Sunday 12 April – Uphill

 It was a bright, sunny morning with a fresh south-westerly breeze and a rising tide as Paul Gregory led a group of five out past the cliffs of Uphill onto the Bleadon Levels. The many singing hedgerow birds included plenty of Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs, probably newly arrived. Out on the marsh, Shelduck and Redshanks were the most numerous species. We noted some Little Egrets (at least five at high tide) and compared leg colour and mantle differences on the larger gulls. As we strolled on to the Weston Sewage Works area we started collecting in the freshwater birds – a Dabchick here, Coots there, and in the end five more ducks including a smart male Shoveler and some lingering Tufted Ducks. Shorebirds were harder to come by, just a couple of Oystercatchers but no sign of the smaller waders we expected. We did have a fly-by Peregrine and a Kestrel, nice views of singing Willow Warblers, Reed Buntings, and a Green Woodpecker flying off. Skylarks added their voices to the chorus, and we were pleased to see a few Swallows which only started arriving in numbers this week. The geography is very interesting around here with Crook Peak behind us and Brean Down in front. We could also see Brent Knoll to the south and the Brecon Beacons stretching away in the distance in glorious sunshine. Thanks very much to Paul for his leadership and a total of 42 species on my list – and I probably missed a couple. This is an area well worth further visits. Jane Cumming