Bird News: October 2023

A Peregrine was over Smarts factory on the 1st and that evening a Barn Owl was out at dusk on Congresbury Moor. At Dowlais Farm, Kenn, a Hobby made an unsuccessful attack on a Meadow Pipit, there were 70 Oystercatchers roosting at high tide with good numbers of Redshank, Curlew and Shelduck along with a lone Wheatear.

Female Blackcap on Strawberry Line, Yatton 10th October 2023. Photo by Mark Savage

The Pied Wagtail roost near Wemberham Lane became a pre roost gathering on the 6th with most of the 100+ birds present heading off south west. A Tawny Owl was calling nearby in the early hours. The next evening there wasn’t a single Pied Wagtail to be seen.

A Fieldfare at the far end of Wemberham Lane (7th) was very early, it had a Stonechat for company. October is the month for Jays and there were sightings at both ends of the Lane. A pair of Grey Wagtails at Crossman’s Pond we’re picking insects from the lily pads.

The change in weather from warm and wet to cold and dry mid month brought a flurry of birds with 200 Linnets and large numbers of Goldfinches and Meadow Pipits reported. Stonechats arrived, Buzzards became more obvious and generally most species were more active because of the need to feed more.

On the 16th two Great White Egrets were on the River Yeo by Phipp’s Bridge and a Green Sandpiper flew over. A hundred Mallard on the Little River was exceptional and large flocks of Woodpigeons were heading south. The next day a Song Thrush was recorded on the Congresbury stretch of the Strawberry Line (I haven’t seen one for weeks), a Pale Bellied Brent Goose was on the north side of the Kenn Estuary whilst a Merlin was perched on rocks to the south.

Siskin on Strawberry Line, Congresbury Moor, Yatton. 10th October 2023. Phot by Mark Savage

On the 19th a big influx of Fieldfares was reported near to Clevedon Craft Centre and 40 Stock Doves were feeding on a cut maize field at Wemberham. A Water Rail was recorded on the Congresbury section of the Strawberry Line (20th) and two were calling very loudly on the Yatton section the next day when three Snipe at the Kenn Moor Reserve were early arrivals, perhaps as a result of severe weather to the north.

There were 18 Mute Swans on the Little River and a fierce argument developed between two males – some male Swans are thugs! This commotion panicked the Cattle on the riverbank and caused them to charge across their field. A Great White Egret was nearby and caused no offence. On the same day (26th) a Little Owl was noted on the Congresbury section of the Strawberry Line.

Dozens of winter thrushes appeared on Kenn Moor the next day and two Chiffchaffs were singing on the Yatton section of the Strawberry Line. Most Chiffchaffs head to Southern Europe for winter but it seems likely that these two are setting up winter territories here.

Hoopoe photographed at Harlestone, Northampton, by Mark Savage whilst visiting friends.

Your sightings are always very welcome at

Trevor Riddle