Sunday 05 March – Portbury Wharf Leader: Giles Morris

Six members gathered on Sheepway for this morning walk, with another joining us part way around. A Song Thrush was singing as we assembled and was soon joined by both Goldfinch and Greenfinch. As we set off down Sheepway Lane a pair of Bullfinches moved through the hedges ahead of us, though only the female showed clearly. An owl box in a neighbouring field attracted attention, not least for the pair of Stock Doves that were checking it out as a potential nest site. A tree full of Woodpigeons behind the box gave a good size and plumage comparison. Further down the track a Jay moved through the woods next to the dock car pound and then a Great Spotted Woodpecker gave excellent views in the dead elms. The fields at the end of the lane contained a flock of Pied Wagtails and panicky Field (?) Vole which was scuttling around in the open. An obliging Stonechat also gave good views before we moved on through to the seawall. The salt marsh contained a number of Canada Geese, with Shelduck and Curlew visible on the mud beyond. As we approached the reserve a small pair of geese passed rapidly overhead flying north, their big white wing panels identifying them as Egyptian Geese. From the hides we were able to see a good selection of wildfowl with Wigeon in the greatest numbers. A Cetti’s Warbler was heard singing and a very close Chiffchaff was foraging in the bramble by the hide. Having seen two Kestrels on the old pylons, there was some discussion about the suitability of the new cylindrical pylons for perching raptors. The question was answered minutes later when one of the birds moved to a new pylon, finding a small peg protruding from the crossbar on which to settle. An enjoyable morning in pleasant company with 46 species seen. (Thanks to Giles for leading) Giles Morris