October 25, 2020 at 5:54 pm #3225
Hi Everyone – prior to the new U3A web site going on line I am testing the bird watching forum. Let me know of any new sighting you have had on recent walks or visits. Have you had any sightings of thrushes, what about waders on the Levels.
April 13, 2021 at 4:42 pm #6976
A lovely sunny morning’s birding at Stolford today, including 5 new ones for our 2021 list: Swallow, Reed Bunting, Wheatear, Pintail and Whimbrel. We also heard a Cetti’s Warbler. (27 species in all)April 12, 2021 at 8:44 am #6916
A quiet week as my walking buddy has hurt her back:
5th April – Allerford to Selworthy circuit.
A fairly quiet day, the usual suspects seen and heard. Thought there may be fresh otter spraints in the river.
6th April – Conygar Tower and R Avill (Dunster Castle area)
A walking group so not much time to stop and listen or watch. Heard Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, Green Woodpecker and Nuthatch. Rooks busy as usual.
8th April – Moor Woods, Reservoir circuit.
Another walking group, so not much time to stop and listen. Heard my first Willow Warbler. Four Buzzards circling the main car park.
Had close up view of single Red Deer hind in Lynch’s field, surprised as the group were noisy and it looked at us so knew we were there. Wondered if it was about to calve but books say May/June.
Hope to hear Cuckoos soon.
Elsewhere in the UK Yellow Wagtails have been seen and Ring Ouzels are on the move.April 4, 2021 at 2:09 pm #6867
A quiet week:
29th March – Penultimate car park North Hill to Selworthy Beacon, to Bury Castle, back towards Selworthy Beacon then Coast Path behind Beacon and back up to car park.
On way up North Hill, Nuthatch and Great Tit on usual apple tree plus Dunnocks on the ground. On the way to Selworthy Beacon numerous Stonechats and Skylarks seen also Greenfinch, Raven and Buzzards. By Accessible path and Bury Castle, Chaffinch and Goldfinch, several Chiffchaffs heard.
30th March – far end of North Hill (with a walking group)
Too noisy to see much, lots of Skylarks singing.
In garden Peacock and first Brimstone of the year, also first Chiffchaff (well it was a warbler and Chiffchaffs are around).
1st April – Nutcombe – Witts Wood
Another group walk so a little noisy. Mistle Thrush seen, Goldcrest & Chiffchaffs heard plus a Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming.
Wood Sorrel, Primroses, Bluebells, Cuckoo Pint and Wild Strawberry mostly in car park.
3rd April – Conygar Tower and Dunster Castle Ground alongside River.
A cold day saw Chiffchaffs, Blackcap (a lovely close up view, he just kept on singing) Siskins, House Sparrows, Pheasant and noisy Rooks in their Rookery. Also heard Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming and several Green WoodpeckersApril 2, 2021 at 4:56 pm #6866
First Willow Warblers of the year seen and heard around Clatworthy Reservoir this afternoon. Tufted Ducks too. Also Herring and Black-backed Gulls, Canada Geese, Mallard, Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits, Goldcrest, Chaffinch, Blackcap, Blackbird, Robin. Wren and Nuthatch heard.March 29, 2021 at 8:26 pm #6848
More notes from my walks:
22nd March – North Hill, The Cross, Allerford Combe, Lynch Combe, Bossington Hill, passing top end of Hurlstone and East Combe.
Buzzards and Ravens flying overhead. Lots of Skylarks, Green Woodpecker heard, and Nuthatch on drive home near Moor Wood.
24th March – from car park top of Selworthy Hill, Bury Castle, The Cross, Allerford Combe, Holnicote Combe, St Katherine’s Well circuit.
Heard first Chiffchaff of the season, indeed there were several calling. Several Buzzards overhead, Treecreeper, Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker heard.
Roe Deer and Peacock butterfly seen.
26th March – Beacon Road, down to Greenaleigh Track and across to Burgundy Chapel
Fairly quiet, as it rained part way through the walk. Saw Buzzard and Nuthatch, heard Chiffchaffs, Great Spotted Woodpecker (calls and drumming), Buzzard and Jay.
