The long running bird survey covering part of Congresbury Moor, the river and Gang Wall turned up a calling Water Rail in the ditch opposite the mosaic seat on the Strawberry Line, a traditional site from some years past. A Kestrel, no doubt one of our resident birds, was hover hunting and a Kingfisher gave the briefest of views. Much ditch work and scrub removal around the Gang Wall seems to have reduced the numbers of small birds but the scrub will soon recover.
It was encouraging to find a flock of 50 Goldfinches in Littlewood as there weren’t many last winter. There were also a dozen Chaffinches with three Little Egrets on an adjacent field and two Little Grebes on Blackditch by Claverham Drove bridge. In Yatton Greenfinches were seen in increasing numbers in member’s gardens.
Wet fields by the Strawberry Line attracted over a hundred Black headed gulls and with them was a Common Gull, a misnomer locally as I rarely see them. Lots of Redwings were feeding on a drier field whilst on the Congresbury section a Treecreeper was a good spot by my local correspondent.
The Kenn Moor survey was most notable for a Great black backed gull, very unusual inland (even just inland), the first recorded on any of the eight areas of the Levels surveys since 2004. Meanwhile, the Black Redstart was back in Duck Lane, Kenn and (presumably) another was on the Chestnut Park estate.
Goblin Combe produced a Mistle Thrush mid month, a scare species locally now. There were Nuthatches, Treecreepers, Jays and a Great Spotted Woodpecker there too.
Dan Palmer installed a Kingfisher nesting chamber and tunnel at Crossman’s Pond, let’s hope that the local Kingfishers approve. The pond has suffered from some pollution but has been cleaned and restocked.
Mark Savage found a couple of Siskins in the Alders on Moor Lane near Norton’s. This was a traditional wintering site but I hadn’t seen any there for several years. There were at least four the following day and a female Goosander on the Yeo, also seen by Mark. A Stonechat was in Norton’s, a Peregrine was on the pylon by the Gang Wall and a Grey Wagtail was on one of the ditches nearby. A Kingfisher was noted on the Congresbury section of the Strawberry Line. Water Rails were heard on the Strawberry Line (two) and on Congresbury Moor.
At the end of the month Goosanders were up to four on the River Yeo, the wet weather and fields attracted a large flock of Black headed gulls and around 50 Redwings and Fieldfares were on the Stowey Reserve. Three Kestrels in the Congresbury Moor area was an encouraging record.
14 Little Egrets were feeding on Kenn Moor close to Littlewood but on the Somerset Levels a flock of Cattle Egrets numbered 304! Finally the monthly Snipe count on Congresbury Moor produced six Snipe, a Barn Owl, a Brown Hare and three Roe Deer.
Thanks to all members who have sent me details of sightings and pictures, these are always welcome at birds@YACWAG.org.uk