Tuesday 18 May Leap Valley Downend Leaders Joyce Donkor & Kate Cashmore

This is a new Tuesday walk venue on the eastern side of Bristol with varied habitats including a stream, reed-fringed pond, open grassland, a bluebell wood with mature trees, blackthorn thickets and a small wetland. The walk incorporates part of the Frome Valley Way. It turned out to be a bit longer in time and distance than is normal on a Tuesday being over five miles in total, but no one complained. The weather was mild with a few showers.
We started at a small rush-filled pond surrounded by willow and hawthorn where we found a family of Greenfinches as well as Goldfinches and a Bullfinch. The bushes were home to healthy populations of House Sparrows, with the houses, never far away, providing nest sites under the tiles for Starlings. The woodlands were full of song from Blackbirds, Song Thrush, Robin, Chiffchaff and Blackcap. Each passing shower provoked another burst of song. We had a brief flash of Kingfisher and two Grey Wagtails on the river. The fields and paddocks had hunting Swifts, Swallows and House Martins. A singing Lesser Whitethroat completed our list of 37 species. Thanks to Joyce and Kate for leading. Alastair Fraser