Bird News: January 2022

The monthly Snipe count (3rd) at the Kenn Moor Reserve yielded an impressive 49 birds with two Jack Snipe and a pair of Stonechats. The Reserve was nicely wet but by the end of the month had dried somewhat and the score then was only 19 Snipe. Some frosts in the preceding week may have also moved some birds to the coast.

Snipe by Mark Savage

On the Strawberry Line a field by the farm held 100 Black headed gulls, 100 Redwings, 20 Goldfinches a pair of Pied Wagtails with single Grey Wagtail and Meadow Pipit. A Wemberham Lane site had 20 Meadow Pipits several  Blackbirds and a Song Thrush. Nearby a Snipe was in flight perhaps flushed by a Buzzard with the almost resident Peregrine enjoying the calm sunny weather on his favourite pylon.

A Mistle Thrush was an encouraging record at the new Cobthorn reserve, they are scarce locally nowadays. Across the A370 five Goosander flew from a ditch on Congresbury Moor Reserve- they are sawbills, fish eating ducks so they are likely to have been resting there.

Goosander (Strawberry Line, Clevedon Yeo) by Mark Savage

A Water Rail was calling from the Congresbury section of the Strawberry Line and Faith Moulin managed to film one feeding in New Cut Rhyne – they are rarely out in the open. There were two Kingfishers at Kenn Pier and the Black Redstart was seen again on the estate in north Yatton. Three Green Sandpipers on the Yeo and Little River was a good count: this species was formerly a passage migrant but climate change has enabled ever increasing numbers to winter here.

A party of at least five perhaps six Bullfinches on the Strawberry Line was a cheering sight. A cold frosty morning had produced quite a bit of feeding activity including lots of Woodpigeons on the pasture with Little Egrets, Heron, Moorhens and Mallards on the Yeo. I missed the three Goosanders seen there yesterday. A seemingly different Black Redstart was photographed on the Chestnut Park Estate, there seems to be more around this winter.

The Wemberham Lane Peregrine was very unusually perched on the nearest pylon (21st) but slipped away after we had passed only to be back on its favourite pylon (towards Congresbury) half an hour later gulping down its prey.A sunny morning (28th) after fog produced a good amount of bird song in Littlewood with 20 Siskins with about 50 Goldfinches feeding on Alder seeds the highlight.

Siskin (Littlewood Reserve) by Mark Savage

The exceptionally dry winter conditions has probably reduced Snipe numbers on our Reserves but we recorded 11 at Congresbury Moor at the end of the month. Kingfishers have been scarce but one was noted from the Strawberry Line at Congresbury and another from Wemberham Lane, the first that I have seen there this winter.

Thanks to Mark Savage for the illustrations.

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