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.
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 #6315Pam PettitParticipant
Skylarks seen and heard on the Golf Course this morning – Spring must be on the way!February 14, 2021 at 12:16 pm #6243
8th to 13th Feb 2021
A very cold and windy week. Just one walk around Greenaleigh tracks, binoculars stayed in my pocket.
Using the scope from my living room window I saw a Curlew in Minehead Bay. I have seen them before but only 2 maximum, most are seen along by Dunster Beach and fields or in fields around Bossington towards Porlock. The Little Egret was also around but I don’t see it as often as I used to and no Cormorants off the Harbour Wall. Wonder if it is because more people are walking this end of the beach and disturbing them, or perhaps because I am usually out walking so don’t see them.February 7, 2021 at 2:24 pm #5847
A few notes about this last week 1-7th Feb:
1st Feb – Along North Hill Road to Burgundy Chapel Car Park circuit. Very misty and a dampness in the air. A little snow on North Hill especially in patches where Snowmen once stood.
Saw Buzzard and Raven and heard a number of Jays in different places, otherwise very quiet.
3rd Feb – Allerford, Stoates Farm, to St Agnes Fountain, up to The Cross, across just below Bury Castle, over Holnicote Combe towards Selworthy and return via St Agnes again. A little wet underfoot but not as bad as some other places.
Fairly quiet, although Ravens were very raucous, Buzzard flew below us down Holnicote Combe, lots of little birds that would not keep still long enough to identify, except the Long Tailed Tit family. Jay was heard but not seen. Because I have not been able to get out with others from the group I am losing my bird call id knowledge, it was not very good anyway, but as always those in the group with good call recognition would always help. Can’t wait to hear my first Chiffchaff of the year also the Skylarks and then the Cuckoo.
4th Feb – rain stops play
5th Feb – Moor Wood, Jim’s Path, Bratton Ball, Hill Road View/Trig point back to Moor Wood
Weather not good, Raven, Long Tailed Tits and other feeding groups of small birds seen. Chaffinch and Song Thrush both singing and Jay heard.
6th Feb – Nutcombe Bottom Car Park – to Croydon Hill (Hare carving) circuit
Not a lot to see, chosen because of the firm surface of the main tracks, so not too muddy, although some areas may be off limits because of logging. Raven overhead, highlight 7 Red Deer crossing the track near the Hare carving.February 1, 2021 at 10:45 am #5592
Just a few notes on the birds around.
The Black Redstart is still about, I don’t see it that often but am told it is on my roof/guttering – and along to Metropole and behind Quay Inn, again on the roof.
My recent walks have been quiet:
25th Jan – a frosty morning so just a short walk up to Beacon Road and down towards Greenaleigh.
Very quiet but good to be out.
27th Jan – Conygar Tower and Dunster Castle fields.
Long tailed Tits & probably Goldcrests (small and would not keep still but moved like them), Great Spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch seen near the Tower and Green Woodpecker heard. In the fields by Dunster Castle, a Blackbird( with a strange song), a Song Thrush and then a Buzzard flew in low and landed in a nearby tree. Towards the river a small flock of Fieldfares and in the next field 4 Little Egrets.
28th Jan – Hopcott, to Hole’s Corner and down path to towards Aville Farm back via Oway Corner.
Very quiet, a Raven and some small birds heard but not seen. A single Red Deer seen on Knowle Hill. Heavy vehicles have made the tracks muddy in places.
29-31st – No walks last few days as weather was wet and misty.January 23, 2021 at 10:12 pm #5478
Just a few notes on some of the walks I have been on and some of the birds seen.
18th January – Walking from Allerford, up Allerford Combe then down Holnicote Combe, a visit to Mitchem’s Seat and back to Allerford.
Only the usual suspects but an enjoyable walk.
21st Jan – walking from Hopcott, to Marsh Cross, along Knowle Lane and back up to Hole’s Corner.
Highlight was a male Bullfinch in Knowle Lane. Various birds seen including a Buzzard that actually called, lots of Herring Gulls in the fields along Knowle Lane. Heard Raven, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, several Jays and a Mistle Thrush. Robins & Blackbirds singing and Great Tit calling “Teacher”.
22nd January – Dunster Beach area
Nearly high tide but not many birds around. Usual Gulls, Pied Wagtails, Oysterctachers, Meadow Pipits, Cormorant, 10 Turnstones and a Dipper (in the R Avill culvert). In the farm fields (no sheep today) Little Egrets, Curlew, Widgeon, more Oystercatchers and Starlings. Pheasants in the farm yard. The usual Rooks around the Rookery plus Crows, Jackdaws and Magpies.
