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.
June 15, 2021 at 6:13 pm #7832
Just about to add a few things about my sighting. However Janet Wilson has posted under a new heading about the Rose Coloured Starling she has seen in her garden at Porlock. I’m green with envy.
For my part I visited Dunster Beach ponds yesterday. Cetti’s Warblers and Reed Warblers were both calling. Several sets of Canada Geese has goslings and likewise the Mallards have duckling.
Today I went towards Butlins, walked alongside the railway path and then across into the Rose garden. Again Cetti’s Warblers and Reed Warblers were heard in the reed beds. Then in the Rose Garden the Cetti’s Warbler was heard again, it was probably across the main road. Then being hassled by Herring Gulls over the Callen’s Wood, Alcombe area was a Red Kite.
I hope to be off to Scotland on Friday – bird watching of course.June 6, 2021 at 3:59 pm #7657
River Warbler – Ham Wall (5th June 2021)
I came across this on one of the web sites I visit, have to say I have not heard of a River Warbler before!
A rare visitor to the UK with on average just one record a year with this bird being a first for Somerset. Typically breeding across central and southern Europe to southwest Siberia and northwest Kazakhstan, it is a rather nondescript brown warbler. Dark with a plain brown back, faintly streaked breast, and pale belly.
Usually very shy or skulky and hard to spot, other than when singing. Found in dense low bushes often near marshes. The song is a sharp, continuous, and almost machinelike “dzi-dzi-dzi-dzi-dzi-dz.”
Photograph on eBird on this link, although have not tried it myself yet, https://ebird.org/species/eurwar2?siteLanguage=en_GB
The river warbler has been seen singing regularly on a pile of brash on the grass path side of the canal near the turning to the Avalon Hide.
Please adhere to guidance on social distancing and hygiene and be considerate of each other to ensure that everyone can view the bird safely, as well as being able to pass along the path.May 30, 2021 at 11:01 pm #7645
Have not been getting out so much recently due to the weather. However I did get a walk around Simonsbath on 29th May.
Simonsbath – Horsen Farm to Pickedstone Farm and Two Moors Way.
Every time I have been to Simonsbath I have always heard and sometimes seen Cuckoos and within a few minutes I heard the first one. However that was it, not another Cuckoo was even heard.
However, Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Buzzard, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff (heard just the one), Cuckoo, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker (using same nest hole as a few years ago and sounded like there were youngsters in there), Great Tit, Green Woodpecker (H), House Martin, House Sparrow, Jackdaw (H), Jay, Linnet, Magpie, Pheasant (H), Pied Wagtail (H), Redstart (male), Robin, Song Thrush (H), Skylark, Stonechat, Swallow, Tree Pipit, Willow Warbler (lots), Winchat, Wood Pigeon, Wren (including a nest low down in a moss covered wall).
However the highlight was Grasshopper Warbler, heard initially then seen and then a second one appeared. Also far off a little later on perhaps another male singing.
Sadly saw a dead adder (protected species) that I think someone had killed.May 30, 2021 at 6:15 pm #7644Martin FiskParticipant
Utterly charmed this afternoon (30 May) in Whitecross Lane. A male bullfinch popped up and visited our ‘pond’ for a drink. Balancing on cordyline leaves dipping into the water, he seemed oblivious to us drinking tea just a few feet away. We usually see one a year, but lovely to have time to look closely. Sadly no camera available, but unlikely that would have had a successful outcome!May 26, 2021 at 3:50 pm #7602
A good day’s birding at Ham Wall this morning. Highlights were Hobby (perched and flying), Marsh Harrier, Great White Egret, Great Crested Grebe (with young), Little Grebe, Pochard, Coot (with young) and Sedge Warbler. Heard but not seen were: Bitterns booming, Water Rail squealing, Cetti’s Warblers, Reed Warblers and Cuckoo.May 8, 2021 at 10:08 pm #7168
Walks W/C 3rd May
4th May – Nutcombe Bottom to Bats Castle
Very windy day and with a walking group, so nothing or interest seen or heard.
6th May – Nutcombe Bottom around Whits Wood
Another quiet day, not even a Cuckoo.
7th May – Nutcombe Bottom to Bats Castle again
Heard then saw a Wood Warbler, a very vocal Cuckoo mainly when we were in the wooded area so no chance of seeing it.
