Tuesday 11 February – Coalpit Heath Leaders: Pat and Duncan Gill

The weather mitigated against a large turnout, so 16 on a blustery cold day wasn’t bad. We left the clubhouse with the wind pushing us along, as it was the two or three Cormorants and Grey Herons. A Sparrowhawk was circling, as normal, but pushed across the sky and out of sight in seconds. A single Redwing posed for a picture, others broke cover as we walked on and some saw a few Fieldfares mixed in. The water hazards on the golf course hosted 20 plus Canada Goose and we found the wind driven Herons in the company of squabbling Moorhens. A few Blue and Great Tits called, as did a Bullfinch but it remained concealed in the scrub. At the top of the lane we peered into the orchard to observe some Redwings that were feeding on last year’s fallen fruit. There were, at most, two Fieldfares around the base of the trees but they were hard to find. As we basked in the sun at the coffee stop a Jay flew into the railway embankment shrubs – all I saw was the white flash of the rump. Stopping briefly to acquaint those new to this walk with the history board at the Ram Hill pit head, we heard the call of Green and Goldfinches. Intel received before we set off said that our normal route along Broad Lane as far as Westerleigh was flooded, so we branched off towards Elm Farm. The hedges bordering the woods have had Yellowhammer but, alas, not today, our only bird being a lone Buzzard. Coming down the hill towards Bitterwell Lake a Coal Tit was heard, a couple of Moorhens and a few Mallards swam on the fisherman infested water. A total of 32 species were recorded. (Thanks to Pat and Duncan for leading) Nick Hawkridge