A Wiltshire Wander

I managed to sleep until eight this morning  which was fairly reasonable. Having decided to stay fairly local I left home at nine heading for an area of the county that I haven’t birded before. En-route I checked out the Wide Water at Chilton Foliat. Not much here, a few Mallard, Gadwall and Coot along with a single Little Grebe. My destination was Buttermere, a small village which is pretty well the most easterly point of the county. It is also apparently, the highest village in Wiltshire. I think that it could also be the muddiest as well. The surrounding roads were plastered and the bridleway that was the start of my walk was even worse. I started with a quick look inside St James Church which is one of the smallest in the county. Heading off along the bridleway the first birds seen were a small flock of Redwings. Next were the first of many Red Kites, over the whole walk there were a dozen or more. Next a pair of Ravens flew over cronking loudly. These were closely followed by a Sparrowhawk and a Buzzard, again the first of many. The path followed the edge of the woodland which seemed almost birdless. A Nuthatch was the only bird I heard. One of the reasons I chose this area is that it is close to Combe Wood which is a known site for Hawfinch. I have visited it once and did see one, quite frustrating as the edge of the Wood is right on the county border. It is also very close to the Tripoint where Wiltshire, Berkshire and Hampshire meet. The path took me right to the border where I turned and headed back into Wiltshire. Up to now there had been horses and cattle, from here there were sheep. Some loud calling heralded the arrival of an Unkindness of five Ravens. they were then joined by a sixth, possibly the most I have seen together locally. Also in view at the same time were four Kites and three Buzzards. Great Spotted Woodpecker and Jay were heard and the bright red of a male Bullfinch caught my eye. As the path turned back toward the village four Jays flew out of a tree ahead of me. The path them passed through the grounds of Ballyach House. Passing the Stables and then the paddocks I came across a flock of Fieldfare and Starlings. The path then entered the Woods as it dropped back down to the first bridleway. From here I headed off towards Little Bedwyn  and Stype Wood. I only had a short walk here but managed to find Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Coal Tit, two more Bullfinches and a Goldcrest. Heading back through Bedwyn and then Chisbury I arrived at Froxfield. Around the water here were Snipe, two Green Sandpipers, six Lapwing and three Little Egrets.I got the scope out to look at the Snipe and eventually, with some difficulty managed to find seventeen. Many were deep in cover and very hard to see. No Jack Snipe found though. I then moved along to the Kennet near to Knighton where the best bird was a Water Rail that flushed from the bank as I crossed the bridge. Final stop was a look over the lake at Ramsbury Manor, amongst the Canada Geese and Mallard were a few Tufties and a Black-necked Swan. Driving home cross-country I managed to add Hare to the mammal list of Roe Deer, Rabbit and Squirrel. Also seen on the drive were several more Kites and Buzzards, loads of Redwing and Fieldfare and four more Bullfinches. Bird total for the day was forty-seven. I intend to have a few more days like this, there are still many local parts of the County to be explored.



2 responses to “A Wiltshire Wander

  1. Richard Williams

    Sounds like a really good day out Malcolm and an area I’ll check out for walks. And the weather did not turn out to be too bad!

    • Surprise surprise nicer than forecast. A very interesting area. Combe Wood is worth some time if you can bring yourself to cross the border.

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