Bird News: October 2022

A sunny morning on the 6th produced a passage of Skylarks. They migrate in ones and twos, calling as they pass over and October is the prime month. These are birds that nest in the north heading south for winter. Later that day 20 Swallows flew south over Wemberham Lane following the Hinkley Connect haul road and nearby a flock of Goldfinches attracted a hunting Sparrowhawk. 

Goldfinch Congresbury Moor on 18 October 2022. Photo Mark Savage

An even sunnier crisp morning (8th) saw Peregrine, Cormorant and two Ravens were on the pylons. Four Stonechats were on the Kenn Moor Reserve along with Meadow Pipits and a Buzzard. However the star bird was a Kingfisher captured there on the trail camera by Emily.

Turtle Dove in Hewish 15th October 2022. Photo by Panda Stephen

A flock of 100 House Martins on the 14th over the Strawberry Line was unusual at such a late date, the birds has probably been disrupted on their migration by rain and low cloud. They were eclipsed by a truly remarkable record with excellent photographs of a Turtle Dove in a garden in Hewish on the 15th. Turtle Doves are in long term decline and are very rare in this part of England.

Turtle Dove in Hewish 15th October 2022. Photo by Panda Stephen

Member Melvin Wood reports seeing several Kingfishers in the last couple of weeks during his site visits for the Environment Agency and there are regular sightings from Wemberham Lane, hopefully more evidence of a productive nesting season.

A walk out to Phipps Bridge produced a Little Grebe, a Snipe and two Cormorants. Two flocks of Linnets numbered 50 in total and there were double figure counts of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits. Buzzards and Herons were enjoying the sunny weather and it was good to record 20 Mute Swans as their have been some deaths from bird flu in the wider area.

Mistle Thrush and Redwing. Photo by Emily Lomas

The first Redwings were reported on the 20th with five at Wemberham Lane and six at Goblin Combe where three Mistle Thrushes were seen. The unsettled weather brought Meadow Pipits and Chaffinches to Wemberham Lane and a single Snipe by Little River.

A sunny morning (22nd) saw more Skylarks on the move, a small flock of ten on Kenn Moor were probably resting migrants. More unusual were three Little Grebes together on the River Kenn, they often don’t arrive until the river and Rhyne levels are lowered. All our regular raptors, Buzzard, Kestrel, Peregrine and Sparrowhawk put in an appearance. The Wildlife Trusts current magazine features an article ‘ where to see Ravens’. Well four were bickering gently on the tarmac of Wemberham Lane and weren’t anxious to move.

By the 28th Linnets were migrating among with Meadow Pipits and small parties of both species were around the local,moors. Most of the pairs of Stonechats were on their winter territories . On the 30th two Fieldfares flew over Wemberham Lane then more surprisingly a small flock of Teal. A Barn Owl had been seen there in car headlights on two evenings. A Jack Snipe was in the Kenn Moor Reserve with about a dozen Meadow Pipits and at dusk 500 Jackdaws flew South West to roost. Our member Roland Griffin also saw a a Jack Snipe at Kingston Seymour.

Nine Greenfinches were at a feeder in a Congresbury garden at the month end. Birds from Scandinavia winter in Britain but these may have been local birds which seem to be recovering well from the trichomoniasis disease.

Collared Pratincole at Slimbridge on 31 October 2022. Photo by Mark Savage

A bit further afield the mild weather and southerly winds brought a Collared Pratincole to Slimbridge and an unprecedented three Pallid Swifts to Aust by the old Severn Bridge. Both of the species should have been in Southern Europe.

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