Tuesday 06 March – Snuff Mills. Leader: Nick Hawkridge

After a pre-walk review of the Forest of Dean and a hasty rearrangement of venue, 28 members met at the car
park in Snuff Mills for a pleasant walk with no rain and some sunshine. After crossing the roaring River Frome we
walked up the valley, seeing many Treecreeper and Goldcrest. A pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers went tearing
round the treetops with shrieking cries, and Treecreeper followed suit around the bole of a couple of trees. The
Long-tailed Tits contented themselves with feeding, with the appearance of already being paired off. Another pair
showed well – Stock Dove, the iridescent neck patches catching the weak sun, and when a lone Raven crossed
the vale they departed with a clatter. A Nuthatch was seen before we left the wood and once on the flat we saw
several Black-headed Gulls – some sporting summer hoods. Carrion Crows probed the sward, getting a meal
from the mole hill infested grass. At our coffee stop in the park we found half a dozen Redwings scouring the last
of the holly berries and more Great Spotted Woodpeckers called and drummed. The Song Thrush, on the far side
of the valley, swelled the spring song soundscape and a little further on the first Blackbird added his melody.
Before we descended to the river a group of five Jays came chasing over, squawking and shrieking in hot pursuit
of each other – it’s that time of year. Despite careful study of the river bank twigs and bushes, we didn’t find the
Kingfisher until we were almost back to the mill, with a final tally of 34 and bright sun on our faces. (Thanks to
Nick for leading, and for sorting out an alternative walk.) Nick Hawkridge