Yesterday's Sussex Guided Bird Walk with Carol, Tom and Charlie at Westdean Woods started well with a showy Firecrest. Typically, the bird was constantly moving and busy but remained long enough for everyone to get a view.
It wasn't long before we were watching Red Kites and Buzzards in the blue sky, while Skylarks sang from the fields.
We heard Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs singing, and several Stock Dove flew past. Swallows and House Martins gave good views as they fed on aerial insects. As we approached a more open area, we heard the scratchy song of a Whitethroat and patience was rewarded with nice views when it emerged.
Near the old flint barn, we glimpsed a Hawfinch in flight and also added Bullfinch and Garden Warbler, audible in the dense bushes, to the trip list. A singing Goldfinch was visible in the telescope and good fun for everyone to get in their own binoculars!
A sharp 'pek!' call alerted us to a Great Spotted Woodpecker. It wasn't long before we pinned it down feeding away in an oak tree.
After hearing a distant Mistle Thrush singing, it was a treat when it landed pretty close-by.
As we headed back a flock of five Crossbills, a nomadic species that has been all but absent from most of Sussex for many months now, called as they flew high overhead - a nice surprise!
Returning along the track, we encountered two pairs of Marsh Tits busily gathering caterpillars. A brilliant way to end a fun birding session!