Tuesday 24 December – Snuff Mills Leader: Nick Hawkridge

Twelve walkers to match the twelve days of Christmas – alas, none of the species (except ‘calling birds’) mentioned in the song were found. Across the river and up into the woods where the first stand of tall trees was alive with birds. Highlights were: Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay and many Long-tailed Tits. Further into the wood we found another Jay and as we crested the hill into the field area, half a dozen Redwings were seen. I think the feeders on the houses here have been abandoned as none of the normal Tit and Sparrow flocks were on show. Coffee was taken in Vassals Park, with welcome chocolate for those with a sweet tooth. Heading off towards the river again, there was a covey (eight) of Carrion Crows all splashing about together in the brook. In the tall trees on the river bank another party of Nuthatch and Great Spotted Woodpecker were playing chase and calling fit to burst. The rather muddy wander back along the river failed with Kingfisher, but we did get good views of Grey Wagtail, heard a Raven going over and saw a Sparrowhawk swishing through the lower branches. Search as we did, there was no sign of Little Grebe, Grey Heron or Kingfisher. A list for the morning of 27 and the expectation of a visit from Santa that night. (Thanks Nick for sparing the time to lead!) Nick Hawkridge