Tuesday 29 June – Gordano Moor/Walton Common Leader: Judy Copeland

On my recce, I found that part of the advertised Clevedon/Walton walk was impassable with brambles, bracken and everything else – the path needed a working party before I could lead a group along it! – so I moved the walk to start at Moor Lane, Walton-in-Gordano, for the walk over to Walton Common.  Nine of us proceeded very slowly along Moor Lane and Clapton Lane – it was a picnic walk – we had plenty of time! – so every bird was studied.   Chiffchaffs vied with Blackcaps for the most song we picked up, we saw a pair of Stonechats, and two Pheasants in a field were having a set-to. We eventually went through the gate into the first field, where the grasses were very high and we were glad it was dry.  Here we had the coffee break. Two Ravens were seen flying over and a couple of Buzzards, then there was Whitethroat song and one bird seen in the bushes (I saw four here on the recce) and there was a blast from a Cetti’s Warbler.   Also, song from at least two Song Thrushes – quite late in the season this year – and a nice view of a family of five Mistle Thrushes feeding on the field opposite.  There was wonderful Skylark song as we walked beside the rhine towards the National Nature Reserve and sharp ears picked up Reed Bunting long before anyone else heard it. There was song and a fleeting view of a Sedge Warbler; someone mentioned Willow Warbler which always used to be found in this suitable habitat but they seem to have moved further north.  A female duck flying over the moor was assumed to be a Mallard, but quickly identified as a Tufted Duck and this was seen twice more, an unusual sighting. In the middle of the path was a beautiful Scarlet Tiger Moth, but the lack of sun meant that we didn’t see much of the butterflies, dragonflies or damselflies normally on the reserve. Leaving the NNR and entering AWT’s Weston Moor we saw two Buzzards on a field in the distance – there was obviously carrion there as Magpies and Crows were also in attendance.  At the road, three people who needed to get back took to the tarmac and the rest of us crossed and walked up towards the wood, stopping for a peaceful picnic at the top of the field.  As we entered the main path through the wood I said this was usually very quiet – which of course prompted Alan’s sharp ears to pick up Goldcrest, Treecreeper and Coal Tit, welcome additions to the list. On the Common we found Ringlet, Marbled White and many Meadow Brown butterflies, but only one person had a brief view of a Fritillary. The slow pace of the walk resulted in us not getting back to the cars till after 15:00, but the weather had warmed up nicely and there was no hurry!   45 species in all.  (Thanks to Judy for leading)  Judy Copeland