23rd Jan – Allerford, across to St Agnes Fountain then St Katherine’s Well and back via Holnicote, Allerford & Lynch Combes.
Beautiful day, sunny and sheltered in the Combes. Not a lot about although there is more bird song. Ravens and small flocks of Goldfinches and Long Tailed Tits seen and a Great Spotted Woodpecker heard.
Grey Wagtail visited my garden this morning.January 16, 2021 at 5:03 pm #5405
Walks this week commencing Saturday 9th January:
9th Jan – a short walk from Dunster Beach towards Blue Anchor. Tide well on its way in.
On the sea were large numbers of Wigeon & Shelduck. Along the shoreline, Oystercatchers, Turnstones and Dunlin and a selection of Gulls. In the fields were Wood Pigeons, Rooks and Crows. Not so many small birds, Blue Tits, Dunnock, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Chaffinch and lots of Pied Wagtails. Chalet area is closed but some Mallards were on the grass near the toilet block.
10th to 14th no walks
15th Jan – Walking mainly in the woods at the far end of North Hill near the Cross.
Saw Green Woodpecker, Stonechat, Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Buzzard a pair of Collared Doves plus regulars and Jay & Great Spotted Woodpecker heard.
16th Jan – a walk to Alcombe Common, Youth Hostel & up Long Combe.
Saw 3 Buzzards, I think the reason I am not seeing many recently is they seem to have stopped calling so I am not looking skyward for them. Also seen, Long Tailed Tits, Goldfinches, Great Spotted Woodpecker and the regulars, heard Jay, Raven and Green Woodpecker. Snowdrops out just passed Dunster Lodge by the Quarry hazel catkins also on their way.January 10, 2021 at 1:49 pm #5309
Black Redstart (female or juv) – still around and seen today in my garden, I had not seen it for a while. I understand that one has been seen regularly on the rooves behind Quay Inn and along Northfield Road. I also understand the Mediterranean Gull is in its usual place with the Black Headed Gulls by Ship Aground.
Happy BirdingJanuary 7, 2021 at 3:41 pm #5293
Notes about some of my recent walks:
31st December – Whitecross to Reservoir to Bratton Ball to Woodcombe to Whitecross
I was lucky enough to finish my year with a New Year’s Eve walk and had really great views of a Green Woodpecker, feeding in a field at Bratton, it was quite close and I watched for perhaps 10 minutes. On the same walk birds of particular interest were a Treecreeper, Jays, a Goldcrest and a number of Redwings.
1st January 2021 – Ellicombe to Grabbist to Hole’s Corner and back down to Ellicombe
My New Year walk today included several Bullfinches (Ellicombe) including a beautiful male. The Crossbills mentioned by Tim were seen a little further along from Hole’s Corner – I estimate by Oway Corner.
2nd January 2021 – Selworthy (top car park by church) to Memorial Hut (North Hill) to Cross to Bury Castle and back to Selworthy.
Near the top of North Hill (furthest car park) were several Goldcrest (lovely close up views in brambles alongside the footpath) and a Treecreeper.
3rd to 6th – too cold.
7th Hopcott area – nothing of note.December 21, 2020 at 3:23 pm #5166
Dunster Beach today. Footpath to Blue Anchor is flooded, understand there are a number of Turnstone along that stretch (I saw a couple there a week or so ago).
The road through Dunster chalets is closed but you can still access the site. I heard, and my friend saw, the Kingfisher and we also saw a Goldcrest and a solitary Canada Goose. On the beach were both types of Black Backed Gulls, also Herring & Black Headed plus Shelduck in the water, Oystercatchers and the more unusual sighting was 3 Brent Geese (at the Golf Course end of the chalets at around 1pm).
In the fields by the farm the farmer has put sheep in the field on the right where the Wigeon often are. Not one wigeon was there only a few Mallard and lots of Pied Wagtails. In a distant field were some Curlews and moving between the fields were 3 Little Egrets.
Please use this forum to mention any interesting sighting you have had.
Thanks – KayDecember 13, 2020 at 5:09 pm #4982
Hi Everyone – I understand Penduline Tits, Hen Harriers, Merlin and Twite have been at Steart this week. Let me know if anyone gets the chance to visit and see them. Best wishes Kay
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