Tuesday 23 April – Badminton — Leader: Nick Hawkridge

Twenty six people met at the village hall on a glorious morning, with ‘just in case’ waterproofs staying firmly in the rucksacks. The first of the Blackcap sang from the woods as we set off, with a further dozen record during the
day. Jackdaw was much in evidence during the walk and the Blue Tit, the most often heard of the Paridae. A welcome sighting of two House Martin, the call of Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Wren made the village green a most popular place. Up Roach’s Lane to find (alas) last year’s Little Owl absent but a Song Thrush showed nicely and a Mistle Thrush sang beautifully from Tyning Wood. Lime Avenue held some birds, all feverishly foraging in the branches but allowing us to distinguish Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit and a pair of fly-through Bullfinch. At coffee the first of the Yellowhammer was seen, a distant speck magically zoomed in on by our excellent photographers. The Skylark sang, a Green Woodpecker ‘yaffled’ and as we walked down Seven Mile Plantation the ‘rattle of keys’ heralded our first Corn Bunting. Across and then along the airfield where there were more Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting and, oh so many, Skylark singing. Keen ears heard the scratchy song of a Whitethroat and we found the brown-backed bird singing from atop a thin spindle of May. A fine picture of a Yellowhammer was taken as we headed towards The Park, but no House Martin was yet in residence at the lodge gatehouse. There was much construction work in progress, for the forthcoming Horse Trials but the two Coot on the lake paid no heed. Into the village with Swallow showing well and a distant call of a Nuthatch completed the count (43). (Thanks to Nick for leading.) Nick Hawkridge