Tuesday 19 October – Stoke Park/Eastville Park/Vassals Leader: Rich Scantlebury

17 club members gathered at the new starting point for this walk, with access to Eastville Park along a footpath from Elmgrove Road in Thingwall Park. The weather was dull and overcast but the rain held off.
As we entered the park we soon had Blackbird, Great Tit, Jay and Carrion Crow sighted. Looking across the valley we saw the spire of Stapleton Church and a grand view of two Peregrines perched on the side. We walked down to Fishponds Brook where we heard Blackbird and Robin calling. The walk took us along footpaths meandering through the estate where we saw more Jay, Raven, Blue Tit and Wren. We then headed towards Snuff Mills and Duchess Pond. Here, with the steady roar of traffic as accompaniment, we saw Moorhen, Coot, Mallard and a raptor in the distance being hassled by Crows. A Stonechat was busy fluttering up and down from among the thistles, fly catching. We sighted another Stonechat a bit further along, also busy feeding. As we rounded the far pond into a field we watched a spectacular display of aerial flight by two Peregrines. There was a flurry of feathers as one dived down for a Pigeon but seemed to have missed as he had no bird clutched in his talons. Walking back towards the Mill we saw a mixed flock of Long-tailed Tits, Blue Tits and Great Tits, and a busy chattering from the shrubs came from a charm of Goldfinch. A Grey Heron was poised in the River Frome, and later we also spotted Grey Wagtail. Our keen eyed leader managed to glimpse the Kingfisher although the rest of us missed it. At the lake a Sparrowhawk burst through a throng of pigeons sending them clamouring and flapping up into the air, but all survived. Black-headed Gulls, Cormorants, Mallards and Coot were on the lake, and another silent, motionless Heron stood among reeds in a corner. A large flock of Jackdaw flew above us as we left the pond to head back to the starting point. 34 species recorded. Thanks to Richard for leading and Nick and Alan for keeping the bird list. Di Bunnis