A walk around Old Lodge nature reserve

18 August 2018 | Posted in Nature Reserves , Old Lodge , Wildlife , Birds
A walk around Old Lodge nature reserve
Redstart (c) Mya Bambrick

Guest blog by Mya Bambrick, 15 year old wildlife photographer, birder and trainee bird ringer

On Monday morning I woke up early and set off to Old Lodge Nature Reserve in Ashdown Forest.  After arriving, my mum and I went through the gate and already I could hear the ‘cheep’ of a chiffchaff as it flitted from branch to branch at the top of a tree.  As we started walking around the perimeter of the reserve the view was incredible over the gorse and purple heather.  

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Stopping to appreciate it, I could hear the twittering call of the goldfinch as a charm of them flew overhead.  By now we were nearing the trees towards the furthest point of the reserve and having previously seen redstart here I was keeping an eye out for a flash of their red, flickering tail. Then a scratchy, explosive call was coming from the scrub and looking through my binoculars I could see it was a whitethroat perched on a twig.

The laughing call of a green woodpecker echoed around me as what looked like a juvenile swooped past, landing on a fence post.  As I got nearer, I noticed another two green woodpeckers clinging onto a tree, it must have been a family of them.  Then a bird caught my eye as it moved further down the path, I started walking slowly so that it wouldn’t fly away.  I crouched down with my camera at the ready as I could see the bird was indeed a striking male redstart. It gracefully flew down onto the path, stopping briefly to catch what looked like a caterpillar and then disappeared into the shadows of a nearby tree.

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After having lunch under the trees, we carried on and a pair of bullfinch flew overhead.  When around three quarters around the reserve I noticed a few blue and great tits, in the pine trees above. Then we saw some much larger animals, the beautiful Konik ponies, grazing in the sun. 

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As we headed back to the car I spotted another three beautiful redstart, two young and a female, perched in the trees.  The female did exactly the same as the male earlier on and swooped down onto the path, tussling with an insect and eating it.  This was a great end to a lovely walk in the heart of Ashdown Forest. 

Feeling inspired?  Visit Old Lodge and discover its wonderful wildlife

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