Bristol Ornithological Club
Sep 17 2013

Tuesday 17 September-Coalpit Heath

Thirteen optimistic birders set out from Kendleshire Golf Club on a dry morning, heading towards the ponds. Lesser Black-backed gulls and Black-headed gulls were flying overhead. Moorhen were spotted on the first pond and Mute Swans on the second. Four Coots were swimming across the lake where there was a new bridge. As we continued we saw Chiffchaff in the trees and Wrens were hopping around the branches at the base of a fig tree. A Robin was perched on the top of a tall spruce and a little lower down two Goldfinches were chasing around. There was a lovely flock of Long-tailed Tits in a willow. The highlight of the walk has to be a large plump Mistle Thrush sitting at the top of a sweet chestnut tree – another flew off the tree lower down. We stopped for elevenses at the Ram Hill colliery and admired a huge boletus toadstool, which is associated with Birch trees. The rain looked as though it was coming in, as forecast, so we took a short cut back through the 13 lanes. By ‘Bleak House’ there was a lovely flock of House Martins flitting backwards and forwards around some conifers. Reaching the golf practice range, we saw many Pied Wagtails hopping amongst the golf balls.
Thank you Duncan and Peter for leading this lovely walk and getting us back before the heavens really opened. 24 species were recorded but no Blackbirds.

Sep 15 2013

Sunday 15 September- Brean Down

It was a pity that only three of us turned up to join leader Andrew Slade from Burnham who was kind enough to lead this Club trip, but perhaps the rising south-westerly winds were discouraging. There were plenty of signs of migration that morning, if nothing particularly unexpected. Swallows, with a handful of martins, passed south constantly in small groups, well over 100 in total, and several species of warbler had joined the tit flocks in more sheltered areas. We started well with a Peregrine overflying the car park and we saw it again later, jousting with a couple of Ravens. With the tide low and turning, we counted 122 Shelducks on Weston beach, and Andy picked out a couple of Wigeon amongst several dozen Teal. He also found a lone Black-tailed Godwit with a handful of Curlews; that was it for the waders. The pickings were very sparse as we wandered down the sheltered side of the promontory, but towards the end we found some mixed flocks with several Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps and a couple of Willow Warblers. One group also seemed to include a young Spotted Flycatcher which was a pleasant surprise. In total we had around 30 species during an enjoyable walk, and the rain held off until we were back in the car park.

Sep 10 2013

Tuesday 10 September-Blagdon Lake

A warm, still, sunny morning saw 23 members turn out for a walk along to the lodge from the causeway where we notched up 23 species before returning to the far side of the lake for another 11. There were no surprises and all the expected birds were there. The main sources of interest were a Snipe on the very low level lake and a Heron which seemed to be lying down “having a nap” as one member put it. The sluice was completely devoid of water with only one Grey Wagtail where we usually see several.
However, a cheerful walk with a good mixture of birds.

Sep 03 2013

Tuesday 03 September-Winscombe

A happy bunch of 19 people left Winscombe village, walking towards Sandford Hill on a warm but misty morning. As we set off there was a variety of birds from Jackdaw and Herring Gull to Pied Wagtail and Collared Dove on the roofs. Across the fields we soon had Swallows overhead and reached a poplar tree filled with a large mixed flock of finches, along with Blue Tit, Goldcrest and a nearby Bullfinch. Over 20 Chaffinch rose from rape stubble and nearby we saw a Raven calling from a tree top and a Song Thrush. A Buzzard flew above as we walked up to the wood where we saw Jay and Chiffchaff before emerging onto the hilltop to enjoy our coffee stop. In the distance we caught sight of a Hobby heading south. The sun was quickly burning off the mist and in a grassy field was a Magpie with a juvenile Green Woodpecker bouncing alongside it. The remainder of the walk gave Great Spotted Woodpecker, Wren, Nuthatch heard and lovely views of four Long-tailed Tits heading along the hedgerow and across a gap above a gate. Of course there were also a number of Pigeon, tuneful Robins, martins, Blackbirds etc. interspersed with numerous horses and quite a number of different butterflies, appreciating the sun and flowers. The less common, brightly-coloured Clouded Yellow caused some excitement as we headed towards Shipham and returned through Sidcot. 29 bird species seen. Thank you Sue and Mark Watson for leading.

Aug 31 2013

Saturday 31 August – Chew Valley Lake

Twelve members met at Herriott’s Bridge on a warm sunny morning for this walk around the various areas of the Lake. At Herriott’s Bridge and pool we all observed three Black-Tailed Godwit, seven Ruff as well as Gadwall, Shoveler and Teal. A small flock of ten Long-tailed Tits flew into some dense bushes on the lakeside of Herriott’s Bridge along with a small creamy coloured bird that vanished into the dense undergrowth. A bird matching this description was later identified as a juvenile Reed Bunting by another group visiting the lake. Just before leaving this area some members observed a Grey Wagtail, Chiffchaff and two Kingfishers that flew across the pool from the lakeside. Small numbers of Swallow, House Martin and Sand Martin were also observed. Moving to Heron’s Green Bay all members had good views of a Ferruginous Duck with a group of Tufted Duck not far from the shore. Both Common and Green Sandpiper were noted as well as two Snipe, four Little Egrets, eight Little Grebe as well as a small number of Pied Wagtail and a single Meadow Pipit. Just before moving off to Villice Bay Hide members had a good view of a Wheatear. After only adding three Grey Herons to our tally at Villice Bay we finished off the meet at Stratford Hide where we observed Pochard, Teal, and Wigeon. A probable Garganey was located as well as two Ruddy Duck and a further Wheatear rounded off what was a good mornings birding. Total number of species recorded for the morning was 44. Thanks to Charles Stapleton for leading.

