Tuesday 15 February – Old Down/Tockington Leader: Sue Black

The wind roared, the rain poured, but despite the appalling weather six birders had gathered at Tockington playing field to await the leader! Never say bird watchers are not up for a challenge! We set off in good heart, noting several gulls (Common and Black-headed) on the playing field, plus a Magpie and Robin, a good start. The horses galloped around outside the cricket pitch as we crossed the pitch and cautiously descended the hill down into Tockington. The school pond had its resident Moorhen and the school playing fields provided food for Carrion Crow, Jackdaw and Herring Gulls. Several Woodpigeons appeared as we crossed the fields, with a flock of Jackdaws, and then suddenly a host of beautiful Chaffinches, at least 30, feeding on the ground and then giving us a flypast; good to see so many after a long relative absence. Following this our spirits lifted further as a Song Thrush and then a Skylark were heard and seen. Nick inspected the normally tiny pond at the base of the fields, and although finding it fuller than it had ever been, lacked birds, so we entered the woods for a wet coffee stop. The very slippery paths through the wood successfully negotiated, a Buzzard was heard, as well as various passerines. We opted at last for a shortcut to bring to an end, what must be the wettest walk in BOC history. Despite that, a total of 16 species were counted. (Thanks to Sue for leading) Sue Black