Eastwood Farm, Bristol

Eastwood Farm SNCI is in Brislington, and was a rubbish tip in the early 1970s, which was covered over with topsoil and planted with a ring of trees.

At its foot is a flood meadow alongside the River Avon. I took an evening walk there last weekend, and the flood debris in the riverside trees was a metre above the grass. It has the last perfect bomb crater in Bristol, and on the river bank three quite different very ancient trees, all cantilevered out over the water- a Hawthorn, a Crack Willow and a Sycamore. They put in a pond with an island when they made it into a park, and a Swan was incubating her eggs; the cob swam across to menace us. There is a big heronry up the river, and one bird flew slowly past. An eight, a single scull, a beautiful pair and a quad scull, came past us up the river which, two hundred years ago, was the main heavy goods route to London. Kingcups were a brilliant flash of yellow in a ditch. Dozens of Crows, presumably a flock on non- breeding juveniles, crowded round a stagnant sheet of water. Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Wrens and Robins were all in song, and we heard one of the first chiffchaffs that have poured belatedly into the country. White Poplars were just expanding their bright red catkins high above our heads, and a Norway Maple was covered in yellow flowers. The rare Purging Buckthorn was found in one hedge, and a double size molehill in an old field was probably a mole nursery.

The light was fading, the species count was 23, not bad for an hours birding on an old rubbish dump, and we made our way home.