Tuesday 14 January – Badminton

 A sparkling sunny, frosty morning attracted 19 members. The walk, led by Peter Holbrook, began with a flurry of activity with feeders in a garden and the woodland on the edge of the village producing Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Blackcap, Chaffinch, Robin, House Sparrow, Mistle Thrush and Buzzard to name just a few. As we continued along the fringe of the wood we saw Jackdaw, Collared Dove, Raven, Wren and Dunnock. Then things became strangely quiet and for an hour or more we saw no birdlife whatsoever, even though conditions were perfect. Those who had been on previous winter walks here recalled seeing large flocks of Yellowhammer adorning the hedgerows and drystone walls as well as other species. This time they were all absent. We consoled ourselves that the glorious morning compensated for the lack of birds, and it was not until we reached the Badminton estate that things perked up. We knew a Little Owl had been seen here on previous walks and right on cue a Little Owl was seen briefly on the roof of a dovecot. As we walked through the estate we saw Pied Wagtail, 200-plus Starlings wheeling above the oaks, and flocks of Redwing busily feeding on the grass. The “chack, chack” calls of a distant flock of Fieldfare could be heard and a pair of Mute Swan glided on the lake. Total species, 32.