Aug 28 2013

Tuesday 27th August – Pill / River Avon

The two groups, arriving on busesfrom different directions, met at the gateway to Leigh Court, Abbots Leigh on a lovely sunny morning, 14 of us in all. I decided to divert from the direct path to the river into Paradise Bottom and this proved fruitful. Tits of almost every sort were flitting high in the very tall trees (deciduous, redwoods and pines) and necks were craned trying to follow them and also a couple of Treecreepers. Nuthatch and Goldcrest were heard, a Green Woodpecker called, a Wren sang and Comma and Speckled Wood butterflies were found basking in the sunshine, so I called an early coffee break in this beautiful area. We then retraced our steps to the main path to the river. The high tide meant we did not find Redshank or Lapwing (seen on a recce the previous week) but the setting was lovely and we did find a Common Sandpiper, courtesy of Roger’s scope. Also 50+ Black-headed Gulls, an immature probable Lesser Black-backed Gulland some Mallardwereon the water, and four Herons on the bank. Ham Green pool produced a Moorhen and a Mute Swan among the water lilies and a young Rook in a tree above us. 32 species in all.

Aug 21 2013

Tuesday 20 August – Priddy

19 people set off on a warm, calm morning and accumulated eleven species by the time we had left the village. These included House Martins (still nesting), Swallows, Blackbird, Gulls, a flock of Jackdaws and a Greenfinch on a Hawthorn by the Churchyard. Down the lane by Priddy Pond, a Nuthatch called then landed close by, giving good views. There was also a distant view of a Jay. Climbing through fields, the wider horizon revealed Buzzards, a Magpie (surprisingly few around), a flock of Goldfinch on Teasels and a flock of Linnets. Bullfinch and Wren were heard. On the high ground, by the nine Barrows, Ravens, Crows and a pair of Meadow Pipits flew off.

Several Buzzards were up by now and we watched Wheatears on the stone walls and fence posts. A Moorhen was heard down by the ponds near Stock Hill. The hot sun brought out a number of butterflies, including Clouded Yellow and Small Copper. The day’s total was 26 bird species.

Aug 13 2013

Tuesday 13 August – Elberton.

The few spots of drizzle at the beginning gave way to bright skies and, at times, sunshine. Eleven of us set off from Elberton and were soon walking through a forest of three metre high sweet corn which, fortunately, was still dry. Reaching Littleton-on-Severn with18 bird species on our list, including House Martin, Swallow, Collared Dove and Pied Wagtail, we bade farewell to two in our group and continued up to a magnificent view-point overlooking the Severn, which was at flood-tide, and there we rested a while, having added Mallard, Goldfinch and Blue Tit to our totals. Two more members then left as the remaining seven headed further up the hill to reach our lunch stop at a viewpoint overlooking Thornbury. Refreshed, we then walked the remaining two miles back to our cars, passing through Elberton churchyard on the way and with only 23 regularly seen birds on the list, which included Blackbird, Jackdaw and Raven.

Aug 07 2013

Tuesday 6 August – Frampton Cotterell

A return to warm sunny weather welcomed the eighteen members who set off from the Globe in Frampton Cotterell. House Sparrows and Jackdaws accompanied us as we approached the adjacent meadows which had been refreshed by the previous days rain. The first section of the walk took us in the direction of Iron Acton alongside a very narrow River Frome where a flyover of Goldfinches and a startled Green Woodpecker were the best of the early sightings. The pre-coffee break highlight for some of the group, however, was the slow procession across a gap between two trees of a flock of Blue, Great and some 16 Long-tailed Tits. We left the stream and moved along hedgerows where Bullfinch were seen and a family of warblers flitted around, eventually being identified as Willow Warblers. Moving uphill we skirted horse fields, corn fields and hay meadows where Swallows and House Martins zoomed around in the warm conditions. Two Swifts were also spotted. There were several sightings of a Buzzard which proved to be the only raptor of the day. Mention must be made of the multitude of butterflies encountered particularly the abundance of the Large and Small White variety (100+). Others identified include Comma, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Small Copper, Peacock and the once common Small Tortoiseshell. As to the birds, 27 species were noted. Thanks to Peter for leading a very pleasant walk.

Aug 05 2013

Sunday 4 August – Keyhaven

Waders were the day’s main highlights, with 16 different species encountered. The weather was perfect for the start of Cowes week – sunny with a brisk wind. Ten birders met at the harbour where a number of Turnstone made use of a blue boat to perch on as the tide was high. A walk along the shoreline produced Redshank, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Dunlin and Curlew on the salt-marsh. Further along on the landward side of the path were Linnet, a distant Kestrel, Starling, Swallow and Shelduck. At the first freshwater pool gulls including a Mediterranean Gull and a Greenshank and Little Egret congregated on the outward leg, and 120 Black-tailed Godwits and 300 Dunlins on the return journey. The second pool provided the most interest however – highlights being Curlew Sandpiper (picked out amongst the numbers of Dunlin by their peachy summer plumage), Ringed Plover, a juvenile and adult Little Ringed Plover, Redshank, Snipe, Ruff, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit and a Water Rail (seen briefly by some). After a quick lunch stop we all nipped round to the other side of the pool to twitch a Long-billed Dowitcher which had been in the area for a few days. After a little patience, good views were had by all. An obliging Snipe came alongside at one point affording a good comparison between the two species. Some of the group rounded the day off nicely with a Hobby on the way back to the cars – making it around 40 species in all.

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