Bristol Ornithological Club
Mar 27 2018

Tuesday, 27 March – Wick Leaders Duncan and Pat Gil

Maybe the forecasters hadn’t quite got the hang of British Summer Time as it was still raining at ten o’clock when
25 of us set off – but it did soon stop. Our first pause at the bridge showed how fast the river was running, so no
Dipper or Grey Wagtail. A Heron on the far bank was spotted and appeared to be in exactly the same place some
three hours later! Back-tracking we took the Red Ochre trail through Golden Valley – the mud showing it was
aptly named. Although the greyness of the day kept both song and sightings down, with patience and many pairs
of eyes, we were soon adding Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Blackcap, Blackbird and Great, Blue and Coal Tits to our
list and particularly enjoyed several Goldcrests more easily visible than usual in a bare deciduous tree. Plenty of
Nuthatches were calling and some eventually seen, as were Long-tailed Tits. Coffee at the quarry yielded good
close-ups for everyone of a Treecreeper. A Chiffchaff was seen by some and a Peregrine heard. When we heard
and then, on some feeders, saw Greenfinches, their relative rarity nowadays on Tuesday walks was commented
on. Both Mistle and Song Thrush were seen, but no winter thrushes. At another point near the river there were
Dipper signs on the top of rocks nearly submerged by the high, fast flowing water – but no Dipper! However a
Grey Wagtail was seen by some before the walk was over. 35 species were counted including 71 Jackdaws in
two groups. Thanks to Duncan and Pat Gill for leading. Nancy Barrett

Mar 20 2018

Tuesday 20 March – Greylake RSPB Reserve. Leader: Mark Watson

Thirteen members met at Greylake on a dry but cold morning and though the recent snow had gone from the
Levels and Moors the going underfoot was squelchy and some of the paths were closed due to the wet conditions.
In the car park we saw Reed Bunting, Blue Tit, Great Tit and Chaffinch and a flock of 25 Lapwings as we set off to
the lookout at the far end of the reserve. Some of us saw a Marsh Harrier in the distance but it quickly
disappeared behind a copse. We moved on around the reed beds to the viewpoint hearing a Cetti’s Warbler and
seeing Goldfinch, Mute Swans, Buzzard, Skylark, and a Fieldfare on the way. At the end of the path we all had a
good, if distant, view of two Marsh Harriers along with a few Mallards and ten Teal flying overhead. Four Great
White Egrets were on the marsh, occasionally flying short distances, a Little Egret was also feeding and a solitary
Cormorant passed by. As we moved on to the hides Water Rails were heard and six Snipe were close by on a
small island as we reached the hides. From the hides many Teal, Gadwall, Wigeon, Shoveler and Coot were on
the pools and we managed to locate two Pintails reasonably close by. A Grey Heron sat at a field edge and a
Kestrel hunted overhead as we walked back to the car park. One lucky birder saw a Cetti’s Warbler
uncharacteristically sitting in full view and Chiffchaffs were heard in the hedgerow. After lunch four of us went on
the Stathe and were rewarded with a good view of 14 Common Cranes on Aller Moor along with a couple of
Canada Geese, and also nearby a flock of 23 Little Egrets on the wet grassland next to the River Parrett giving a
total of 40 species. (Many thanks to Mark for leading.) ` Mark Watson

Mar 13 2018

Tuesday 13 March – Gordano Valley. Leader: Geoff Harris

The first shirtsleeve walk of the year, hurrah – well I had my arms out to collect some rays, but of the other 26, all
muffled up with scarves, coat, etc, at least most had dispensed with gloves. As we gathered, the Buzzard started
to be seen; first up the valley, then down the valley, some above Walton Down and others over Tickenham Hill, so,
if your geography is up to scratch, all around us. There were Mallard and Pheasant close to the margins of Moor
Lane Wood and Goldfinch, Blue and Great Tit sang from its branches. A glimpse of Jay and Long-tailed Tit were
seen as we rounded the top corner of Harley Lane but alas no specials (we have seen Siskin in the past) on the
feeders. As we wandered along Clevedon Lane, Robins sang, Woodpigeon co-cooed, Greenfinch wheezed,
Chaffinch trilled and Goldfinch tinkled – a real ‘start of spring’ soundscape. The Skylark took to the heavens as
we crossed Weston Moor, an obliging Kestrel circled above and the first of seven Reed Bunting were seen just
before our coffee stop. Up then, through Common Hill Woods where we added Goldcrest to the list, with the third
and then the fourth Nuthatch of the walk, chiming in with his ‘Toyy, toyy’ call and longer ‘chi-chi-chi-chi-chi’ song.
On the feeders at Home Farm, an assortment of House Sparrow, Reed Bunting, Blackcap, and all the tit species
were logged. After a Mistle Thrush, the last bird noted was a Greenfinch singing from the trees at Walton Cross.
A total bird count of 32 and warm thanks to Geoff for leading us on this splendid walk. Nick Hawkridge

Mar 11 2018

Sunday 11 March – Barrow Gurney Reservoirs Leader: Sean Davies

Report next month.

Mar 06 2018

Tuesday 06 March – Snuff Mills. Leader: Nick Hawkridge

After a pre-walk review of the Forest of Dean and a hasty rearrangement of venue, 28 members met at the car
park in Snuff Mills for a pleasant walk with no rain and some sunshine. After crossing the roaring River Frome we
walked up the valley, seeing many Treecreeper and Goldcrest. A pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers went tearing
round the treetops with shrieking cries, and Treecreeper followed suit around the bole of a couple of trees. The
Long-tailed Tits contented themselves with feeding, with the appearance of already being paired off. Another pair
showed well – Stock Dove, the iridescent neck patches catching the weak sun, and when a lone Raven crossed
the vale they departed with a clatter. A Nuthatch was seen before we left the wood and once on the flat we saw
several Black-headed Gulls – some sporting summer hoods. Carrion Crows probed the sward, getting a meal
from the mole hill infested grass. At our coffee stop in the park we found half a dozen Redwings scouring the last
of the holly berries and more Great Spotted Woodpeckers called and drummed. The Song Thrush, on the far side
of the valley, swelled the spring song soundscape and a little further on the first Blackbird added his melody.
Before we descended to the river a group of five Jays came chasing over, squawking and shrieking in hot pursuit
of each other – it’s that time of year. Despite careful study of the river bank twigs and bushes, we didn’t find the
Kingfisher until we were almost back to the mill, with a final tally of 34 and bright sun on our faces. (Thanks to
Nick for leading, and for sorting out an alternative walk.) Nick Hawkridge