A magnificent weather day brought out 41 walkers – quite a crowd – to the White Horse car park. The walk was firstly beside the motorway where, thankfully, traffic noise was reduced by the easterly breeze. By the time we had reached Quarry Barton and Bradley Brook Bridge 16 birds, including Great Spotted Woodpecker, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Jay and Mallard, had been seen. Then, at a bridge over the River Frome, we spotted Grey Wagtail, Kingfisher, Sparrowhawk, Goldfinch, Goldcrest and Treecreeper. A refreshment break was held in Huckford Old Quarry Nature Reserve before walking beside the Frome and then up to Bury Hill Iron Age Fort. Dropping back down to river level, Dipper, Bullfinch, Green Woodpecker, Grey Heron and Moorhen brought the total to 37 species on a very varied habitat walk of about four miles in perfect conditions.
26 members gathered on a mild spring morning for this walk through varied habitat. Near the start, some agitated corvids drew attention to a Sparrowhawk which flew into a dense hedge and disappeared. Two Jays were seen and the walk was notable for the number of Jays recorded (eight by this observer.) A Blackcap was heard and then seen sitting prominently on a garden hedge. The walk followed the dramway footpath at the start. Its tall hedges proved excellent cover for birds and as well as the more common species there were stunning male Bullfinches. Re-crossing the A420 we entered the Warmley Forest Park where hawthorns were beginning to show green shoots and there was a bank of flowering primroses. Another Sparrowhawk flew over and several Buzzards were seen during the morning. A Mistle Thrush was heard and finally located. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was watched and a distant Green Woodpecker was heard. Ravens flew over as we watched bees busily entering and leaving a hole in an oak tree. Two Mad March Hares galloped around the fields, where two Roe Deer were lying beneath a hedge. The total number of bird species seen was 27. Thank you to David for leading this enjoyable walk.
It was a cool misty morning, but 34 birders arrived in The Perrings to walk around the lake, along Youngwood Lane and out towards Chelvey church and manor. The lake held the usual Coots, Swans and Canada Geese, but seven Shovelers gave us a fly past and there were a pair of Gadwalls, a few Tufted Ducks and a female Pochard. A Sparrowhawk was spotted whilst we waited to start our walk, and a Buzzard was down in the field. It then sat in a tree studying us studying it! The male Wood Duck and male Muscovy Duck were still present, and the trees around the lake had Goldfinches, Greenfinches, tits and a Song Thrush singing. One lucky person saw a Bullfinch and a few of us heard a newly-arrived Chiffchaff. In the field by Coombe Grange Farm the wild daffodils were in flower and the horse fields held Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtails and Greenfinches. Further along, a Romanian lorry had got stuck, having been misdirected by sat-nav into an unsuitably narrow lane. We located the farm he needed and he was linked up with the farmer! Later, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were added to the list, the latter heard drumming, and Geoff found another Chiffchaff. We also saw Jay, Ravens and a Heron. 48 species were seen altogether in spite of poor visibility – a good morning.
14 members met up at the car park by Speech House on a bright and sunny morning to walk the surrounding woodland and look at the nearby pools. Leaving the car park we observed Nuthatch, Tree Creeper and Redpoll moving through the trees plus a Mistle Thrush. Moving on towards Woorgreens Lake we saw Brambling, Green Woodpecker, more Redpoll, a small flock of Siskin, heard and then observed a Willow Tit, and also saw Longtailed Tit, Coal Tit and a number of Goldcrest. At the Lake we saw Goosander, Tufted Duck and Grey Wagtail and a Reed Bunting was spotted by most. We took a route from the car park past the rear of Speech House and back through the Arboretum to the car park, where we observed a pair of Crossbill in the trees above us. We moved to New Fancy View where we observed a Goshawk sitting in a tree at fairly close distance, plus another four birds soaring above the forest tree line. We saw Raven and a Sparrowhawk before leaving for Cannop Pools where we saw Mandarin, plus Little Grebe and Marsh Tit. An early pre-meet walk in the woodland area of Parkend Church by four members produced Hawfinch, Brambling, Redpoll and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Total number of species recorded was 47. A good day’s birding was enjoyed by all.
As I arrived to meet up with the club members on the coach at Exminster, the rain which had been heavy all morning in Devon stopped. As we made our way down the lane towards the river, wildfowl such as Teal, Shoveler, Pintail and Wigeon were busy feeding on the flooded pools and in amongst the Wigeon we were rewarded with good views of the American Wigeon that had been in the area all winter. Canada Geese were also feeding in the fields and five Barnacle Geese were with them; these birds, presumably of wild origin, had arrived a couple of days earlier. As we started to look at the waders in the flooded fields, such as Lapwing, Golden Plover and Blacktailed Godwit, all the birds lifted and a Peregrine passed through them and gave us all good views as it sat on the nearby electrical pylon. As we arrived at the canal we managed a glimpse of some Avocets on the river – this would be our only view of the day. Large numbers of Brent Geese flew over our heads into the fields but alas the Red-breasted Goose reported recently had presumably left. As we made our way towards the Turf Hotel Cetti’s 10 Warbler was heard in the nearby bushes. Reaching the hotel (open for Coffee in March, usually closed when we visit in January!), waders were feeding on the mud on the incoming tide – Dunlin, Curlew, Redshank, Knot, Grey Plover, Bar and Black-tailed Godwits, with a few Red-breasted Mergansers swimming in the tidal passages. Making our way down to meet up with the coach at Powderham we saw Little Egrets in the fields and more Brent Geese, with Buzzard and Sparrowhawk over the distant trees. On arrival at Dawlish Warren we made our way to the hide on the point for the wader roost. From the lifeguard station en route we managed to see Common Scoter, Slavonian Grebe, Eider Duck and Great Crested Grebe on the sea. As the tide was not that high the wader roost was not that numerous but we did see Knot, Dunlin, Sanderling, Turnstone, Redshank, Greenshank, more godwits, and Oystercatchers. At the Visitor Centre on the walk back, some of us checked out the bird feeders and in amongst the Greenfinch and Chaffinches we were rewarded with good views of a pair of Brambling.