After staying local as instructed at the start of the year, it was finally time to venture further afield. As passionate as I am about local birding, it was nice to look forward to a change of scenery. So it was off to Old Lodge in Ashdown Forest, a regular late April/early May haunt for me but due to the pandemic this was my first visit there since 2019.
It rarely disappoints there and today was no exception. Crossbill, Tree Pipit, Lesser Redpolls and lots of singing Willow Warblers (the latter now just a migratory species in Henfield unfortunately) were all noted. It wasn’t until we headed out of the reserve that we saw Redstarts, seeing two pairs in the end, including amazing views of one of the males. We were also surprised to see a flock of Fieldfares and Redwings in one of the horse paddocks, perhaps an indication of how cold it’s been of late. Walking up the slope from Old Lodge Bottom to Lodge car park then gave us great views of a male Dartford Warbler on a gorse bush.
After that excitement it was off to Weir Wood Reservoir, and again we weren’t disappointed. Amongst the Common Terns was an Arctic Tern, a Sand Martin fed over the water, a Greenshank patrolled one of the exposed banks and a pair of Marsh Tits were on the feeders by the car park.
To round things off lunch was taken from the chippy in Forest Row, a fitting end to a splendid morning’s birdwatching.