Tuesday 17 March – Badminton Leader: Nick Hawkridge

After the grim news of a ban on all meetings, we were destined to be the last Tuesday walk for some time. However, eight of us gathered for a steady ramble round the patch. Our list started with Chaffinch and Greenfinch singing from broadcasting vantage points by the village green. There were plenty of House Sparrows chirruping away in the garden hedges and a good flock of mainly Common Gulls rose from the fields behind the houses. Up past the birdfeeder house, where we collected Blue and Great Tits, towards the barn field but, alas, it did not have a decoration of Little Owl. During the walk three separate flocks of Jackdaws were seen numbering more than 30 in each and of course making their usual clamour. At the coffee stop, having waded through deep mud in Long Drove, we had the 11 o’clock Buzzards mewing and circling, a distant Yellowhammer on the power lines, a mixed flock of Fieldfares and Redwings and the spring song of Skylarks. Out along the airstrip there were many more Skylarks and a pair of Mallards in the stream in the valley. A photo opportunity was taken by the placard (explaining what the remains of the plague house were all about) to demonstrate our ‘social distancing’ skills
(Picture on BOC Facebook page). The star birds of the day were then found as we headed along the valley bottom, Wheatear and Stonechat. We found a total of six Wheatears as we headed back through the horse trial fields but, alas, no Little Owl in the old oaks. The lake hosted Mute Swan, Canada Goose and a pair of Gadwall, with the trees by the gates holding a couple of Nuthatch and a singing Mistle Thrush. A tally of 36 for the day was a good total. (Thanks to Nick for leading, Ed). Nick Hawkridge