Saturday 13 January – Marshfield Leader: Sue Kempson

23 members turned up on a rather cool and cloudy day for this morning walk. As we gathered there were five Meadow Pipits obligingly sat in a tree over the road, as well as a few Fieldfare and Redwing in the taller trees.
Immediately after crossing the busy A420 we saw a pair of Stonechats in a ploughed field. As we continued on the footpath bordering the fields (accosted by a biting wind) we ‘scoped’ a variety of Pied Wagtails, Fieldfares and Meadow Pipits in the stubble. In the far distance a massive mixed flock of birds were seen but were too difficult to identify. We had good views of a Kestrel hovering near the farm and a mixed group of finches and Starlings were seen moving between the ground and a nearby tree. A single Yellowhammer was noted. Absent were the Skylarks which usually abound here and the Corn Buntings. Jackdaw, Crows and Rooks were seen and a Wren sheltering in the crevices of a stone wall (and who could blame it!). As we got to Rushmead Lane we turned right and immediately had a Raven fly overhead. We continued to the junction with the Tormarton Road which is usually a good spot for Corn Buntings and were rewarded by a small group perching in a tree. On the other side of the Tormarton Road we saw Collared Dove, more Fieldfare and Chaffinch. Skylark could be heard in the distance. A possible Peregrine identified by its flight was seen flying over. As we returned along Rushmead Lane we had a group of approximately 25 Golden Plover fly over. Down in the valley to our left a number of hunters were out shooting, a single Pheasant was noted but, unsurprisingly, no Red-legged Partridge. As we approached the junction to turn left and complete our walk we saw a large number of Fieldfare on the field to our right, whilst on the left a small group of Yellowhammers were seen. Overall 25 species were listed. We were somewhat frustrated by poor light and multiple small and large groups of birds in the far distance which defied identification.
(Thanks to Sue for leading) Sue Kempson