Bristol Ornithological Club
Aug 25 2015

Tuesday 25 August – Old Down, Tockington

Nine brave members gathered at the car park adjacent to the football field in Tockington where dark clouds lingered ominously. We set off through fields of lush green grass where three juvenile Green Woodpeckers were seen hopping around within the short vegetation. We then wandered onwards through the small winding roads of Tockington where Robins, Goldfinches and a few Swallows were seen. In the fields beyond, a rock resembling a dead Barn Owl elicited much interest until closer inspection revealed its true identity. Before descending into the woods a pair of Meadow Pipits were flushed from the undergrowth and five Buzzards were observed soaring gracefully over the fields. The woods presented a welcome shelter from the light drizzling rain which became heavier as we made our way back through the lanes and recently harvested fields of Tockington. A garden feeder had attracted some frantically feeding Blue Tits and a Chaffinch, and a total of 56 Wood Pigeons were spotted grazing on the left-over grain in a nearby field. We wandered back to the car park through the woods where we paused to sample some juicy blackberries. Many thanks to David Tombs for leading this scenic walk. Hannah Meinertzhagen


Aug 18 2015

Tuesday 18 August – Hillesley

26 walkers set off accompanied by one wolf look-a-like puppy(belonging to the Fleece, a friendly community owned pub with great food). The puppy seemed keen to stick with us, so soon had to be taken back home – thanks, Sue! Walking through the village, House Martins, Collared Dove and Starlings were soon noted. It being mid- August there was a lack of birdsong and contact calls heard were sometimes hard to identify in the still thick foliage, though Goldfinch were in evidence. Two Whitethroat were seen by some. Soon after turning off the road there were Swallows hawking over a nearby field, while five young Pheasant were pottering by the hedge – and another dozen of the same by the hedge in the next field! One of the highlights was then spotted by some – a Red Kite. This was followed by very good views of another Red Kite sitting in a dead tree, while the first one flew around. Everybody saw at least one of these. A climb up a track littered with hazelnut shells brought us up to the top of the Cotswolds. Here Nuthatch was added to the list and some time was spent watching a family group of six Spotted Flycatchers doing their fly-catching from a wire fence – another highlight of this very beautiful walk. 27 species were seen in all with another couple heard. Many thanks to Peter for leading. Nancy Barratt

Aug 16 2015

Sunday 16 August – WWT Steart Marshes and NNR Bridgwater Bay

Eight members gathered at the Steart Marshes car park on a chilly (but dry) Sunday morning. This new reserve is a work in progress with the old sea wall having been breached in September 2014 to create new areas of saltmarsh with ever-changing creeks and channels providing food and refuge for wildlife. From the Mendip hide there were good views of the lagoons but the birds were distant – Shovelers, Little Egrets, Canada Geese and a few Avocets. The walk out to the River Parrett allowed us to appreciate the amount and quality of landscaping undertaken by the WWT, and enjoy the Goldfinches, Linnets and Greenfinches. From the river viewpoint there were better views of Avocets but few other waders – only a distant Redshank. Returning to the Polden hide we passed flower and butterfly-rich grassland, with many Small Tortoiseshells and at least two Clouded Yellows, along with a Buzzard and various finches. From the Polden hide we added Pied Wagtail and a very pale Buzzard to the list. During lunch at the car park, Starlings, House Sparrows and a Pheasant were noted. After lunch we drove to Natural England’s car park at Dowell’s Farm and walked out to Steart Flats where views of Curlews, Shelduck and distant gulls were obscured by a heat haze. From the Tower hide we observed two Little Grebes, Redshank, juvenile Peregrine and Common Sandpiper; the views of Whinchats and Stonechats together were instructive. In the fields around the hide were Dunnocks, Linnets, Chaffinches and a Kestrel. The walk along the road to the car park brought the day’s species total to 33. This was a very enjoyable visit to the Steart area and, as the new WWT reserve “matures”, one that is sure to continue to attract visitors. Very many thanks to Richard for leading. Ken Carruthers

Aug 11 2015

Tuesday 11 August – Hinton Blewitt

21 birders met in the village on an overcast but windless day. We took a new route up past the church and through lanes to come out at the far end of the houses. We soon saw both Green and Great Spotted 11 Woodpeckers and in Coley we watched House Martins visiting nests on one of the older houses. Some of the youngsters had already fledged as the sky nearby was full of birds. Litton reservoirs provided plenty of variety, with at least twelve Grey Wagtails, a Kingfisher, ten or so Little Grebes, six Cormorants, two Grey Herons along with Tufted Duck, Mallard, Coot and Moorhen. We took a new route over Shortwood Common adding two Common Buzzards, Yellowhammer and a Pheasant. Chiffchaffs and Blackcap were heard and seen during the walk with all the usual pigeons, finches and corvids including two Ravens. We had a total of 39 species on a varied and enjoyable four mile walk. (Thanks to John and Sue Prince for leading.) Sue Prince

Aug 08 2015

Saturday 08 August – Chew Valley Lake

Twelve members met at Herriott’s Bridge on a fairly warm and sunny morning. There were a number of Black-tailed Godwit and Lapwing in the Pool on the opposite side to the main lake along with Gadwall, Teal, and a small number of Shoveler. A female Goldeneye was spotted by Louise,-well done, and later we all had close views of the male. A Kingfisher darted across the pool to end the stop and then we moved on to Stratford Hide. Whilst there we had Great Crested Grebe, Shelduck, Tufted Duck and Pochard all feeding nearby. In the reeds we had a Reed Bunting and also a Reed Warbler was noted. Just before we left the hide we observed a single Greenshank and a small number of Green Sandpiper. We then moved off on foot to the Moreton Hide and on the way had Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, and a Common Whitethroat. A Sparrowhawk made a slow pass over the trees as well as a distant soaring Buzzard and a croaking Raven was noted. In the hide our leader located a small number of Black Tern as well as two Common Tern, all observed dipping in the lake opposite the hide. We then walked back to our cars at Stratford and drove to Heron’s Green. In the bay we had Little Grebe, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Grey Heron and numerous Pied Wagtails. This was a morning only meeting and as the time had moved past 13:00 hrs the members started to disperse. It was nice to see a number of new members present who told the leader that they looked forward to going out with the Club again. The total number of species seen during this meet was 42. (Our thanks to Charles for leading this most enjoyable morning’s birding.) Charles Stapleton.