Tuesday 15 March –Wick

Frequent springtime birdsong was a delightful feature of this absorbing walk. Led by Dave Body, 26 of us set off in hazy sunshine from the Rose and Crown and entered the invitingly-named Golden Valley Nature Reserve. The musical programme began with the joyous song of a Robin as we walked beside the River Boyd. That stretch of the river, with its fast-flowing water and mid-stream rocks, is popular with Dippers but none was seen there this time. However, there was plenty of interest: a Jay fluttering about in an ivy-clad tree, then Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Dunnock and Nuthatch. At the bridge over the river, there was still no sign of Dipper but a Mistle Thrush was heard and a singing Goldcrest was rushing about atop an Ash tree. We stopped for coffee at the viewpoint overlooking the massive quarry, hoping to spot Peregrine but we were out of luck. A pair of Ravens were seen, and Coot and Little Grebe were on the smaller lake. Later, on the lane overlooking Dyrham and Doynton, we saw the first Buzzard. Then, as we re-joined the river, just three of us were lucky enough to see a Dipper on a rock before it flew upstream. Skirting around the quarry, we saw Meadow Pipit and Skylark. Back in Wick, a pair of Sparrowhawk, one trailing nest material, flew overhead and a Green Woodpecker was calling. Nick’s total was 35 species. Thank you, Dave, for a rewarding walk.

John Beaven