Saturday 03 December – Eastville Park and Stoke Park Leader: Richard Scantlebury

On a cold but dry day ten of us walked down from Thingwall Park into the Frome Valley, spotting Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Great Tit and a total of twelve Redwings in the woodland. Above the river, we had good views of a male Kingfisher, and on the first weir there was a Heron and a Grey Wagtail. Four Stock Doves showed and two Jays. At Stoke Park a Nuthatch was heard and then seen, and also flocks of Blue and Great Tits, Goldfinches and 14 Long-tailed Tits. Eleven Cormorants flew over. A Buzzard was being chased off by a Magpie, and several more Goldfinches were feeding on the thistles on which a pair of Stonechats briefly perched. Two Goldcrests and two Dunnock were also spotted. The ponds had attracted many birds – Mute Swans, Black-headed gulls, Mallard (and a white duck), Moorhens and Coots. As we circled the larger pond a Water Rail suddenly broke cover from the rushes, flying up right behind the leader’s back. Returning via Stapleton Church there was no Peregrine today. A total of 34 species were seen. Thanks to Richard for leading. Kate Cashmore
Postscript to Eastville Park walk; Alan Jefferies and I carried on towards the weir after the walk. I noticed something in the river just upstream from where Fishponds Brook joins the river. It was an otter, probably a female. We watched for a short time until the otter disappeared. By then we had very close views of a Kingfisher, taking advantage of the otter to fish, and nearby a Treecreeper. Richard Scantlebury