Tuesday 24 October – Wick-Golden Valley Leaders: Geoff and Gill Hardman

A car park filling 27 walkers basked in the autumnal warmth with the calls of Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, and Rook nearly making chatting difficult! A flock of Fieldfares, a Moorhen and a Grey Heron were startled from their foraging as we headed up the valley. No Dipper could be found, but up the path, above the ochre quarry, Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch and Treecreeper played hide and seek in the thickets and taller trees. Above the quarry a Peregrine flew and three Little Grebes, various gulls – including five Common plus seven Cormorants made good use of the abundant water. Our second Green Woodpecker was yaffling above us as we ate and supped our coffee. Swinging right at the road, we spotted both Grey and Pied Wagtail on the barns and Kestrel and Mistle Thrush on the power cables, with a lone Redwing in the adjacent field. Straight up the slope, with Blue and Great Tit in the hedges and a solitary Skylark calling as it passed over. Garden feeders at the corner house were well stocked and used by Nuthatch, Coal Tit, Greenfinch and the two Rhea in their garden compound on Bury Lane stood and stared back at us. Our final species count was 45, which included a Red Kite, skirting the hillside above the big house in the valley as we approached the pub. (Thanks to Geoff and Gill for leading.) Nick Hawkridge