Tuesday 25 December – Snuff Mills Leader: Nick Hawkridge

Perhaps the intel of some super birds at Eastville Park made the decision easy for the seven walkers who turned
up expecting to do Snuff Mills, to choose the park instead. Following the Frome downstream means crossing it via
the road bridge, where we were delighted to see a Grey Wagtail poking about on the spillway. We were barely out
of sight of the bridge before we’d added Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits, so many Woodpigeons as to deter
accurate counting, and our first Great Spotted Woodpecker. We were joined by our eighth walker and the gatherer
of the intel, who promptly showed us the Peregrine on the spire of the church at Stapleton and before we recrossed the river for the third time we’d added Goldcrest to the list. At the weir we added Kingfisher, Goldfinch
and Coal Tit, these last were rivals, scolding each other across the valley. More intel, a quick recce, and up the
Fishponds Brook we went to see a very unfazed Dipper, cleaning and dozing on its favourite rock. At the lake
there were 13 Goosanders – five males and eight redheads, nine Cormorants, another Kingfisher, two Grey
Herons, and many Feral Pigeons – who tried for our elevenses cast offs. As the forthcoming Christmas dinners
were anticipated, we started back early, but it wasn’t long before we found another Grey Wagtail, heard and saw
three more Great Spotted Woodpeckers and out first Nuthatch. We didn’t add many to the total (33), on the return
to Snuff Mills car park, other than a small flight of 30 Starlings and much sharpened appetites. (Thanks to Nick for
leading, Ed). Nick Hawkridge