Beginners Bird Walk
Allen Stevens writes:
The sun shone brightly on Saturday morning, ahead of the first Eynsham bird walk, taking place during the Oxfordshire Green Week. Eynsham Nature Recovery Network had done a sterling job of publicising the activity and Sally Taylor and I were in position to lead a group of 15 keen birders, including a number of youngsters, around the fishponds.
We were out in early autumn, and we hoped to catch a few late summer migrants as well as resident birds. We would probably be too early for any winter arrivals. Of course, the birds are not as noisy as in the spring and with foliage still densely present on all trees they are difficult to see as well. Nevertheless, with the help of the Merlin birdsong app, we heard (and saw) a good number of species. These included common resident birds such as robins (often the most vocal at this time of the year), great tits, blue tits and mewing kites above us. A goldcrest and treecreeper were also picked up on Merlin, but not seen. The chiffchaff is our most common summer warbler migrant and at least one obliged by still being present (some stay on throughout the winter) and calling its rather plaintive ‘hueet’ contact call as well as singing rather scratchily too. Some late house martins were also seen above – they will have had a good year and have benefitted from the hot weather throughout the summer.
The two hour session passed very quickly and all participants went home with some new sounds to try and hear in their own gardens. We will be repeating the bird walks for beginners in winter, spring and summer – the next walk is 7th January 9am to 11am (sign up on the NRN website: nature-recovery-network.org/events/54/).
In the meantime, if anyone has any birdy questions or wishes to volunteer for our monthly Bird Surveys, which currently cover Eynsham and the surrounding fields but can be extended to other areas and villages if there is interest, please do not hesitate to contact me via the NRN website.