A morning and early afternoon out in the Forest of Dean began with a stop at New Fancy View. It was cold but clear and sunny at times. It has to be said it was a bit quieter than usual for birds moving about but one species was notable from the obvious movements. Around 20 Jays, one at a time had emerged from the western valley slopes of the forest and made a bee-line to a food source to begin collecting for the day. The same birds returned to what I presumed were their respective caches. A few distant Siskin and Chaffinch also gave fly-bys. Keith Hawker spotted a female Goshawk in the distance and this and eventually a male also gave us pretty good flight views over a prolonged period.
The autumnal colours were impressive
We made stops to check various parts of the Cannop Valley with Marsh and Coal Tits, 5 Little Grebe, Grey Wagtail small flocks of Siskin, Mandarin Duck and Great Spotted Woodpecker at Cannop Ponds , a brief view of Dipper at Parkend as well as overflying Ravens. The cafe here was a bonus for a hot drink and snack. A search of the Speech House area gave us a plenty of secretive Redwings and the more obvious Blackbirds. At Woorgreens a longer walk was productive. In the plantation a Willow Tit called but a large flock of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll (200 plus birds) provided one of those fine birding moments. We were able to ‘get in among em’ and watch them feeding, drinking and bathing all around us in the undergrowth. On the heath a deer stag with hinds was out in the open. A late Common Darter dragonfly was basking by the path.
Another stop at Brierley to walk through the plantation and we were onto a Goldcrest/tit flock. Willow Tit was calling but they moved on so rapidly it remained unseen. For the first time in a while no Crossbill were noted and we had no sightings or calls from Hawfinch. It was a good morning out with some great bird highlights.