I should really have been staying at home to get on with the decorating but instead six-thirty this morning saw myself and Pete heading of to the Forest of Dean for a day of hopefully quality birding. An hour later we arrived at a cold, breezy and dull Woorgreens car park. First birds seen were a couple of Mistle Thrushes and some Redwing feeding in the leaf litter. It was quite amusing seeing leaves being flicked up from the ground apparently of their own accord as the foraging birds were often hidden from view. There were good numbers of Blue Tits around a Nuthatch was heard and a Treecreeper, (the first of four for the day) was seen. Making our way through the mud to the lake we counted eighteen Goosander and a couple of Little Grebes along with various geese and ducks. Back amongst the trees four Siskins and a Goldcrest were good birds to see. We then moved on to Cannop Ponds and Stoneworks with a brief stop at Speech House to check out the large grass field behind the hotel. On the rutted up grass (from the wild boar) there was a large flock of Redwings and a couple each of Mistle thrush and Pied Wagtail. Cannop was productive with, amongst others, Siskin, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail and Mandarin all added to the day list. The feeders by the Stoneworks were great to watch with a constant stream of birds visiting them.
We then moved along to Parkend starting at the triangle where almost straight away we found a Hawfinch feeding on the ground below the trees. Feeding alongside it was a Chaffinch allowing us to appreciate how big Hawfinches are.
From here we walked across to the Fountain Inn to check out the stream for Dippers. On the way we saw a group of six Greenfinches. Initially ther was no sign of Dipper but typically after we had split up I had a good view of one as it flew along the stream. Fortunately we found it again a little further downstream where it posed for some fairly distant pictures.
Also seen here were Grey Wagtails and House Sparrows. After a hot drink in the Postage Stamp Cafe where we managed to resist the cakes we headed over to Parkend Church. It was pretty quiet here with two Buzzards the only new birds noted I did however find another Hawfinch high up in the trees. Final stop was New Fancy View. Again it was pretty quiet here. A Siskin gave good views as it perched on top of a nearby conifer. Two Ravens flew over a couple of times and after a good bit of scanning two Goshawks were found and we were able to watch them soaring and displaying for a good few minutes. At one stage they were flying alongside Buzzards and a Raven. Interesting for comparison purposes. We left the forest with a total of forty-two species. The only disappointment being that we hadn’t seen any Crossbills. On the way home we stopped at the Water Park for a look at the Lake 16 gull roost. We only stayed until four o’clock and just saw good numbers of the four common species. A quick look in at Lake 12 got our first Sand Martins of the year.