Tuesday 18 March – Bridgeyate.

Getting across the A420 outside the Griffin Inn is always a challenge, particularly when trying to identify the Wagtail on the house tops opposite! However, the Collared Dove and Magpie offered no such contest, as we entered the housing estate en route for the Dramway. Some Lesser Black-backed Gulls fought the wind and Woodpigeon were blown out of the trees but the Wrens, calling like mad from bush tops, seemed not to be affected by its strength, each bird on its storm tossed twig, riding like a true acrobat – no pause or halt in that fulsome noise. Not far along the track we heard the first of three Chiffchaffs singing. Close by were Bullfinch, the female contentedly eating thorn buds while her two suitors called and fluttered showing themselves off with scarcely any heed paid of our close observation. The freshly cleared path around the common was possibly too raw to attract much bird life, apart of course from the Great Tits, with the ringing song of ‘Teacher Teacher’, and the high ‘Tszee Tszee’ of the Blue Tit. Spring is most definitely here, well- close! We found a pair each of Moorhen and Mallard on the pond hard by Siston Brook, and up the hill were more Bullfinch; again courting was in full swing. Flying across us was a Great Spotted Woodpecker, putting in nearly as brief an appearance as two pairs of Long-Tailed Tits – heard more than seen, even allowing for 22 people all trying to see them at once. The Dunnock all perching at a much higher level than normal, were singing and fluttering – urgency of the season? At last, hostelry bound with a total of 27 species, we saw the Raven some had heard earlier and a final Buzzard, circling lazily for height.