Wood Sorrel along Greenaleigh track.
27th March – A 39 Periton, Black Knap, up Periton Hill towards Wootton Common and back down to A39
Heard numerous Chiffchaffs and managed to see one, Goldfinch and Pheasant also seen. Heard Song Thrush, Great Spotted Woodpecker (calls & drumming), Jay, Buzzard and Raven.
Also saw a still pool with tadpoles and at least 5 small newts.
A few Wood Sorrel flowers in Knapp Wood area but lots more developing.March 25, 2021 at 4:08 pm #6828
Multiple Chiffchaffs heard along the Mineral Line path this afternoon, one of which I managed to catch in my binoculars. We had not heard any in Minehead up to yesterday. Also Blackcaps singing beautifully, plus Blackbirds and a Song Thrush, plus a brief sighting of an immature or female Bullfinch. Thanks Kay and Catherine for suggesting that is a good place to birdwatch from Watchet/Washford – the bird song was wonderful.March 22, 2021 at 3:45 pm #6824
More notes from my walks:
15th March – Manor Road, Long Combe (Alcombe), Oway Corner, return down Long Combe.
Started overcast but then picked up. Grey Wagtail, Tree Creeper and Raven seen from Long Combe. On the top of Hopcott another Tree Creeper, Blue Tits & Coal Tits seen, Great Tit heard. Difficult to see birds in the tall Fir Trees but various Tits heard, Wrens, Robins & Blackbirds singing and a Buzzard heard overhead.
Forestry works above the Hopcott car park, some paths closed to walkers, path to Oway very muddy due to heavy vehicle access.
17th March – North Hill, Selworthy Beacon, Bury Castle, The Cross & Jacob’s Ladder
A very quiet walk, Skylarks singing and Ravens overhead.
18th March – Holnicote Estate (Beaver enclosure), Chapel Cross and back towards Piles Mill.
No Beavers, Blue & Great Tits, Buzzard, Heron flew overhead, Song Thrush singing and Pheasant, Jay & Green Woodpecker also heard.
Lots of primroses and first Comma butterfly of the year.
19th March – Nutcombe Bottom, Black Ball, Gallox Hill, Bats Castle, Withycombe Hill Gate, along top edge of King’s Head Coppice to Bonnington Gate and back to car park.
Grey Wagtail, Goldcrest, pair Great Spotted Woodpeckers (Gallox Hill), 3 Buzzards plus Green Woodpeckers heard plus on Gallox Hill a Tawny Owl calling.
20th March – Bossington Beach, Lime Kilns towards Porlock.
Nothing of note in car park (Firecrests were seen last year) House Sparrows, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Pheasants and 12 Magpies in a single field, from lane going down to Bossington Beach with Heron flying over. Lime Kiln to long boardwalk, Little Egret, 5 x Redshank, 2 Shelduck, lone Teal (male) 2x Wigeon possible Reed Bunting (no Snow Bunting which was here last year and I think also this winter).
Lots of rabbits.
Black Redstart is still visiting my garden.March 14, 2021 at 2:23 pm #6670
Not a good week for walking:
8th March – Lower Marsh Farm & Dunster Beach Coast Path
Cold and windy. Lower Marsh Farm produced, Wigeon, Shelduck and Cormorants in the flooded fields, Rooks, Little Egrets (3 all in the Rookery trees), Mallards, Moorhen, Pied Wagtails and lots of Dunnocks and Chaffinches. The Dunster Coast Path was very windy, tide was well in so more Shelducks, Oystercatchers, Black Headed Gulls and Herring Gulls. Not many small birds mainly Goldfinches but a number of Skylarks heard and seen.
9th-11th & 13th – wet windy and getting worse forecasts.
12th March – Conygar Tower, Gallox Bridge & Dunster Castle fields by river.
