10 Dec 2015

Stanney Woods lnr

I flew back from Germany yesterday afternoon and arrived home in daylight so decided to take a walk from home to Stanney Woods - a round distance of around 4 miles. A lone male Lesser-spotted Woodpecker has held territory here for the last few years but this year I've only seen him once and he didn't drum or call in the spring. From 2004- 2008 a single pair of Marsh Tits bred but unfortunately they seem to have disappeared. The problem was there was very little understorey to encourage birds to breed and even commoner migrants such as Chiffchaff and Blackcap have declined spectacularly in recent years - probably due to increased disturbance from people walking dogs as the wood is now surrounded by houses. The local rangers started a programme to coppice the old hazels and clear some of the larger trees to help the understorey develop. Hopefully this will encourage more birds to breed here.

The photo below shows quite nicely how the coppiced hazel is beginning to regenerate and form a new understorey:

Although I didn't find the Lesser-spotted Woodpecker I did find the usual woodland residents including Treecreeper, Nuthatch and greater-spotted Woodpecker. Star birds were a pair of Bullfinches that inhabit a specific patch of woodland with plenty of understorey including hazel and holly.

I spent a bit of time looking for Birds-nest Fungus but unfortunately didn't find any. Birch trees are common here so Birch Polypores are relatively common.

There are a few ponds in the wood as its historically a 'wet wood' - these have a few alders surrounding them so I checked them out for Redpoll. Sure enough a single Lesser Redpoll was feeding and calling right at the very top of one of the trees. In previous years, when there's been an influx of Mealy Redpolls there have been flocks of up to 20 of this species.

All in all a nice  way to spend a couple of hours after being cooped up in meetings or airports since last weekend!

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