The Mens

I visited The Mens nature reserve this evening, a new site for me, and it was wonderful. The Mens is wild ancient woodland, and I found it similar in character Ebernoe. It was not unlike Ebernoe in other ways too, in that my first visit took twice as long as it should due to me taking wrong paths! At times I bemoaned the lack of clear tridden pathways to lead the way, but in hindsight this made it a much more memorable experience. Following the SWT route on View Ranger and reading the information about the different waypoints was fun and educational. After one wayward wander I had to clamber over fallens trees, jump a stream and climb up a steep bank to get back on track. As is often the case, the furthest reaches of the walk were the most wild. The strange accoustics provided atmosphere and made the sound of a barking Roe Deer even more unsettling. 

The Mens

It was a classic woodland walk in terms of birds seen. Firecrests were singing near the car park and few Marsh Tits were noted along the way. I spotted a Blue Tit going back and forth behind a tree, and managed to get views from the path of its nest site hidden behind some bark. The most exciting find, however, was a Spotted Flycatcher, which brought itself to my attention through its incessant calling as I got close. It soon settled down and began feeding, and even started singing. Another individual was also in the area, this one quiet and skulking, and I'm presuming this is a breeding pair. This same area produced some other good birds with two Mistle Thrush and Grey Wagtail seen.

Blue Tit

Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher

Of the other wildlife, I'm still very inexperienced and didn't have time to give it proper study. I struggled to pick out Wild Service Trees and the other acient woodland indicator species, but I was happy enough to find an Early Purple Orchid, a new species for me. 

Wild Service Tree?

Badlands Meadow

Badlands Meadow

Early Purple Orchard

Cottage at Bedham

Shepherd's Hut

Canadian Army HQ 

Commemorative Plaque

Hawkhurst Court
 
Mystery Bridge

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