Not that good a day, windy gusts. Smaller birds were, I think, keeping low in the undergrowth, although 4 different Tits seen. Very vocal Green Woodpecker heard but not seen, Great Spotted Woodpecker heard. Rooks holding on in their Rookery. Nine Little Egrets in fields by Dunster Castle, mixed in with the Long Horned cattle but no yellow bills so not Cattle Egrets.
Hope weather is better next week.March 10, 2021 at 9:06 pm #6623
I know it is a bit of a tease being lockdown and you can’t go far but:
9th March White-tailed Eagle seen twice in Tadhill/Cranmore Tower area (near Shepton Mallet).
Shapwick – Sand Martins have been seen recently and at least 2 Bitterns Booming.
Note – Sand Martins can be seen over the pool at Bossington Beach (car park by Kitners – turn right out of car park and follow lane to beach – pool at end on right), so might be worth a visit on a good day. Guidelines permitting.March 7, 2021 at 1:43 pm #6536
Notes on my recent walks:
1st March – Beacon Road, to Memorial fields, to Moor Wood, on to 2nd carpark and return via Radar Station.
Rather a cold and miserable day. Hear Buzzard, Raven & Jay at the very start of the walk. On Hill Road, where there is an apple tree with some bird feeders were, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit , Long Tailed Tit, Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Robin, Magpie and Crows. Elsewhere Goldfinch, Wren, Dunnock and Stonechat, also Greenfinch & Skylark heard. Surprisingly no Woodpeckers.
4th March – Zig Zag paths to North Hill Road, drop down to Greenaleigh track head for Culvercliffe but return to Greenaleigh track.
A shorter than usual walk. Very quiet, I fancy the Ravens seem to be over Culvercliffe more than in previous years.
5th March – Walk A – Rose garden to Butlins.
They seem to have cleared out some of the waterways. Cetti’s Warbler heard and then seen, Mallards and Moorhen.
Walk B – Whitecross, to Reservoir, Jim’s path to Bratton Ball almost down to Woodcombe and back to Whitecross.
Great Tit, Blue Tit pairs and Goldcrest seen plus Long Tailed Tits and Jay heard on Whitecross to Woodcombe footpath. Out on North Hill the Ravens were flying close together almost synchronised, perhaps part of the pairing process. Goldfinches were about and a Buzzard was calling.
6th March – Rugby Club, Ellicombe Lane, St Leonards Well, Grabbist, Holes Corner & return.
Just the short walk along Ellicombe Lane (road section) gave Blue Tits, Great Tits, Long Tailed Tits, Goldfinches, Redwing plus a Song Thrush that was very vocal but completely hidden in a conifer. Buzzards were seen; Ravens, Jays and Skylark heard. Near Hole’s Corner feeding on a footpath were 3 Redpolls (assume Lesser), good long view. Then returning back along the track section of Ellicombe Lane were 3 Green Woodpeckers ground feeding in one of the fields with the ant hills. There must have been plenty of food because they were there for ages, indeed they were still feeding when we left. To accompany them was the drumming of a Woodpecker – guess it is a Great Spotted Woodpecker as the Greens do not drum very often.
No deer seen but plenty of slot marks.February 28, 2021 at 12:23 pm #6430
My Weekly walks – Kay Bullen:
22nd Feb – North Hill far car park, The Cross, Lynch Combe & Bossington Hill circuit.
A lovely sunny day for a walk, had fabulous views from Bossington Hill looking over Lower Bossington Car Park by Kitner’s and the Rec ground at Allerford. In the car on the way to the car park just before the Memorial Hut were 2 Red Deer. Heard Green Woodpecker, numerous times, and Song Thrushes, the bird song is increasing as February slips by. The other noticeable sound was from the busy bees working on the Gorse. Saw Ravens, 3 unusually quiet Buzzards lazily making use of the thermals, Sky Larks, Stonechats and the usual smaller birds. Might have identified more if I had not left my binoculars at home!!
25th Feb – Croydon Hill to Clicket.
