Riverside Park 1 January 2024

Twenty people enjoyed the group’s traditional New Year walk, taking advantage of a break in the weather to enjoy some watery sunshine. The towpath was muddy but passable, enabling us to take in the river and nature reserve. The start was slow, with several Robins and numerous Blue Tits, joined after a while by Great Tits, some singing, an active flock of Long-tailed Tits and some noisy Wrens. Nearer Stoke Lock we had good views of an obliging Goldcrest, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Nuthatch across the river. Sadly no Siskins were present but some Redwings were actively feeding on ivy berries. A small flock of Teal showed well in the flooded reed beds, and a highlight was excellent views of a Kingfisher near the outfalls below the lock. A Grey Heron and Moorhen were seen in the wetlands adjacent to the lock and a Pied Wagtail near the lock. On our return the lake was not very productive, with very few gulls (although one Black-headed Gull was almost in breeding plumage), several Tufted ducks, Mallards and a single Great Crested Grebe. The total for the day was a moderate but pleasing 32.

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