Tuesday 24 April – Castle Combe

 We set off from the car park on the edge of Castle Combe under a cloudless sky, albeit a bit chilly to start with. We had some early sightings in the adjacent field including a Pied Wagtail, Stock Dove, numerous Corvids, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. The initial part of the walk took us up a steepish hill through a copse to some quiet country lanes to the north of the village. A Nuthatch called long and loud en route but avoided visual detection. Birds that were less shy however included a Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Swallows, House Martins, Coal Tit and the first Buzzard of the day. After the coffee break (where some had an excellent view of a Goldcrest) we gradually descended through a long valley back towards the village. White tree blossom and wild flowers were abundant and at one point we passed alongside a small wood full of freshly bloomed bluebells. The warming sunshine also seemed to encourage the butterflies to emerge with Brimstone, Large and Small White, Peacock and Orange Tip amongst those recognised. Birdsong was noticeable all morning and sightings on this leg included Bullfinch, Chiffchaff, Nuthatch, and several Wrens. In the village itself a Grey Wagtail was spotted as was a Mistle Thrush on the walk back up the hill to the car park. Also during the morning two active Rookeries were seen. Warm sun continued to shine on 33 of the righteous (I can’t really vouch for the other 32) throughout the morning and a total of 40 species was recorded. Thanks to Dave for leading a very enjoyable walk on a very pleasant morning. John Lees