After a few days with very little birding done I hoped that a weekend away in the forest of Dean would turn up a few good birds. We were staying at the Fountain Inn at Parkend http://www.fountaininnandlodge.co.uk/. Having watched Dippers many times from around the Inn it was nice to be actually using it. On arrival we wandered down to the stream and almost immediately saw a Dipper perched on a rock in the middle. On our approach it flew off along the stream. After checking in and unloading the car I took another stroll out and this time found a juvenile Dipper that handily stayed long enough for me to get a couple of pictures.
I had some thoughts of headed out in the evening to try for Nightjars but the evening menu and selection of real ales soon put these thoughts out of my mind. After breakfast on Saturday morning we travelled the short distance to for the reserve at Nagshead. Pied Flycatcher was the target bird here but despite spending a lot of time watching nestboxes and scanning the woodland we didn’t manage to find one. According to a lady at the visitor centre they have had a very poor season with many nests failing Consolation came in the form of a brief sighting of a Wild Boar (another lousy pic) and a much better one of a Redstart (a much better pic). From here we did touristy things for a while before ending up by the River Wye at Symonds Yat. Here a pleasant stroll along the river turned up six Treecreepers, three Nuthatches, four Grey Wagtails and best of all two Firecrests. Also here were large numers of Banded Demoiselle.
Then it was of to Blakeney where we got Fish and Chips that were eaten alongside the Severn at Newnham. Finally the lure of the local ale banished all thought of Nightjar. Today we headed for Lydney harbour where a walk along the river added half-a-dozen more species to the trip list including the unexpected sight of two Partridges feeding amongst the stones on the riverbank. They flew directly away from us so I didn’t get to see if they were Grey or Red-legged. We ended the visit with a great Sunday Carvery back at he Fountain which come highly reccommended as a place to stay or eat if you are in the area. Good food and Ale and friendly staff made it an enjoyable stay. In all forty-six species were seen or heard.