The last toehold in the old county of Avon for nightingale and willow tit, this is now at the north-eastern edge of South Gloucestershire. In 2009 nightingales sang on nearby Inglestone Common and a local farm with no evidence of successful breeding. One willow tit called in Lower Woods – the first since 2005.
I visited what I called Wetmoor in May 1999 and found neither species. I assume that I was in the same place as I ended up yesterday – just south of the road from Wickwar to Hawkesbury. This has parking spots although carrying on and down the track to Lower Woods Lodge gets one more into the heart of the area.
A calling buzzard started the morning nicely and soon fieldfares, redwings, bullfinches and a nuthatch joined the list. The first of three marsh tits sneezed and wheezed in the distance. Then the day bogged down – literally. The area’s not named Wetmoor for no reason. It was muddy and hard to work.
I gave it a couple of hours. Obviously there was no nightingale yet and no hint of a willow tit either. I ended up with a decent count of 22 species and then retreated to the Beaufort Arms in Hawkesbury Upton for a pint of Bob. That’s an easy beer to find in the Bristol area but drinking it close to its home of Wickwar adds a certain je ne sais quoi.