Tuesday 25 July – Woodchester – Leader: Di Bunniss

We gathered in the car park and set off along the downhill path towards the mansion. The woodland was quiet but the display of butterflies was a source of great interest, with the Silver-Washed Fritillary being the star. A Treecreeper was seen, House Martins were circling high above, and Chiffchaff called. Our designated Coffee break at the Boat House was enhanced by a National Trust volunteer who gave an informative talk on the history of the valley and the work being done in the surrounding woods and fields. From the Boat House to the lunch spot was but a short stroll along a board walk fringing the lake and through a field, where we heard the call of the Bullfinch to add to the bird list. More butterflies and flowers were identified and admired. Once at the lunch spot, some sought the shelter of the old Dog Kennels (a large barn with picnic tables) while the others rested at the lakeside. On the lake were two Mandarin ducks in the rather drabber eclipse plumage, and a small family of Blackcaps feeding close by. On the return path we had more Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs with Buzzards circling overhead. By the mansion a Raven was calling close by. Another long rest here was required before we tackled the gentle uphill path back to the car park. 29 bird species recorded and eight species of butterfly. (Thanks to Di for leading and organising the NT talk.) Di Bunniss