Bristol Ornithological Club
Apr 29 2014

Tuesday, 29th April – Pucklechurch

Chiffchaff © Stanton


This was a walk in “Stan Country” – one of the many which Stan Wilmott used to lead.      15 members set out across a wheat field to the sound of skylarks – this week against a grey sky.  Blackcaps, robins, blackbirds and wrens were heard throughout the walk – double figures in all four cases.   Some of the time the sound of the M4 was also a constant background but this did not really detract from our enjoyment, though with the increasing foliage,  hearing different species is becoming as frequent than seeing some!  Many chiffchaffs were heard and  some very clearly seen as were, by a few, a pair of bullfinches taking dandelion seeds.  Plenty of magpies were seen, including two chasing a jay. Other birds in abundance were woodpigeons, one flock of 50 feeding in a pasture,  also carrion crows, starlings and a rookery of about a dozen nests. Several willow warblers were heard and a whitethroat, a group of six linnets fluttered  in a hedge and half a dozen swallows were spotted, a couple almost close enough to touch.  The walk ended in sunshine with more skylarks singing as we crossed a final wheat field.  36 species in all.  Thanks to Duncan Gill for leading and for the previous day’s recce, which saved many a step through clayey mud!

Apr 27 2014

Sunday 27 April – Cleeve Hill

 A good mix of habitats and a great view were enjoyed by twelve members on this amble around Cleeve Hill. We got off to a good start with views of Wheatear close to a quarry and were serenaded by numerous Skylarks. Walking first around the top (dodging a few golf balls from the nearby golf course), we picked up several species in scrub including Blackbird, Chaffinch, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Wren and a distant Song Thrush. Several Whitethroat and a good view of Yellowhammer also delighted. Our guide pointed out where to find Ring Ouzel (another time perhaps!) and various points of interest along the way, including a heather enclosure where we might have seen a Stonechat (although this remains unconfirmed!). We then followed the valley down, with great views of Red Kite, Crows and Jackdaws enjoying the thermals along the nearby ridge. Passing through ‘Watery Bottom’, beside the ‘Washpool’ and then along ‘Dry Bottom’, we picked up a few woodland species including Blackcap, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Goldcrest and a calling Marsh Tit. 32 species were seen in all. Many thanks to our guide Beryl, from Cheltenham Bird Club, for hosting this event.

Apr 22 2014

Tuesday 22 April – Newton St Loe

Grey Heron

Grey Heron stalking the Top Lake © Stanton

 A startled Green Woodpecker flew up from the ground as we set off through the churchyard with a further two seen in the adjoining field. Woodpigeon, Blackcap, Carrion Crow, Wren, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Robin, Chiffchaff, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Rook, finches and tits were all in abundance at various places throughout the walk. As we passed the fishermen on the lower lake at Newton Park we had a good view of a Common Sandpiper. A Grey Heron stood nearby and was determined to stay until the very last moment as we approached. At the upper lake we were greeted by a pair of Greenfinches on the gravel path just ahead of us and a Goldcrest was spotted in the fir trees above. Mallard and Coot were on the lake as well as a pair of Teal whilst the Mute Swans had moved their nest further along the lake this year. Swallows were evident as we approached Stanton Prior and Linnet, Whitethroat and Yellowhammer were in the hedgerows as we walked along the country lane with a Great Spotted Woodpecker high up in a tree. On our way back we had Skylarks in the fields. Despite a little shower the weather was fine. Thanks to Nick for recording some 45 species seen and heard – 15 walkers.(Thanks Rod for leading)


Apr 15 2014

Tuesday 15th April – Gordano Valley.

BOC Brandenburg Trip 2013: Common Crane overhead

BOC Brandenburg Trip 2013: Common Crane overhead

 The walk was sunny and bright 25 walkers saw/heard 36 species. The prime specimen being a Common Crane seen circling at height over the centre of the valley. Thanks to Goeff Harris for leading.

We only saw one, imagine this spectacle over the Gordano Valley

Apr 12 2014

Saturday 12 April – St Catherine’s Valley

 It was mostly overcast with a coolish breeze, even so, twelve members gathered for a very pleasant and rewarding walk. Chiffchaff was the first bird, together with the expected resident birds which included Skylark, Bullfinch and Stock Dove. Blackcap and Green Woodpecker were heard as well as Yellowhammer – a male of the latter then seen on a track. Buzzards then rose up on the wind and even displayed whilst a Jay scolded. When we arrived at the valley bottom a Grey Wagtail was flushed from the brook, a Goldcrest was heard, Nuthatches called and were seen and a Sparrowhawk circled over. During out final ascent back up to the cars we added Coal Tit, Mistle Thrush, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Marsh Tit, Treecreeper, Kestrel and Pied Wagtail giving us a very good total of 42 species. By now it was very pleasant and warmer… time for lunch! (Many thanks to Robin for leading).