Categories archive

Bird News: May 2024

Two Red Kites flew south over the Little River on the 5th, the first Yatton record for several weeks. On the same day three Siskins were still visiting a garden in Congresbury. The birdsong walk on the 6th produced the…
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Bird News: April 2024

An early House Martin was over Derham Park on the 4th and on the same day four Lapwings were on the Wemberham maize stubble field with around 20 Linnets nearby. There was lots of song on the Strawberry Line including…
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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…
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Bird News: February 2024

The month started with a sunny calm day but the second winter bird survey on Congresbury Moor and Gang Wall was fairly uneventful. It was good to see a hunting Kestrel and a pair of Linnets by the River were…
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Window Wanderland: 15th – 17th February 2024

Decorate your windows or gardens and let’s light up our community with the theme ‘Nature is our Neighbour’, celebrating 25 years of Yatton and Congresbury Wildlife Action Group. It is easy, free and fun and open to everyone!Please see the…
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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…
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Bird News: December 2023

Following the sighting of a Short Eared Owl on Kenn Moor near our Littlewood Reserve further vigils on the 2nd and 3rd were unsuccessful but a Grey Wagtail was a nice surprise on the 2nd and a Peregrine on a…
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A ‘Populist’ View

When my friend Sue told me about a project to identify rare native black poplars in the 1990s, it was right up my street. I still haven’t really quite got round to a serious survey, but I can share with you…
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Bird News: November 2023

Two flocks of Woodpigeons totalling 2,000 birds were reported heading south over Kingston Seymour on the 3rd. A pair of Ravens were mutual preening to strengthen their pair bond on a nearby pylon. Redwing seen on the Strawberry Line Yatton…
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Grasshoppers and Crickets: a successful return to in person talks

A packed room greeted YACWAG’s speaker in the Chapter House, Yatton, in early November 2023. It was the first talk YACWAG had held in person for three years and members showed their support by coming along to learn about a…
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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…
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Bird News: September 2023

 The Swallow roost at Wemberham Lane dispersed and on the 1st Pied Wagtails were roosting in increased numbers, at least 40 gathered on Smart’s factory before dropping into the reeds. Three Whinchat were on Congresbury Moor (4th) along with a…
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Bird News: August 2023

It was unsettled at the beginning of August but a Little Owl was calling in the late evening of the 1st in Claverham and the next day a juvenile Sparrowhawk put in an appearance in a members garden in Yatton.…
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Bird News: July 2023

The month started with reports of lots of House Sparrows and House Martins on the Chestnut Park Estate and good numbers of Swallows with young at the stables in Wemberham Lane. Chiffchaff and Blackcap were singing there intermittently with  a…
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Bird News: June 2023

The month started with three Swifts over Cadbury Hill where young Great Spotted Woodpeckers could be heard in a nest. A Red Kite was over the centre of Yatton early in the month and by mid month at least five…
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Bird News: May 2023

The early morning bird walk along the Strawberry Line and Congresbury Moor on the 1st attracted 25 attendees, and eventually we heard each of our seven regular warbler species in song, with most of them visible at times. One of…
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Bird News: April 2023

The month opened with two Linnets in a Kenn garden, not a usual garden species. It was a case of the quiet and the noisy in the churchyard at Kingston Seymour with a Goldcrest and a Ring Necked Parakeet. Three…
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Nature Friendly Farming

Watch an illustrated talk followed by questions and answers given to YACWAG by Eleanor Higginson who is a Land Management Consultant. Topics covered include: What's going on in farming right now? (including UK Government schemes and Regenerative Farming), Essential Natural…
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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…
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Bird pictures from Norfolk

Mark Savage visited East Anglia at the end of February 2023 and has kindly provided these pictures of scarce species. Shorelarks at Holkham Gap, Norfolk (photo by Mark Savage. 26 February 2023) These birds are well named, they are winter…
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Tell it to the Bees

The fourth in a series of blogs about YACWAG’s fields and their secrets. You can view the previous entries here.Part 1: Fields Hold SecretsPart 2: A Small Field with a Big SecretPart 3: From Nags to Niches – Having a…
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Bird News: February 2023

There was a mixed flock of about 80 Fieldfares and Redwings at the Stowey Reserve and also evidence that Barn Owls have used both the new box and the repositioned box. The adjacent fields produced a pair of Stonechats, a…
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Bird News: January 2023

The Kenn Moor Reserve Snipe count on the 2nd produced 28 Snipe with a few Meadow Pipits, a pair of Stonechats and an overflying Little Egret. On the same day a mixed flock of 200 Redwings and Fieldfares was by…
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Get ready for the 2023 Wildlife Window Wanderland!

