Tuesday 11 April – Leap Valley Leaders: Joyce Donkor and Kate Cashmore

Lots of heavy showers and strong winds had been forecast to begin at various times from eleven o’clock onwards on this bright spring morning, but, undaunted, 25 members turned up. And the reward was lots of spring sunshine, many flowers in bloom including bluebells, plenty of birdsong and a total of 31 species seen, though not all by the whole group. This was a walk of mixed habitats – grassy areas, woods, streams, some quiet roads and bridges to lean over, even a motorway bridge! Chiffchaffs seemed to be everywhere, both seen and heard but only one Willow Warbler was recorded. Four Great Spotted Woodpecker and three Green Woodpecker were seen or heard, as well as plenty of Goldfinch and Coal, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits. The crow family was well represented with Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw and Carrion Crow. Three Sparrowhawks and three Buzzards were also noted on parts of the walk where we were out of the woods. Much peering over a bridge failed to come up with a Kingfisher but a Grey Wagtail and five Mallards were spotted. The group who were last to return to the cars also saw a Grey Heron and two Swallows. Many thanks to our leaders – for leading and making some adjustments to avoid the worst of the mud! Nancy Barrett