Tuesday 28 January – Backwell lake

 14 walkers met at Morgan’s Hill in Nailsea. There were two heavy showers during the morning but we escaped getting really wet and when the sun broke through it felt mild. We even found a few snowdrops in flower. A circuit of the lake gave us good views of two male and a female Goosander, Tufted Ducks and a female Pochard. The usual Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Mallard, Coots and Moorhens were joined by a mixed bag of farmyard ducks and two Muscovy ducks. We were much amused by a Herring Gull that had found a tennis ball and was playing bouncy ball and rolling it down a slope. It flew off with the ball. Finally a Grey Heron was seen by the reeds. Along Youngwood Lane we had Buzzards, Redwings and Fieldfares, a Mistle Thrush and two Goldcrests in a Holly bush. The lanes were very muddy but we saw all the usual small birds, Blue, Great, and Long-tailed Tits, Robins, Dunnocks as well as Woodpigeons and a Collared Dove. We had four good-sized flocks of Goldfinches keeping up a stream of contact calls as they flew through the trees. One person managed to see a Bullfinch and another found a Jay. We also found three Common Gulls where a field was very soggy. Altogether a pleasant quiet walk with goods views of Chelvey Church and across to Backwell Hill. In one place, the lane had flooded but most had come prepared with wellington boots. A total of 37 species were seen, fewer than usual, which reflects the mild winter so far.