The pleasant two mile walk from Shide to Blackwater along the old rail track was attended by fourteen members who enjoyed a dry, sunny, cool morning.
Nobody brought any red roses or heart-shaped chocolates to celebrate St Valentine’s Day but love was in the air for at least six Goldcrests that appeared to be pairing off at ‘Shide Trees.’ We had excellent views of them.
During January a flock of about fifty Siskins had been seen nearer the Blackwater end of the path but these have obviously moved on, for we saw just two feeding in the Alder trees at Shide.
Of particular note were ten Magpies lined up together at the top of a hedgerow and we had a good view of a Great Spotted Woodpecker which was heard drumming and calling.
Most birds that were seen could be heard either calling or singing; these were Blackbirds, Buzzards, Carrion Crows, several Chaffinches, one Collared Dove, Dunnocks, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Black-headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, House Sparrows, Jackdaws, one Jay, Moorhens, Robins, Rooks, Blue Tits, six Great Tits, Long-tailed Tits and Wood Pigeons.
Heard but not seen were Coot, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush and Wren. Canada Geese could be heard from the nearby Marvel Farm ponds and two, honking loudly, flew over us.
Total number of species counted during the morning was 29.
As is customary at the end of Sue’s walks, nominations for Bird of the Day were asked for. Out of fourteen votes the score was Siskin 11, Goldcrest 3. Sue Blackwell