Monday, 1 February 2016

January 2016 - Bird Highlights

BG: Barrow Tanks

Cl-Y: south Clevedon coast
BL: Blagdon Lake

PW: Portbury Wharf
CVL: Chew Valley Lake

RPD: Portbury Dock

Notable species recorded in Avon this month were: Great Northern Diver, Fulmar, Bittern, Great White Egret, Slavonian & Black-necked Grebe, Avocet, Whimbrel, Arctic & Great Skua, Ring-billed Gull, Little Auk, Swallow, Siberian Chiffchaff and Dartford Warbler.

Bewick's Swan: 1 record, 5 birds first seen at CVL on 12th, then later at BL on same day.

Brent Goose: A group of 12 birds seen at the Yeo Est (6th) of note and 3 here on 25th. 2 birds at Severn Beach (2nd), 1 at New Passage (16th).

Barnacle Goose: Up to 15 birds at CVL/BL during the month.

Egyptian Goose: 2 at BL on several dates, 1 at the Keynsham river Avon on 1st/2nd.

Shelduck: Best coastal counts were Severnside 42, RPD 102, Cl-Y 165, Axe Est 73. Quite good numbers were seen at CVL, max.23 on 14th.

Wigeon: Coastal maxima: OPS 240, Littleton Warth 350, New Passage 700, Clevedon 420. Poor numbers noted at the lakes, BL 20 and CVL 22.

Pintail: Generally very small numbers recorded at the coast except for 19 at New Passage on 20th, a good count for Avon. 14 birds noted downriver off OPS on 30th.

Pochard: The WWT has been carrying out surveys to ascertain the gender bias between male and female Pochard, apparently female Pochard are having a bad time of it. One of our contributors, carried out some casual counts at the lakes and came up with a ration of 3:1. It will be interesting to see if the official statistics reflect this.

Scaup: Up to 4 birds at CVL (21st) and 2 at BL (9th).

Lesser Scaup: The drake bird was noted at CVL 5th-7th only.

Common Scoter: 7 birds flew up-channel off Sand Bay on 16th.

Goldeneye: Max counts at the lakes, BG 1, CVL 24 and BL 25.

Red-breasted Merganser: 1 bird at Newton St Loe lake on 24th, patch tick and red-letter day for Lauren & Wayne Tucker. 1 bird reported at CVL on 5 dates.

Goosander: Poor numbers at the lakes. 22 birds at Newton St Loe Lake was noteworthy and smaller numbers here on other dates too. 15 noted at the Clevedon coast on 20th and a few along the river Avon at Keynsham.

Fulmar: 1 bird off Sand Pt on 5th, another or same off Anchor Head on 7th.

Grey Partridge: 1 bird at Marshfield, Orchid Lane on 1st. A species not often reported in Avon.

Bittern: 1 bird at CVL on 12th, then 2 here on 20th.

Great Northern Diver: 1 flyover seen at Portbury village on 13th, a complete out of the blue sighting as the weather was calm and there were no other reports of any Diver species at all locally.

Little Egret: A regular and large gathering at CVL, Heron’s Green with max.28 on 3rd, birds in the wet field near the pool. Other notable counts were, 9 at OPS (5th), 22 at Kingston Seymour (24th), 18 at Blackwell Lake (29th to roost), 9 at Uphill (16th) and smaller numbers elsewhere.

Great White Egret: Up to 2 at CVL/BL to 16th, then the birds seem to have abandoned the areas, presumably due to high water levels making feeding difficult.

Slavonian Grebe: 1 bird at the Pilning wetland 11th/12th, 1 at BG on 20th only.

Black-necked Grebe: The BL birds noted all month.

Great Crested Grebe WeBS at the lakes, BG 10, BL 18, CVL 35.

Red Kite: Single birds at Burnett (10th) and CVL, Breach Hill (25th).

Marsh Harrier:  1 bird at CVL on 10th/20th.

Sparrowhawk: Ones/twos noted at 16+ sites.

Buzzard: Many reports, best single count was 7 birds at Kenn Moor on 19th.

Merlin: Noted at Marshfield, Severnside, Yeo Est, Kenn Moor, Bath Lansdown and CVL but probably no more than 6 or 7 individuals involved.

Water Rail: 5 birds at CVL on 5th was the best single count. Elsewhere, up to 3 birds at Marshfield, OPS, New Passage, Chittening Warth, RPD, Portbury Wharf, Clevedon coast, Backwell Lake, Kenn Moor, Uphill, Bleadon and BL.

Oystercatcher: Best coastal counts were: Severnside 200 (20th), Cl-Y 42 (13th) and Axe Est 61 (17th).

Avocet: 8 birds at OPS on 2nd only, then 1 at Yeo Est on 7th.

