Saturday 09 September – Chipping Sodbury Common Leader: Mike Jackson

Eleven of us met for a morning walk of the common, but before we got there we spied three warblers feeding on sweet peas in an allotment. Two Chiffchaffs and a Willow Warbler we decided, although it could have gone the other way such are the similarities of this tricky duo! Birds were notably absent as we followed the fruit laden hedgerow onto the common but a Chaffinch showed, and a Kestrel perched atop a distant bush, while Sparrowhawk and Buzzard soared above us. Eventually we caught up with some target species; at least two Spotted Flycatchers hunted from some dead branches above Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat and Redstart which remained much more skulking. It was easy to locate a couple of flyover Skylarks, and a Raven honked unseen. The temperature was now uncomfortably hot, and with no shade or breeze two or three members decided to leave. Two Whitethroats arrived at another hedgerow at our walk mid-point but from now on only Redstarts seemed to have the energy to show themselves as we walked on in a temperature of 28°C. We recorded at least eight Redstarts and probably heard a couple more, definitely the star bird of the day. Thanks go to Alan for keeping the score (he had seen a Whinchat on his way to meet us pre-walk start time) and thanks to the group for being so patient. (Thanks to Mike for leading.) Mike Jackson