The group of 13 gathered on a rather damp and overcast morning for the walk through Eastville Park. No damp spirits though, as a Goldcrest was soon spotted among the trees, a good start to the walk. On the bank of the river stood a Grey Heron, still as a statue, and on entering the open fields we saw a mixed flock of Blue Tits and Great Tits, with numerous Wood Pigeons settled in the branches above. Mallards were in the river, unperturbed by the strong current, and a flock of 23 Goldfinch flew overhead. Settled more sedately on the sodden playing field opposite were large numbers of Black-headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Jackdaws and Wood Pigeons. The stunning autumn colours provided a fiery display against the grey skies. The carpet of bronze beneath our feet and the gentle downward drift of golden leaves was a glorious sight. Matching this glory, a Kingfisher was soon spotted, poised on a branch on the island, before taking off in a flash of brilliant blue. Most of the group also saw the Tawny Owl before it slipped down into the darkness of the nesting box. A group of nine Cormorants, perched high above kept silent watch as we enjoyed our coffee break. Mute Swans were being fed further up the lake and Black-headed Gulls joined in the scrabble for these morsels. As we rounded the lake the Kingfisher reappeared, a Chaffinch was spotted and further along the stream was a Grey Wagtail flitting among the rocks and a Dipper darted away. At this point the group split, with some choosing to follow the narrow path in the hope of seeing the Dipper again, while the remainder stayed on the main path. The Dipper remained elusive but both groups saw the Kingfisher again. Was this the same bird or were there two Kingfishers busy that morning? Other birds recorded included Jay, Wren, Magpie, Coal Tit, Dunnock, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Robin. 28 species in all. Many thanks to Richard for leading the walk. Di Bunniss.
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