All in all it was a good bank holiday weekend. We finally got the temporary stock fencing up in the 'meadow' (or rank pasture as it is more actually described at present). Something satisfying about aching muscles, blisters, nettle stings and bramble scratches for those of us chained to a desk all week.
I managed a few trips out with the camera - plants and fungi will follow in another post - to my local wood and for the first time for a while a brief visit to the Forest of Dean. I was hoping I might see hawfinch, pied flycatcher, redstart, wood warbler, maybe a fox. My best achievement from the list was to hear a redstart or two. My old redstart haunts looked different - took a minute or two to realise that the tree-men had been in action 'raising the crown' of the nearby trees. All those low hanging branches have gone and the dead trees with the nest holes seem quite exposed. Not sure such open sites will be used for nesting.
So was it a disappointment? Hardly.
The local wood turned up trumps with crossbill - never expected they'd use my little watering hole, and it was a fleeting visit, but so frame filling the tail didn't make it.
The trip to FOD was really just a recce, but it started well with a glimpse of a sounder of boar. There are a couple of trees where in the past I've seen nesting pied flycatcher, spotted flycatcher, lesser spotted woodpecker and nuthatch. One tree looked as though there was a nest in one cavity but a 10-15 minute watch didn't reveal anything and I had to move on. Never even got the chance to visit the wood warbler site. Again though some surprises made up for the misses.
Garden warbler - definitely not frame filling, but I've rarely had a clear view
and the surprise of the weekend (both the bird and I got the surprise) a tawny owl. Managed to snap off a couple of shots before it flew off.