Tuesday 03 January – Newton St Loe Leader: Robert Hargreaves

Eight intrepid walkers, appropriately suited and booted for the foul weather, met at the church. Our route down to Ripple Effect (formerly Send-a-Cow) was quiet for birds except for a fine flock of Goldfinch; similarly quiet along the wooded lane and the more open track to the waterfall. Maybe the persistent rain had something to do with it. The waterfall was gushing down with no sign of the usual Grey Wagtail. The first up to the lake had the only glimpse of a Kingfisher, and another the only Grey Heron. Top Lake gave us more water birds. Sheltering in the pavilion we had a chance to admire the Teal, tinkling away noisily, a Tufted Duck, two Little Grebe, and spot the four nests of last year’s heronry. Back into the wet, over the bridge and up through the woods we were pleased to spot Nuthatch, lots of Tits, hear a Chiffchaff and get a count of 100 Mallard. We retraced our steps to the lake to give more shelter then turned up into the university. Coming out of the wooded area a Green Woodpecker flew across the lake while a few of us at the rear were excited to find a group of Siskins high in the treetops. Our return via the university drive and muddy fields took us to the far end of the village where we had Chaffinches and Tits attracted to garden feeders, an obliging Kestrel, a Buzzard, and a Stonechat fleetingly perched in the horse fields. Grateful for the road underfoot we walked back to the church. In spite of the poor weather it had been an enjoyable walk with 38 species altogether. Thanks to Robert for leading. Anne Crowe