Tuesday 04 December – Newton St. Loe Leaders: Duncan and Pat Gill, Peter Holbrook

A record number of 50 members arrived for this year’s pre-Christmas lunch walk from Holy Trinity Church – but
could we get 50 bird species? We set off in the welcome sunshine. Our group was well spread out, with Peter
kindly waiting to gather up latecomers, so not everyone saw the single Bullfinch and Greenfinch. We walked past
a feeder, busy with Blue, Great and Coal Tits, and the local gang of House Sparrows chirruping in the bushes,
down to the Bath Spa University grounds to the lower lake where there were good views of a Kingfisher working
its way along the far bank, the resident lonely Mute Swan and some of the 30 Mallards of the day. Moving to “Top
Lake” we heard Goldcrests in the yew trees and a distant Nuthatch. Three Cormorants perched in taller trees.
Coffee stop in the pavilion allowed us to admire two Grey Herons, the Mute Swan family (one juvenile left) and the
ducks, including 23 Teal. One keen member went ahead to the bridge to be rewarded by the sight of a Dipper, a
new bird for this patch; in spite of a frantic message we missed seeing it dash along the lake edge. We had to
make do with a handsome Mistle Thrush feeding on what else but mistletoe. Wending our way over the bridge,
and up through the woods a Treecreeper was spotted. On the way back to the village we saw both Green and
Great Spotted Woodpeckers, plentiful Redwings and somewhat fewer Fieldfares. Two Blackcaps in bushes at the
end of the drive rounded off our very pleasant walk, which gave us 40 species altogether. Then it was time to
enjoy our excellent Christmas lunch at the Riverside Inn during which we showed our appreciation to Mark
Watson for organising our Tuesday walks and to all the walk leaders including Robert Hargreaves who received a
BOC Special Award for his contribution to the success of the Avon Bird Blog. Thanks to today’s leaders Duncan
and Pat Gill and to Peter Holbrook who rounded us up and so efficiently organised our Christmas lunch yet again.
Anne Crowe