Bristol Ornithological Club
Sep 29 2018

Saturday 29 September – Clevedon Leader: Jason Williams

A total of twelve members joined me on a very bright but fresh morning at Clevedon. From the Church we made
our way up to the ‘Viz Mig’ area of Wains Hill. Sadly, there was very little in the way of movement with just a few
Meadow Pipits and resident Jays going over. Making our way around to the coast we had a Swallow and a
Wheatear, and on the Estuary a long string of over two hundred Shelducks were observed. A Peregrine was at
the top of one of the radio masts and was ‘scoped well for all. The Clevedon Pill held a Little Egret and assorted
gulls and two Stonechats were seen well. A good group of twenty plus House Sparrows were also present. It
was a quiet stroll along to the Kenn with a few Rock Pipits, Skylark, and Linnet seen. The Kenn had around forty
Oystercatchers in the roost alongside approximately 40 Curlews, 100 Redshanks and some Dunlins. A few
returning Wigeon were seen. Heading back we again saw the Peregrine, this time heading off to hunt and three
more Wheatears. All in all a pleasant walk with around 45 species seen. Thanks to those who joined me.
(Thanks to Jason for leading the walk.) Jason Williams

Sep 25 2018

Tuesday 25 September – Easton-in-Gordano Leader: Judy Copeland

Glorious sunshine after the deluge and really, the mud was not too bad. House Sparrow, Robin and Dunnock
started the list. Robins were everywhere (Nick counted 21!), welcoming the sun in full voice and one or two
Wrens sang as well. Green Woodpeckers were also calling – we had three or four. The wood going up towards
Failand was very quiet but numbers of common bird species gradually rose, Coal Tits especially singing well. At
the bird feeder house at the bottom of Sandy Lane were Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Great and Blue Tits flitting across from the trees and a Pheasant was seen there. Peering over the wall beside the track near Failand House Farm
we found a single Mistle Thrush on the grass and a Green Woodpecker, which immediately flew – would have
been a nice view! Nuthatch was eventually heard during the climb up through the wood to the farm. One or two
Chiffchaffs were ‘weeting’, and over the fields we saw one Skylark, Swallows and several House Martins on
migration. Six Linnet flew over as we came down towards the village. Speckled Wood butterflies were common
beside hedges, and in the sheltered south-facing field below Failand church we spotted a Clouded Yellow, several
Small Coppers, a Common Blue and a Red Admiral, while a Buzzard, first seen on a branch behind some
overhead wires, gave a good show above us and two Ravens were tumbling. Apologies for the walk being rather
longer and steeper than some had anticipated but I hope most people enjoyed it nonetheless! Nick counted 33
species. (Thanks to Judy for leading the walk.) Judy Copeland

Sep 18 2018

Tuesday 18 September – Tickenham Leaders: Jan Pridie and Lois Pryce

The tail end of some stormy weather was kinder than expected to 20 members meeting by Tickenham’s church.
Large numbers of Swallows, House and some Sand Martins hunted across the golf course with flocks of
Goldfinch. Chiffchaffs ‘wheeted’, Green Woodpeckers ‘yaffled’, and Nuthatch, Goldcrest, Chaffinch, Coal Tits and
Long Tailed Tits called or appeared along the path up to the ridge and along to Cadbury Camp. Two Buzzards
circled above the woods down from the camp, one strikingly pale. On the return by the Land Yeo and across
Tickenham Moor were two Cormorants (including one pale-fronted juvenile), Grey Herons, a Grey Wagtail, and a
Mistle Thrush. Back at the church we finally saw our first two Starling on the spire joined by two more Mistle
Thrush, and heard a Jay. Total species count 27. (Thanks to Jan and Lois for leading the walk.) Lois Pryce

Sep 16 2018

Sunday 16 September – Uphill and Bleadon Leader: Jane Cumming

Ten members including two guests from the USA met at Uphill boatyard. It was dull and overcast with a southerly
breeze so perhaps not so good for any expected migrants. We followed the usual route through the boatyard and
quarry. A Little Egret and Little Grebe were eventually located on the caravan park pond but the quarry and its
bushes were surprisingly quiet with only a few Long-tailed Tits, Goldfinch and Robins present. A Bullfinch was
heard but not seen. We carried on over Walborough Hill, finding several Swallows passing through, views of two
hunting Kestrels, a few Meadow Pipits, Linnets and corvids and delighted by very close views of a Peregrine
almost catching a Wood Pigeon! We made our way back and over to the estuary. There we found a few
Redshank and a solitary Dunlin. Duck numbers were down but we saw plenty of Shelducks and four Curlews. On
the rocky islands offshore were various gulls and Oystercatchers. Overall an unusually quiet morning, no doubt
due to the wrong wind, but 35 species were seen or heard. Thanks to Jane for leading the walk. Geoff Dring

Sep 11 2018

Sunday 09 – Thursday 13 September – Pelagic trip to Spain and Asturias Organised by Jane Cumming

