Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Summer in the Wyre Forest! Woodland birds and butterflies

The Wyre forest in spring is one of my favourite birding destinations. Despite the hoards of ramblers, 'extreme' cyclists and marauding dogs, I always find that a walk in the Wyre is a great way to 'get away' from everything, just looking for birds and butterflies.

Today was no exception, and I went in hopeful to snag the entire plethora of our regular summer migrants.
First on the list, although I had seen two already was a singing male SPOTTED FLYCATCHER, already a good start, as a few years ago I truthfully struggled to find any throughout the summer. Luckily, the last couple of years has been more productive for them, and they seem to have also had much better breeding success! I found another singing male in another area of the Wyre also.

As always, WOOD WARBLERS were easy to pick up, with their very distinctive, and rather appealing 'spinning coin' song, and this could be heard almost constantly throughout the walk! Although many remained as 'heard only' I did eventually track down a few birds, including a pair which gave stunning views, showing off the rather beautiful mix of moss greens, bright yellows and dazzling whites on their plumage!
A total of 4 Tree Pipits were singing at various points in our circular walk, including a few which were showing nicely and parachuting from the tops of tree. Weirdly, one of the located singing birds was well away from one of the usual areas, and rather than being in a clearing as usual, had instead chosen to hold territory in the middle of a deep woodland, below the forest canopy, obviously resulting in an inability to 'parachute' display flight, rather choosing to sing from a perch.

As the more acutely trained of you may hear in the previous video, there was also a stunning male PIED FLYCATCER singing close to where the Pipit was, which was actively defending a nest box adjacent to the track. 
In previous years I have seen male Pied Flycatchers with small amounts of grey on the back and upperwings, however this bird really was a very extreme 'grey' bird, which at times resembled a Shrike from behind! I can't say that I have ever seen a Pied Fly like this before!

(Sorry about the Dog panting all over the camera in this video, as previously stated, the number of marauding dogs was extremely high on this fine summers day!)
I managed to find 3 male Pied Flys, and reports from others seem to suggest they have had a much greater presence in the forest this year, which is great news, as for the last few years, numbers have been dwindling!
A single juvenile DIPPER, in fact my first of the year, was located along the brook, and a pair of Mandarin did their best to try to avoid being detected!
As well as its birdlife, the Wyre is famed for it's Butterflies, but being fairly early in the season, other than decent numbers of Pearl-Bordered Fritilary it was rather quiet!
All in all a very successful visit, and one that would be repeated throughout the summer!

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