News archive

April 2017

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Male redstart perched on branch

DOWLES BROOK WALK

Earlier this week 16 members of the group met in perfect weather at Dowles Brook in the Wyre Forest for a morning's walk and birdwatch. The morning got off to a good start as we waited in the parking area for everyone to arrive, with sightings of bullfinch, nuthatch, marsh tit and, for some, a cuckoo. Following the course of the brook we were hopeful of dipper and grey wagtail and, whilst we saw the latter, several times, the dipper was nowhere to be seen. I can't remember ever failing to see dipper along the brook. Crossing the bridge at the mill I looked in vain for spotted flycatcher which was a regular at this spot until recent times. The faint song of a wood warbler was promising as we climbed the bank to the area where pied flycatchers are usually to be found. Not this time though, perhaps they hadn't yet arrived. Then a shout went up, 'tawny owl!' One of the group had by sheer luck spotted one wedged against the trunk of a tree, roosting. Difficult to see at first because of it's superb camouflage, but once you had your eye in it was obvious. What a treat. Uplifted, we moved on picking up long tailed tit, jay, siskin, willow warbler and chiff chaff as we made our way to the warden's cottage. We were bound to find redstart here if past experience was anything to go by. It took some finding and we were on the point of giving up when Craig spotted one in what I think of as the ant hill meadow; we had really great views.
Leaving the meadow to follow the line of the old railway track we finally found wood warbler and pied flycatcher, despite the warden having told us that neither had yet arrived. Just goes to show, never give up.
Our final destination was to find the tree pipit, but this really hadn't yet turned up. However, we saw something almost as good in a roosting barn owl - not the best view of it, but a tick for those collect them.
Apart from the dipper which we should have seen, the only other birds that we expected but didn't see were great spotted and green woodpeckers, though we did hear a great spot drumming. Altogether a very enjoyable and successful morning. If you've never been on one of our bird walks, why not join us, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Frances Evans