Ringed Plover: Coastal maxima: OPS 3, Severn Beach 20, Avonmouth Docks 10, Clevedon coast 8, Axe Est 29.

Golden Plover: Most at Marshfield where max.400 on 18th. 46 at Bristol airport on 12th was the only other double figure count received.

Grey Plover: Coastal maxima: OPS 4, Severn Beach 1, Clevedon coast 32 and Sand Bay 12.

Lapwing: Lots of small to medium sized flocks reported. Best numbers were at the Clevedon coast where 2,750 on 25th.

Knot: Most at the Clevedon coast where max.45 on 6th and 15 here on 28th.

Sanderling: Up to 13 birds at the Axe Est area 17th/18th.

Purple Sandpiper: The Portishead, Battery Pt birds present all month, max.9 on 29th/30th. 1 was present at Severn Beach with Turnstones on 17th/18th.

Dunlin: Coastal maxima: OPS 2,000, Littleton Warth 465, Severnside 2,000, Avonmouth Docks 1,000, Portbury Dock 500, Clevedon 4,500, Sand Bay 600, W-s-M 1,000, Axe Est 800.

Jack Snipe: Up to 3 birds noted at Yate, Littleton Warth, Aust Warth, Severn Beach, Clevedon coast and Backwell Lake.

Snipe: Lots of small parties reported. Best single counts were: 56 at OPS, 31 at Severn Beach, 43 at Portbury Wharf, 35 at Blagdon.

Woodcock: 1 flushed at Chittening Warth on 16th, 1 at Weston Moor on 30th.

Black-tailed Godwit: After a good December, hardly any this month. 8 birds at Axe Est on 18th, singles at New Passage (22nd) and at Portishead (10th).

Bar-tailed Godwit: 1 at the Yeo Est on 7th. 

Whimbrel: 1 bird lingering at Sand Bay/Pt 8th-14th, a very unusual winter record.

Curlew: All coastal reports. OPS 415, Littleton Warth 250, New Passage 300, Clevedon 350.    

Common Sandpiper: Regular reports from the main lakes and sites along the tidal river Avon. Best single count was 4 at Sea Mills on 15th.

Spotted Redshank: 1 bird noted up the river Yeo on 11th. A good winter record for Avon.

Greenshank: 1 bird on the tidal Avon around Sea Mills on 8th, presumably the regular wintering bird here.

Green Sandpiper: Ever present at CVL, max.4 on 7th. 4 also at Bleadon on 19th and singles here on 1st/8th.

Redshank: All coastal, best counts at the well-watched sites were: OPS 21, Littleton Warth 49, New Passage 120, Avonmouth Docks 77, RPD 62, Cl-Y 500 and Sand Bay 100.

Turnstone: Strictly coastal with Severnside holding most birds. Max.280 birds here on 2nd. Other coastal sites had 50 or fewer birds.

Arctic Skua: 1 pale phase bird on the Channel View seawall on 30th.

Great Skua: Singles seen off Anchor Head on 7th and Severn Beach on 31st.

Kittiwake: 2 birds off Anchor Head on 7th, 16 off Severn Beach on 7th.

Little Gull: 1 bird at the Pilning wetland on 3rd, 1 at OPS on 30th.

Mediterranean Gull: Regular at CVL with max.5 birds in the roost on 21st. Other reports from the Avon Gorge river Avon (8th), RPD (14th), Marshfield (15th/16th) and BL (23rd).

Ring-billed Gull: 2 birds at CVL on 21st, an adult + 2nd winter in the roost.

Yellow-legged Gull: 1 bird at CVL on 5th/6th, 1 at BG on 21st.

Great Black-backed Gull: 13 birds feeding on a dead fish at Littleton Warth on 9th of note.

Little Auk: 1 bird at the Marine lake W-s-M on 4th.

Ring-necked Parakeet: 1 bird at St George, Bristol on 5th and another or same at Greenbank cemetery Easton on 23rd.

Barn Owl: Single birds seen at Inglestone Common, PW, Weston Moor, BG, CVL and Paulton.

Little Owl: Rather scarce, single birds noted at Marshfield, New Passage and the Yeo Est.

Tawny Owl: Regular around the Abbots Leigh Woods on 7 dates, further reports from Marshfield, OPS, Tockington, Congresbury and BL.

Short-eared Owl: 1 bird at Aust Warth (6th), then up to 3 showing at Uphill 16th-25th.

Kingfisher: Widely reported and seemingly unaffected by very high water levels at traditional sites at the lakes and streams around the area.

Green Woodpecker: Very widely reported in ones/twos. Overcourt Woods the hotspot with 15+ birds (at least) on a few dates.

