Trip reports

Weirwood Reservoir, Ashdown Forest & Old Lodge Nature Reserve, Tuesday 19th June 2014

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The reservoir at Weirwood was very full but we had good views of Mandarin Duck, Great Crested Grebes, Grey Heron and Common Terns with chicks on the wooden rafts. A Common Buzzard seen, a Reed Warbler was heard in front of the view point and a Blackcap and the ubiquitous Chiffchaff were singing from the trees in the car park.
We then made our way to the Ashdown Forest Centre where it was decidedly warmer. Excellent views of Stonechats, Willow Warbler and Common Whitethroat were enjoyed by all and a Green Woodpecker was spotted dashing across one of the rides and the occasional Swift was seen overhead.
For a change it was decided to have a lunch at Gills Lap as reports of an immature Short-toed Eagle had been seen there earlier in the day. When we arrived it was evident by the number of "twitchers" in the car park that the bird was still around. Within a couple of minutes all the Group had superb views of the eagle as it hovered, with one foot dangling down, about 300 metres away. We were then treated to an aerial display as it soared and banked above the enraptured throng. Its plumage and markings clearly visible in the sunshine. What a treat! Before we moved on to Old Lodge a Sparrowhawk flew low over the heath opposite.
At Old Lodge NR, which nearly always turns up trumps, the hypothetical target list of birds was soon achieved. A Spotted Flycatcher was seen darting around by the entrance and superb views of it perched when we left. Common Redstarts had clearly done well across the whole reserve as had the Tree Pipits who treated us to their flight display and song. Wood Larks were observed singing and flying in several locations and Linnets and Lesser Redpolls were also seen. A Mistle Thrush, Jay and Pied Wagtail were added to the list. By the end of the day 52 species had been recorded As we left one of the Group said "that's the best days birding I've had in a long time". Spot on!
Terry Osborn