This month’s walk got off to a disappointingly chilly start and the “moderate” air quality didn’t give the best viewing conditions over the reservoir. Nevertheless the morning gradually warmed up, and with 22 pairs of eyes available the all-time May walk record was at risk. Or it would have been if anyone could remember what it was (61?), and if the walk recorder had been actually noting down all of the species reported to him.
The final tally was fifty-six species, not including the local Peacock: Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coal Tit, Common Buzzard, Coot, Cormorant, Dunnock, Garden Warbler, Goldfinch, Great Crested Grebe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Greylag Goose, House Martin, House Sparrow, Kingfisher, Jackdaw, Jay, Lapwing, Little Grebe, Long-tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Mandarin, Mistle Thrush, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Nuthatch, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pink-footed Goose, Reed Bunting, Robin, Rook, Sedge Warbler, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Swallow, Swift, Treecreeper, Tufted Duck, Whinchat, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon, Wren, Yellowhammer.
The greatest excitement was raised by the Kingfisher, at least amongst the few who glimpsed it as it shot past. Oohs and Aahs were reserved for the brave Mandarin family cruising through the reeds in the heronry, our thoughts were with them when it was noted that just three chicks accompanied the adults (the average clutch size is around 9). The Buzzards seem to be having more success with five being seen close together.
Also in the air were butterflies: Comma, Green-veined White, Orange Tip, Peacock, Speckled Wood.
Many thanks to Paul Beard for leading such a large group at a very pleasant pace around the Brackenfield loop.