Sunday 27 December – Eastville Park Leader: Rich Scantlebury

Chill was in the air at the Park Avenue car park but at least the high winds of the previous night had moved on. As the four in our party gathered, a Sparrowhawk cruised overhead, a Great Spotted Woodpecker was high in a tree down the slope and a Dunnock sang lustily in the vicinity. Our leader pointed out a Peregrine on a distant church spire. A promising start. We started on the path round to the westernmost point of the park, stopping to admire Goldfinches feeding in the trees. The trees at the corner of the park were productive with Long-tailed Tits and a couple of Goldcrests easily viewed with a mixed flock of tits. Two Song Thrushes were feeding on the open grass. As we reached the River Frome near the allotments, we could see that the river was very high with fast flowing water. A Jay was seen as we headed to the lake. On the water were a dozen Mute Swans accompanied by Mallard, Coot and Moorhen. There were two Herons (one adult, one immature) but no sign of the hoped for Kingfisher or Tawny Owl. Various parties of Cormorants were flying, fishing and roosting high in the trees above the lake. We also saw both Pied and Grey Wagtails on the lake edges and a pair of Coal Tit in a fir tree at the back of the lake. The weir was under water but we found a second Great Spotted Woodpecker nearby. Two Dippers were up the small tributary stream. They were very obliging, feeding along the stream edge until they felt they had delighted us enough. One flew off and the other jumped into the water speeding off downstream in the current. 33 species seen. (Thanks Rich for leading) Peter Bryant