Variety is the spice of life!

A morning tour a few days ago provided a few brilliant nature encounters!

Our usual start at Speech House Woodland can provide a handful of common species but it proved a little slow to start. Progressing slowly towards Woorgreens Lake the species started to reveal themselves as the habitat changed into lakeside margins, with fervently singing Willow Warblers and a chance fly by of a group of Crossbill.

The grassy margins next to the lake are brilliant for butterflies and damselflies. This particular day was no exception with a lot of warmth early on in the day. Absolutely perfect. Small White, Green Veined White and Gatekeeper butterflies all appeared quickly, along with a magnificent Emperor Dragonfly.

Ambling up to Crabtree Hill and onto the heathland habitat we were quickly aware of a huge number of juvenile Swallows roosting in several coniferous trees. I’ve never seen so many Swallows!

A friendly Green Woodpecker drifted by and flushed a Tree Pipit. Then a veritable wave of bird species appeared, including Stonechat, Linnet, Siskin, Spotted Flycatcher and a family of Redstarts.

On the way back to the cars, we stopped at a small pond near Kensley Lodge and a large number of Cinnabar Moth Caterpillars feeding on Ragwort. The caterpillars are brightly coloured, just like the adult, day-flying moth they turn into!

After departing the guests at the car park, I took the opportunity to scope out New Fancy viewpoint on my way home. The site is well known for its Goshawk sightings but alas they evaded me on that particular day. However a very confident Common Lizard made a brief appearance, basking in the sun and warming up.

In a period of 3 hours, the variety of species included 30 bird species, 9 butterflies , 4 dragon/damselflies and a hornet!

The Forest of Dean truly is a remarkable place. If you want to see these remarkable things for yourself then come and join us on an early morning tour and we’ll show you some amazing wildlife!

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