Tuesday 05 February – Pensford Leader: Geoff Harris

A warm coat, wellington boots – both pretty essential for today’s amble around Pensford. The playing fields opened our list with Common and Black-headed Gull picking off many tasty morsels. A wander into the village was rewarded – the Dipper whipped across the tops of the turgid water, first up river and then back before disappearing under the house. A Song Thrush regaled us with half-hearted song; a charm of Goldfinch with a few Chaffinch, twittered and trilled. The Mistle Thrush that was roosting in one of the trees went south but not until we’d all (20) had a chance to admire it. Out onto a soggy Publow Leigh with Fieldfare, Redwing and Starling all moving ahead of us. A bonus was a flock of Meadow Pipits, who danced away and then circled back for another look, before settling in a fold of the Leigh, close under Publow Wood. The first of the five Buzzards we saw were perched above the small pool that we had to pass, which contained a pair of Teals. At our coffee stop, close by Lords Wood, one of our throng spotted a pair of Mute Swans in the distance, their heads and necks could be occasionally seen above the bank of their pond. A mixed bag of the tit family was spotted within the woods, with a Goldcrest loitering nearby and three or four Great Spotted Woodpeckers chasing around the tree tops uttering their ‘yickering’ courting calls. As we descended from Compton Common to the River Chew a noisy Coal Tit scolded us and a little further away a Nuthatch sang, but escaped without being seen. The river in full flood was no place for a lone Moorhen, who clucked her way to the safety of the bank, while the line of trees above Grassington did not disappoint, the resident Raven pair displayed most energetically and stylishly. The pool at the bridge by Publow Church held a lone Grey Wagtail but search as we might, we couldn’t turn the many Blue and Great Tits into Siskins – a species often seen here in the Alders. A final total of 38 for the day and many thanks must go to Geoff for leading this splendid walk. Nick Hawkridge