Tuesday, 27 March – Wick Leaders Duncan and Pat Gil

Maybe the forecasters hadn’t quite got the hang of British Summer Time as it was still raining at ten o’clock when
25 of us set off – but it did soon stop. Our first pause at the bridge showed how fast the river was running, so no
Dipper or Grey Wagtail. A Heron on the far bank was spotted and appeared to be in exactly the same place some
three hours later! Back-tracking we took the Red Ochre trail through Golden Valley – the mud showing it was
aptly named. Although the greyness of the day kept both song and sightings down, with patience and many pairs
of eyes, we were soon adding Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Blackcap, Blackbird and Great, Blue and Coal Tits to our
list and particularly enjoyed several Goldcrests more easily visible than usual in a bare deciduous tree. Plenty of
Nuthatches were calling and some eventually seen, as were Long-tailed Tits. Coffee at the quarry yielded good
close-ups for everyone of a Treecreeper. A Chiffchaff was seen by some and a Peregrine heard. When we heard
and then, on some feeders, saw Greenfinches, their relative rarity nowadays on Tuesday walks was commented
on. Both Mistle and Song Thrush were seen, but no winter thrushes. At another point near the river there were
Dipper signs on the top of rocks nearly submerged by the high, fast flowing water – but no Dipper! However a
Grey Wagtail was seen by some before the walk was over. 35 species were counted including 71 Jackdaws in
two groups. Thanks to Duncan and Pat Gill for leading. Nancy Barrett