Trip report: Hambrook (27th September 2011)

The benign forecast swelled our numbers this week to 27 who all made the climb out of the White Horse car park towards Winterbourne. Jackdaws aplenty along this stretch of road, and on the Whiteshill cricket pavilion. We struck across country at Pye Corner where one keen eye spotted a circling Sparrowhawk, at a height over the distant tree line. Along a short stretch of road we also had a handful of Robins singing their hearts out to proclaim and define their winter territories. Woodpigeon was the most common species among the Alms-houses and Bungalows and the allotments proved uninspiring. Where were all the birds? Our stop for coffee and entertainment improved the tally with Carrion Crow, Pied Wagtail, Greenfinches, and then Goldfinches. From the back of the school we crossed into the Bradley Brook Nature Reserve on whose border a small flock of migrating Skylarks were mixing and matching with some family groups of Swallows. Late-departing House Martins followed them closely, all on the same heading – South East. The local power lines proved irresistible to a parcel of Linnets, gathering and re-gathering in a noisy twitter of pink blushed colouring. The Monks Pool Reserve, fascinating remnants of Middle Ages fish farming, showed evidence of recent use by the trails through the duckweed, but no live waterfowl! Back towards home, through the 13th/14th century churchyard and past the Tithe barn heading towards the rail track where Kestrel appeared over the graveyard and Pied Wagtail on the barn. The footbridge by Brooks farm had the final birds of the day with Grey Wagtail beneath the bridge and a pair of Buzzards circling above. A total of 29, which is pretty good for this time of year. Thanks to David for leading (and entertaining!) us on this interesting walk.

Nick and Annie Hawkridge