Trip reports

Wareham Forest and Morden Bog

Dartford warbler perching on heather
Dartford Warbler, RSPB Image

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The rain stopped just as the 15 members set off on what proved to be a lovely day out walking along the Sherford and around Morden Bog. Close to Sherford Bridge a singing Mistle Thrush was the first bird seen followed by a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goldfinch, Great and Coal Tits. As we walked slowly parallel to the stream we saw a pair of Long-tailed Tits, a couple of Nuthatches and two Goldcrests feeding, a Green Woodpecker flew off through the trees, we heard a Chiffchaff and had a brief view of Siskin. We noticed a nest high up on a pylon and, whilst contemplating on the possible owners, a pair of Peregrines flew in, circled around the pylon calling to one another and landed close to their nest. Such great views allowed us to identify the larger female from her mate.

We spotted a pair of Linnets and a smart male Stonechat before we crossed the stile and walked to Morden Park Lake. There a female Marsh Harrier was flying around at the back of the lake and four Greylag Geese, Coot, Moorhen, Little Grebe, a pair of Great Crested Grebes doing a bit of courtship displaying and various duck were on the water. Whilst watching the harrier a pair of Buzzards appeared and all three had an aerial raptor-fight.

After leaving the lake we scanned the area for the Great Grey Shrike that had been reported a few days earlier, but without luck. However we saw a Kestel and, near to the derelict decoy house, we had great views of a small group of Crossbills. A brick-red adult male sitting on top of a pine tree looked particularly splendid against the blue sky. We also saw a Siskin in the same tree as the Crossbills. By now stomachs were rumbling so we had our lunch amongst the ruins of the house; very pleasant with a bright sky and surrounded by a host of daffodils, (with due acknowledgement to Wordsworth).

After our lunch break we had a look for the shrike in the area south of the Old Decoy Pond, again without success, but we did see another Green Woodpecker, a couple of Canada Geese, more Stonechats and some Meadow Pipits were flying about. We heard a Woodlark singing in the distance and on the return some of the group saw a Dartford Warbler.

Strangely there was a dearth of birds as we walked back through the heather to our cars until a pair of Ravens put in an appearance and did a bit of tumbling and calling above us. Lastly back at the car park some had a brief view of a Treecreeper making about 40 species recorded for the day.

On the way home six of us stopped off at the gravel pits that were once West Knighton Heath to try and see Woodlark that had eluded us at Morden Bog. Rob turned out to be champion spotter here, first with a pair of Stonechats and a nearby Dartford Warbler, and then he saw a Woodlark flying over, which landed on a nearby fence post giving us great views through our telescopes. A very successful end to the day.

Malcolm