Bird News: January 2024

Some late news from December, Christmas night in fact, please see the video of a Barn Owl at one of our reserves below.

On New Year’s Day morning Emily reported a Kestrel and three Buzzards from Ham Lane and Kenn Moor as well as three Stonechats and good numbers of Blackbirds, Redwings and Fieldfares. My walk around Wemberham was less fulfilling, no Redwings or Fieldfares in over two hours and just two Little Grebes and the  wintering Green Sandpiper of note. The Snipe count at Kenn Moor Reserve in the afternoon was more productive with at least 31 Snipe and a Jack Snipe.

Sue and Emily did their second winter survey at Kenn Moor on the 4th. Peregrine (on pylon),Great White Egret, Goosander and Siskins were the highlights. A couple of days later on a glorious calm sunny morning one of Littlewood’s elusive Treecreepers put in an appearance with a few Siskins and a Goldcrest for company. A noisy Green Woodpecker flew in and continued to call. Most surprising was a flock of at  least 20 Siskins in Alders by Claverham Drove.

Three Green Sandpipers along with ten Lirrle Egrets were by the Little River and there was another Kingfisher sighting. Slurry spreading on a nearby field attracted 500 Herring Gulls – there are a lot of juicy larvae in the slurry. A rarer Egret was by the Strawberry Line at Congresbury in the form of a Cattle Egret.

40+ Lapwings were on a field by the Little River (11th) with 18 Little Egrets in the area. The Lapwings were probably moving south due to the cold weather. A few days later (15th) several groups of Lapwings totalling around 350 birds flew over heading south west. Another large flock were feeding on a field by the motorway and four Green Sandpipers and a pair of Goosanders were on the River Yeo at Wemberham. Three Green Sandpipers there on the 19th May have been different birds and a Redshank was particularly unusual but they do occur occasionally in freezing conditions.

The weather turned milder and after Storm Isha and 200 Lapwings and 800 Gulls ( mostly Herring Gulls) were on the big maize field at the end of Wemberham Lane. There may have been an influx of Siskins too with 40, a record count for the Strawberry Line spotted by Mark Savage on the 25th. I could only find half a dozen the following day forming part of a mixed flock with Blue, Great and Long tailed tits, a Chiffchaff and a couple of Goldfinches. On the same day Emily noted Coal and Marsh Tits, Mistle and Song Thrush, four Bullfinches, Goldcrest , Great Spotted Woodpecker and three Nuthatches at Goblin Combe.

The Little River and Wemberham area was also productive with Stock Doves, Green Sandpipers by the river, 250 Lapwings on a huge maize stubble field with a Peregrine and a mixed flock of 500 Redwings and Fieldfares flushed by the Peregrine which then was attacking a Carrion Crow. Perhaps the Crow had started the argument and didn’t know what it was letting itself in for! Later in the day (28th) a Red Kite flew over, an unusual record in January.

The count at Kenn Moor Reserve produced 45 Snipe but Congresbury Moor was generally dry so just three Snipe were recorded. Finally a lovely picture of Waxwings in Cardiff.

Your sightings are always very welcome at

Trevor Riddle