Tuesday 29 December – Snuff Mills Leader :Nick Hawkridge

A ‘refreshing’ breeze kept us moving! The water level in the River Frome was high, with the usual Moorhen and Mallard hidden. The trees on the south side of the river had roosting Woodpigeons with a nice flock of Long-tailed Tits tat were bustling along beside us and a couple of Goldcrests; ignoring us even when they got quite close. Robins singing everywhere. The first of our two Great Spotted Woodpeckers went bounding away as we climbed the slope towards the grass field and so out of the woods. Jay and Jackdaws were noted just before the top and a Song Thrush was foraging in the long grass when we got there. The feeders hanging in the houses by the allotments increased our count of Blue & Great Tits. Blackbirds were noted in hot pursuit, one male after another. Heading towards the play area in Vassall’s Park movement was seen in a brightly berried Holly tree; Redwing. Sneaking out from the interior to snaffle a few red delights and then retreating back to the depths. Coffee round ‘our’ normal tree; laden with fast thawing ice in the, by now, hot sunshine but alas, the Green Woodpecker stayed out of sight. The walk down to the Frenchay Bridge through the trees showed many more Jackdaws again all in pairs. Blue Tits were plunging hither and yon in endless games of chase and a calling Nuthatch. The walk back along the river revealed a single Moorhen foraging on the bank and prized above all, a Kingfisher catching a fish as we watched; she was keeping tight in to the bank where any sensible tiddlers would be sheltering from the torrent. Thanks to the photographer who spotted her. Our only other species were Sparrowhawk; one dozing in the tree tops and Mallards; coming from the shelter of the island to be rewarded with bread. Alas the rain had started and the car park was as full as a breakers yard, but a good morning total of 28 species (Thanks to Nick for leading). Nick Hawkridge