Bristol Ornithological Club
Aug 30 2014

Saturday 30 August – Chew Valley Lake

 Twelve members met at Herriotts Bridge for this morning only walk around the lake area. From Herriotts Bridge 14 Black Terns were observed flying low over the water on the Sailing Club side of the lake. There were Gadwall, Teal, Shoveler as well as a single Great Black-backed Gull and two Grey Herons on the pool. As we were about to move on to Herons Green Bay a Hobby was observed being mobbed by a Crow. At Herons Green Bay the Spotted Crake that had been showing up to about 0840 had decided to elude us but still we had four Little Egrets, a flock of 20 Sand Martins and a very good view of a Kingfisher which obliged by sitting on a bare branch on the opposite side of the Bay. (Well spotted Jane and Geoff!) A Whinchat was observed on top of the bushes at the rear of Herons Green Pool. We moved to Villice Bay where on the approach to the hide we saw a Blackcap and a Common Buzzard. From the hide all the members were able to observe a single Garganey as well as Pochard, Gadwall, Teal, Shoveler, three Green Sandpipers, two Greenshanks, six Little Grebes, a Great Crested Grebe and three Common Terns. A Sedge Warbler perched on top of the reeds at the left of the hide and Kingfisher flew past. As we were getting ready to leave the hide we were treated to a further Hobby, which put in an appearance over the top of the trees on the opposite side of Villice Bay. All in all, a very good mornings birding, with 34 species being noted. (Thanks to Charles for leading) Charles Stapleton

 

Aug 26 2014

Tuesday 26 August – Bridgeyate to Wick

 I can hardly contain myself. We started with Jackdaw hordes – their calls and fuss all around during the walk. There was a nice field full of approximately 80 Herring Gulls feeding with 13 Lesser Black-backed Gulls but by far the best was to get to a corner of the Blue Lodge estate and hear a terrible racket of Corvid versus raptor! What a raptor, a pale underwinged, tatty headed Osprey, who gave us good views before dropping from his perch and leaving away south westward into the valley and out of sight. This walk is one of those much favoured by Stan Wilmot and, notwithstanding the Osprey, gave all nine walkers splendid views of a Dipper posing mid-stream just above the bridge over the Boyd, near Court Farm in Wick. Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail were also there but departed before most of the party had arrived. So, after all that, even the masses of Swallows nearly taking our eyes out and the 300 plus flock of brown Starlings and the dozen Long-tailed Tits obligingly crossing a hedge gap to allow counting, and the fir tree full of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs feeding voraciously could really match the Osprey. There was a total of thirty two species for the day. Many thanks to Dave Body for leading.

 

Aug 19 2014

Tuesday 19 August – Elberton

 19 members turned up for this extended walk on what the weather forecasters predicted to be a dry, and at times, sunny day. It was just as forecast and rather humid too. Our first noted birds were House Martin, Swallow, House Sparrow, and Collared Dove as we passed Redhill Farm on Marshacre Lane. Easy,level walking through a crop of head-high maize and then down a lane and through several fields, one with grazing sheep, brought us to Littleton-on-Severn village. We had by then added Buzzard, Jay, Goldfinch, Raven, and Robin to our list. We climbed a hill, savouring the splendid views across the Severn Vale, at which point five members took the ‘morning-only’ breakaway leaving the 14 remaining walkers to continue up the hill to enjoy spectacular vistas to the north. Further on lunch bags were opened on a hill overlooking Thornbury as a Kestrel flew by. Then came the long slog through wheat fields and lanes, both with a considerable amount of mud, before we reached our vehicles, having only 23 birds on our list. A most splendid, scenic walk with good company. David Tombs (Thanks to David Tombs for leading).

Aug 19 2014

Tuesday walk 19 Aug 2014 ELBERTON

19 members turned up for this extended walk on what the weather forecasters predicted to be a dry, and at times, sunny day. It was just as forecast and rather humid too. Our first noted birds were House Martin, Swallow, House Sparrow, and Collared Dove as we passed Redhill Farm on Marshacre Lane. Easy, level walking through a crop of head high maize and then down a lane and through several fields, one with grazing sheep, brought us to Littleton-on-Severn village. We had by then added Buzzard, Jay, Goldfinch, Raven, and Robin to our list. We climbed a hill, savouring the splendid views across the Severn Vale, at which point five members took the ‘morning-only’ breakaway leaving the 14 remaining walkers to continue up the hill to enjoy spectacular vistas to the north. Further on lunch bags were opened on a hill overlooking Thornbury as a Kestrel flew by. Then came the long slog through wheat fields and lanes, both with a considerable amount of mud, before we reached our vehicles, having only 23 birds on our list. A most splendid, scenic walk with good company. (Thanks to David Tombs for leading).

Aug 03 2014

Sunday 03 August – Langford Lakes and Normanton Down, Wilts

 It was a warm and sunny day following the heavy rain on Saturday. The main target was Stone Curlew. As these are best seen in the afternoon we took the chance to visit Langford Lakes first. The Wiltshire Wildlife Trust has created an attractive and accessible reserve. The reserve is being extended beyond the lakes to include some additional wetland and water meadow. Having said that, the species list was not extensive on the day. Great Crested Grebes were there in number; one pair with a second brood, the first having been eaten by a pike. A pond in the extended reserve had five Gadwalls. Coots and Canada Geese were present in large numbers along with a couple of Herons, three Little Egrets, Tufted Duck, Cormorant and Moorhen. Kingfishers were well evident. We saw three different birds, possibly four, with a fifth calling. Green Woodpecker and Blackcap were heard in the car park with a Buzzard overhead. Damselflies, dragonflies and butterflies were everywhere and were worth the visit in themselves.Normanton Down is not far from Stonehenge in a landscape rich with barrows and ancient monuments. The Stone Curlews can be found on bare ground. The farmer leaves patches in the fields especially for them. So, we were looking for a well camouflaged brown bird in a brown, bare field about half a mile away with heat haze adding an extra challenge. What could be simpler? Well, almost anything as it turned out. Stone Curlew were not to be seen in spite of some realistic, bird-like earth clods fooling the unwary. However, a Red Kite overhead and a Little Owl sitting stoically in the eaves of a barn were some compensation. Brown Hare, many Common Blue butterfly and a Clouded Yellow were also a delight to behold. Thanks to Roger for organising the trip. Other species: Starling, Pied Wagtail, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Rook, Magpie, Raven, Robin, Mallard, Mute Swan, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit. Alastair Fraser

 

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