SATURDAY 17TH OCTOBER - STOFORD YEO VALLEY WALK SUNDAY 18TH OCTOBER - LANKHAM BOTTOM
SATURDAY 17TH OCTOBER - MORNING WALK INTO THE YEO VALLEY
WEATHER: overcast and quite cold, but perfectly still - temp 6C
Back on my true home patch for the first time in 17 days, I wondered how much it had changed in that short time! Along the lane that leads to the Yeovil Junction Railway station I bumped into a mixed feeding flock. The majority of the birds were Long-tailed Tits but I also picked out Goldcrest, Blue, Great and Coal Tits and a couple of Common Chiffchaffs.
The woodland walk along the stream was very quiet I saw Robin, Wren and Dunnock and the large sallows, which have so much potential for pulling in a Yellow-browed Warbler or a Firecrest, were silent and still.
The main event of the morning was the bird activity in the huge meadow above the stream, it had been recently ploughed and was alive with birds. I counted 63 Pied Wagtails in an area of half of the field and as I walked up towards the top of the hill I could see a lot more birds.
looking back down the hill you can see Stoford Village through the trees
A flock of some 50+ Linnets flitted nervously around on the soil, they don't like being without the cover of vegetation, soon they were off, they ended up sitting in the hedgerow. Meadow Pipits were also seen in good numbers, I counted 30 in the top part of the field but there was a lot more of them further over.
you can see the extent of the field from this picture
My time was limited so I never walked all the way around the field, I turned and walked back down the hill and went under the Railway bridge to northern end of Yeo Valley and took my usual track into the Valley.
The autumn colours were looking great on the sycamores and many alders had dropped some leaves so that the stream is now a lot more visible. The large flock of sheep had done a trerrific job in keeping the grass short which made it a much more pleasant walk.
I quickly added both Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker to the list and I found another mixed flock of Tits. A family of Ravens sat in a dead tree on top of Rook's Hill and a Grey Wagtail fed along the stream.
I saw a flock of 8 Redwings fly over and in to the stubbled fields many 'released' Pheasants and Partridges scavenged for fallen wheat seeds, they were joined by a huge flock of Wood Pigeons with one or two Stock Doves.
I left the valley after just 30 minutes, it was a short trip today.
During the afternoon Dawn and I took a walk across to Barwick House, it was still very pleasant outside and had warmed up a little. On the Lake at barwick we saw Mallard, Moorhen, Mute Swan and Little Grebe but no Coots were visible.
Barwick house with the lake in the foreground
We saw more Redwings, many were dropping down into the large meadow above us, we also saw Green Woodpecker, lots of Jackdaws and a single Common Kestrel flew over.
A party of 5 Mistle Thrushes landed in the top of one of the huge trees in the parkland meadows as we made our way back out.
SUNDAY 18TH OCTOBER - A SHORT VISIT TO LANKHAM BOTTOM
WEATHER; overcast with a bit of a breeze but warmer than yesterday. temp 10C
I contiuned my search for Winter Thrushes at lankham Bottom, I had only an hour to do so because Dawn needed the car to go shopping. I entered the reserve at the top gate on the north-eastern side and walked down into the 'Bottom' scanning the hawthorn bushes as I went.
It seemed that a big clear-out of birds had ocurred since my last visit, I hardly saw a thing for the first ten minutes. Then in the distant bushes I started picking out Blackbirds, i saw about 15 of them, I also saw two Song Thrushes and a male Bullfinch. A single Redwing appeared in a bush much closer but it failed to pose for a picture.
A few Chaffinches flew over, Blue and Great Tits fted about in the bushes and a couple of Rbins chased all other birds away from their bushes. I never a Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Yellowhammer or a Goldfinch which was very surprising.
Dozens of noisy Jackdaws and Rooks played overhead on the strong breeze, the up-welling air for the valley must be such fun to play on for them. A fe Herring Gulls drifted over but I never saw a Buzzard, a Raven or the usual Kestrel. I left after an hour.
Back home in my garden the feeders are getting much busier, I have returning Nuthatches and Coal Tits as well as newcomers the Goldfinches and the usual Blue and Great Tits. In the garden the usual Blackbird, Robin, Wren and Dunnock feed in the borders are joined the ocassional Song Thrush.