Day 1; Sunday 9 September
We met up with the group by the Downs Water Tower in Bristol and boarded the coach to Plymouth. We got to
the Ferry Terminal in the afternoon and our tour guide, Paul Burley was waiting for us. We then boarded the
Brittany Ferries, Pont-Aven for the overnight sailing to Santander.
Day 2; Monday 10 September
After breakfast, we went up on the deck to look for whales and dolphins in the Bay of Biscay. We saw lots of
Gannets flying past along with Sooty and Great Shearwaters. A few Short-beaked Common Dolphins were seen,
but sadly no Striped Dolphins. Our guide, Paul, said it had not been a very good for cetaceans this year, due to
the lack of plankton moving northwards, although we did see a few Fin Whales. We docked in Santander about
lunchtime and boarded the Spanish coach to take us to the hotel. We stopped for lunch at the port of San
Vincente de la Barquera. The birds of note here were Common Sandpiper, Ringed Plover, Curlew, White Wagtail,
Great White and Little Egrets. We continued our journey to our lovely hotel in Playa de la Franca, overlooking a
beach in an unspoilt cove. In the evening, we went for a walk around the area. We saw a few Yellow-legged
Gulls, Kingfisher and Crested Tit, as well as a Mediterranean Speckled Wood butterfly. A juvenile Black Redstart
was hopping around in front of the hotel. Chris Perry also managed to see and photograph a Long-tailed Blue
butterfly, which most of us missed. In the evening, Paul introduced us to a local guide called Javier, who told us
what to expect for the next two days.
Day 3; Tuesday 11 September
After breakfast we headed towards Panes and then along the stunning Cares Gorge to Covadonga. We dropped
the tourists off at the impressive Basilica and Holy Caves, while we headed up to the feeding station. The rangers
waited for us to arrive before putting the food out for the vultures. The skies were full of Griffon Vultures coming
down to feed and there were three Lammergeiers in the area. Two birds were seen perched on the hills, but
sadly due to lack of wind they didn’t fly over to the feeding station. A few Wall Lizards were seen around the
viewpoint. A few butterflies included Mountain Small White, Clouded Yellow and Chalkhill Blue. We headed to
Covadonga Lakes, where we had lunch. Around the picnic site was a juvenile White Wagtail, Black Redstart and
Spotted Flycatchers. In the afternoon we walked up into the hills looking for raptors, we saw more Chalkhill Blues
and Clouded Yellows on the way, I managed to see a Humming-bird Hawkmoth feeding on some of the flowers.
The views were stunning and we saw lots more Griffon and Egyptian Vultures and Lammergeiers on the way up,
along with Short-toed Eagle. As we sat at a viewpoint, listening to the cowbells ringing in the valley, a Booted
Eagle flew towards us giving brilliant views. We saw and heard lots of Red-billed Chough. Afterwards we made
our way back down the hill to our coach to pick up the tourists, before heading back to the hotel for dinner. The
juvenile Black Redstart was still hopping along the lawn in front of the hotel. A few Yellow-legged Gulls were
foraging on the beach.
Day 4; Wednesday 12 September
On our final morning in Spain, we left the hotel and headed through the beautiful Hermida Gorge to Potes. We
continued to Fuente De, where we took the cable car up to the Picos de Europa mountain range. At the top
station, a Black Redstart was feeding near a tractor. We walked further up the mountain and heard some Chough
calling overhead. A Water Pipit was feeding along the path. A few more Chalkhill Blues and Wall Lizards were seen along the way, a Rock Grayling was resting by the path. We managed to see some Alpine Accentors
foraging on the ground and on the rocks, until they flew over the top when an Egyptian Vulture flew through the
valley briefly. We walked further along the rocky track to see if we could see any more alpine birds. We stopped
for lunch at a good Wallcreeper site and soon had fantastic views of them foraging around the rocks and the cliff
face. While we were having our lunch, a couple of Alpine Choughs flew in and landed on the rock in front of us, so
we shared our sandwiches with them. An Alpine Accentor also came down, giving excellent views. Afterwards,
we started to make our way back down the mountain. Another Egyptian Vulture soared over our heads. By the
top station, there were lots of Alpine Choughs perched and flying around, unafraid of all the people. We then took
the cable car back to our waiting coach at Fuente De, where we said our goodbyes to Javier and the other guides,
and headed back to Santander to catch the ferry.
Day 5; Thursday 13 September
We had an early start at 06:30 to get on deck for a seawatch. We saw an impressive number of Great and Sooty
Shearwaters passing by along with a few Manx Shearwaters. Plenty of Gannets were still flying about and we
also saw some Common Dolphins. After breakfast, we went back for some more seawatching, we saw a couple
of Sabine’s Gulls close to the ship and a ‘Bonxie’ (Great Skua) chasing a Sandwich Tern. As we neared the
Ushant Islands we saw a few Manx Shearwaters and Common Dolphins. A Mediterranean Gull flew by and more
Sooty, Manx, Great and the odd Balearic Shearwater, four more ‘Bonxies’ were seen along with another Sabine’s
Gull. Also, Common and Bottlenosed Dolphins, Tuna and a Blue Shark.
Huge thanks to Paul Burley and Javier for guiding, and to Jane for organising the trip. Chris Teague