News about seasonal changes at Filnore Woods and how to get involved as a volunteer, if you want to.
Filnore Woods is the Community Woodland for Thornbury in South Gloucestershire. It aims to provide a diverse range of habitats for wildlife, to give people a wild place to visit and to provide opportunities for education. Find them across the field behind Thornbury Leisure Centre, BS35 3JB.
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A week ago I heard my first chiffchaff of the year and now I'm hearing them every day. It's a great here-comes-spring sound - a rather repetitive song made up of regular 'chiffs' and 'chaffs' with the occasional 'chuff'.
Chiffchaffs like woodland with some tall trees, which they can perch in to sing, but as they nest on the ground they like the shelter afforded them by scrub as well. Filnore is ideal.
Most of them leave Britain to overwinter in the Mediterranean area but come back to breed here.
I love the song when I first hear it at this time of year. I think it's usually the male bird defending his territory and trying to attract a mate, as he hops about amongst the pussy willows snapping up the pollinating insects.
Flowers golden with pollen on a male pussy willow
Follow this link for another excellent video by Paul Dinning.
Found this cheery plant in flower today at Filnore near the steps up from the footbridge.
It's a false oxlip. The true oxlip is a different species confined to East Anglia but our falsie is a naturally occuring hybrid between a primrose and a cowslip, both of which grow at Filnore. The flowers are smaller than a primrose but larger than a cowslip.
Another song to experience on our Dawn Chorus walk, April 30th, 5.00 am
One of our smallest birds, a noisy little ball of fluff with a pale eye-stripe and a sticky-up tail.
He usually skulks amongst the undergrowth but has one of the loudest voices,especially considering his size.
Listen and look with another brilliant video by Paul Dinning. You can see how the wren flutters his wings, taking just a moment to relieve himself, as he sings and projects his voice in different directions to notify his rivals singing nearby.
These blackbirds are among the first to sing in the early hours in April, May and June when the Dawn Chorus is at its best. The picture above shows a male bird with its black plumage, yellow beak and yellow ring round the eye.
The female is brown with a speckled breast so she shows up less while sitting on the eggs.
Listen to the song here, courtesy of Paul Dinning, or come on our Dawn Chorus Walk on 30th April. Click on the link below.