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.
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.
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.
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