Trip reports

Field Trip Report - Bath City walk - Pulteney Weir to Prior Park Gardens and Bath Abbey Cemetery

Field Trip Report - Bath City walk - Pulteney Weir to Prior Park Gardens and Bath Abbey Cemetery
Leonard Sheen

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Pulteney Weir to Prior Park Gardens and Bath Abbey Cemetery: 24th February 2019:
Leader: Lucy Delve
Nineteen members and two non-members on the cusp of joining the group gathered overlooking Pulteney Weir on a cool sunny morning as the mist was clearing over the hills. We watched three Grey Wagtails above and around the weir where there were the ever-present Herring and Lesser Black-Backed Gulls. It seemed most of the wintering Black-Headed Gulls had moved on, with just a few remaining.
Unfortunately, the Kingfisher I had seen some 20 minutes before the start of the meeting did not make a return fly-past, but we did hear one call briefly near where the river meets the canal at Widcombe. We were really fortunate however that the pair of Peregrines put in an appearance, with the larger female calling to the male, the birds seen perched and in flight, so that was great! John N and others spotted a Nuthatch in the trees by the wall next to the cricket pitch and noted its nest hole.
Our walk took us along the canal towpath, before turning to walk up Abbey View/The Tyning. Along the towpath, a few of the group saw a female Blackcap. Dunnock, Goldfinch, Wren and Robin song accompanied us and we stopped to watch a pair of Magpies building their nest. After a short steep climb up The Tyning I heard a male Blackcap singing in a cherry tree at the side of a house and I think most had a view of the bird. I first heard this species singing in my garden in early February. We crossed over Widcombe Hill and headed along Church Street, diverting past Thomas A' Beckett Church to admire the fašade of Widcombe Manor, before returning up Church Lane to the bottom-side entrance to NT Prior Park Gardens. On-route, we heard and saw Raven, Buzzard, and a number of Goldcrest, Coal and Long-tailed Tits. I picked up the soft single note call of a Bullfinch. We entered the NT gardens, noting the removal of trees and other vegetation in readiness for the works required to restore the 18th century dam. Most bought a hot drink and we rested awhile and watched and listened to Moorhen, Coot and Mallard calling, some saw a Little Grebe and I called two fly-over Stock Dove.
We returned to Ralph Allen Drive via The Dell footpath and Church Street and entered the cemetery. A pair of Raven flew overhead with three Buzzards but sadly we had no Raven activity at the nest site. We admired the views of Crowe Hall and over the city of Bath with Lansdown in the far distance. Our final stop was on the footpath opposite the Honda garage above Prior Park Garden centre. Here we saw several Grey Heron in this small but well-established heronry. We returned to the river-side walk, some of the group headed off to the city via Halfpenny Bridge, and the male Peregrine was present on one of the pinnacles.
Thanks to all for supporting this meeting.