Our November trip was to Ham Wall where we saw 35 different species plus heard 2 others. Highlights were good views of a Cetti’s Warbler, usually only heard, and also of a male Marsh Harrier. One surprise was a number of Chiffchaff’s singing.
December’s meeting will be to Shapwick and then January’s to Ham Wall again but in the afternoon so we can to see the Starling murmurations. More details will be sent to members of the group nearer the time.
Do keep an eye on the Bird Watching forum as I list any nearby, unusual birds under Sightings there. November’s highlight was a Snow Bunting on Dunster Beach, seen by several of our members.
The venue for our October meeting was Bowling Green Marsh (Topsham). In total 39 different species were identified – scroll down to Sightings Reports at the end of this page. There were several highlights – a Sparrowhawk that was among a small group of crows seen on the roadside on the way down; a lovely view of a kingfisher that sat on a post just outside the viewing platform; and good close views of Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler and Pintail that enabled everyone to see the different plumages to help identify them – and to be able to admire such beautiful birds.
The venue for September was changed from Ham Wall to Steart as a number of different birds had been seen there recently. Sadly they proved elusive, we identified 23 different species and heard a further 2.
However, the highlight of the month was the Wryneck that stayed for a good week at Culvercliffe, Minehead. Several members of our group were able to find it. The bird of the month, on the u3a web site, is a picture of the actual bird that visited us.
Our meeting was at Moor Wood on North Hill – taking in some moorland and woodland. This is a difficult time of year to see birds and we only managed to see 13 species plus 2 others that were just heard. However it was great to get out and about in our wonderful countryside and to catch up with group members we had not seen for many months.
The intention was to visit North Hill to listen for Nightjars. I managed several recces beforehand and each time heard Nightjars and on one visit had a sighting. Unfortunately just before the date for the meeting I was involved in a possible Covid connection so I cancelled the meeting. As it turned out it was a false alarm but I could not take the risk.
This month group saw a total of 73 different birds plus a further 3 that were only heard. The highlight for June was a Rose-coloured Starling in Porlock (soon to be Bird of the Month), other highlights included Dartford Warbler, Yellowhammer, Red Kite and Little Ringed Plover.
During May members saw a total of 79 birds plus a further 4 that were only heard. Highlights included Bittern Booming (Ham Wall – sadly not by me as I love to hear them), male Bullfinch in several Minehead gardens, Hobby (Ham Wall), Wood Warbler and Yellow Hammer (Bats Castle, Nutcombe) and Grasshopper Warbler (Simonsbath) plus more Pied Flycatchers at Horner.
I hope, if all goes well, to resume the Bird Watching Group’s outings in July. This is planned for the evening of Friday 16th July and will be listen for and hopefully see Nightjars up North Hill – although no guarantees. It will be very much weather dependent, however if the weather is not good I will try the following week and perhaps even a few of the evenings before 16th July – this will depend on how good the recces are. I don’t mind a few trips up there if there are those who want to come along, although I will need lifts to get there myself. I will be sending an e-mail to all group members nearer the date. However, even if you are not a member of the Bird Watching Group you are welcome to join us, just e-mail me and I will add you to the mailing list for that event. Happy Days are Near Again – Kay Bullen
During April members saw a total of 68 species with a further 5 heard only. Highlights were Cuckoo (always love to hear the first Cuckoo), Dartford Warbler, Little Ringed Plover, Pied Flycatcher and Whimbrel (the latter being a new species on our list). Blackcaps are singing loud and long.
From the list of birds seen it seems that most of our summer visitors are here now so watch out for them on your walks. Keep your eye on the Bird Watching forum for new sightings, I list those seen on my weekly walks and also anything extra of interest as it pops up – like the Yellowhammers near Nutcombe on 1st May – just missed this April’s list but will be there on May’s list for certain. If you see anything special do put it on the forum so others might have the chance to see it is as well.
I hope that soon we will be able to start watching together.
A total of 64 different birds have been seen by the group. Highlights being (alphabetical) Cettis Warbler, Marsh Tit and Wheatear. But in general the main highlight is all the bird song around. Whilst we are saying goodbye to a number of the species we have seen this month we are now looking forward to the new arrivals that we can expect in April. Some are here already like the Chiffchaff and Wheatear. Now we wait for the iconic Cuckoo.
Red and Roe Deer have also been seen.
One of our group has noticed a drop in House Sparrow numbers in their area. Has anyone else noticed similar?
Whilst the weather is improving and the lockdown has been eased you and some friends may be wondering were to take your daily exercise. Have a look at the Local Birdwatching Sites and click on Minehead for ideas of where to go and what might be seen there. I hope to include more areas at a later date.
Members of the Bird Watching Group are still finding plenty of birds, both in their gardens and on their walks. In February a total of 67 different bird species were reported. It is great to hear the Skylarks and no doubt the Chiffchaffs will be singing soon. The bird song has certainly increased towards the end of February, although mainly on sunny days, or is it that I tend to walk on sunny days!
I have been making some notes of the different walks I have been taking and some of the birds I have seen and heard on them, plus other wildlife. I am using the Bird Watching forum to post these sightings so do have a look – you do not have to belong to the group to look at any of the information on the Bird Watching pages. If you have any sightings you can post them on the forum (provided you are registered) and also you can click a box when posting and you will be notified of any other posts on that topic – just to make sure you don’t miss any news about a rare bird sighting.
Enjoy the sights and sounds of your lovely local countryside before it starts to get crowded again. Take care Kay Bullen.
Members of the Bird Watching Group are still using their daily exercise to find the birds, although it is surprising the numbers that turn up in our gardens. A total of 70 different species have been seen this month, some of the more unusual ones, all seen in the Minehead & Dunster area, are Brent Geese, Black Redstart, Lesser Redpoll, and Sanderling.
I am posting my walks and some of my sightings on the Bird Watching Group’s forum. So you may like to look at that – both for the birds and ideas on walks. Keep safe, keep watching and keep in touch. Kay Bullen
Members have continued to record sightings, whether in their garden, or out on visits.
|Year||Summary of sightings||Members’ reports in lockdown|
|2021||Sightings year list||Birdwatching reports|
|2020||Sightings year list||Birdwatching reports|
|2019||Sightings year list|