Tuesday 23 December – Snuff Mills

At the start of this festive week, there is nothing better than to disappear into the woodlands, try and forget the impending jollities and get a good dose of birding. All along the Frome valley we hoped for Siskin but alas none were seen. The Dipper and the Kingfisher were probably also finding their living elsewhere, as the river was so high. At the top of the valley we encountered many corvids; large numbers of raucous Jackdaw, a fair few aggressive Carrion Crows, many cackling Magpies and at least four Ravens. The Blue and Great Tits were starting to show signs of ‘getting friendly’ with some full song from each species, although the Long-tailed Tits were still in big mixed parties with Goldcrest and Blue Tit, – running from tree top to tree top. The playing fields were bare of their normal covering of gulls, in fact, only a few were seen on the wing throughout the whole walk, however we did have splendid views of two Mistle Thrushes on the fields, both standing bolt upright to keep an eye on the marauding dogs. The final section from Frenchay Bridge back to the car park went past a garden with a Jay burying his food stash, a couple of Moorhens fussing around the margins and a dozen hungry Mallards steaming to their feeding station. There was a sighting of a Grey Wagtail and a fine Sparrowhawk, only interested in quitting the area and the unwelcome attentions of Jackdaws. 26 species seen by most of the 20 walkers. Thanks to Dave Body for standing in as leader and for taking us round this lovely walk. Nick Hawkridge