Saturday 10 April – Sand Point Leader: Paul Gregory

The six of us assembled at the car park on a bright sunny morning which had a chill edge to a brisk northerly wind. Dunnock, Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Greenfinch were singing and we checked out the hillside bushes spotting the Blackcap and Chiffchaffs before moving on up the path through the woodland and onto the high ground. Out on the top, there was a brief appearance of a Tree Pipit perched on some scrub and Goldfinches chattering as they flew past. Due to the wind, it was fairly quiet walking out to the point though Paul did hear some Siskins flying overhead and we spotted seven Swallows winging their way northwards. Out on the flats of Sand Bay were seven Shelduck feeding and a Curlew was heard calling. As we approached the point, four Oystercatchers flew past in a perfect Red Arrows diamond formation! Coming back on the sheltered south side of the ridge, we found one of our target birds, a beautiful male Redstart. There were also more Chiffchaffs and a few Willow Warblers in amongst the bushes. Moving on, we passed a place where a Ring Ouzel had been reliably spotted for the previous three or four days but our luck was out today. Another male Redstart flying along a hedge line and posing every now and then made up for our disappointment. The orchard by Woodspring Priory held another Willow Warbler. There were a good number of Redshanks along the Banwell River mudbanks. Past the MOD enclosure we came across a flock of Linnets and a solitary Stonechat. Heading back over the downland, we were searching for a Wheatear but again no luck, perhaps the cold wind was to blame. Still, it was a great morning’s walk with some nice birds. Back at the car park, Richard’s technology told us that we had walked five miles and expended 500 calories so that was worthwhile too! Thanks to Paul for leading. Alan Craddock