Saturday, 2 April 2016

Broadwater Warren and no photos

Easter Saturday was MISERABLE - drizzly and very grey. My camera stayed in its bag all morning as Nick, James, Imi and I walked around Broadwater Warren RSPB (near Tunbridge Wells).

I often just don't blog when there are no photos, but I thought I would this time. This site is somewhere I used to visit often, when I lived in Groombridge (it's walking distance from there). Once a rather neglected conifer plantation, it's now being 'RSPB-ed'. There's much evidence of ongoing management - regeneration of heath, some new ponds, well-marked trails and boardwalks, and signs saying 'ground-nesting birds - please keep dogs on leads', which were largely being ignored. There was also a sign saying that thanks to RSPB work 'nightjars had returned' which amused me because the Nightjars have been here all along... but the RSPB are obviously working very hard to improve habitat so I shall forgive them.

We'd come in the hope of Woodlark, and very soon we did hear one singing, though it was way off in a no-entry area so we couldn't try to get a look at it. Lovely to hear, nonetheless. The feeding station in the car park was attended by Siskins as well as the usual tits and whatnot, and there were also Siskins singing around the place, so maybe they will breed here. The open bits held several Stonechats including singing males so they are getting down to business too.

That aside, the birds we saw/heard were mainly the usual woodland stuff. Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, lots of Coal Tits, Grey Wagtail down by the (lovely) Decoy Pond, Common Buzzard overhead. The new trail is quite lovely (if muddy), with a particularly lovely loop through a stand of mature pines that had 'crossbills' written all over it (though sadly no actual Crossbills) and the open heathy areas bristled with Whitethroat potential. There are allegedly Yellowhammers here though we didn't see any. The new pools looked the business for Odonata as well, and with time/maturity I'd be hopeful of the likes of Golden-ringed Dragonfly, Keeled Skimmer, Black Darter, Brilliant Emerald and Small Red Damselfly here.

Hopefully I'll get the chance to come back on a sunny day in summer, and look for Nightjars/Woodcocks, plus all the other nice things that might be about in the daytime.

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