Tuesday 15 March – Coalpit Heath Leader: Mike Jackson

The House Sparrow and Greenfinch calls faded as we left the village. The first Ash yielded our first star bird, a roosting Little Owl. Onwards past the still short crops, Skylark song persisted, Buzzards predictably soared and a couple of Meadow Pipits poked about in the adjacent grassland. At Ram Hill, two Mistle Thrushes were prominent in a horse paddock while a Green Woodpecker hollered loudly. A wooded area presented Jay, Song Thrush and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Long-tailed Tit all showed well. Upon exiting the farmyard a raptor dashed into the top of an oak; calls of Kestrel and Sparrowhawk were made, only for it to take flight to cross the field to a distant perch. The slate back excluded Kestrel and the true identity now favoured Merlin. Its place in the tree was taken by a male Yellowhammer, gleaming in the sunshine. Back along the lane the Little Owl had shifted position in its tree, tolerant to our many eyed gaze. A gathering of Starlings at the village edge ended our count at 35 species. Thanks to all for such an enjoyable walk (Thanks to Mike for leading). Mike Jackson