Helen and myself have always been interested in bird watching and such was my interest that as a child I joined the RSPB for a while. In fact, I even sponsored a duck at one stage, only to have notification a few months later that it had been shot! Oh well, I won’t bestow my bad luck on another one of our feathered friends. Prior to moving to the Forest of Dean we lived in a variety of medium sized towns and had to be satisfied with the usual starlings, sparrows, blackbirds etc that one would expect. At one point we even lived within walking distance of a nature reserve so got visited by a few more interesting species. Moving to the Forest and Wye Valley area however, has been like a massive step forward into the natural world. The dawn chorus is sometimes so loud that the word deafening comes to mind. The less common birds that we have sighted (listed below) are not just occasional sightings, but regular visitors living and breeding within our grounds and the surrounding area. It’s been a real delight sitting on the patio at the front of the house and watching the baby birds flitting about and the parents feeding them. We’ve started setting targets for the next bird we want to see. We were already getting various types of tits, robins, blackbirds, thrushes etc. so our first target bird was Nuthatch, tick, next woodpecker, tick (Great Spotted). Now it’s Green Woodpecker and we’ll let you know when he appears. With both the River Wye and the forest literally on our doorstep you don’t need to travel far or even at all to see plenty of birds. If you are however a bit more serious about your twitching, then you’ll want to visit the RSPB’s Nagshead reserve about 5 miles from Belvedere House in the heart of the forest, or go to Symonds Yat Rock where they have a viewing station set up with telescopes for you to watch the nesting Peregrine Falcons.
Why not dust off your binoculars, dig out the bird book (or smartphone app) and book a short break at Belvedere House and enjoy some exciting bird watching in this beautiful countryside.
What we’ve seen so far,
Blue, Great, Willow and Long Tailed Tits
Swallows, Martins and Swifts
Dunnock (Hedge Sparrow),
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Tree creeper (seen near Symonds Yat and in the woods at Beachenhurst)
Canada Geese, Swans
Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Green Finch and Bullfinch
Tawny Owl (heard not seen….. yet)
Mistle and Song Thrush