Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding - PAUL TRODD

DUN­WICH FOR­EST IS sit­u­ated within the Suf­folk Coastal and Heath­land Area of Out­stand­ing Nat­u­ral Beauty. Owned by the Forestry Com­mis­sion this sub­stan­tial block of mixed wood­land com­prises im­por­tant habi­tats for some of our de­clin­ing sum­mer mi­grants such as Tur­tle Dove, Cuckoo and Nightin­gale. With ad­ja­cent marsh­land on two sides and heath­land to the south, there is rich po­ten­tial for a large species tally through­out the walk. The typ­i­cal range of res­i­dent species are present across the for­est, in­clud­ing rem­nant pop­u­la­tions of Marsh Tit, Lesser Spot­ted Wood­pecker and Hawfinch, although all three are be­com­ing more dif­fi­cult to find. On the plus side Goshawk and Red Kite sight­ings are be­com­ing reg­u­lar, and there is al­ways the chance of a pass­ing mi­grant Honey Buz­zard. In past years Golden Ori­oles have been re­ported singing from the canopy. Where the foot­path butts Din­gle Marshes, an open vista to the coast­line af­fords am­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties for ob­serv­ing vis­i­ble mi­gra­tion. The likes of hirundines, Swift and Yel­low Wag­tail, Green­shank and Whim­brel should be mov­ing over­head, plus the like­li­hood of a grounded Wheatear or Whin­chat. Parts of the for­est are sub­ject to a re-wild­ing project where Dart­moor ponies are be­ing used to graze clear­ings, while sev­eral species of deer are also present. The lo­ca­tion of this spring bird­ing walk is al­most guar­an­teed to de­liver one or two sur­prises along the way. Wood­land edge is a good area for ob­serv­ing feed­ing birds. Lis­ten out for singing Cuckoo, Tur­tle Dove and Spot­ted Fly­catcher. A good spot for Nightin­gale and Grasshop­per War­bler, along with Sedge, Reed and Cetti’s War­blers on Din­gle Marshes, plus Marsh Har­rier, Hobby, Lit­tle Egret, wild­fowl and waders on the wet­lands. Scan to the east for vis­i­ble mi­gra­tion, typ­i­cally hirundines and pas­sage waders.

3Clear­ings can at­tract Wood Lark in the early stages fol­lowed by Tree Pipit, Grasshop­per War­bler and Night­jar. Check around the mar­gins of conifer stands for Firecrest, Siskin, Lesser Red­poll and Cross­bill.

4Visit around dawn for max­i­mum bird song

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