I planned this 'Early Spring Walk in the Combe Valley' last autumn and, as the date approached, I began to feel that I had been a bit over-eager in planning a Spring walk for March 10th. We've been through an exceptionally mild few months and, after our first prolonged period of frosty nights this week, it felt like winter has only just started. Still, as we gathered in the car park on Wednesday I was just thankful that we weren't 'enjoying' the high winds and downpours of the previous day .
There was a lot of avian activity around the car park with many birds in full song announcing their territories and some greenfinches undertaking their fluttering display flight. High above us a peregrine circled. Aside from the birdsong there wasn't much else in the way of 'signs of spring'. I had hoped that a bit of sunshine would have encouraged out the first butterflies and hoverflies of the year but the only insect we saw was a queen bumblebee high up on the blooming sallow.
Skylarks were serenading us from above as we descended in to the valley and the recent rain had created some lovely wet field areas along the valley which were atttracting gulls and ducks (I'm sure there were a few snipe hidden in there too).
I was impressed with the numbers of Cetti's warbler we heard on on route (I counted seven singing from various reedbed areas) and it was great as always to hear a water rail squealing like a distressed piglet from deep cover.
Thanks to everyone who attended. I promised some folk that I'd stick up the bird list from the walk so here it is;
Carrion Crow, Blue Tit, Song Thrush, Greenfinch, Dunnock, Collared Dove, Robin, Green Woodpecker, Herring Gull, Black Headed Gull, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Starling, House Sparrow, Cetti's Warbler, Feral Pigeon, Peregrine, Meadow Pipit, Little Egret, Great Tit, Mallard, Greylag Goose, Buzzard, Coot, Great Crested Grebe, Gadwall, Jay, Long-tailed Tit, Stonechat, Pied Wagtail, Kestrel, Bullfinch, Stock Dove, Skylark, Teal, Yellowhammer, Grey Heron, Reed Bunting, Redwing, Water Rail, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, Cormorant.