Tues 24 February
I focused the morning on High Wood Wildlife Trust nature reserve near Everdon. Breezy and cold conditions were not ideal for birding, but this woodland sits in the shelter of a small valley and there was actually plenty of bird activity. I soon located a pair of marsh tits and a small flock of long-tailed tits. A treecreeper was feeding busily on the shiny trunks of cherry trees. Just as I was about to give up hope, a willow tit appeared, calling noisily, posing for a while, then heading off towards the tiny stream. I also disturbed a sparrowhawk from a half-eaten pigeon.
|willow tit in flight, High Wood|
|opposite-leaved golden saxifrage|
|this is also a good site for fungi|
|winter aconites and snowdrops|
|hazel catkins, Halse Copse|
|Roe deer. If I'd had my camera at the ready there would have been three!|
Having been successful at an ancient woodland site yesterday, I decided the try my luck at Badby Wood this morning. This is the largest area of ancient woodland in the Northants part of the Banbury Ornithological Society area, and much of it is an SSSI - best known locally for an impressive show of bluebells in early May. It is part of the Fawsley Estate, who allow access to the whole wood, and this means it is also a great place to look for nature. The Woodland Trust promote access via their website, you just need to park sensitively in Badby as the lanes near the church are very narrow.
This is a really interesting woodland - many of the large trees are oaks and it reminds me a little of the Forest of Dean or Wyre Forest, albeit on a much smaller scale. Great-spotted woodpeckers are drumming, green woodpeckers yaffling, song thrush singing brightly. I encounter a flock of tits - coal, long-tailed, blue, great and a pair of marsh. Further on, a ride cuts across the wood and there is a little more hazel and bramble.
|marsh tit, Badby Wood|
After well over two hours exploring, I head off for a coffee, capturing the village and woodland scene from a roadside viewpoint. The two look intertwined, which is good to see. Habitat corridors connecting wood and village.
|Badby Wood and village|
My last stop is at Canons Ashby, not the national trust house, but the lake and woodland nearby. A footpath leads along the edge of what is a very wet woodland and potentially very good for willow tits. But I draw a blank. A little egret is nice to see, plus my only reed bunting of the day.