Tuesday 28 October – Ashton Court – 1000th Tuesday walk

But first, the report of the very first BOC Tuesday walk in November 1994:

 Nine members met in the car park at Snuff Mills at 10 am on a cool and overcast morning. It was generally considered that the murky conditions would not lead to a dynamic morning of birding and that we should concentrate on the bonus of mid-week exercise and conversation … Suddenly, on the first bridge, the morning was transformed. A Grey Wagtail was seen foraging on the bank. In an adjacent tree, just about within touching distance a pair of Kingfishers sparkled in the dull light, close enough even to spot the female’s diagnostic orange base to the lower mandible. Almost directly underneath them a pair of Dippers bobbed and dived in the water. … It was a most enjoyable mid-week meeting and it is hoped that many more will be arranged. Our thanks go to David Tombs for his genial and informative leadership. “Mike Johnson”

Now todays.

 The popularity of these Tuesday walks has grown and grown, as illustrated by the presence of 41 birders, plus three grandchildren, who met to enjoy the birds of Ashton Court and to celebrate the anniversary. Skylarks singing above the golf course car park was an auspicious start. Then came the call of Great Tits as we made our way, in glorious sunshine, down towards the Red Deer Park. Here even the song of the Wren was almost drowned out by the bellowing of one of the stags, although the hinds seemed distinctly disinterested in the autumn rut. The first of several Buzzards put in an appearance circling over the City ground, happily free of the attention of the many corvids that appeared to be everywhere. As we approached the formal gardens the swarms of ladybirds flying about were so numerous they were actually bumping into us. At Church Lodge car park we were greeted by the welcome sight of Peter Holbrook together with celebration cakes and drinks. Sadly, neither of the founders of these Tuesday walks could be present. Steve Kirk has recently passed on and David Tombs was away on holiday. But our appreciation goes out to them for starting this series of very enjoyable mid-week walks, with every opportunity for newcomers to learn from more experienced birders. Before we embarked on the return journey through Church Wood and the Fallow Deer Park, photographs were taken to record the occasion and provide publicity for the Club. The walkers outnumbered the species of bird seen and heard by 2:1 (a count of just 21), but there were enough individual birds (181, including 43 Woodpigeons) for everyone to get good views, whether of Gulls, Thrushes, Starlings and Long-tailed Tits flying overhead or the small woodland birds flitting about amongst the trees.

1000th Tue walk - Ashton Court

1000th Tue walk – Ashton Court

Here’s to the 2000th walk in 2034! Many thanks to the bakers, Sue Watson and Peter Holbrook, and to the bartender, Mark Watson. Brenda Page