Lesser Spotted Woodpecker search 24 March 2012

A small group of us gathered at 0630 and we began our birding day at a very foggy Highnam Woods RSPB. A walk through the woods to the highest point delivered many common woodland birds in full song. Most notable were a few Blackcaps and 6 or more Chiffchaffs. Lots of Redwing were also seen but they were highly nervous and hid in the tree tops as they do on the breeding grounds in Scandinavia. A single Nuthatch called and at least five Great Spotted Woodpeckers were ‘drumming’. A Lesser Spotted Woodpecker called a number of times near the track but moved away and down the hill.

Giving up with the ensuing silence we moved further along the track, a few Goldcrests were calling, one seen. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker began drumming (tapping a resonant branch rapidly to produce a far carrying sound), more calls were heard and drumming nearer to us. High up in the canopy one called but the briefest of movement the only reward as the fog cheated us out of a sighting. It was quite chilly in the mist and the calls were now not heard and from commoner species a subsidence in the effort. On the way out a pair of Marsh Tit were seen and heard next to the track. We decided to head for the Cannop Valley in the Forest of Dean where we parked and walk the stream. It was now clear, a very sunny day and so still. The Mandarins, Greylag and Mallards were all we saw on the water, tits, finches and Nuthatches in the trees. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen and drummed, a distant Lesser Spotted Woodpecker called, still no sighting. We covered a large section of the valley and as it warmed and became busier with people we gave up. A quick stop to look and listen for Firecrest was made but no luck, it was time to finish for the morning. We were unlucky that the fog was so thick on this particular day, it was a smashing morning when it cleared. A pair were noted on the same morning at Nagshead RSPB.

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