March 2017 - Birding & Wildlife Overview

The first weekend of March was spent in the great company of my two birding buddies Steve and Gary, up and on our way before it was light we travelled to the Forest of Dean in search of Hawfinch, Goshawk and wild Boar.

Upon arriving we were not alone, as there were quite a few fellow birders scanning the area for these stocky birds.

Our first was seen high in a tall Scots Pine far too high for a record photograph! We stayed for some time hoping that it would decend to to the ground to feed, alas, it didn't. Word from the locals suggested we try a wooded area near a church that could be seen from where we were.

We arrived just as the rain started, then Hawkeye Hobbs caught sight of a raptor high in the distance, an almighty shout was heard as Gary spotted a Goshawk. Tick two of the day for the species we had set out to see. A second Hawfinch made an appearance, again it too was very high in the trees surrounding the church's cemetry.

Returning to our original location we were on the lookout for Hawfinch again, sadly no others were spotted, however as we chatted to a local, he informed us of a Great Grey Shrike in a near woodland and he also gave us directions that turned out to be spot on. As we arrived, it happened again, Hawkeye had it first and we all enjoyed views through his scope.

Leaving here we made our way to a Woodland Trust site called "Fancy View" on route we passed several pools, one of which had a least 30 Manderin Duck rafting on the water. The site over looks a valley which is heavily covered in trees. In the distance more Goshawks were seen. A total of 47 bird species were recorded that day with three very special ones indeed. Evidence was everywhere that wild Boar where in the area, however, none of us were lucky enough to see any!

The 12th of March, I had my first Sand Martin of the year at Brandon Marsh, my local reserve, plus 54 other species during my visit, migration time had started.

On the third weekend of March we had our first trip this year to North Devon which gave me an opportunity to drop by at Fremingtom Pill an inlet off the River Taw Estuary. What an experience it was too with 7 Cattle Egret, 8 Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Greenshank, Kingfisher, Shelduck, Black-Tailed Godwits, Grey Wagtail, hundreds of Redshank and my first Swallow of the year.

The month ended with a trip with the Coventry and Warwickshire Local RSPB Group to Potteric Nature Reserve, which is part of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. 

As usual, I was in the company of my two birding buddies as well as a few regulars that I know from Brandon Marsh and previous trips. Highlights were Bittern, Black Necked Grebe, Cetti's Warbler, Marsh Harrier and Mediterranean Gull. 

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