Bird News: March 2023

The Starling murmuration ended abruptly at Tesco’s in Clevedon at the beginning of the month, one wonders what triggers thousands of birds to change their roost site as one. 

The Reserves were even drier than last month and it was a surprise (a pleasant one) to find 11 Snipe at the Congresbury Moor Reserve. A pair of Kestrels were active and there was evidence of Barn Owl along with a flock of 30 Meadow Pipits in Moor Drove. No such luck at Kenn Moor, a round zero but a pair of Stonechats, two Little Egrets and a Great Black Backed Gull with a big flock of Herring and Lesser Black Backed provided interest.

Greenfinch by Jon Thobroe

I was pleased to see a Peregrine on the favourite pylon on the 5th, the first time there this year. Greenfinches and a Skylark were singing nearby with a Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming (it’s equivalent of singing) in Crossman’s Pond.

By mid month, small birds were scarce on the moors, a party of 50 Meadow Pipits by Wemberham Lane being the exception. Conversely gardens were busy with a Siskin reported from Congresbury and three Blackcaps in one garden in Yatton. March is the ‘hungry gap’ when there is little seed remaining in the countryside so birds flock to garden feeders.

 Kingfishers can’t go to garden feeders (although a well known TV presenter once asked Bill Oddie how she could attract Kingfishers to her feeder….) so it was good to get reports of one in a members garden at their pond and multiple sightings from Wemberham Lane and the Little River plus sightings on Congresbury Moor and on the Yeo at Congresbury.

Common & Black-headed Gulls Strawberry Line on 11th March 2023 (Photo by Mark Savage)

A flock of 110 Common Gulls viewable from the Strawberry Line (see picture above) was exceptional as Common Gulls aren’t that common and are distinctly scarce in the YACWAG area. Mid month the Strawberry Line produced three singing Cetti’s Warblers, a very loud Water Rail, Stonechat, Reed Bunting, Song Thrush and several Chaffinches at the farmers ‘feeding station’.

A sunny and warm morning (17th) heralded the first Chiffchaffs in song on Wemberham Lane and the Strawberry Line and Green Woodpeckers became very vocal. Chiffchaffs then arrived in force and all the rain led to a wet Kenn Moor Reserve with six Snipe on the 26th. Fieldfares, presumably birds on passage north were seen at Stowey and Littlewood Reserves.

The first Strawberry Line survey was conducted on the 30th and yielded a record 28 Chiffchaffs. There were five Blackcaps and an early Willow Warbler. But most surprising was a Redpoll, the first recorded in Spring since the survey commenced in 1999. It is likely to have been grounded by the earlier heavy rain. Five Swallows flew over whilst the Robin, Wren and Greenfinch counts were 22, 15 and 13 respectively indicating good over winter survival.

Reed Bunting by Emily Lomas

April is the main month for the arrival of our summer visitors and all sightings (observed or photographed) are very welcome at  

Thank you,