Tuesday 08 October – Old Down, Tockington Leader: Sue Black

On a morning of gathering gloom and a forecast of rain and wind, a goodly gathering of about 20 set off from Old Down cricket club, having first spotted two Common Gulls and a Black-headed Gull on the playing field. One of the last Swallows flew over our heads. Across the cricket pitch and down the hill towards Tockington Manor, we gathered Robins, Woodpigeons in small flocks, Carrion Crows, and finally on the Tockington school rugby pitch a large number (31) of Pied Wagtails. Here also were seen Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch and Mistle Thrush. A Grey Heron sailed past, and a flock of starlings. Between ploughed fields with Rooks, Carrion Crows and Magpies, a Skylark was heard, and a Buzzard appeared, the latter prompting a shout for coffee! Into Sheepcombe Brake and through the woods, where the Jays were busy foraging for winter. Up through a stand of Turkey Oaks to the road where further passerines were added to the count, including Long-Tailed Tits. Near the end of the walk Rob spotted a male Peregrine. Despite the overcast weather we saw Green-veined White and Red Admiral butterflies. After two hours without a drop of rain, our luck ran out and there was a deluge, leading to a hasty and wet end to the outing. Thank you Nick for keeping the record of species seen, a tally of 29. (Thanks to Sue for leading.) Sue Black