Trip report: Bathampton (25 June 2013)

A brilliant and informative introduction to the area by the leader (from inside the church as a tree shredder was howling outside) was a novel way to start our walk along the Kennet and Avon canal. The playing fields were alive with Swift and Swallow, some Collared Doves were spooning on the roof tops and just as Tiny was bemoaning the fact that the narrow boat from which delicious cake could be bought was closed, a Kingfisher made its speedy exit, stage right, towards Bath. As we passed the many sculptures on the canal side, a Grey Wagtail bobbed along the water’s edge, catching low flying insects. Magpies were attempting to rustle up a good feed from the many young birds that we heard along the way, Goldfinch and Chiffchaff among them. It was good to hear and eventually see the Whitethroat that abounded along this stretch and, drawn by that lovely song, catch sight of Blackcaps. A friendly dog walker regaled us with tales of the many raptors he’d seen the previous day and when we met again, as we climbed to the hill to Claverton church, he said we’d just missed a Water Rail his dog had flushed. In the churchyard for a belated coffee stop and while Tiny got the key and fought with his thoughtfully provided coffee machine we watched the Blue and Great Tits working hard in the Yew tree above us. Some further Swallows, House Martins and Swifts played in the air and around the church tower before we departed back along the canal for a rerun of the species seen on our way out. A notable Buzzard circled over the hill and Raven had a quick pass at some Jackdaws before disappearing into or behind the trees. As far as totals go; 23 walkers and 29 species, and a huge thanks to Dave ’Tiny’ French for leading and doing all the prep work that made this such a memorable walk.