Bird News: February 2024

The month started with a sunny calm day but the second winter bird survey on Congresbury Moor and Gang Wall was fairly uneventful. It was good to see a hunting Kestrel and a pair of Linnets by the River were equally welcome. The two Green Sandpipers remained by the Little River and 60 Lapwings were over the big maize field. Later a Peregrine put up a couple of hundred winter thrushes there.

Having been slurried the big maize field received  traditional muck spreading and this attracted a thousand Black Headed Gulls, 500 Starlings and a few Fieldfares. A Blackcap in almost full song at Crossman’s Pond was very unusual (in February). This bird is likely to be wintering here from mainland Europe and will almost certainly return there to breed. 

A neighbour reported a very large bird over the Chestnut Park cycle path on the 10th. Much bigger than a Buzzard, fan tail and languid flight indicates that it was almost certainly a White Tailed Eagle from the Isle of Wight re introduction project. It must have flown over the steel sculpture of itself at Chestnut Park school!

Note: please click on images to expand

By mid month Blackbirds were tuning up sounding a bit like an orchestra doing the same, lots of Greenfinches were and in Congresbury Kestrels were regular around Cobthorn Reserve. A Peregrine was feeding on the pylon near the railway (12th) and was there for at least an hour. Here’s  hoping that it returns regularly – might the centre of the boom which has a slight depression prove a suitable nest site? Wishful thinking I reckon.

A mild morning (17th) produced four Goosanders on the river at Congresbury and singing Greenfinches (five) on the Yatton section of the Strawberry Line. Four Cetti’s Warblers, a couple of Song Thrushes and a Reed Bunting were all proclaiming their breeding territories there too. More surprising was a couple of Chiffchaffs in song, something I have not heard in February before. The following day Littlewood attracted over a hundred Siskins, at least forty Goldfinches and one of the resident Treecreepers put in an appearance. Tawny Owls were calling in Kenn and at St Mary’s churchyard Yatton.

At the end of the month a thousand winter thrushes, mostly Fieldfares, were feeding on the big maize stubble field at the end of Wemberham Lane, the biggest such gathering that I have seen for many years. A Green Sandpiper and a very bright Grey Wagtail were at Phipps Bridge with several singing and displaying Skylarks nearby. Meanwhile Goblin Combe had Treecreepers (three) and a pair of Marsh Tits as well as Song and Mistle Thrush.

Thanks to our contributing photographers and especially to Mike O’Hanlon from Suffolk for his picture of the White Tailed Eagle.

Your bird sightings and pictures are always very welcome to the email address:

Trevor Riddle