Tuesday 25 May – Gordano Valley Leader: Geoff Harris

A bright sunny morning for the walk from Walton-in-Gordano, with Geoff leading his select group of two, so we had V.I.P. attention! The first part of the walk, along Moor Lane, had a Buzzard soaring overhead, Long-tailed Tits, Chaffinch, Robin, Chiffchaff and Blackcap all spotted among the hedgerows and trees. Swallows swooped over our heads, close enough to touch, as they swept around the stables and farm buildings. Two Raven, with their deep croaking call, flew past, then a flurry of Goldfinch. Crossing over the stile on to Weston Moor, we immediately heard the Reed Warblers chattering. A Reed Bunting posed long enough to have his photo taken, and a call from the shrubs nearby revealed a Sedge Warbler, who also obliged by staying long enough for us to have a good look, then flitting from bush to bush before we lost sight of him. The ground was not as boggy as we feared after so much rain, so there were no problems traversing the three fields that are part of this special National Nature Reserve. Geoff pointed out the owl box in the distance but no owl to be seen. More Swallows were swooping low in the fields before we crossed the road to the footpath leading up to woodland. More Chaffinches and Blackcap, always a Robin or two, then a gentle climb up into the wood where we spotted a Green Woodpecker and later two Goldcrests. We emerged on to Walton Common, which was carpeted in wild flowers and herbs, beautiful for sight and senses. (Later it will be full of wild Thyme we were told, so a visit must be made again.) A Buzzard was perched on a tree, offering a great view, until he took to the skies and soared above us. Down from the Common, where diseased Ash were being felled, we saw Pied Wagtail and House Martins. Sparrows cheeped from the hedges of the houses at that junction. The rain that had threatened finally arrived but only for a few minutes. Altogether 30 species noted, and possibly as many Robins! An excellent walk through country lanes, Nature Reserve, woodland and open Common Land. Thanks to Geoff for leading and sharing his knowledge of the area. Di Bunniss