Bristol Ornithological Club
Nov 27 2018

Tuesday 27 November – Wain’s Hill and Clevedon Pill Leader: Peter Holbrook

Clevedon was windy, overcast with a hint of drizzle as 19 members set off along the promenade towards Wain’s
Hill. Half a dozen Turnstones were seen as well as at least 90 Black-headed Gulls. As we moved on to Poets’
Walk, Blue and Long-tailed Tits were seen and heard and a solitary Jay was sitting in an Ash tree. A Nuthatch
was heard and then seen behind us. As we walked through the woodland, Robin, Wren, Dunnock and Blackbird
were added to the list. As we approached the headland two Goosanders were paddling furiously below us, and a
small flock of 12 Oystercatchers flew low over the water. The sky was darkening and the promised heavy rain
looked likely as we stopped for coffee and also to see about 50 Redshanks feeding at the water’s edge at the
outlet of the Blind Yeo. A flock of 40 Fieldfares appeared and a few Shelducks were seen. We walked along the
Blind Yeo for a short distance as the weather worsened and the walk was shortened as the rain came in. A Grey
Heron sat across the river and a lone Grey Wagtail was added to the list. A few lucky folk had a fleeting glimpse
of a Merlin on the riverbank. By the time we got back to the parked cars the rain was heavy. Nevertheless we had
a good, if shorter than planned, stroll and chalked up 35 species. Thanks to Peter for leading. Mark Watson

Nov 25 2018

Sunday 25 November – WWT Steart Leader: Richard Belson

Eventually 14 BOC members met in the WWT car park for this all-day visit. Unfortunately, some arrivals had been
delayed by the loading of bullocks into transport vans, which temporarily blocked the access road. The day was
rather cold and cloudy with a 15 mph wind adding to the chill factor. However, whilst in the car park we were treated to the sight of twelve Cattle Egrets flying overhead and in the distance sky – flocks of thousands of
Lapwings and Golden Plover with the odd Dunlin. As we headed off into the reserve, we saw Song Thrush,
Chaffinch, Grey Herons, Starlings, Redwings and Kestrel. At the Mendip Hide we saw Shelduck, Dunlin, Mallard
and some Redshanks. In the field behind was a flock of approximately 50 Stock Doves mingled with
Woodpigeons. As we went on to Quantock Hide, we had some blue sky overhead and were rewarded by views of
good numbers of Shelducks as well as Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal, Little Grebe, three Spoonbills, Snipe, Little Egret,
Black-tailed Godwit and a single juvenile male Pintail. A flock of 40 Skylarks were also present. Again, we had
excellent views of massive flocks of Lapwing and Golden Plover. As we progressed to the Polden Hide we added
Blue Tit, Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting, Curlew, Stonechat, Fieldfare and Buzzard to our list. We returned to the
car park for a quick lunch following which nine of us went on to the Natural England car park to walk to the Breach.
We had seven Greylag Geese fly overhead, unusual for this area. Disappointingly, there was little to be seen
when we reached the Breach; however, our patience was rewarded when a male Marsh Harrier arrived flying over
the reed bed. It then spent a good 15 minutes flitting up and down in the vegetation. Initially we were concerned
that it might be caught or tethered, but eventually it flew off with a large unidentified prey in its talons. Shortly after
this a female “ring tail” Hen Harrier flew by. It circled and, as it came by again, a Merlin pursued it; all of which
disturbed a Peregrine. At one point all three birds were in sights of our binoculars. At the same time a Great White Egret flew by. To top it all, as we were driving back along the road, we had lovely views of a Short-eared Owl
quartering the field. Overall, a really good days birding, with 46 species listed. Many thanks to Richard for leading.
Sue Kempson

