If you go down to the woods today…
Well we certainly got that … we arrived to find signs saying that Stapledon Wood was closed !!! However, on close inspection, it was clear that the danger of fallen trees had passed and most of the fallen trees had been cleared away. In addition, plenty of people / dogs / bikes and horses had been through the wood in the very recent past so we considered the signs were old ones.
After a quick ‘risk assessment’ (for legal reasons !!) we decided the walk could go-ahead. Almost immediately we could hear several Great Spotted Woodpecker ‘drumming’ and after a short wait saw our first of several sightings in the wood during the morning. Bird song was quite muted … perhaps due to the cold …. but we could hear Song Thrush, Wren and Robin singing from several locations. As we moved further into the wood we encountered Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Stock Dove and Coal Tit.
We could hear a Green Woodpecker calling and another answering from a different part of the wood. Sadly, whilst most saw the bird, only a few of the Group managed to get good views. A Sparrowhawk cruised just over the canopy top and we could hear the alarm calls of many birds announcing its presence. In the flooded field below the wood we found Redwing, Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit plus the ever present flock of feral Greylag Geese !!
We decided …. over a nice cup of coffee and food in a local cafe …. that the early start in the cold had been worthwhile !