On the open ground near Bats Castle a pair of Mistle Thrushes collecting food. Also Stonechat seen and then lower in the valley a male Grey Wagtail (males have a black bib in the breeding season). Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers heard but it was windy at times which made listening for the bird calls difficult.
8th May – Carhampton to Deer Park & return via Horse Pond.
Lots of Swallows over a mown field. Song Thrushes singing all over the place, also Chiffchaffs. A Raven called overhead and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard in the distance.
Saw 3 small herds of Red Deer perhaps 22 in all.May 2, 2021 at 10:26 pm #7093
W/C 26thApril to 1 May
27th – Bratton to Whitecross
Walking with a non-birdwatching group. Heard Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Green Woodpecker. Swallows on the wire by the old Manor House at Bratton (by Stinky Lane).
29th – Ellicome to Alcombe
Walking with a non-birdwatching group. Good view of Blackcap singing. Heard Song Thrush, Chiffchaff and Green Woodpecker.
1st May – Nutcombe Bottom to Bats Castle circuit.
Heard my first Cuckoo and saw 2 Yellowhammers, also Song Thrush, Stonechat, Willow Warbler and Buzzards (both settled). Heard Raven and Chiffchaff as well as other usual suspects. Yellowhammers’ song not perfect, I think they need more practise “eese” was muted.May 1, 2021 at 1:10 pm #7092
Walked from Nutcombe Bottom to Bats Castle this morning, heard my first Cuckoo and saw 2 Yellowhammers, one near the Gallox settlement area and the other just passed the bench before Bats Castle.April 28, 2021 at 3:45 pm #7082
19th – 25th April. Not many walks this week as Mum is poorly and my walking friend has sciatica.
A walk on 22nd April along Dunster beach towards Blue Anchor saw several Whitethroats. One in the hedgerow just before the R. Avill gully. Swallows were also flying low alongside the Coast Path.April 20, 2021 at 9:45 am #6999
General News – not my sightings:
White Tailed Eagle around in Wiltshire
Pied Flycatcher – Cloutsham
Cuckoo – Oare
Ring Ouzels – Triscombe
My weekly walks:
12th April – Great Wood Selworthy to Selworthy Church, St Katherine’s Well and Lady Acland’s path (recce for SASP walking group).
The usual birds heard like Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Song Thrush and just as we returned to the car there was a noisy Nuthatch making a different sound to the one heard a few weeks earlier but it was seen.
Bluebells in full flower and a few orchids just opening.
13th April – above walk with the group. Not much seen or heard, we are noisy and it is not about bird watching.
14th April – Home (Minehead sea front) along Greenaleigh track and part of Coast path to 2nd car park on North Hill, back alongside Moor Wood down to Higher Moor Farm and home.
Ravens calling below me around Greenaleigh Farm area. Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, Goldfinches and Song Thrushes in the woods. Out on the side of North Hill Buzzards, Goldfinches, Linnet and Stonechat plus a possible House Martin (too far away to identify). Along top of North Hill walking back towards Moor Wood, Dartford Warbler (great views, not singing just slowly moving from gorse bush to gorse bush), Greenfinch and Meadow Pipit, may also have heard a Whitethroat.
16th April – Home to High Moor Farm track up to Moor Woods, out to 2nd car park & return, to apple tree and back down Moor Road.
On the way up the woods were very quiet compared to Wednesday, lots of rabbits in the fields. Once up by the Moor Wood car park and along North Hill there were, Greenfinch, Linnet, Song Thrush, Stonechat and heard Blackcap, Buzzard, Chiffchaff, Raven, Skylark (Skylarks seem quiet at the moment). On the apple tree a Great Tit and a Nuthatch. On the way back down Moor Road by High Moor Farm the Great Spotted Woodpeckers were drumming, at least 2 as they were hitting different sounding wood simultaneously.
Sadly no Dartford Warbler this time and no Cuckoo as yet.
Also seen was an Orange Tip butterfly and a Speckled Wood.
17th April – short circuit from Home up both Zig Zags to North Hill Road down to Greenaleigh Farm track return down Church Path.
Fairly quiet, usual birds singing, good view of Song Thrush on path with a beak full of food.April 14, 2021 at 5:38 pm #6977
My first Dartford Warbler of the season, North Hill, Moor Wood end. Good views.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.
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