Bristol Ornithological Club
Apr 28 2015

Tuesday 28 April – Stoke Park Estate

 A group of about 20 members gathered at the Snuff Mills car park to be welcomed by the spring sunshine and a cool breeze. We set off towards Eastville Park then crossed over the motorway bridge where a Greenfinch was heard and a perched Buzzard was spotted. From here we made the climb up to the BT Tower which was rewarded by the sighting of a Sparrowhawk, fields of dandelions and lovely views over Bristol. We walked through the fields towards a wooded area. Between the gaps in the canopy a soaring Buzzard could be seen and among the trees Blackcaps, Nuthatches, Chiffchaffs and Long-tailed Tits were heard and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen. We left the warm shelter of the woods and headed over the fields, where a Mistle Thrush was spotted. A fishing pond supporting a Moorhen, two Canada Geese, some Coots and Mallards. A couple of agile Swallows could be seen speeding through the sky and a singing Whitethroat was observed emerging from a thick tangle of brambles. Many thanks to Rich Scantlebury for leading this enjoyable walk. Hannah Meinertzhagen


Apr 25 2015

Saturday 25 April – Kilcott, Gloucestershire

 Five members gathered on a rather chilly morning, but the sun and walking soon warmed us – not to mention the bird song! A very loud Song Thrush started us off and soon we added Dunnock, Great Tit, Blackcap, Robin and Chiffchaff as we headed off down the valley. The fields and borders were magnificent with a brilliant display of primroses, cowslips, bluebells and much more. We soon added Blackbird, Chaffinch, Green Woodpecker and Buzzard to the list, the latter trying to kid us with its Kestrel-like hovering. Great Spotted Woodpecker eventually showed itself well, but calling Stock Doves were elusive. There was the usual – ‘is it a Mistle or Song Thrush’ moment – both were seen and heard! Jay was heard as was Goldcrest, the latter always difficult to see. When we got to the mill pond we added Swallow, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Moorhen and Tufted Duck. As we walked through the village more Buzzards were overhead and two Sparrowhawks were seen in brief display as well as Raven. House Martins appeared as well as more Swallows. Then the long climb up to Hawkesbury. Near the top we added Treecreeper and Marsh Tit. Then, as we emerged above the woodland, Whitethroat was heard and Yellowhammer sang and showed itself, if rather distant. Linnet and House Sparrow ended the list which totalled 40 species. A good tally! Robin Prytherch


Apr 24 2015

Tuesday 24 April – Castle Combe

 We set off from the car park on the edge of Castle Combe under a cloudless sky, albeit a bit chilly to start with. We had some early sightings in the adjacent field including a Pied Wagtail, Stock Dove, numerous Corvids, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. The initial part of the walk took us up a steepish hill through a copse to some quiet country lanes to the north of the village. A Nuthatch called long and loud en route but avoided visual detection. Birds that were less shy however included a Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Swallows, House Martins, Coal Tit and the first Buzzard of the day. After the coffee break (where some had an excellent view of a Goldcrest) we gradually descended through a long valley back towards the village. White tree blossom and wild flowers were abundant and at one point we passed alongside a small wood full of freshly bloomed bluebells. The warming sunshine also seemed to encourage the butterflies to emerge with Brimstone, Large and Small White, Peacock and Orange Tip amongst those recognised. Birdsong was noticeable all morning and sightings on this leg included Bullfinch, Chiffchaff, Nuthatch, and several Wrens. In the village itself a Grey Wagtail was spotted as was a Mistle Thrush on the walk back up the hill to the car park. Also during the morning two active Rookeries were seen. Warm sun continued to shine on 33 of the righteous (I can’t really vouch for the other 32) throughout the morning and a total of 40 species was recorded. Thanks to Dave for leading a very enjoyable walk on a very pleasant morning. John Lees

Apr 15 2015

Sunday 15 March – Forest of Dean

 It was at nine o’clock when a baker’s dozen of members embarked on a circumnavigation of Woorgreens Lake, led by Keith Williams, serenaded by Nuthatches, Wrens and Great Tits. Thoughts of Asterix the Gaul came to mind as we spied a large wild boar that appeared to be shadowing our party! Arriving at the lake we encountered what appeared to be a battle royal between various factions of Canada Geese with a score of Goosanders spectating. Climbing gradually up to Crabtree Hill, where we met a party from the Dursley Birdwatching Society who appeared to be on Shrike duty, we too loitered to gaze and admire the Great Grey Shrike before returning to the start of our walk. The next port of call was New Fancy View, the Raptor view point, where our planned stay was curtailed by drizzle and poor visibility, but a number of Ravens, Siskins and a pair of displaying Buzzards were duly observed. As usual there was a large number of the brightly- plumaged Mandarin Ducks on Cannop Pond, while Goldcrest, Grey Wagtail, Nuthatch, Treecreeper and a Kingfisher were discovered on the edges of the pond. In all over forty species were seen, noted, recorded and photographed on this trip. Many thanks to Keith for leading the trip.  Richard Belson


Apr 14 2015

Tuesday 14 April – Easton-in-Gordano

 Outside the pub at the end of the walk, as the stragglers rolled in, I met Nick who asked if I’d seen anything else in the Skylark field (at least three were singing). I said no, we were hurrying as late for lunch. But he and Annie had seen seven Wheatears! Anyway, apart from that major lapse on my part, it was a lovely springtime walk on a gorgeous morning, once the sun gradually emerged, with a beautiful display of flowers – kingcups (marsh marigold) beside Glebe Pond, and a mass of primroses and celandines in the lanes. Some of us had our first glimpses of House Martin and Swallow as they swooped across the first field, and Chiffchaffs sang everywhere, with almost as many Blackcaps tinkling away and Nuthatches calling. We had Buzzard and Sparrowhawk, the usual Green Woodpecker on the apple trees by the track near Failand House Farm, which then flew to a telegraph pole, and we heard a Great Spotted Woodpecker call. A couple of Song Thrushes sang, also one or two Willow Warblers, our most recent arrivals and a Bullfinch called though was not seen. Stock Dove was noted, flying faster than the many Woodpigeons, and two Coal Tits were seen on a feeder. Nick’s count was 39 species – and there were 28 of us walking. Judy Copeland