Tuesday 06 February – Eastville Park – Leader: Richard Scantlebury

After a cold, frosty night 26 of us, well wrapped up, set off for Stoke Park. In the sun the song of familiar small birds and sight of three Great Spotted Woodpeckers dashing about in a nearby tree cheered us. A Green Woodpecker yaffled. We paused at Duchess Pond to admire the red fox standing out on the grassy slope; a Grey Heron poised then flew, disturbed by a dog walker. After a circuit of the pond we checked the small reed bed for Snipe but they were in hiding. We made our way to Eastville Park via Stapleton Church, enjoying the sound of a Coal Tit calling loudly across the street, but the Peregrine didn’t grace a pinnacle or us with its presence. By the river in Eastville Park we found a Grey Wagtail and, at the weir, our first Kingfisher. Suddenly a Treecreeper was spotted, then another and another. The three Treecreepers were flitting about from tree to tree – another sign that spring is on its way? A look across to the playing fields and allotments yielded two Mistle Thrush, a Stock Dove and a large number of Moorhens (bringing our total for the walk to 14). At the pond we enjoyed the three Cormorants decorating the tree top, another Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming away loudly and some exciting Crow/Sparrowhawk interaction. The pond had the usual water birds along with the glossy red-faced Muscovy Duck, which always causes comment. On our way back around the pond we were fascinated by the perfect stillness of a Grey Heron perched on the edge of “the square” staring intently into the water, holding its neck at an impossible angle. Our return journey gave us another Goldcrest and excellent views of the Kingfisher; we saw it was a female (lipstick!). During our walk we had several small groups of Long- tailed Tits in twos and threes rather than the large flocks of winter but only a single Redwing. We had a very enjoyable walk in spite of our chilly start, with several signs that spring is coming and 37 species altogether. Thanks to our leader Richard Scantlebury.
Anne Crowe