Bristol Ornithological Club
Sep 29 2015

Tuesday 29 September – Hawkesbury Upton

This is one of our most popular Cotswold walks so, on a perfect Autumn day, it was no surprise it attracted a big turn-out – 28 members. We set off from the Beaufort Arms car park in warm sunshine, soon noting Collared Dove on a rooftop, Jackdaw, Blackbird, House Sparrows and a flock of 30 Starling. As we walked past fields of stubble we saw a Kestrel flying from bush to bush – the first of three Kestrels seen – then a solitary Yellowhammer on a telegraph wire, its colours showing well in the sunshine. A pair of Pied Wagtail and a Meadow Pipit in a field were followed by a Buzzard atop a post, seemingly trying to disguise itself as part of the post. Three Skylark were singing lustily as they rose from the stubble and some of us saw a Hare jumping over a bale of straw. Half a dozen migratory Swallows were heading south. After coffee stop, the list grew steadily as we noted female Chaffinch, a singing Wren, Great Tit and Chiffchaff. A Comma butterfly was sun-bathing on a bush and a Robin sang its wistful autumn tune. Other notable sightings were a fly-over by four Greenfinch, a Goldcrest in an Ash tree, and a flock of Linnet. Total species, 30. Thank you, Peter, for leading and Nick for taking the count. John Beaven


Sep 27 2015

Sunday 27 September – Clevedon to Kingston Pill

Eight members assembled outside Clevedon Cemetery on a beautiful “blue-sky” morning, ready for a walk along the coast to Kingston Pill as the tide started to recede. Our leader, Jason Williams, quickly spotted a Nuthatch in the cemetery closely followed by very good views of a Goldcrest, a flock of mixed tits, a Chiffchaff and Swallow; and all before we had reached Clevedon Pill. A large roost of Black-headed Gulls and a few Shelduck were noted but the sight of a Kingfisher in flight and a flock of 25 Cormorants overhead were highlights. A very obliging Rock Pipit, several Reed Buntings and more Swallows were seen as we approached the sluice gates at Blind Yeo where a Grey Wagtail was spotted. From here on there were many Meadow Pipits, small flocks of Linnets and Goldfinches, some Skylarks but only one Wheatear. A lone Buzzard and a variety of corvids, including a Raven, were observed. A Sparrowhawk flew along the hedge causing mayhem by setting up the smaller birds and four Lapwings. Along the coast, small flocks of Turnstones, Dunlin and Oystercatchers rose and settled frequently in the company of Curlew, two Black-tailed Godwits and a Common Sandpiper. Redshanks and Little Egrets busied themselves in the steadily emerging creeks and gullies, mixing with gulls and a Grey Heron. With a species count of 45 this was a good morning’s bird watching. Thanks to Jason for leading such an enjoyable walk. Ken Carruthers


Sep 22 2015

Tuesday 22 September – Barrow Gurney

Fifteen people met to start the walk. From the car park Chiffchaff and Robin were heard and as we made our way up Hobbs Lane we saw Blue Tit, with Swallows and House Martins flying overhead, and some people seeing a Kestrel and a Jay. At the tanks, Cormorant, G C Grebe, Coot, Tufted Duck, Grey Heron, Mallard and 28 Canada Geese were seen. During the walk we counted four to five Buzzards and a party of seven or eight Long-tailed Tits, Goldfinch and lastly two Ravens. We also saw Specked Wood and Red Admiral butterflies. A total of 31 bird species seen or heard. Geoff Harris

Sep 15 2015

Tuesday 15 September – Tickenham

Eleven people met by the church on Tickenham moor, on a fine day after the previous one’s torrential rain. Numbers of Mistle Thrushes undulated across the fields with a couple perching on the church weather vane, and Crows flew past with nuts pulled from an adjacent walnut tree. More Crows, Rooks and Jackdaws fed amongst the sheep and cattle with a Buzzard above. Swallows flying low almost brushed our bodies as we crossed the levels towards the Land Yeo, and a Kestrel hunted nearby. We had nice groupings of small birds clustered in trees up to Tickenham Ridge – Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Blue Tits and Chiffchaff, with a Nuthatch calling in adjacent woodland. In the fields past Cadbury Camp, keen-eyed Jan spotted small birds flitting up and down on the woodland margin – a Spotted Flycatcher group of one adult and two young. Green Woodpeckers perched on apple trees in an adjacent orchard. More small birds clustered in the small sunny quarry at the base of the descent, including Chiffchaffs and Goldfinch, with House Sparrows and House Martins towards the moor. As we returned along the Land Yeo we saw a Hobby, five Herons, a Kingfisher, Mute Swans, and two Kestrels hunting in a field newly cut for hay.Oddly we saw not a single Starling, but the total species count was a respectable 34.Also of interest: Wild Basil, a Yellow Waxcap mushroom, and Migrant Hawker and Common Darter dragonflies. (Thanks to Lois and Jan for leading)
Lois Pryce

Sep 13 2015

Sunday 13 September – New Passage & Pilning Wetlands

Six of us met at New Passage on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning, later joined by a seventh. We started watching on the Severn Estuary at high tide, soon seeing Herons, Turnstone and many Curlew, Godwits, Black-headed Gulls, Dunlin, Redshank and Oystercatchers, though they were mostly some way off. Along the pill and saltmarsh we saw flocks of Linnets and Starlings with lots of Goldfinches, Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtails and one Grey Wagtail bobbing on the short grass. All around our heads were Swallows and House Martins (we looked for Sand Martins which have been migrating over, but found none), and from the embankment we saw a Kestrel and Little Egrets, and pools full of Canada Geese. We were encouraged to find one of the Yellow Wagtails seen here recently, by the promise of a bottle of wine to the first to spot one, and we did! – at some distance, but eventually we were confident it wasn’t a Grey but a bona fide Yellow busy following a cow munching its way across the marsh. At the end of the side lane we saw one fine Ruff close up in the shallow pools, and more Ruff and Snipe on the edge of the water further off, the latter showing their stripes well. On the return leg we saw and heard Chiffchaff, and had a wonderful sight in one small area of the embankment hedgerow of Stonechats, Wheatears, Whitethroats and Robin perching and flying within a few inches of each other. Back at the Estuary the tide had fallen, and we saw Wigeon, Teal, and many Redshank scurrying along the water’s edge, one or two Ringed Plover and more Turnstone hidden in the seaweed. We saw a total of 45 species, which didn’t even include common species such as Blackbird, Tits or Dunnock! Many thanks to Lois for leading this very enjoyable saunter along the coastline and to the knowledgeable birders who kindly shared their knowledge with us less-experienced folk!
Alison Pilling.