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13th February 2019 – Forest of Dean

A pleasant day was forecast and we fancied a walk in the country. However, we weren’t  sure how muddy it would be after recent rain and so opted for a walk through the woods at RSPB Nagshead in the Forest of Dean, along tracks which we knew would not be too onerous. The recent removal of tolls from the Severn Bridges is certainly going to entice us across the Severn Estuary more often.

The Forest of Dean is one of the surviving ancient woodlands in England with more than 110 square kilometres of mixed woodland and lots of fairly rare birds (such as hawfinch and crossbills)  often reported there. However today at RSPB Nagshead we saw very few birds at all. The woodland, though, held plenty of charm.

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I did, however, have plenty of opportunities to photograph birds when we stopped a little further on at Cannop Ponds where there were a variety of ducks.

Mallards are looking very attractive at this time of year but nowhere near as attractive as the mandarin ducks, which I hardly ever see other than here where they appear in fairly large numbers. There were also tufted ducks and a couple of little grebe which, busy diving, were quite a challenge to photograph.

DSC08442Male mandarin duck

DSC08743Female mandarin duck

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DSC08686Successful dive for this little grebe

DSC08621Little grebe

DSC08554Diving little grebe

DSC08711Male tufted duck

DSC08602Female tufted duck

DSC08561Male mallard

DSC08476The mute swans are always beautiful

DSC08460Coot

Click below for gallery of photos from today: