The month opened with two Linnets in a Kenn garden, not a usual garden species. It was a case of the quiet and the noisy in the churchyard at Kingston Seymour with a Goldcrest and a Ring Necked Parakeet. Three of the latter had been seen, interesting but probably not good news as they are an invasive species.
The Congresbury section of the Strawberry Line saw a good selection of species, the more notable being Blackcap, Bullfinch and Green Woodpecker. Separately a Barn Owl was seen there. Nearby on the 6th, eight Snipe were still on Congresbury Moor, with a pair of Bullfinches and a Willow Warbler on the Yatton section of the Line; two Swallows flew over.
We tackled the first Littlewood survey on the sunny but cool morning of the 8th and recorded similar numbers to the 9th April 2022. Stable numbers equals good with many species in decline. An active rookery and two Sparrowhawks were the highlights.
A Kestrel by Wemberham Lane on Easter morning was the first bird I had seen perched on one of the new pylons, hopefully a good omen for the future. Then a few days later a pair of Kestrels were calling and displaying nearby. The poor weather mid month brought a bonus to our regular picture contributor, Mark Savage when a male Redstart landed in his garden. Naturally he hurried to take a photo and his splendid picture is here.
The bird song walk at Cobthorn was blessed with lovely weather and a reasonable amount of song including a Willow Warbler probably just in from Southern Africa. The resident Kestrel and a passing Sparrowhawk provided raptor interest. That evening a House Martin was seen over Blackcap Avenue.
The second Strawberry Line survey (17th) yielded good numbers of birds, a few less than the previous count as many birds were nesting rather than singing making them less detectable. The first Reed Warblers (six) were singing with one Sedge Warbler on the traditional territory and five Cetti’s Warblers were singing loudly, as only Cetti’s can. The highlight was a Grasshopper Warbler reeling (= singing), it does sound like a Grasshopper. This was the first survey record there in 20 years. We heard three Green Woodpeckers calling from differing areas, there seem to have been more around this year.
A Red Kite flew low over Mendip Road mid month. The Kenn Moor survey recorded a couple of Whitethroats, a Sedge Warbler and a pair of Mistle Thrushes mobbing a Kestrel. A Kingfisher was a very welcome sighting. A Lesser Whitethroat just arrived from Ethiopia was singing along the Strawberry Line on the 21st and a Willow Warbler was singing on the edge of the Station car park the following day. By the 26th Common Whitethroats had arrived and were singing by the Strawberry Line completing the set of the seven regular breeding warbler species.
Swallows were slow to arrive but nine House Martins over the Chestnut Park Estate was a good number for late April.The second Littlewood survey found what seems to be an active Ravens nest but, possibly linked to this, the Rookery appeared to have been abandoned.
Finally, not in the YACWAG area, a summer plumage Slavonian Grebe turned up at Cheddar Reservoir, see Mark Savage’s picture (above) of this stunning bird. Slavonian Grebes are one of the UK’s rarest breeding birds with less than 30 pairs, all in Scotland. By the month end it had departed and what is probably the same bird was seen in the West Midlands, hopefully en route to its nesting area.
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