Weekly Wildlife

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all have a fantastic 2020!

New Years Eve was an exciting one in the area around Sherwood Forest. In the late afternoon 35 hawfinches were seen very close to Sherwood on Thoresby Park. It’s the biggest flock the county has seen for a long time. Hawfinches do breed in the UK but are very secretive so during the summer so they are not often seen.

In the winter we get a big influx from Scandinavia and the birds often feed out in the open like this flock. So keep and eye on the tops of trees for a very chunky finch over the coming weeks.

A heavy-set hawfinch, by Indy Kiemel Greene.

Back in the forest there has recently been a rise in lesser spotted woodpecker sightings. As this time of year they become much more vocal. Lesser spotted woodpeckers (LSW) are one of Sherwood’s most treasured species. Some of you may remember reading a report back in the spring summarising the weeks we spent monitoring the LSW nests. So if you ever see a LSW then please let us know as any reports will help us track down the nests and get a better understanding of the population in the forest.

They are a very small woodpecker, around sparrow size. Often mistaken for great spotted woodpecker a more common and larger woodpecker. LSW have more obvious white stripes on their back. Males have a red cap and females a black cap. Keep and eye on the tops of old oaks and listen out for their call.

Male lesser spotted woodpecker, by Indy Kiemel Greene.

Sticking with birds for the last species I give you the marsh tit. A small member of the tit family. During the winter all bird rely more and more on bird feeders and the marsh tit is no exception. Almost every day they make an appearance on the bird tables in the forest and their most latest feeding site has actually been the feeders next to the visitor centre!

They can be viewed from the footpath next to the feeders and now you can even watch the feeders from inside the visitor centre. We have cameras connected to a screen from the feeders so you can watch them in the warm as well! We also have cameras on a nest box which is being used by a blue tit, a mammal cam in use by a vole and a wood pigeon nest! But keep your eyes pealed for those marsh tits!

Marsh tit by Indy Kiemel Greene.

Let us know what you see!

Remember to fill in the recent sightings book in the Visitor Centre. Leave your comments on our Facebook page and tag us in your Tweets on Twitter if you have any wildlife sightings or identification queries.