Registered charity
No. 1076362

News & blog

______

Here you'll find latest news and feature articles.
Please see the calendar for upcoming events and the newsletters for past news.

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 Kestrel, no doubt one of our resident birds, was hover hunting and a Kingfisher gave the briefest of views. Much ditch work and scrub removal around the Gang Wall seems…
Continue reading...

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 of YACWAG you will have received an email inviting you to take part, but even if you haven't yet joined YACWAG you can still partake and your observations will be…
Continue reading...

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 in a field nearby. There was a Green Sandpiper and a Grey Wagtail by Phipps Sluice on the River Yeo. Green Sandpipers are rare winter birds but warmer winters has…
Continue reading...

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 years and members were sad last year’s celebration could not go ahead due to Covid-19 restrictions. This year a swarm of bees will descend on local trees to show that…
Continue reading...

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 reserve has been given to YACWAG through the planning process to manage, especially for the Greater Horseshoe Bat. There are estimated to be only about 12,000 of these larger bats…
Continue reading...

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 formed and bought our first ten-acre field to be a nature reserve. We had been hoping we could persuade lapwings to nest on the field, having seen them decline and…
Continue reading...

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 compost heap to your garden! Provide a wildlife habitat A compost heap can be a wonderful addition to the wildlife interest in your garden. As the contents of your compost…
Continue reading...

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 an area of houses at the village end of Wemberham Lane, followed by an explosion of Jackdaws, Pigeons and Starlings. The attack was unsuccessful and the Peregrine hammered across the…
Continue reading...

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 charities and the younger Waitrose partners had been having a good look at our website. They were impressed by the work we do, and the professionalism of our website. She…
Continue reading...

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 up as Autumn progresses. Around 200 Starlings were congregating on a nearby pylon and it’s possible that they may start to roost in the reeds. It does demonstrate what a…
Continue reading...

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 held a pair of Barn Owls with three Owlets this summer so we know that they work. Nortons new ECO plastic owl box Andrew Hunt arrived with his tractor and…
Continue reading...

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
Continue reading...

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 strut on a pylon. Why do Ravens like to use inclined perches, Kestrels and Peregrines never do? Indeed a Peregrine was on the top horizontal bar feeding on the 13th…
Continue reading...

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 count 18 different grasses, 37 tree and shrub species and more than 80 species of flowering and wall plants have been recorded there by YACWAG. This year the closed churchyard…
Continue reading...

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 farmland birds relates to the changes since c 1950 when modernisation and intensification of agriculture began at the government’s behest and surveys of breeding birds started soon after. In the…
Continue reading...

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 flock of 25 Mistle Thrushes at the Littlewood Reserve with a few Linnets nearby. Mistle Thrushes have become scarce birds locally but they form post breeding flocks and Kenn Moor…
Continue reading...

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 promoting the challenge, and children can pick up a pack and borrow books to read for the challenge from their local library. The challenge runs from 10th July to 11th…
Continue reading...

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 less than Buzzards and Sparrowhawks. The rest of the diurnal raptor species were extremely rare. Kestrel taken on Strawberry Line Yeo by Mark Savage Kestrels feed largely on small mammals…
Continue reading...

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 your night-time neighbours. Elephant Hawk moth Moths have an undeserved reputation for being drab and boring, when in fact their world is one of wonderful variety – there are some…
Continue reading...

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 when you’re out and about – and contribute to science too! Be a record makerTwo of the biggest and most widely used apps for identifying wildlife are iRecord and iNaturalist.…
Continue reading...