After the success of the last year's Window Wanderland we are pleased to announce it's return. Last year in February 2022, 60 households, groups and businesses in Congresbury, Yatton and Claverham partook in creating wonderful wildlife displays for their street-facing…
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Bird News: December 2022

The first Snipe count of the winter took place on the 4th at Kenn Moor Reserve. There were a dozen Snipe which is about average for the early December count there. The Congresbury Moor fields were fairly dry so only…
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Bird News: November 2022

Our member on Cadbury Hill reported Great Tits ‘everywhere’ and a Marsh Tit as well as a Tawny Owl in the car park at the beginning of the month. A couple of days later whilst we were cleaning out the…
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Watch a fascinating talk about fungi

An illustrated hour long talk followed by questions and answers about fungi in YACWAG's Littlewood reserve given by John and Doreen Bailey of The North Somerset and Bristol Fungus Group (NS&BFG). </div></code></pre> or open video in YouTube. You can view…
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Get your garden wildlife-ready for winter

We’ve reached that time of year when the flowering season for most garden plants has ended, the trees are busy shedding the last of their leaves, and the temptation is to cut everything back to ‘tidy up’ the garden. But…
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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.…
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Bird News: September 2022

There was a good passage of Wheatears and Whinchats at the beginning of the month, mostly observed by the Hinkley Connect haul road sites by the River Yeo, Wemberham Lane and Kenn Moor. Wheatear numbers peaked at eight and Whinchat…
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Bird News: August 2022

At the beginning of the month there were reports of two Tawny Owls seen in Claverham. A juvenile Sparrowhawk was calling there with others in Littlewood and Wemberham Lane. Also in Wemberham Lane a Kingfisher was present and juvenile Reed…
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Helping wildlife to weather a changing climate

The recent intense heatwave arrived during a summer of prolonged dry weather, creating challenging conditions not only for people but for wildlife as well. The climate emergency means that we are going to see extreme weather events like this happening…
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Bird News: July 2022

Three Skylarks were in full song in the Wemberham area on the first of the month. They must be on their second or third nesting attempts this year. Song will diminish and probably be over by mid month. Nearby four…
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Bird News: June 2022

The Raven family returned to the Kingston Seymour pylon on the 1st and all three young have survived their first few months of life. A Peregrine perched a respectable two pylons away, the first seen at the Kingston end for…
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Time to put a stop our reliance on pesticides

60 years on from the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, why are we still poisoning wildlife with pesticides? In 1962 a book was published that proved to be a landmark in society’s awareness of the ways in which humans…
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Bird News: late May 2022

Firstly some news from early May when Hobbies were seen over Yatton on the 2nd and the 8th. These would be passage birds heading to their nesting territories.There was a remarkable record of a nocturnal calling Moorhen on two consecutive…
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Bird News: early May 2022

The Raven’s nest on the pylon at Kingston Seymour held three sizeable young at the beginning of the month. and there was a Whinchat on Kenn Moor the next day. The early morning bird song walk enjoyed good listening conditions,…
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From Nags to Niches – Having a Field Day

This is the third in a short series of articles about YACWAG’s fields and their secrets. New Croft (meaning new enclosure) is an ancient hay meadow on Congresbury Moor which YACWAG bought in 2000. It was enclosed from the Great…
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Open Day celebration at Cobthorn Reserve 14th May 2022

