Visit of the RSPB Bromley Local Group to Darrick and Newstead Woods by Trevor Morgan

On September 3rd Richard Pearce and I spent three hours guiding The Bromley Local Group of the RSPB around our reserve. We took them on the exact route that we use for the survey. Usually the route takes just over an hour but this time we topped frequently not just to enjoy the birds, but the insects, flowers and mammal life too. We also had plenty of time to share experiences and general knowledge.

At the start of the walk I was concerned that we would not see any show piece species. No offence to Woodpigeons, Crows and Magpies but these are everyday fare, and as we headed around Darrick Wood these were the only species we were seeing.

Luckily, our visit to Newstead Woods was more profitable: one of our bird watchers identified the call of the Nuthatch. Then we all saw a pair flying from tree to tree. These handsome birds have bright yellowish-brown breasts and blue wings. They appeared rather iridescent in the bright sunshine.  The nuthatch feeds on insects, seeds and nuts whilst foraging on tree trunks and branches, they are capable of climbing and descending trees. They often visit bird tables in gardens that border woodlands. We know that Nuthatches are resident in our reserve, but we don’t often see them.

We also heard and saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Curiously this bird was tapping very slowly on a tree trunk something which none of us had heard before.

Finally, one of our eagle-eyed visitors spotted a Tree Bee nest. Richard and I thought that these communal bees had disappeared from the reserve. Originally, they were living in Darrick Wood. They appeared to be surviving well living much higher up in their tree in Newstead Woods – but perhaps they were a different colony.

For me the discovery of a new Tree Bee nest was the ecological highlight of the visit. It often pays to have many more attentive eyes. The visit was a real success.

The Bromley RSPB programme for 2019 to 2020 is attached below: