull, Heron and a single Moorhen.
Mandarin, male and female
We stopped again to have a little lunch at the hut overlooking the Strid, again the birds were hopping around right in front.
A few other photos from the walk
Not bad for a wet miserable day really!