Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Bushy Norwood,Trip Report

Sunday 11th March 2012; Bushy Norwood, Claverton, Bath

Joint meeting with Bath & District RSPB Local Group

Leader: Lucy Delve

Mid March is a great time to get out in the early morning and really listen to the ever-increasing “avian soundscape” as birds pair up and establish territories. Ideally, this is best achieved alone or in a small group.

The calm, sunny, mild weather, (after the low cloud and mist cleared), was excellent for seeing and hearing birds. However as our intention this morning was to search for birds primarily from their distinctive calls and songs, it was necessary for our party of 22 members and 3 visitors, to spread out and create as little disturbance as possible.

We walked across the pastureland bounded by mature mixed woodland; some areas with a fairly dense under storey, providing foraging and breeding habitat. Several mature trees, within the National Trust managed land, had been lost to storm damage or perhaps simply old age; much dead wood lay around the horse jumps. I was pleased to see some new planting of ash and beech trees here, which will help to replace the old trees in time.

Woodpecker activity had clearly decreased since 2010/2011, when an extremely scarce Lesser Spotted Woodpecker had been seen, together with several pairs of Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers. But this morning we could only find one Green Woodpecker at the south end of Bushy Norwood and a single Great Spotted Woodpecker in beech trees above the car park of the American Museum. In the same beech trees, we found two very noisy pairs of Nuthatches, apparently fighting over the best nest sites. Also here, we heard the more softly “spoken” Redwings, which will soon depart for their Scandinavian breeding grounds.

Other notable species recorded on the day included Skylark, Stock Dove, Mistle Thrush and several Buzzards. A Grey Heron was seen from The Avenue as we assembled before the meeting. Blue, Great, Long Tailed, and Coal Tits were all seen in small numbers; but we were unlucky not to find either Treecreeper or Marsh Tit, both as seen and heard here the previous week. Finch flocks were also less evident this morning. Some members saw a Comma butterfly and as I walked down North Road after the meeting, I saw a male Brimstone, followed by a Peacock Butterfly in my garden at Bathwick. Trip photo link

Lucy Delve

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