John K, Alan and Maureen, Bob P, Shaun, Bob J, Peter J, Al N and Sue P had a leisurely stroll around Old Lodge on a sunny but cool morning, hearing chiffchaff (first of several) calling in the car park. A goldfinch twittered above our heads as we set off, and we heard green woodpecker (again, first of many) calling. The first of several stonechats was seen as we headed down the hill, being one adult and one juvenile bird. A buzzard was calling persistently, and we managed to see three in the air at once – a family group.
Near the first of the ponds, we were entertained by a couple of ponies having an extended scratch using the lower branches of the big beech trees –and then by an overflying, calling yellow wagtail. This was soon followed by a pied wagtail. Peter heard a treecreeper in the pines, and robin, wren, chaffinch, great spotted, coal tit and blue tit were noted. However, bird of the day turned out to be a family party of Spotted Flycatchers, an adult and three juveniles, on one of the conifers on the other side of the boundary fence. This was a real treat, and a first for the year for several of us. A redstart showed nicely on a stump close by, and a nuthatch showed well, too.
We headed on down to the stream and up the other side – on the fence we saw at least another two redstarts, and another family group of stonechats, including a very handsome male. Peter found a whitethroat here.
We looked in vain for other raptors and ravens, only seeing a kestrel flying low over the heathland as we walked back. A bullfinch was calling in the car park as we ended our walk.