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Dawn chorus walk - 10th July 2005

11 people attended this early morning walk on a day that promised good weather, good birding and, hopefully, a good breakfast.

The walk about the village, following the Nature Trail, lasted for a little over an hour and during this time 32 species of bird were recorded (view the list of species here). This was not nearly as many as in May but this was only to be expected - the post-breeding lull caused by birds looking after their broods and starting their moult ensures that things are not as busy as in the frantic days of spring, when territories and partnerships are still to be enforced.

A Goldfinch was vocal in the trees by the Community Centre, Jackdaws and Rooks sat atop the shops and both Wren and Collared Dove could be heard singing nearby, though hidden from our view in gardens.

Moving towards Station Road the repetitive song of a Song Thrush could be heard above the early morning traffic and it was not long before the Swifts were adding their screams, high above in the blue sky where House Martins had also left their overnight residences to feed on aerial invertebrates.

A Little Grebe trilled on the filtration pools, a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew to peripheral poplars and House Sparrows were soon stirring from Station Road slumber. Swallows were now joining the other aerial feeders, these having come down from the farm buildings nearer Quidhampton. A family party of Chiffchaff was fly-catching by Quidhampton Mill, the 'dad' singing intermittently.

On entering Flashetts a Kingfisher was heard to call several times as it headed away from the disturbance, us, closely followed by two more singing Chiffchaffs; these birds presumably not having managed to attract a mate. A Green Woodpecker joined in the varied chorus and, like both of the previously mentioned species, managed to stay well hidden amongst the vegetation. A flock of Starlings, obviously late risers, was seen to pass over Hilltop Road as we looked out across the paddock by Flashetts Bungalow; Rabbits and Swallows using this to feed in / over.

The old allotments along Kingsclere Road held territorial Sedge Warbler and Blackcap, calling Chaffinches and an all too vocal family of Wrens - the squeaky young birds forever proclaiming their hunger to the harassed parents. A Robin was seen on the cemetery fencing and much discussion was had over this terror of the bird world; this not being the pretty, friendly little garden companion that everybody thinks it is!!!

Walking south towards the village centre a Bullfinch flew in from the direction of Bridge Street, a Grey Heron headed east high above The Test and seven Greylag honked north-eastwards. Brown Trout were in The Test where several dodgy ducks were waiting to be fed.

Back at the Community Centre it was breakfast time for all present - excepting myself, a rapid departure to Anglesey needed to track down the first Sooty Tern in Britain for over two decades.

I hope that everybody enjoyed their earlier than usual start to the day and that the breakfast provided helped boost them for the remainder of the day. If any of you that did attend have any thoughts on the walk, breakfasts etc. please feel free to let me or the Society know.

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Peter E. Hutchins

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