April 2016 - Visit to Thurlbear
A total of twelve of us elected to try for Nightingales at Thurlbear this morning. As we were just about to start a local walked by and told us that Last year's breeding attempt had failed and that no Nightingales had been heard this year!
After that "encouraging" start we set off and once into the scrub started looking and listening for the flutey sounds of Nightingale song. Almost immediately we heard a single blast of song, which appeared to come from a clump of bushes quite close to us. We waited there another 10 minutes, but there was no repeat. We also returned about 45 minutes later and listened again. Still no luck! Meanwhile we had seen Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Blackcap and several Robins, but surprisingly no Willow Warblers, which in previous visits have been quite numerous.
Nothing daunted we went into Thurlbear Woods. Almost immediately we heard a Nuthatch but failed to see the bird. We then found quite a lot of mud on the woodland pathways, which took our attention away from the birds, especially when one member lost a boot in the mud, which had to be retrieved. Meanwhile muddy feet were the order of the day. We found Great Tit and heard both Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker, but again failed to see the birds.
We were feeling moderately discouraged by all this, and it would have been worse but for the really gorgeous wild flowers which surrounded us. We saw Cowslip, Primrose, Violet and Bluebell - all in vast profusion. Granted a brief sleet shower did not improve things. But then suddenly our birding luck changed. We stopped to look for a singing Song Thrush, and within five minutes had enjoyed wonderful views of a Tawny Owl (very unusual at midday), a showy Nuthatch and a Spotted Woodpecker, which we initially thought was a Lesser Spotted, but which finally turned out to be a Great Spotted - shame!
Altogether a worthwhile morning, despite numerous "difficulties"!