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.
26 members arrived at the car park, two off the bus, and we set off across the road and over some fields on a bit of local footpath actually not known to all! Dunnock and Greenfinch were singing to start with and we soon added other common species, but there was some uncertainly about a Sparrowhawk/Kestrel before it started hovering. Skylarks were singing, Green Woodpeckers were heard, and later two were seen dodging around a small tree in a garden in Failand (also seen there on the recce). I hope everyone eventually caught a glimpse. Three Buzzards were circling together, a couple of Cormorants flew over and some people managed to see distant Martins flying high, presumably Sand Martins. Two Marsh Tits showed well outside Mulberry Farm, just after I had mentioned the likelihood of seeing them. Tanpit Wood was a miracle of Spring with its celandines, violets and trickling stream, and a Blackcap sang from a branch close to the stile at the top. (Nick opened most of the gates beside the stiles, but sorry about the hills!) As we returned down the fields to E-in-G, at least three Meadow Pipits separated from the Linnet flock and appeared in a tree close to us. A final treat was a bright Speckled Wood butterfly on the ground. 36 bird species in all.
Eight members met in the car park and were immediately listening to Chiffchaffs seemingly singing from every direction. As we walked up on to the Point a Blackcap sang from a hidden perch close to the path, its sweet song filling the air. Overhead passage was quiet with only a few Meadow Pipits moving. At the end of the Point a female Merlin was disturbed from the rocks and flew wide around Sand Bay carrying some small prey, presumably looking for somewhere to sit and feed on it. A dull male Wheatear was located sitting on the rocks allowing scope views, which was nice. As we walked along Middle Hope, overhead passage was enlivened by the odd Redpoll and Siskin. Skylarks were singing, reminding us that it was Spring despite the cold. At St Thomas’s Head we could see Redshank, Shelducks and a Little Egret on the River Banwell and along Woodspring Bay. Three Swallows whizzed past so quickly that not everyone saw them. Only a Kestrel and a pair of Buzzards were spotted on the walk back to the car park. It was a lovely morning.