Great Spotted Woodpecker: Widely reported like Green. 6+ birds at Overcourt Woods on 23rd.

Jay: Noted at 20+ sites, mostly in ones/twos. 4 birds were at CVL on 15th.

Jackdaw: 2 large counts: 500 at Yatton (4th), 500 at CVL (5th).

Raven: Widespread and noted at 15+ sites on many days. 8 birds at Ashton Court on 19th was the best single count.

Goldcrest: Stacks of these birds in Eastville Park, no doubt helping in the discovery of the Firecrest. 20 on 7th and 12+ on 15th were particularly noteworthy.

Firecrest: Up to 2 birds regular in Eastville Park on many days. Elsewhere, 1 at Clifton (9th), 1 at Severn Beach Orchard pools (3 dates) and 1 at Clevedon coast (1st). A really good showing, sometimes we get hardly any winter records at all.

Coal Tit: Widely reported in ones/twos. Good presence though in Helen Pedder’s garden in Clevedon with 5+ birds almost daily.

Marsh Tit: Singles seen at Banwell (6th), Backwell (14th) and Lansdown GC (28th).

Skylark: Generally very small numbers reported. Best flocks were 70 at Paulton and 150 at Marshfield.

Swallow: 1 bird in and around farm buildings at Hinton Blewitt on 20th. Very unusual winter record but it coincides with a few other Swallows being recorded in the UK around same time, including 1 locally in Somerset.

Cetti's Warbler: 5 birds at CVL on 5th, other reports from OPS, Severnside, PW, Congresbury Moor, Clevedon coast, Wick St Lawrence and Axe Est/Purn.

Chiffchaff: Recorded at 20 sites but fewer garden records than Blackcap.

Siberian Chiffchaff: 2 birds at Chew Stoke STW on 8th, 3 here on 28th.

Blackcap: Noted at 20+ sites, nearly all in urban gardens.

Dartford Warbler: 2 birds at Sand Bay from 6th onward. Scrub opposite No.32 Beach Rd most of the time and showing well with patience.

Nuthatch: Noted at 13+ sites.

Treecreeper: Noted at 20+ sites. 6 birds at Wick Golden Valley on 30th.

Starling: Best flocks: Yeo Est 4,000, CVL 3,000 plus many small groups of 100+ strong around the area.

Dipper:  Well recorded at the specialist sites, reports from River Trym W-o-T, Eastville Park, Willsbridge Mill, Chipping Sodbury and Radstock.

Blackbird: More reports than usual, groups 20+ strong at Stockwood, Bishopsworth and Warmley Forest Park. Overall numbers probably reflect observer effort and awareness rather than a true influx of birds.

Fieldfare: Marshfield consistently held best numbers, max.count here was 500 on 16th but several hundreds on other dates.

Redwing: Lots of groups reported, best single flock was 160 at Kenn Moor on 20th.

Black Redstart: Settled in at 3 sites: 1 at OPS to 12th, up to 2 at Worle 17-25th  and 1 at Anchor Head 6-19th.

Stonechat: Noted at 15+ sites, mainly along the coast. Best count, 8 birds at Easter Compton on 28th.

Pied Wagtail: No large urban roosts reported, best single count was 60 at New Passage on 25th.

Rock Pipit: Small numbers seen at the well-watched coastal sites, best count was 12 at RPD on 16th.

Water Pipit: Regular at Northwick Warth all month, 5+ birds, mainly at the 2nd sentry box area. Elsewhere, singles at OPS (16th/23rd) and at Chew Valley Lake (3rd).

Chaffinch: Widespread reports, best flocks were, 120 at Paulton (4th) and 100 Marshfield (20th).

Brambling: Locally, a very poor winter for this species, just odd birds recorded at Yate, Severnside, Worle and Blagdon Lake.

Greenfinch: Widely reported, best numbers were at Warmley Forest Park, max.20 on 24th.

Siskin: Widely reported throughout the area in very small groups, larger counts: 80+ at Warmley Forest Park (24th), 40 at Keynsham (1st), 30 at RPD (13th).

Linnet: No really large flocks reported. Best count was 80 birds at Stockwood Open Space.

Redpoll: Up to 6 birds reported at OPS, Yate, Warmley Forest Park and Keynsham.

Bullfinch: Very widely reported, best single count was 12 at OPS on 2nd.

Yellowhammer: As usual, most at Marshfield, up to 300 birds. Some renegades, 60 at Paulton (11th) and 25 here on 22nd and odd birds at Severnside and Newton St Loe.

Reed Bunting: 3 noteworthy counts, 30 at OPS (5th), 14 at RPD (16th) and 16 at Easter Compton (28th).

Corn Bunting: 100+ at the Marshfield stronghold, mainly the Rushmead Lane end.