Trip reports

Old Lodge - Ashdown Forest (Leaders Sue Carter & Steve Goodrich)

Old Lodge - Ashdown Forest (Leaders Sue Carter & Steve Goodrich)
Stonechat [Richard Hanman]

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Dark storm clouds and heavy rain accompanied our drive over to East Sussex, but on arrival the sun came out and we were welcomed by singing willow and garden warblers. The small car park started to fill rapidly and we were on the lookout for newcomers Mike and Lesley. We soon realised that the Sussex Bird Club had also organised a walk at this delightful reserve too, but eventually our twelve strong party assembled and we set off on the circuit.

Chaffinches were numerous and we soon heard a singing tree pipit and managed to locate it as it flew skywards and then parachuted back to its perch in the top of a fir tree. Latecomer Karen caught up with us and we headed down the boggy path towards the paddock area. Here we were rewarded with a stunning male redstart catching flies from a branch of a dead tree. Another male and female redstart were seen a little further on, plus another tree pipit singing from some dead branches. Some of us saw a sparrowhawk overhead, plus some swallows and sand martins. Stonechats were popping up all over the place.

On the descent down the steep slope towards the wooden bridge we were surprised to see one hundred plus racing pigeons tearing through the valley over our heads. We welcomed the chance to rest and catch our breath after the next ascent and saw buzzard, great-spotted woodpecker and the cuckoo which we had previously only managed to hear.

The final section of the walk back towards the car park produced a couple of mistle thrushes, a kestrel, a pair of woodlarks, chiffchaff, green woodpecker and a lesser redpoll hanging upside down whilst feeding in a pine tree.

A satisfying morning with 31 species seen. Thanks to all who contributed.

Sue Carter & Steve Goodrich