The sights and sounds of an English wood, New Earswick May 2016

Light and dark, a place of wonder and mystery

Light and dark, a place of wonder and mystery

Yesterday I featured a video on the sounds of the woodland. Today I want to delve into what sort of things were filling that wood with sound.

Chiffchaff

Chiffchaff

A lot of the noise comes from warblers, such as Blackcap and Chiffchaff.

Blackcaps have astonishingly complex songs, and much of the noise in that video comes from a male that was up in the canopy of the trees.

The Chiffchaff has a more monotonous song. It’s one you will hear all through the summer but, if you don’t know it, you’ll miss it. Once you do know it however you’ll realise they are everywhere!

Young robin

Young robin

Although the youngster in this photo won’t be doing much singing, birds such as Robins, Dunnocks, Wrens, thrushes and Blackbirds all contribute to the wondrous noise of our woodlands.

Blue Tit

Blue Tit

The tits always contribute plenty of noise, and on this particular day the Blue and Great Tits were out in force and making themselves known. The Great Tits were in exceptionally active form.

There was also a clutch of these little chaps happily flitting about getting fed:

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Long-tailed Tits are always a delight, and these youngsters with their black bandit masks are especially charming. They were also pretty relaxed around people and sat quite close to where we were tucked into the trunk of a tree.

The wood also feature two birds we’ve never seen in this location before. The first was a Spotted Flycatcher:

Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher

Unfortunately it just wouldn’t turn its head while posing here, but hopefully I can get a better look next time.

There was also one of these:

Tree Sparrow

Tree Sparrow

At first glance you could mistake it for a House Sparrow, but that all chestnut-brown cap tells us this is a Tree Sparrow. He can’t have been on his own either as he was clearly nest building:

Tree Sparrow collecting nest material

Tree Sparrow collecting nest material

Long-term followers will know that one of my favourite stats is that a Treecreeper climbs the height of Mount Everest every few days. That’s how we normally see them, round and up one tree. Fly to the bottom of the next. Repeat. So it was an unusual treat to see one find a sunny spot, fluff up, and have a sunbathe:

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Birds are never the only treat in a wood and it’s always worth looking at the trees, flowers and fungus that all help create the habitat that brings the wood to life.

Bluebells

Bluebells

Chicken of the Woods

Chicken of the Woods

Cherry Tree

Cherry Tree

The bark of the trees adds a new sensory pleasure; touch. The flowers of the trees, and the leaves of the wild garlic, smell delightful. I’m told the fungus tastes okay, but I don’t advise risking it!

The final thing to feature, and we’re back to contributory bird noise, are the Great Spotted Woodpeckers.

Great spotted woodpecker

Great spotted woodpecker

Woodpeckers are not always noisy, but on this occasion they were particularly vocal. There’s a clue why in the picture above. The bird has a mouthful of food.

Sure enough, a bit of concentration to pick a sound out amongst the cacophony, and there was the distinctive sound of calling chicks. And this is where the sound was coming from:

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Mum soon arrived and disappeared into the darkness.

You can tell this is mum as she has no red patch on the back of her head

You can tell this is mum as she has no red patch on the back of her head

Going, going...

Going, going…

Gone!

Gone!

Over the coming fortnight I’ll be keeping a close eye (and ear) on this nest in the hope of seeing the young fledge. I’ll have to get lucky. But if you have a good ear, you may be able to pick out the sound of those young Woodpeckers on this bit of shaky video:

But there we have it, into the dappled light and dark of the wood, the dry crackle and the moist squelch. A habitat for all seasons, and a treat for all the senses.

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2 Responses to The sights and sounds of an English wood, New Earswick May 2016

  1. julietwilson says:

    Lovely photos! Wonderful to see the great spotted woodpeckers at the nest! And to see spotted flycatchers at all! Blackcaps have a wonderful song….

    Juliet
    http://craftygreenpoet.blogspot.com

I welcome thoughts, comments and questions, so please feel free to share anything at all. Thanks, David

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