On a cold and frosty but very bright and beautifully sunny and still morning – 6 members comprising Sue, Shaun, Alan & Maureen and Bob & Judy set off on this walk just after 9:30AM having decided to take the anticlockwise route.
The first bird was a Song Thrush heard in the Car Park, along the top path Goldcrests were heard and seen well, together with Coal & Great Tits, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Robin and 2 Crows.
A female Stonechat then showed well on some Gorse, a male Bullfinch and then a Great Spotted Woodpecker and we still had not travelled more than a hundred yards from the Car Park.
Halfway along the top path a male Crossbill was seen, and scanning produced at least 3 males and several females all feeding on cones and allowing some great views. More Bullfinches were then seen with 3 seen together. Blue Tit and Blackbird were noted and Green Woodpecker heard.
A few yards further and two Woodlarks were seen by a raised mound, further scanning of the area produced a small party of 4 Woodlarks feeding on the ground.
5 fly over Wood Pigeons added this species to the list.
We walked down the hill past the ponds and at this point we met Richard who had apparently arrived late and had missed us, so our party then became 7.
We continued walking the path down towards the stream which brought the cronk calls of a Raven and scanning toward the army land gave views on the ground and in flight of the Raven with more calling. The hoped for Great Grey Shrike in this area was searched for but was not found. A Jay was heard and in a Silver Birch was at least 4 Long Tailed Tits.
Beyond the stream a flyover Common Gull was noted.
On top of some larches were a flock of around 20 Starlings, with a Redwing and 5 Fieldfare.
We then walked around the path which overlooks the Pippingford estate which unfortunately produced very little of note, but as we climbed the back path by the Old Lodge estate, a flock of ca. 18 Lesser Redpolls were seen and showed well.
The walk back towards the old log pile area added 2 flyover Stock Dove and Nuthatch.
A Marsh Tit was heard, further Goldcrest and tits were noted on the last walk back to the Car Park and we arrived back around 11:45AM.
All agreed it was a very pleasant worthwhile walk, the target species of Crossbill with those great views were the highlight for most, however the Woodlarks and Raven were also very rewarding.
Our 2 hours or so walk produced a nice 28 species which for the Ashdown Forest was a good list.
Report by Bob Johnson