Home Patch 11

11: Portishead

When the first bird you hear in the morning is a Curlew, you live somewhere special. Only 10 miles from a city, it’s remarkable.

We moved here in 2005. The house sits above the shore, looking up the Severn Estuary. Behind is the mixed deciduous ‘Eastwood’. This combination of habitats results in a wide variety of bird sightings - 63 species seen in or from our garden; the count would be higher if I were more expert at birdsong ID.

Highlights have included regular sightings of Black Redstart on the roofs of the Marina buildings below, Rock Pipit in freefall calling from the tall flats, the flash of a Peregrine, Little Egret passing and, for the first time this year, a Red Kite soaring above. Flocks of Long-tailed Tit, Chiffchaff and Goldfinch in the garden are a delight whilst large numbers of Dunlin and Redshank shelter on the mudbanks in winter and hundreds of winter thrushes pass overhead.

Things change, though. Previously we were entertained by hundreds of House Martin skimming across the wall, this year barely twenty. We saw no House Sparrows or Starlings at first, but now they nest in the eaves.
Susan Blackmore