Tuesday 06 August – Bridgeyate and Siston Leader: Dave Body

Our party of 28 had waterproofs in hand or bag; it really did look like rain as we left the car park. A flight of juvenile Starlings flew left and then returned, a few House Martins swished about the chimney pots and five Jackdaws roosted on the tiles of No 29 London Rd. A keen wind made the odd Herring and Black-backed Gull fight their way east, with the Woodpigeons only making short forays from perch to perch. Passing through the newish houses we noted that they were devoid of House Sparrows, but the older ones came up with a couple of pairs. Before we started up the Dramway, two Crows were seen sporting leucistic feathers and a pair of Goldfinches called as we entered the shade of the overhanging shrubs and bushes. Not much to see along here but we heard a blast of Wren, a twitter of Dunnock and a tinkle of Robin. Across High Street and along the course of the Siston Brook we heard our first of four Buzzards calling, and on the Brook our only Grey Wagtail. At the pond a Moorhen and two chicks skulked in the reeds, with the trees above littered with Chiffchaff, all busily feeding and calling frequently. The rain lashed down briefly as we sheltered for coffee but undaunted we carried on over the common and towards Mill Farm and a female Mallard still guarding her eleven fairly large ducklings on the pond there. One sharp-eyed birder spotted a Peregrine on a pylon, and this was confirmed by an equally keen, but young-eyed colleague. The last five minutes – in sight of the car park – were hard-cruel – it poured with rain. A count of 26 wasn’t bad for the conditions and time of year. Thanks to David for leading. Nick Hawkridge