"Nature is Your Neighbour" at Cobthorn ReserveALL WELCOME TO THIS FREE EVENT! Please join us in celebration of our latest land acquisition on Saturday 14th May 2022 2-5pm FAMILY ACTIVITIES, GUIDED WALKS, NATURE TRAIL, VISIT THE ‘BAT CAVE’, BUILD A…
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Bird News: April 2022

Two Swallows flying over Congresbury Moor on the first day of the month were the first reported locally but generally migration with the exception of good numbers of Chiffchaffs was slow early on. Greenfinches however, are abundant around the villages,…
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Bird News: March 2022

Congresbury Cricket ground is in the headlines again. Following three Green Woodpeckers at the end of February there were 50 Pied Wagtails late afternoon on the 3rd. This was no doubt a pre roost flock as this species roosts communally…
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A Small Field with a Big Secret

Milepost 31 You may not have heard of Milepost 31, a small field off the Strawberry Line at Yatton which is now part of Biddle Street Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Its history and ownership is, to most people,…
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New Development for Bats in North Somerset

A celebration of the transfer of land from Strongvox to Yatton and Congresbury Wildlife Action Group (YACWAG) was held on Friday 18th March 2022 on site at Cobthorn Way, Congresbury, with the Chair of North Somerset Council, Cllr Richard Westwood,…
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Lights out for the creatures of the night

Spring is on its way and the days are getting longer – but this month we’re focused on the night-time, with a look at why dark skies are so important for nature.  Tawny Owl by Dean Eades Gazing up at…
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Bird News: February 2022

Firstly an amazing record of a male Hen Harrier by the Little River last October. Thanks to Emily Lomas for this video. I have never seen a male locally and I’m pretty sure none has been reported in the last…
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Wildlife Window Wanderland

All the W’s! And people added their own – wildlife winter wanderland, wildlife window wonderland, or any combination of the five or so available. Whatever you call it, 60 households, groups and businesses in Congresbury, Yatton and Claverham thoroughly enjoyed themselves…
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Fields Hold Secrets

“Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow and plough” Gerald Manley Hopkins I like the idea that in the fields around us there are secrets waiting to be discovered; there are stories waiting to be told. That is the basis…
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Bird News: January 2022

The monthly Snipe count (3rd) at the Kenn Moor Reserve yielded an impressive 49 birds with two Jack Snipe and a pair of Stonechats. The Reserve was nicely wet but by the end of the month had dried somewhat and…
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Six ways to take more action for wildlife in 2022

The end of January may be in sight, but there’s still time to make some resolutions for the year ahead. Amid regular headlines about the climate and nature emergency and its effects on the wildlife we all love, it’s easy…
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Bird News: December 2021

The long running bird survey covering part of Congresbury Moor, the river and Gang Wall turned up a calling Water Rail in the ditch opposite the mosaic seat on the Strawberry Line, a traditional site from some years past. A…
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Christmas Bird Survey

It's the time of year for the YACWAG Christmas garden bird survey. If you live in Yatton, Congresbury or nearby, your records will add to our body of knowledge of local bird trends since 2006. If you are a member…
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Bird News: November 2021

A sunny day after several wet days saw the pair of Stonechats by Wemberham Lane with the regular (on calm days) Peregrine feeding on a pylon. 18 Redwings were in the orchard near the motorway and 16 Mute Swans were…
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Tree Dressing Day 2021: Bees and Trees

Tree Dressing Day falls on Saturday 4th December this year, and YACWAG will celebrating with a display highlighting the importance of bees and trees. YACWAG has been decorating trees in Yatton, Claverham and Congresbury for at least the last 15…
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Christmas is Coming to Congresbury – and so is a new nature reserve!

The Congresbury Christmas Market is back this year and will be held on Wednesday 8th December from 6-8.30 pm. Yatton and Congresbury Wildlife Action Group (YACWAG) is taking the opportunity to put up a display about their new nature reserve off Cobthorn Way. The…
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The Barn Owl – a talk by Chris Sperring MBE

on Thursday 18th November 2021 at 7.30 pm via Zoom Chris Sperring holding a barn owl Chris Sperring MBE is a professional conservation officer as well as a writer and broadcaster.  Chris gave advice to YACWAG when we were first…
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Home composting: the greener way to tackle green waste

Nutrient rich home compost The introduction of green waste charging in North Somerset has prompted many people to think again about what they do with their garden waste and food scraps. There’s never been a better time to add a…
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Bird News: October 2021

Sparrowhawk by Phil Whitchurch The wet weather at the beginning of the month brought 58 Goldfinches to wires in Kenn and a Sparrowhawk (see photo above by Phil Whitchurch) to a Congresbury garden. The following day a Peregrine stooped into…
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A Wonderful Surprise!