Nov 20 2018

Tuesday 20 November – Hambrook Leader: Dave Body

Forecast as a very cold day with a biting wind, 36 walkers still turned out for this walk – a good deal of which
followed the Frome Valley walkway route. A Dipper was an early spot, along with various tits, 12 Long-tailed
among them. The narrow path did mean the group was well strung out and not all saw the 32 species that were
noted. The crow family was well represented with Carrion Crow, Jay, Jackdaw, Magpie and also two Rooks.
Water-related species were Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, Mallard, Moorhen, Lesser Black-backed, Black-headed,
Common and Herring Gulls. Wrens were heard often and some seen. Surprisingly, our only member of the
thrush family was one Redwing, very well lit by the sun, which warmed us on occasions, and posing next to a
bunch of red berries. It had taken up the perch of a “query” bird, finally identified as a Yellowhammer. It was
good to see lots of Chaffinches about and some of the group were lucky enough to get good views of a male
Bullfinch. This walk was a “Dave Tombs walk” that we had not done for a long time and proved very worthwhile.
Thanks to Dave for leading. Nancy Barrett

Nov 13 2018

Tuesday 13 November – Saltford Leader: Robert Hargreaves

On a fine, sunny morning 36 of us arrived in Saltford; so many that car parking had to spread all along the river.
Those parked in the designated “The Shallows” were treated to the sight of a hovering, diving Kingfisher, soon
joined by a second flash of electric-blue. A Greenfinch wheezed as we set off to join fellow walkers on the cycle
path bridge over the river Avon. Their treat had been the sight of nine Buzzards in one field – remarkable! A
short walk along the cycle track brought brief sights and sounds of many small birds, a few Redwings, two
Collared Doves and a Jay. Turning right off the cycle track and in the fields around were large numbers of Pied
Wagtails. The footpath continued through the farm where six Red-legged Partridges were spotted. At the coffee
stop a lone Cormorant was spotted perched quietly in a tree to add to the three flying Cormorants seen on our
walk and we enjoyed a flight of 24 Jackdaws. We continued down through the fields reaching the river at
Swineford weir. Here was a pair of Mute Swans, two Moorhens. The next leg took us along the riverbank with
interesting finds by various groups: including a Cetti’s Warbler, a Chiffchaff, one Little Grebe and a Kestrel.
Passing under the railway bridge along the field edge brought us back to the cycle path near Avon Riverside
Station. This led us back to Saltford allowing us to sharpen our senses to cope with the cyclists and to enjoy the
birds in the trees and bushes bordering the path. These included two Treecreepers, two flocks of Long-tailed Tits,
two Great Spotted Woodpeckers and one Song Thrush. We had seen many common birds like the plentiful
Goldfinch (two flights of 25 and 30) and handsome Chaffinch; the total number of species was 42. The weather
and scenery were lovely and everyone seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed the walk. Thanks to our leader,
Robert. Anne Crowe

Nov 06 2018

Tuesday 06 November – Goblin Combe Leader: Alastair Fraser

Orange was a theme for this new walk through Goblin Combe as, despite the overcast weather, the beeches and
birches were at their late autumn best. Before entering the wood we had seen Blue Tit, Great Tit, and the first of
eight Long-tailed Tits. A Mistle Thrush stood out on a bare tree and Goldfinches flew over. Going up the wooded
valley we heard Robin and Goldcrest, and then Coal Tits were seen and heard calling. To much excitement the
experts picked out the call of two Marsh Tits, confirmed by sight. We climbed up to a clearing on the ridge where
Raven and Buzzard were glimpsed as was a fine view to the Severn Estuary. At coffee we were joined by a family
group of 14 small goats, grazing on behalf of the Avon Wildlife Trust and the first of eight Fieldfares and three
Jays were seen. We soon came to a very productive open space. Two Bullfinches were seen, having been picked
up by call. A flock of 20 Chaffinches were moving among the distant trees, and a second flock of 40 a little later.
Four Greenfinches were seen nearby. As we returned to the start along the ridge we had a glorious view of
orange Larch in the valley. We also had the familiar orange wing and tail colours of avis facilis on its unseasonal
migration from the south to its roost at Lulsgate. A flock of 20 Jackdaws was seen in a paddock across the valley.
Dunnock, Wren, and Collared Dove completed our total of 26 species. Many thanks to Alastair for leading this
interesting and scenic walk. Gareth Roberts