Forest of Dean Wildlife Tours is based in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, specialising in bird watching day trips. Let us take you on an early morning wildlife walk, and show you the best the Forest has to offer!
Jonny, the guide, has years of experience birding at various sites across the UK and is well versed in visual and audio identification of species, with the species around the Forest being his speciality.
With over 100 species of bird present in and around the Forest of Dean at various points in the year, you can be sure of an enjoyable and varied morning adventure, with up to 20-30 species on a regular basis in the 2 1/2 hour tour.
There are a handful of star species here in the Forest, which require a mixture of fieldcraft and old-fashioned good luck to see. These include: Pied Flycatcher, Dipper, Mandarin Duck, Hawfinch, Crossbill, Nightjar and Goshawk.
Mammals can also make an appearance, with Wild Boar being the animal that most folks wish to see. Getting up and out early in the morning, or just before dusk, can increase the chances of seeing these distinctive creatures.
About the guide
I started birdwatching with my dad, when I was a child, and the first bird I knew I saw and had identified for me was a Kingfisher. As far as first birds go, that was a truly special one. I was hooked from that point on.
I spent time in my early adolescence taking trips down to Chew Valley Lake, south of Bristol. The lake helped my ever expanding tick-list of species and came up trumps for a handful of rarities over the years, including White-Winged Black Tern, Booted Eagle and Night Heron. I learnt that in order to have a chance of seeing so many species, it was necessary to know more detail about migration times, habitat preferences and behaviour. It also helped to have someone around that knew more, so that I could learn and stand a chance of spotting things for myself.
Over the years I’ve been to a huge number of nature reserves across the UK and some abroad, taking in the sights and sounds, developing my skills and generally indulging my love of nature and wildlife. From the Somerset Levels, to North Wales, the Dorset Coast to the Cairngorms National Park and everywhere inbetween, the experience in different habitats is essential to develop a wide knowledge base.
I’ve previously volunteered with the Avon Wildlife Trust, helping with habitat management. I also had a short stint working as a charity fundraiser for the RSPB, engaging with other wildlife enthusiasts and encouraging new budding wildlife watchers to help support the national cause and to help protect the nature we love across the UK. A particular high point was setting up the scope and educating folks about the nesting Peregrines at Cardiff City Hall. It’s surreal to see the fastest animal in the world sitting very still, while seasonally being rained on with ladybird larvae from the trees above!
In short, I love to share my passion for nature with others. Our natural environment is truly amazing and it’s worth getting to know better.