Tuesday 05 June – Badminton Leader: Nick Hawkridge

An overcast day made for pleasant walking conditions as 22 of us set out across the green of this picturesque village. A Song Thrush and then four welcome Swifts were seen, and then a large number of Jackdaws. House Martins were nesting under the eaves. Before leaving the village we found House Sparrow, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, and the first of two Mistle Thrushes. Nick picked out a Stock Dove in a paddock. Then came the highlight for many as a Little Owl was spotted flying up from a gate to the apex of a barn, where it perched on a security light giving plenty of photo opportunities. A Buzzard looked on from a nearby tree. Another Song Thrush was heard from the wood behind us, then along the hedgerow a Yellowhammer was heard and then seen. A Great-spotted Woodpecker and Greenfinch were added to the list before we entered the wood. The silence along the atmospheric dark track was eventually broken by Blackcap and Chaffinch. Coming out into the open we paused in a field with wide wild flower margins. The first of seven Skylarks was heard, as was a Whitethroat. Two Corn Buntings on a distant wire were identified from a photo. Walking along the airfield we saw several bright Yellowhammers, and more Whitethroats and Skylarks. Two Dunnocks were singing. Entering the estate park we passed another House Martin nest on the gatehouse and a Blue Tit nest in a nearby tree. Six Swallows flew over. The lake had Canada Geese and Mallard (with ducklings). We passed some school parties enjoying the scene, and a falconry tent. Those raptors were not included in our list of 34 species! Many thanks to Nick for leading and keeping the list. Gareth Roberts