Tuesday 05 October – East Harptree Leader: Nick Hawkridge

The forecast was for variable weather and so it turned out with wind, rain and some sun. As 18 of us set off we heard, then saw, five Coal Tits in the conifers. Robin and a Wren were heard and then, as usual in this habitat, Goldcrest was also heard, followed by a Nuthatch and Blue Tit. Further along the path we added Carrion Crow and then had a very good view of a Great Spotted Woodpecker which stayed for a while, perched on the top of a telegraph pole. Whilst crossing a field we saw six Swallows, presumably making their way south and we then added Goldfinch and House Sparrow to our list. We saw our first Buzzard of the day and then a second group of Hirundinidae, as at least 29 House Martins were seen feeding and also on migration. The next part of the route, along a coombe, was the most adventurous part of the walk as, due to the heavy overnight rain, there was more water in the brook than expected. The path was quite treacherous in places. Needless to say, we did not spot many birds on this section, apart from one Jay and Jackdaws. Further on we saw a Lesser Black-backed Gull and then a few of the group had a fleeting view of a Sparrowhawk. Towards the end of the walk a Chiffchaff was heard and as we traversed a field, we saw some Meadow Pipits and as they flew up out of the long grass, we realised there were over 40 birds giving us a nice spectacle. A total of 32 species were seen or heard. Thank you very much to Nick Hawkridge for leading the walk at short notice and for providing a list of the birds. Mike Landen