Saturday 09 May – Dyrham Park

 Three National Trust members, including Dyrham Park’s well-informed head gardener Dale Dennehy, joined six from the BOC for this walk through the parkland of Dyrham Park, north of Bath. Dale made this a most interesting walk as he identified various plants and trees and told us about the NT’s ongoing plans for the park and gardens. The house is currently under wraps while its roof is being replaced and there is a lot of work going on around the chapel walks to clear shrubbery and open up new paths. With the disturbance by workmen, birds were hard to find in this area but there will be a nice section of open woodland habitat when they have finished. The terrain is hilly, well wooded, grazed by cattle and the NT’s herd of Fallow Deer. On a rather windier morning than I would have chosen, some expected species such as Stock Dove (several pairs normally breeding) could not be either seen or heard, but we did manage to find woodland birds like Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Coal Tit although we weren’t able to see them all. Swallows were zooming in and out of the barns on a hilltop, probably nest-building, and songsters included three Chiffchaffs, a Blackcap and a Goldcrest. The rookery is doing fine though the original large colony seems to have sub-divided into several smaller ones. Finally some of us located the usual Raven’s nest in a vast Cedar tree by the main drive, where they have been nesting for some years. Thanks so much to Dale for his very informative contributions which really made walking the park worth the chilly wind! Jane Cumming