Intended to walk around Croydon Hill and then drop down to Clicket but the Forest Enterprise were working along the route I intended to take so dropped straight down onto Timberscombe Common.
Within minutes I saw my first butterfly of the year, could not make out what species but it was large and dark so guess a Peacock. Saw Pheasant, Buzzard and Raven heard Skylark, Jay, Green Woodpecker and Greenfinch.
Masses of Snowdrops through most of the walk and a few primroses, also some Pussy Willow buds. Certainly worth a visit again at this time of year, although it was muddy and springs were in full flow.
26th Feb –North Hill far end car park to Bossington Hill.
Lovely day but fairly short walk today due to other commitments. Saw Buzzard, Raven, Green Woodpecker, Long Tailed Tit, Goldfinch, Stonechat and Skylark. Heard Greenfinch.
Two Red Deer seen and a Peacock Butterfly.
27th Feb – Horner, Ley Hill, Granny’s Ride, Pentley Seat circuit
Whilst it was very foggy in Minehead once I got to Selworthy it was clear.
Lovely walk down from near the top of Ley Hill through the woods. Heard a Woodpecker drumming (given Green Woodpeckers don’t often drum I guess it was a Great Spotted Woodpecker). Great Spotted was heard later and also a Green Woodpecker was seen. Buzzards and Ravens with one encounter where the Ravens were seeing off the Buzzard. One interested encounter was some Jays make very loud alarm calls and in between the calls I heard a Whoo of a Tawny Owl. I assume it was trying to sleep but was found by the Jays and that was why they were “alarming” – did not find the Owl. Out of the woods were Stonechats, Goldfinches and Greenfinch heard.
Six red deer – 2 stags and 4 hinds viewed from just below Pentley Seat, watched them grazing for a good 15 minutes and eventually they worked their way up to the skyline, so brilliant views of the stags with their newly forming antlers.February 21, 2021 at 10:32 am #6395
More about my walks :
15th Feb – Dunster Beach path to Blue Anchor
Better weather today so a short walk along the footpath – flooding has subsided. Heard and saw my first Skylark, singing way up high. Stonechats, lots of Dunnocks, and in the River Avill run off was at least 1 Dipper and a Grey Wagtail. Tide was well out. Did not see any ducks or waders but I did not go to the ponds or the farm fields.
17th Feb – Allerford taking in St Agnes Fountain, Holnicote Combe, St Katherine’s Well and Lynch Combe.
Started to rain just after I started so not much in the way of birds. Lovely drift of Snowdrops just after crossing the river by Stoates Farm. However I had good views of a Goldcrest, a Wren put in an appearance and then a small flock on Goldfinches just at the end. A number of Song Thrushes were singing although not seen.
18th FEB – Conygar Tower circuit and Dunster Castle fields by river.
Alternating between wet, windy & cold and sunny. Some celandines are in flower in the woods.
Green Woodpecker very vocal throughout the whole walk, although not seen. The Rooks are gathering around their nests, with the usual accompanying noise. Pair (possibly) of Great Spotted Woodpeckers flew into a nearby tree, one staying for several minutes. Blue Tit and Great Tit, Chaffinch, Redwing, Buzzard, Raven, Pied Wagtail all seen.
Lots more song around, Song Thrush, Great Tit and Chaffinch in particular. Also heard a Jay.
Nothing seen along river section today.
19th & 20th – Rain stop play.February 17, 2021 at 10:07 am #6353
Just a quick note – I understand a Northern Mockingbird has been seen in Devon, no details given, it looks to me a little like a washed out Pied Wagtail with an upright Robin/Thrush stance. You never know it might make its way up to Somerset.February 15, 2021 at 1:52 pm #6316
I have just returned from a walk going from Dunster Beach towards Blue Anchor and heard then saw my first skylark of the season, singing very high up. Dipper and Grey Wagtail in the R Avill run off as well.February 15, 2021 at 12:56 pm #6315
Skylarks seen and heard on the Golf Course this morning – Spring must be on the way!
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