Trip report: Old Down, Tockington (26 February 2013)

This was a three degrees, cold and dry, easterly breeze morning walk and 18 cheery and enthusiastic members got off on a rapid ramble along the top edge of Sheepcombe Brake, picking up Chaffinch, Dunnock, Blackbird and Blue Tit on the way. Passing The Fox Inn, in the centre of Old Down, we saw a further six species, including Green Woodpecker and Robin, we then took to a steep path down though the wood, where Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Siskin and Bullfinch were noted on the way.  At Lower Hazel we saw Mallard, Buzzard and Herring Gull as we climbed up onto Stroud Common, with Alveston just across the valley. After a refreshment stop on the common we took again to Sheepcombe Brake on a different but equally steep path and then to a small road leading to Tockington. There we adding to the list a Song Thrush, Moorhen, Sparrow Hawk, Raven and Redwing, after which came the long climb back to the cars. With a reasonably good list of 32 birds plus a grey squirrel and no mud on our boots we were all as, or more, cheerful than when we started. Thanks to David Tombs for leading.