Tuesday 03 July – Sand Bay Leader: Nick Hawkridge

Ten of us set out up the steps and into some shade. A Chiffchaff was located skulking in the cover and a couple of Blue Tit juveniles put on an acrobatic display – letting us get very close. Two Swallows were reported from the back of the group, while the front counted Black-headed Gulls, Shelduck and heard the first Skylark. Across the scorched grass and hot slippery stones, where above us the first of the Swifts appeared, with the crack and rattle of a Magpie and the liquid tinkle of Linnet – with quite a few bouncing about, we’d added three more to our total. As we dropped towards the Point, first Whitethroat and then Stonechat were seen and heard. Turning back along the seaward edge of the point a Greenfinch ‘wheezed’ and we flushed the usual breeding Rock Pipit from the rock face at the coffee stop in the pebbly cove. Above and behind us, three more walkers were seen, making their way carefully down and bought reports of three Rock Pipit and another Greenfinch from the very end of the Point. Skylark and Swift accompanied us as we walked the browning turf, with only Carrion Crow and Meadow Pipit being added before we reached the River Banwell and lunch. There were a few Oystercatchers and a couple of Mallard seen as we sat in the not very cool shade to munch our food, but we did benefit from the light breeze whispering in from the estuary. The tramp over the ‘Field System’, that once covered the whole of the downs, was hot. Skylark and Meadow Pipit were frequently seen and, lifting briefly from the hedge, our first raptor, a Kestrel. Our 29th and final bird species was House Sparrow, flying around the very welcome ice-cream van awaiting our return at the car park. (Thanks to Nick for leading – Ed).
Nick Hawkridge