Tuesday 19 January – Bridgeyate

It was a beautiful winter’s morning as 16 members set out from Bridgeyate. Although cold it was pleasant in the sunshine so we were all looking forward to a good morning’s birding. In the car park and on the first part of the walk through a modern housing estate we started our list with a number of common species which included Starling, Jackdaw, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull and Pied Wagtail. As we left the houses a Jay gave us a fleeting, but nice view and approaching a brook some of the group saw a Grey Wagtail. We also saw a small party of Long-tailed Tits with a total of 17 for this species by the end of the walk. We crossed the A420 and walked along the Warmley Forest Trail. Not far along the trail we had ten to fifteen minutes of excellent birding. Firstly, we found a group of Siskin feeding at the top of a couple of Alders and then a little further on a second group, making a total of about 20. We met up with a member who was birding on his own who mentioned that there were Lesser Redpolls around and sure enough within a couple of minutes we had good views of a pair. We also saw three Bullfinches with the two males looking particularly striking in the sunlight. At one point there appeared to be Bullfinches everywhere and we had a total of twelve. To finish off this brilliant period we saw two Goldcrests one of which gave a very good close up view. Later on we saw a single Redwing, two Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a Buzzard and a very nice view of a Sparrowhawk which flew fairly low, directly over our heads. To complete the morning’s birding we added Black-headed Gull, Pheasant, Mistle Thrush, Raven and some of us heard a Green Woodpecker. This was a very enjoyable walk which had some real highlights and it was certainly worth negotiating some quite heavy mud, as well as a couple of tricky stiles. We had a final total of 34 species. Thanks to Nick for keeping the list and to David Body for leading such a successful walk. Mike Landen