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Bird spotting walk - 24th September 2006

Event organised as part of the Sponsored Parish Birdwatch

Historic Overton

Just three moved off from the Community Centre mid-afternoon on the first of the autumnal walks about the Parish in search of birds and any other beasties that put their selves in our way.

The weather was good, warm with sun and blue sky, a light easterly wind that had clouding moving slowly across the sky, the rain of the previous night and morning not troubling us.

Following the "Historic Overton" trail took us west along the High Street, north down Bridge Street, over to, and around, St. Mary's Church, back along Church Road and down Silk Mill Lane where we continued along The Lynch before again retracing our steps to Southington Lane. Heading back south, to Vinns Lane, the track at the end was taken to come out along the track running from Dellands to Turrill Hill. Moving east to Dellands, we continued so as to drop down Greyhound to Winchester Street and back north to our start point.

A butterfly rapidly over the houses in the High Street was probably one of a few Small Tortoiseshell noted so far this year, the House Martins high in the sky a little further west proving less of an identification problem. A group of four House Sparrows that shot across the road where the only ones seen during the walk, perhaps an indication of the declining numbers being noted elsewhere but as yet seemingly unrecorded locally.


The bridge in Bridge Street saw Mallards, Coots and Moorhens on, and occasionally under, the water whilst eight Brown Trout were definitely keeping to the latter habitat; a Robin was vocal here.

Right: Robin, Erithacus rubecula

The houses and hedgerows in Church Road attracted Blue and Great Tits, Collared Doves and a Magpie that moved off towards the filtration pools. A Small White was in a garden whilst Common Clary still flowered on the southern edge of the churchyard.

The churchyard held a skittish Red Admiral, flowering Black Mullein and a Pink-barred Sallow, the latter a moth as yet unrecorded in the Parish this year. An unknown ladybird sp. caused pondering, but remained just that - unidentified! A look for Little Owls in the Court Farm area proved fruitless but a Grey Wagtail, already having been heard several times, showed well on the roof of the church and extensions. Wren, Rook and Blackbird were all added about the grounds of the church and a female Sparrowhawk caused consternation amongst some of the corvids as she circled gradually higher over the filtration pools and Flashetts.

Walking back along Church Road a small party of Greenfinches dived into the hedgerow, as for the House Sparrows, the only ones to be noted during the walk.

Silk Mill Lane was busier, a Chaffinch called in trees overlooking Glebe Meadow and, nearing the cottages, a party of birds included Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits and at least one Goldcrest, the high-pitched call of the latter heard deep in conifers and providing the only evidence of its' presence. A Kingfisher was vocal close to Town Meadow and a Grey Squirrel scuttled over our heads in the foliage corridor.

The pool at Southington Mill was empty, as was the river running along The Lynch. Several Blackbirds and a Song Thrush moved from the dense vegetation here to Shadwells, either to possibly feed on the already dropping apples or to move over to the fields adjacent to the sewage works. The rough grassland of the latter providing a rich source of food from many birds as the summer wains and autumn pick up momentum. A Coal Tit, like the earlier Goldcrest, was another 'heard only in conifers' addition in the grounds of the Mill whilst Dark Bush-crickets preferred the dense tangle of brambles on the opposite side of the road. A Seven-spot Ladybird was another expected 'bug' to be added here whereas flowering Jewel Weed was not, that is, not a bug and not expected!

Several Swallows moved south over Southington Lane and a Chiffchaff was heard calling near the tennis courts - these, and the earlier House Martins, being the only migrants noted during the walk.

Left: Dunnock, Prunella modularis

The Test attracted further Coot, Moorhen and Mallard and a Dunnock could be heard in the grounds of Southington House, a Goldfinch was also heard, but only as it passed overhead. A Red Admiral was seen basking on a bush by the river. The pools here held ten Gadwall, a duck Tufted Duck, a pair of Mute Swan, more Coot, Moorhen and Mallard - the latter, many being Mallard with some stretch of the imagination, being far more confiding than any of the other wildfowl, even causing a traffic jam as they loitered on the road, before being shooed out of the way. A Lesser Black-backed Gull was seen to head south over the village from here and a single Rabbit fed out on the grass-covered pool banks.

Moving on up Vinns Lane a Grey Squirrel scampered along the track at the end where Redcurrant bushes still held a few wrinkled fruit. A Green Shield Bug joined the list of invertebrates noted as it clung to Stinging Nettle leaves. The recent rain had created a noticeable shift in the debris towards the top of the track, many stones and plant material having been pushed down as the 'stream' flowed briefly.

The track back towards Dellands was most notable in that the rain had turned parts of it into nothing more than a mudbath, the depth of which certainly surprised, if that is the right word, some in sandals!

Dellands itself had vocal Jackdaws, as pointed out in the trail guide, with both Collared Dove and Wood Pigeon noted on wires over the gardens.

Winchester Street was quieter still, a Starling moving over being the first of the walk and the 33rd species to be noted during the time spent tramping the village walkways.

Thank you to those that were able to attend this, the 9th of the walks organised for this year. Though no new birds were added for the year, several however being new for the month, several of the other wildlife species recorded were of perhaps more note. These either having not been recorded so far this year or being an unexpected addition in areas not previously noted.

List of species

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Peter E. Hutchins

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