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

LONGROPE WOOD IS one of many small frag­ments of the old wild­wood, formerly known as Or­le­stone For­est, that long ago strad­dled the Weald of Kent and Sus­sex. Much of the wood­land to­day is of sec­ondary growth, com­pris­ing a mix­ture of de­cid­u­ous and conif­er­ous blocks of trees in vary­ing ages sep­a­rated by rides, which make for nat­u­ral view­points through the trees. A small sec­tion of the wood­land is man­aged by the Kent Wildlife Trust with cop­piced clear­ings of Ash, Hazel and Horn­beam, much loved by Nightin­gales, be­ing of par­tic­u­lar im­por­tance for wildlife and plants. Ma­ture oak and ash com­part­ments har­bour typ­i­cal low­land species, in­clud­ing a few pairs of Lesser Spot­ted Wood­peck­ers and Marsh Tits, both of which are dif­fi­cult to lo­cate once the canopy closes over. The most abun­dant sum­mer mi­grants are Chif­fchaff and Black­cap along with a few pairs of Wil­low and Gar­den War­blers in plan­ta­tion scrub. Spot­ted Fly­catch­ers are few and far be­tween. For va­ri­ety, the route also in­cludes farm­land tracts with views across ad­ja­cent wood­lands for soar­ing rap­tors; typ­i­cally Buz­zard and also Spar­rowhawk.

3Scan the wood­land canopy to the east for soar­ing Buz­zard, Spar­rowhawk and Kestrel, plus feeding Swift and hirundines.

4Search for birds feeding along the wood­land edge. A good spot for a Cuckoo or Hobby. Scrubby plan­ta­tions can at­tract Wil­low and Gar­den War­blers. The wood­land canopy har­bours singing Chifchaff and Black­cap, plus all three species of wood­pecker, Nuthatch, Treecreeper and the de­clin­ing Marsh Tit. Visit on a still evening and lis­ten for Nightjar


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