On a day dominated by extreme weather with trees toppled, roads flooded, and constant driving rain and wind, we arrived at Newport Wetlands Centre to find that all of three people (including the leader!) were ready to brave the elements. However the birds were undaunted despite the weather, and we totted up a very respectable tally of 36 species in the hour and a half that we spent before tumbling into the café to warm up, and to add a few more species through the window!! Almost as soon as we stepped out of the car Goldfinches were popping out of the bushes, Cetti’s, Sedge and Reed warblers were warbling away in the reeds, and the sound of a pig squealing revealed the presence of a Water Rail. A possible “ping” suggested that there was a Bearded Tit lurking somewhere but they were sensibly not showing themselves in the teeth of the gale. Nearer the shore the tide was out and the mudflats were enjoyed by a Curlew as well as about half a dozen Whimbrel, plus the usual Dunlin, Shelduck and Oystercatchers. On the rocks below us was a flock of rosy Linnets and a brightly plumaged Wheatear. On the ponds were lots of Tufted Ducks and Pochards, and from the newish but nicely recycled hide we saw a very handsome Great Crested Grebe. Swallows and Sand Martins flew over in good numbers, and as we opened the door to the hide, a flock of Swallows twittered their way out through an open window. All the time we were in there they were doing a flypast in front of the hide, and even diving past our faces back into the hide, no doubt checking it out as a possible nest site. Eventually when we got to the point that our binoculars were being blown out of our hands we called it a day. It was a memorable morning, for the birds, the weather and that hot cup of coffee! Thank you very much Charles for leading.
A glorious day (hardly any rain) and mud glorious mud. Only the leader had her wellies on and a recce just
beforehand would have been a good idea (it was done a month earlier when all was dry and the bluebells were just starting)! The bluebells today gave us a good show, but there will be more to come. We heard plenty of birds singing as we walked up the track, perhaps more Blackcaps than anything else, but a few Chiffchaffs to help those wanting to learn song. Most of us had a good view of a Mistle Thrush high in a tree, a Song Thrush was singing, one Willow Warbler sang close to the track, we heard a Nuthatch and Alison spotted a Treecreeper. The party got well spread out as usual, but we joined up for coffee and a Sparrowhawk was spotted while we were looking at a Buzzard. Skylark was heard when we reached the field above Moat House Farm, a Swallow was seen and I was told that a Tawny Owl called on our return to the wood! Jean pointed out the plant Toothwort and she named a black bobble on a tree trunk as King Alfred’s Cake. We saw Orange Tip, Speckled Wood and Holly Blue butterflies. 32 people, 29 species.
On a bright spring morning 19 members walked to the end of Moor Lane and along Clevedon Lane listening to the calls of Blackcap, Whitethroat, Chaffinch, Robin, Goldfinch and Chiffchaff. In the adjacent fields Pheasant and Mallards were feeding as well as Swallows and House Martins on the wing. Crossing the moor we disturbed two Roe Deer. Buzzards and Kestrels were being mobbed over our heads but regretfully we can only confirm as stated on the local and national news the day before that no Redshanks or Lapwings are breeding on the moor as the marshy areas are drying out. The first Willow Warbler was heard and a Reed Bunting flitted along the ditch. As we left the moor an adjacent field held nine Wheatears. After the coffee break (with CWB) we climbed up Common Hill Wood, through the wood to the drumming sound of a Great Spotted Woodpecker, across Walton Common and back down to the cars. A good walk with 29 species recorded.
Our morning started cold and damp, but with hope of improvement we set off along the brook into the park. Our first bird was a Blackcap moving through the bushes. As we approached the lake a Willow Warbler gave good views singing on the end of a branch. Through the park and on to the common we had more Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs. On the common everyone had a good view of a resting Tawny Owl. Leaving the common we went on to the lower end of Overscourt Wood with more woodland birds. After crossing to Webbs Heath we had five Swallows skimming the fields. In all 25 species were seen.
The threat of April showers did not deter the 19 members who set out from the car park in Castle Combe. Ravens were circling overhead and birds were in full song in the bushes and ancient hedgerows. Blackcaps, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler were joined by Robin, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Goldfinch. The most prolific bird of the day was the Nuthatch and it meant that we all were able to get good views and recognise the call. The tea break stop was the signal for the only heavy shower of the day and a mad dash to reach the shelter of the woods. In the woods the bluebells along with wild garlic were coming out and again the Nuthatches were calling. On a sunny bank a slow worm was basking undisturbed until spotted by Pat but it slid back into its hole when we were all peering at it. In the By Brook a Little Egret was finding fish in a pool and two Buzzards were seen overhead. Nearing the end of the walk Coal Tit, Bullfinch and Song Thrush were added and brought the total to 26 species. Thank you to David for leading this walk around a very beautiful area.