Bird News: August 2023

It was unsettled at the beginning of August but a Little Owl was calling in the late evening of the 1st in Claverham and the next day a juvenile Sparrowhawk put in an appearance in a members garden in Yatton.

Whinchat on Congresbury Moor 3rd August 2023 by Mark Savage
Willow Warbler on the Strawberry Line (Yatton) 3rd August 2023 by Mark Savage

Rain produced a few migrants on the 3rd with 40 Swifts, a Willow Warbler and a Whinchat on Congresbury Moor. A Tawny Owl brought its youngster to a Kingston Seymour garden and both perched unusually close to the property.

Tawny Owl with its youngster at Kingston Seymour by Helen Callow
Tawny Owl at Kingston Seymour by Helen Callow
Tawny Owl at Kingston Seymour by Helen Callow
Tawny Owl at Kingston Seymour by Helen Callow

A walk around the Little River – Wemberham Lane circuit ( 10th) produced a Green Woodpecker, about 20 House Martins, Buzzard, Kestrel, two Ravens and the star bird a juvenile Lesser Whitethroat. Chiffchaff and Blackcap were heard and a juvenile Sparrowhawk was calling persistently. The River Yeo hosted a pair of Grey Wagtails and a Kingfisher on the 14th.

Grey Wagtail by Jon Thobroe

Several warbler species were present on the Strawberry Line and Congresbury Moor, with Sedge Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and Willow Warbler being notable. Both Woodpecker species were also recorded. Across the A370 the Strawberry Line at Congresbury produced Little Owl, Bullfinch Green Woodpecker and Sedge Warbler on the 15th.

Sedge Warbler on Congresbury Moor 3rd August 2023 by Mark Savage

Jon Thobroe watched and photographed a Peregrine attacking a Carrion Crow at Dowlais Farm, Kenn on the 18th.

Peregrine attacking Carrion Crow by Jon Thobroe

By the 21st, hirundines were flocking with 30 of both Swallow and House Martin seen from the Strawberry Line and a single (late) Swift over Rectory Farm., Yatton. Warblers were more visible with Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Reed Warbler and Cetti’s Warbler recorded including some juveniles. A pair of Stonechats was on the YACWAG Reserve and two Skylarks flew over. On the same morning Jill rescued a Slow Worm from the road on Yatton High Street. The next day a Wheatear was on the Hinkley Connect haul road resting on its way to Africa. 

A Green Woodpecker was having an altercation with a Mistle Thrush on the Congresbury Moor Reserve at dusk on the 23rd just before two hunting Barn Owls appeared. As far as I can tell three Barn Owlets have fledged from two nests on YACWAG Reserves, another from a YACWAG box on private land and two from a members box in Kingston Seymour.  It seems that the fluctuating weather and in particular the heavy rain followed by the dry hot spell in Spring reduced the vole population and the Owls couldn’t find enough to feed bigger broods.

The next day (24th) another Wheatear was on Kenn Moor along with a Great White Egret which posed nicely on a gate with a Little Egret. Cattle Egrets have been spotted at Nailsea Moor so there are now three white Egret species around. Kestrels were off the radar for a few weeks but three were on Congresbury Moor and two were by the river at Wemberham on the 28th.

A Swallow roost formed at Stowell’s Reed bed visible from Wemberham Lane with an estimated 120 birds there on the evening of the 30th. Much smaller numbers of Pied Wagtails were gathering on the roof of adjacent Smarts factory and 20 Goldfinches flew into a nearby hedge for the night.

Arctic Tern Cheddar Reservoir 6th August 2023 by Mark Savage

This months star bird picture (above) is an Arctic Tern photographed at Cheddar Reservoir by Mark Savage. This species wanders the oceans for eight or nine months each year covering 25,000 miles, that’s 40,000 kilometres in ‘new money’. Arctic Terns can live for 20 years and thus clock up half a million miles equivalent to a trip to the moon and back!

Your sightings are always very welcome at

Trevor Riddle