Tuesday, 5 June 2012


I had actually intended to have a much needed lie in this morning, but I found myself wide awake and restless so decided to get up and make the most of the nice weather. I headed off to one of my favourite places of all time, Tunstall Reservoir, in the hope of seeing some of our more elusive summer woodland birds. The beauty of this place never fails to amaze me, and on a lovely warm summer morning the place is glorious. And on this glorious morning the place was alive with birds! There are four particular species that Tunstall is famous for, and the first of these species I got within seconds of arriving. As I walked up the path approaching the woodland I immediately heard the very distinct song of one of the countys scarcest breeding Warblers, the Wood Warbler. I was absolutely thrilled, as its three years since I've seen this species here. It took a little while for me to actually track the bird down, but eventually it hopped onto a branch merely feet away from me and began trilling its little heart out. I decided to soak it up as much as I could cos this species is getting harder and harder to see in our parts and you never know how often I'll see it again. I enjoyed it for almost half an hour before it eventually flew away out of sight. I then turned to head further into the wood when species number two popped out in front of me, the Spotted Flycatcher! What a start to the morning! As I stood watching the Flycatcher a Cuckoo called just to my right. I quickly turned to see the bird land and start calling in plain view. This was amazing! The Cuckoo took off when it realised I was close by, and the Flycatcher also flew off into the foliage. The third special species was found next, the Redstart. This was actually the most abundant of the famous four and was seen very well throughout the whole of the wood. The last of the four proved a whole lot more elusive though. In fact I was just about ready to turn around and head back out of the wood when I saw a flash of Black and White land in a tree to my right. I got my bins on it and was delighted to see a stunning male Pied Flycatcher singing its quiet song. It was swiftly joined by a female, and I saw that she was carrying food so I backed away and crouched behind a tree in silence. Within seconds both birds were seen going in and out of their nest. This went on for almost half an hour before I skirted round and left them to it. It was an absolute delight to witness, and headed back to the car with a bounce in my stride. But I had one more treat as I headed out of the wood, a pair of Tawny Owls flying silently over my head and perching in a tree close by before being harassed by a pair of Blackbirds and disappearing. This ended an incredible morning. Its not often you get mornings like this, when everything seems to just click, but when it does it feels absolutely wonderful!

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