Stoke Meadows – Riverside Park

Despite a cold and gloomy morning 28 members marked the New Year with a walk around Riverside Park in Guildford.

The towpath resounded with the song of birds responding to the lengthening of the day. The robins and great tits were in fine voice while a couple of song thrushes were asserting their territories. Blue tits were abundant while the odd wren or dunnock was glimpsed. The water meadows initially appeared empty but eventually a handful of teal and wigeons were spotted through thick vegetation. Cormorants regularly hurried by while a grey heron gave a flypast. A kestrel and buzzard allowed decent views of their perches, the latter causing a jay considerable agitation. Finches were in very short supply being represented only by a few chaffinches and goldfinches.

By Stoke Lock there was a greater variety of birds including chiffchaffs, goldcrests, pied wagtails and a single meadow pipit. At the end of the circuit a small flock of long-tailed tit entertained for a while. The lake was covered in gulls. Conservatively black-headed numbered 150 but among them were a few herring gulls and singles of common and lesser black-backed. A dozen tufted ducks and one pochard were present. A great crested grebe was close while three little grebes were tucked into a distant corner. The final sighting was a great spotted woodpecker.

The species list totalled 44.