A walk at Fort Henry Ponds Exton with RNHS bird recorder Terry Mitcham.

A magical gothic folly sitting beside a large lake, lies at the heart of Exton Park.

Six stalwarts assembled at 9.30am on a cold, sunny morning by Fort Henry top lake where Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Mallard, Mute Swan and six Wigeon were the main wildfowl species.  A Chiffchaff sang from lakeside woodland.  Prompted by a stiff north-westerly wind and a dog trial, the party decamped to a more peaceful Tunneley Wood.

A walk around one of the older compartments of the wood, dating to at least 1860, was accompanied by singing Chiffchaffs and Robins with calling Buzzard and woodpeckers.  Along the wider, sunnier rides there was a good showing of Primroses and bumble bees were very active among the Blackthorn blossom along its eastern edge.  Numerous slots of Fallow Deer and Muntjac were noted in muddy ground throughout the wood and Grey Squirrel and Brown Hare were seen.  There was much activity at the bird feeders with four tit species and Chaffinch all seen.  After checking a Tawny Owl nest-box, apparently unoccupied, the group dispersed at 11.40am.

Tunneley Wood Bird List:-  Pheasant, Red Kite, Buzzard, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon,      Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Coal Tit, Marsh Tit, Blue Tit Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Chiffchaff, Wren, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Chaffinch.

Terry Mitcham