Bird News: December 2023

Following the sighting of a Short Eared Owl on Kenn Moor near our Littlewood Reserve further vigils on the 2nd and 3rd were unsuccessful but a Grey Wagtail was a nice surprise on the 2nd and a Peregrine on a pylon in sunshine above the mist on the Moor was equally welcome. Cormorants were also using the pylons as perches but not on the same one at the same time the Peregrine. A Barn Owl visited a box with a camera in Kenn, the first in the nine years since the box was put up. The next day four Teal were on the Kenn River (a sign of the freezing weather) and 30 Cormorants flew over the Moor but no sign of the Owl. There was more Owl news from Congresbury with a Little Owl observed from the Strawberry Line.

Barn Owl on Kenn Moor Reserve – Trail camera operated by Emily Lomas

A party of at least 20 Siskins along with a few Goldfinches were feeding on Alder seeds in the Littlewood Reserve, spooked a couple of times by a hunting Sparrowhawk. (6th). Two Goldcrests were feeding on insects in the wood and three Lapwings flew over heading south west. Stonechats, Cormorants, two Buzzards and a Little Egret were on the adjacent moor. The following day Emily reported hundreds of Fieldfares, Redwings and Starlings by the Little River as well as a Grey Wagtail and a Green Sandpiper. A flock of 12 Mistle Thrushes at Kenn was unusual in winter.

a small bird perched in a tree
Siskin at Littlewood by Jon Thobroe

The end of November Snipe count at Kenn Moor Reserve was delayed by adverse weather ( mainly) and volunteer availability until the 8th December. However it was worth waiting for as at least 60 Snipe, probably more, exploded out of the wet grass and rush along with a Jack Snipe. This was our highest count since December 2019 and was likely caused by the wet Autumn, lots of migrants from the north this year and hopefully the grazing and topping of some rush in the summer. A Woodcock was seen in Kingston Seymour.

Kingfisher on Kenn Moor Reserve – Trail camera operated by Emily Lomas

Both Barn Owl and Tawny Owl were in the Wemberham area while the Strawberry Line (Yatton) hosted a Kingfisher and a few Siskins. A Levels survey on Congresbury Moor produced a creditable 39 species with a Great White Egret and four Goosanders being the pick. The trail camera operated by Emily produced pictures of Barn Owl, Kingfisher and Jay on Kenn Moor Reserve. During heavy rain on the 19th two Goosanders were by Congresbury bridge and after the rain a Peregrine was feeding on a pylon on Congresbury Moor.

Congresbury Moor produced seven Snipe and a Jack Snipe on the 29th and there was evidence of at least two Barn Owls. The Siskin flock was in the nearby Alders and six Teal flew over. To end on a festive note on New Year’s Eve Eve (30th) 115 Pied Wagtails were seen to go to roost in a decorated tree in the High Street in Weston super Mare!

Thanks to all contributors of photos and sightings and also to Mark Stanford for formatting my text and inserting the pictures for my blog posts.

A happy new year to all readers.

Your sightings are always very welcome at

Trevor Riddle