Decided to go a bit further afield on sunday the 11th, as the weather was still good. Got a bus out to rufford park and thought that we'd be there for a while, as there weren't many buses back into town. As it stood, we only stayed for an hour or so, as there wasn't that much to see and we thought it would be bigger. There was some interesting wildlife, but there was a lot of people about so we decided to go and have a wander to sherwood forest NNR.
At rufford in the woodland there were plenty of birds about, especially as it was so quiet away from the crowds. The most abundant species were the Wrens which were often heard and rarely seen. There were a lot of the common woodland birds too, including a good number of Coal Tits some of which gave some very good views and plenty of singing Chiffchaff. Nuthatch were also common, along with various sightings of Great spotted woodpeckers and 4 Jay were seen in the trees and over the woodland ride.
The lake was a bit quiet, with no birds of any particular interest, just the common waterfowl, although there were a couple of Great Crested Grebes. A pair of Moorhen were seen nesting in a tree and the male kept jumping from the tree into the lake to get more nesting material. A group of mallards were seen mobbing a female, and eventually the battle was won by a larger domestic bird, all white in plumage. A distressing time for the female for sure, but its the circle of life eh?
Around the lake not much else was seen, although it was nice to get some good views of a pair of diving tufted ducks.
On leaving the park there were more Coal tit sightings, and i also got some nice shots of the woodland, with daffodils in flower.
The walk to sherwood forest took around 40 minutes, which was nice in the sun, and we got to the forest at around 2 30.
The forest was bustling with common woodland birds, with the most common being Blue Tits and definately the commonest being Chaffinch. There were again plenty of singing Nuthatch and a good number were sighted. Around the forest there were a lot of Green Woodpecker and Great Spotted Woodpeckers calling and drumming, but none were seen, and i suspect that some that i heard were the resident Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers too, but again none were seen.
We walked through the woods for a while and sightings of Great Tits were increasing. We chanced upon a woodland ride, with quite heath-like ground, and sat there in the sun for some time. There were some interesting lichens growing in the ground, which were identified as Cladonia fimbriata. While sitting there we mentioned how we hadnt seen any raptors, and within seconds were heard the telltale call of a Buzzard. We heard yet more woodpeckers calling too.
We made our way over to budby heath and spotted the Buzzard hunting over a field by the woodland edge. Budby heath was reasonably quiet, although in the scrub near the entrance, several Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs were seen and heard. In the top of a fir tree in the middle of the heath was a singing Yellowhammer, and more of these lovely little buntings were seen further around the heath. It was a great experience to walk across this beautiful bit of countryside on such a nice day and i will surely be returning over the next few months. Before we headed back into the forest, more Chiffchaff and Willow warbler were seen in some trees.
We got a little lost on the way back to the carpark, but eventually found our way back, on the way seeing a lot more of the chaffinches and willow warblers as well as more woodpeckers drumming. Some Bilberry was seen coming into flower too.
I was very impressed by the nature reserve, having not visited since october 2008, and i'll definately go back soon! (especially for the nightjars!)