Eleven members joined Andrew Bluett for a field meeting at Saul Warth and Hock Cliff on a beautiful bright, warm and sunny day in complete contrast to the grey, overcast, cold and wet days of the previous week. The party met at Fretherne Bridge, Frampton and commenced proceedings by observing the 2 minutes silence at 11.00am whilst listening to the BBC broadcast from the Cenotaph in Whitehall, this being Remembrance Sunday.
Crossing over the canal the first thing of note, a Red Admiral butterfly appeared on the roof of one of the nearby houses, wings spread and soaking up the sunshine. The party walked along the Arlingham road, a single Mistle Thrush flew into the Horse Chestnut trees to the north of the road and Meadowsweet was found still in flower. We then followed the Hock Ditch to the flood bank by the sluice and scanned the estuary and the rising tide. Two Buzzards circled lazily over the meadows, a third Buzzard called from somewhere beyond Fretherne, Pied Wagtails were in evidence and shortly afterwards Meadow Pipits and Goldfinches appeared a little further upstream. There were Rooks, Crows and Jackdaws around, a pair of Mallard on the river and a number of Gulls of various types in the distance.
Dropping down onto the river-bank from the Severn Way path the party continued along the foreshore towards the Hock Cliff proper. Two Common Darters were seen, a Small Tortoiseshell, a Peacock (butterfly) and a party of Long Tailed Tits passed by through the cliff edge trees and shrubs. Progress was slow and sometimes difficult because of the thick, clinging and very slippery mud, everything underfoot was very wet as a result of the rainfall over the past few days.
Fossils were sought and found on the foreshore, notably Ammonites, Gryphaea and various other shells and a small quantity of Iron Pyrites was found. At the far end of the cliff Ken Cservenka photographed a Clouded Yellow.
The return leg was by way of the Severn Way and Arlingham Loop path back through the Long Wood where several varieties of fungus were noted. Back out in the grassland another Common Darter appeared and back on Saul Warth a Little Egret flew out towards the river. Birds were rather thin on the ground overall, apart from those mentioned already, Magpie, Curlew, Sheldduck, Robin, Wren, Moorhen, Jay, Nuthatch, Blue & Great Tits and Goldcrest were noted.