Tuesday 02 February – Coalpit Heath

Wrens and Robins trilling, Daffodils and Primroses flowering, green shoots in hedgerows… Spring must be on the way, we thought optimistically. Certainly the sun shone all morning -albeit the wind was chilly -and birdlife was abundant. Before our 21-strong group left the Kendleshire Golf Course, led by Duncan and Pat Gill, we noted a Redwing in a hedge, three Bullfinches atop an Ash tree, five Black-headed Gulls, Robin, Blackbird, Coot, Mallard, Greenfinch (heard), a flock of Long-tailed Tits, Treecreeper and Goldcrest. Then came a Herring Gull “paddling” (Nick’s description) on the mown grass, apparently seeking worms. A Buzzard flew from a green (no golfers present to admire it), then leaving the golf course we saw a Mistle Thrush and Sparrowhawk while we walked down the lane. A flock of 30 Redwings with a few Fieldfares were gorging themselves on windfall apples, and a Jay flew past. After our coffee stop, things were quiet as we walked along the Dramway, but we did see two Buzzards. Then came the highlight as we stopped for a while to watch activity in a hedge which was alive with up to a dozen Yellowhammers, large flocks of Chaffinches and two Goldfinches. It was a delight to see the colour of the Yellowhammers glowing in the sunshine like a beacon. There was constant movement in the hedge as the birds made frequent forays to feed in the stubble field where there were also 200-plus Rooks.In all, 36 species (thanks for the count, Nick). John Beaven