Nine members met on a beautiful, sunny morning for a walk along the top of the cliff to Niton and then walk back inland. The whole morning we were accompanied by Swallows and some House Martins who were flying and hawking for food before making the long journey to Africa.
One or two Sand Martins were also picked out. At the top of the cliff at the edge of the arable fields the farmers have left unploughed there is a scrubby area and it was here that we encounted our first two Stonechats, both male and female and then we saw two more. Before the end of the walk we spotted another male. A Kestrel was hovering over the cliff edge and a Buzzard was flying and later standing on a post. We saw Jackdaws, Carrion Crows and a large flock of Rooks as well as a Raven. Herring Gulls, mainly juveniles, were flying along the cliff and one or two Great Black Backed Gulls. In the trees near Niton we heard a Great Spotted Woodpecker and saw some Chiffchaff. We saw small flocks of about 30 Goldfinches and a few Meadow Pipits on the fields and had a superb view of a Hare showing us just how fast it could run and how far. It was towards the end of the walk, after half the group had taken the short cut back to the car park that the remaining four had good views of Linnet, two Yellowhammer and two Wheatear. At the very start of the meeting I was greeted with the statement that Debbie had seen ‘millions’ of Goldfinches in a flock. She sent me a photograph later and I could see that there were at least 500 in the shot – so how many were there overall? I was asked if we could do the walk again next year. 25 species were noted Jackie Hart