This was my first day out for some time, this being due to work commitments, followed by being laid low by a nasty vomiting virus. This came at a bad time for me as yesterday (31st), I was supposed to take my wife to London to see her bowel specialist, needless to say we had to cancel. And today, my wife has been hit by the virus, of all the days in the year, why now!!!
My poor Toby has suffered also in not getting out for a good walk so this afternoon I took him to Bodney for a gentle walk around forest trails and heathland.
The first trail I walked on was woodland edge/heathland habitat, and looked prime for Woodcock, the ground was covered in thick, dead bracken. As I slowly walked along a single Woodcock flew up a few feet from my left, and very soon after, a second Woodcock flew up in front of me and off into mature pine woodland. The Woodcock is a truly enigmatic species, and one which I meet up with often in the Brecks. Many of the Woodcock seen here in the winter months are likely to be visitors from Russia, these very welcome visitors have come to our shores to make the most of our relatively mild winters. I look forward to writing about my experiences with this wonderful bird and its fascinating display-flight which starts in early March.
Typical woodland species were also seen including mixed mobile flocks of Long-tailed Tits, Coal Tits, Marsh Tit, and Blue Tit. A Great Tit was singing. Several Goldcrests were seen, this included birds foraging amongst the very outer branches of pine trees in their search for tiny invertebrates.
Finally, in the River Wissey valley, 4 Egyptian Geese were seen in typical breeding habitat of old, knarled Oak trees. A single Teal flew along the valley.
N.B. I will put out a notice in April/May on my blog inviting interested parties to join me on a warm spring evening to witness the mysterious 'roding' behaviour of the Woodcock. You will be captivated.