Bird News: March 2024

A walk along the Congresbury section of the Strawberry Line on the afternoon of the 29th February (Peter Grainger) produced calling Little and Tawny Owls as well as a Kestrel, Green Woodpecker and Water Rail of note. The count at Kenn Moor Reserve on the 2nd recorded an impressive 73 Snipe despite the Reserve being extremely wet. In the past Snipe have shunned the site in such conditions but not it seems this year. The Reserve was still wet at the end of the month but numbers had dropped to 24, still a good number for the time of year.

After the count was finished Emily spotted some distant Egrets, 13 in total. They were a long way off and some were Little Egrets but the ones feeding under the cows were Cattle Egrets. A sunny day (3rd) produced plenty of song with Greenfinches being particularly vocal. A Peregrine was on a pylon near the railway and probably the same bird was pylon perching the following day near the Little River. Ravens were reported to be nesting near Kingston Seymour and Kingfishers were seen by Kenn Moor Reserve and the Little River.

Three Shelducks were on the maize stubble at the end of Wemberham Lane on the 5th and a juvenile Black Redstart was around Chestnut Park Estate, Yatton on the same day. The Peregrine was seen on a pylon by the Little River again and on the 7th and two Greylag Geese were on a field by Claverham Drove, they are unusual locally.

Stowey rarely gets a mention in Bird News so a couple of Siskins there on the 8th was notable, there are Alders there so perhaps I shouldn’t be too surprised; it’s a new record for the Reserve. Linnets have been scarce recently so a pair on the Congresbury section of the Strawberry Line on the 19th was a welcome sighting, followed by a pair in Wemberham Lane the following day.

A member’s garden in Congresbury hosted seven Siskins but another member in Yatton recorded ten. There must surely be lots of Alder seeds remaining but it seems that the Siskins are now turning to garden feeding stations. A pair of Lapwings were noted near Kingston Seymour.

A few days later member David Playle from Claverham took the Siskin record with eleven on his feeders with seven Lesser Redpolls and , for good measure, eight Stock Doves. By the 28th his Siskin count had risen to 26! The month ended with the first Strawberry Line count of the season. Highlights were three singing Willow Warblers, six Cetti’s Warblers with two more heard distantly, a Stonechat proclaiming territory adjacent to the line and a smart male Bullfinch. Half a dozen Cetti’s Warblers were noted by Peter Grainger on the Congresbury section of the Strawberry Line- they are increasing in numbers.

Easter Day saw a party of 15 Fieldfares by the Little River, Yatton, no doubt pausing on their northward migration. And in the afternoon customers enjoying cream teas in Kingston Seymour churchyard were delighted to see a Kingfisher zip along the boundary ditch just a few feet from their tables.

As always, your bird sightings and pictures are very welcome to the email address:

Trevor Riddle