Out of the blue, we had a contact through the YACWAG website from Isobel Williams, the Community Activator at Waitrose in Nailsea. Isobel told us that the staff felt that the store's giving to good causes had neglected local environmental…
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Bird News: September 2021

Osprey at Cheddar photo by Mark Savage The roost at Wemberham Lane was devoid of Swallows early in the month but 20 Pied Wagtails were taking advantage and roosting there. It will be interesting to see if their numbers build…
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New owl box for YACWAG

The dilapidated and life expired box in Norton’s has been replaced with a new recycled plastic ‘ECO’ box which should have a much longer life than our traditional wooden boxes. Nailsea Environment and Wildlife Trust have a similar box which…
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YACWAG Online Talk: 7th October 2021

Thomas Foxley: Protecting the Greater Horseshoe BatThomas will give an illustrated talk about the life of horseshoe bat and his PhD thesis about spatial modelling in Somerset. See here for full details
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Bird news: August 2021

Whinchat on the Strawberry Line by Mark Savage A single Lapwing on a field adjacent to the Strawberry Line was an unusual late summer record these days. From Wemberham Lane a pair of Ravens were visible perched on a diagonal…
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A posy of plant lore

The inspiration from this month’s blog came from a visit to St Mary’s churchyard in Yatton with YACWAG trustee Faith Moulin earlier in the summer, when we were enjoying the wonderful plant life that the churchyard holds. At the latest…
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Farmland birds, what are they?

It is widely recognised that nearly all of the landscape in Britain is man made and it has been suggested ( entirely logically I believe) that the distribution and suite of bird species is equally ‘man made’. The decline in…
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Bird news: July 2021

Following on from the notes in the July 2021 newsletter there was an exceptional record of a White Stork flying over Yatton on the 18th, possibly one of the birds from the Knepp Estate rewilding project. More expected was a…
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Wild World Heroes: Summer Reading Challenge and Nature Treasure Hunt

Summer Reading Challenge The Summer Reading Challenge is an annual event to encourage children aged 4-11 to read for pleasure. This year's theme is Wild World Heroes, inspiring children to stand up for the planet. Our local libraries are supporting and…
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Kestrels, Barn Owls and Peregrines

In the 1970’s and 80’s Kestrels were the most common bird of prey in the UK, indeed the other 13 breeding species together could not reach half of the then 80,000 pairs of Kestrels. Persecution and pesticides had affected Kestrels…
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Tigers, hawks and hummingbirds: what will you find on Moth Night?

We are lucky to have a huge variety of moths on our doorstep, with an incredible 1,500 species found in the Bristol area. Moth Night runs from 8-10th July this year and is the perfect opportunity to get to know…
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Wildlife in the palm of your hand: the best apps for connecting with nature

In recent years there’s been an explosion in the number of apps for identifying, mapping and recording wildlife. Here we look at some of the best to help you learn more about the plants and animals you see and hear…
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Online talks now available to watch

Starting with Sarah Dale's talk on Biodiversity and with more to shortly follow. Please see our new Library page to watch the talk.
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The easiest wildlife gardening job in May? Give your mower a break

Do your bit for the bees by letting your lawn grow during No Mow May, and take part in Plantlife’s  Every Flower Counts survey. Many of us have taken a renewed interest in our gardens during the recent lockdowns, and…
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Wilder Waterways

Bernie D’Arcy the Living Landscapes Manager from Avon Wildlife Trust gave a presentation to YACWAG members via Zoom on 8th April 2021 on an exciting project being undertaken jointly with the Bristol Avon Rivers Trust (BART) on the Land Yeo.…
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