Tuesday 01 April – Hawkesbury Upton

 It was a pretty misty start to our All Fools’ Day walk and there was much discussion as to whether clout casting might be opportune. 16 members, and soon to be joined by a 17th, set off through the village where there were plenty of Starlings. Soon, we were in typical “top of the Cotswolds” country and could hear many Skylarks singing, though these were out of sight above the mist layer. Plenty of Yellowhammers posed for all to see and first one, and then several Corn Buntings were spotted, some showing in clear profile for easier identification. The light was improving and very good views of a couple of Wheatears were had. Around coffee time, among trees, we added to our list with noisy Nuthatches, Wrens, and Blue and Great Tits. Spring flowers were also in evidence including the Townhall Clock (Moschatel), identified by our fungi guru wearing her plant expert hat. A few Chiffchaffs were heard and, for many, the first singing Willow Warbler of the season. Skylarks continued to be evident and were now clearly in sight. Descending a steep path through woodland there was an aroma of garlic as we crushed Ramson leaves and here the first Bluebells were peeping through. The highlight of this bit of the walk was an explosion of Fieldfares, with a few Redwings, from the tops of the trees. The clever counters among us reckoned over a hundred. This was a walk of two seasons for the price of one! Back on the top and on the Cotswold and Monarch’s Way, the sun was out, more Buzzards were soaring, Pheasants calling, Blackcap, Song Thrush, Goldfinch and Greenfinch all singing. There was a wonderful variety of habitat on this walk and 41 species were noted. Many thanks to Duncan and Pat Gill for leading and Nick Hawkridge’s additional “leading from behind”.