Birdwatching in Lockdown 2021

March 2021

Hi Everyone

I hope you have been able to get out and about to do some bird watching.  Below are sighting in March sent to me by some of the group’s members.  I also do a weekly round-up of the walks I have been doing and some of my sightings which can be found on the Bird Watching forum under Sightings.  When you make a comment you can click the box to receive notifications of any new comments on that topic.

There is also a list of suggested sites to visit in Minehead together with some of the birds you may see or hear there.   See right side bar for Local Birdwatching Sites and then click on Minehead link.

From me (Kay):

Garden – Blackbird, Blackcap (female only), Black Redstart, Blue Tit, Chiffchaff (well a Warbler on 31st), Coal Tit, Crow, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Long Tailed Tit, Pied Wagtail,  Robin, Wood Pigeon.

Both Robins seem very busy, I wonder if they have chicks.

Plus in and around Minehead – Black Headed Gull, Buzzard, Cettis Warbler, Chaffinch, Cormorant, Crow, Goldcrest,  Great Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Greenfinch, Green Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Little Egret,  Magpie, Mallard, Moorhen, Nuthatch, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Raven, Redpoll, Redshank, Redwing, Rook, Skylark, Stonechat, Teal, Wren.   Song Thrush and Jay heard.

From Pam & Nic Pettit:

The garden has been busy this month, with Great Tits preparing a nest in one of our nest boxes, and Blackbirds a nest in the firethorn, as well as House Sparrows and Dunnocks in the hedges.  We had a Redpoll and a Blackcap visit briefly, and there are more Siskins and Goldfinches, and a Wren singing at full volume.

Round and about, it was good to see and hear the first Chiffchaffs on 25th March, on the Mineral Trail from Washford, which was alive with bird song, particularly Blackcaps, Blackbirds, and Song Thrushes.  We also spotted an immature Bullfinch.  Chiffchaffs are now everywhere of course, even one in our garden yesterday (31st March).

At Dunster beach we added Linnet to our list, and in Horner woods we had a good sighting of a Marsh Tit, our first for many years, plus a lovely Dipper on the stream.

We had a really close-up view of a Treecreeper on a walk from Nutcombe Bottom, but had no phone or camera with us!

On Tuesday we celebrated partial freedom with a circular walk at Dunkery Beacon, and enjoyed Ravens, Buzzards, Skylarks and Pipits overhead, plus a Green Woodpecker calling.  And yesterday we finally saw our first Nuthatch of the year at Hopcott.

From Steve Pearce:

Lesser spotted woodpeckers, also more than recent months: chaffinches, long-tailed tits, goldfinches.

Oystercatchers, coots, egret, blue heron, common buzzards, great and blue tits, tawny owl and usual garden suspects.

 From Jan Lowy:

 The Blackcaps and Long Tailed Tits are still enjoying the new fat ball and we see the Lesser Redpolls regularly.  Also Goldfinches, Blackbirds, Dunnocks and Siskins plus the usual.

 From Tim Hedgecock:

Birds seen/ heard in my garden during March

(H) = heard only

Carrion Crow

Goldfinch

Greenfinch

Chaffinch

Siskin

Dunnock

Blackbird

Robin

Wood Pigeon

Blue Tit

Great Tit

Coal Tit

Tawny Owl

Seen or heard elsewhere

Raven

Jackdaw

Rook

Wren

Song Thrush

Mistle Thrush

Starling

Meadow Pipit

Pied Wagtail

Stonechat

Wheatear

Linnet

House Sparrow

Buzzard

Magpie

Jay

Collared Dove

Black-headed Gull

Herring Gull

Common Gull

Greater Black-backed Gull

Curlew

Oystercatcher

Little Egret

Grey Heron

Shelduck

Mallard

Wigeon

Canada Goose

Mute Swan

From Joy Roscoe:

Nothing unusual in terms of sighting but a serious comment – the sparrows which nested in the swift box and in two areas of the eaves of my house have not done so this year. In fact the colony that lived in the brambles and vegetation close by have disappeared bar two or three birds. My neighbour opposite has far fewer on her seed feeders. Has anyone else notice this sudden drop?

Sally Stuttard:

Various tits, sparrows, chaffinches, Robins , pigeons and the odd wren.  Sweet little birds with a lovely song.

February 2021

Below are sighting in February sent to me by some of the group’s members.

From me (Kay Bullen):

Garden – Blackbird, Blackcap (both male & female), Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Crow, Dunnock, Grey Wagtail, Goldfinch, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Magpie, Pied Wagtail,  Robin, Wood Pigeon.

Plus in and around Minehead – Black Headed Gull, Buzzard, Chaffinch, Cormorant, Crow, Curlew, Dipper,  Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Jay, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Little Egret, Long Tailed Tits, Magpie, Mallard, Moorhen, Oystercatchers, Pheasant, Raven, Redwing, Rook, Skylark, Song Thrush, Stonechat, Wren.  Heard Green Finch and a Tawny Owl (during the day being mobbed by Jays).

Various Red Deer sightings including 7 hinds at Nutcombe/Croydon Hill and on 3 out of 4 of my walks in the last week of Feb they were seen.  Also seen were Peacock butterflies, Bumble Bee and other bee species.  Snowdrops, primroses, catkins and pussy willow were also out.

From Pam & Nic Pettit:

A Sparrowhawk settled in a tree in our garden for several minutes.

Shovelers were amongst the water birds at Lower Marsh Farm, plus Skylarks along the Golf Course.

On Porlock Marsh, birds were few, but several Redshanks were a good addition to our 2021 sightings.

Up at Conygar Tower we saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker, then on the River Avill in Dunster Park we spotted a Grey Wagtail just by the A39.

As you say, it is lovely to hear all the bird song on our walks now – a sure sign of Spring.  Also, like you we were surprised to hear the call of a Tawny Owl yesterday (28 Feb), as we walked down through the woods to Whitecross Lane.

From Tim Hedgecock:

Birds seen/ heard in my garden during February

(H) = heard only

Carrion Crow

Goldfinch

Greenfinch

Chaffinch

Siskin

Dunnock

Blackbird

Robin

Wood Pigeon

Blackcap

Blue Tit

Great Tit

Coal Tit

Long-tailed Tit

Sparrowhawk

Herring Gull

Tawny Owl

Seen or heard elsewhere

Raven

Jackdaw

Rook

Wren

Song Thrush

Mistle Thrush

Starling

Meadow Pipit

Pied Wagtail

Stonechat

Linnet

House Sparrow

Buzzard

Magpie

Jay

Collared Dove

Black-headed Gull

Common Gull

Greater Black-backed Gull

Curlew (c.30 at Dunster beach)

Dunlin

Oystercatcher

Little Egret

Grey Heron

Shelduck

Mallard

Teal

Wigeon

Canada Goose

Mute Swan

From Steve Pearce:

Nothing unusual. Kestrels, common buzzards, a lot of  chaffinches and long tail tits, great and blue tits, greenfinch, egret, wren, robin, blackbirds, fieldfare, yellowhammers, lesser spotted woodpeckers. Not walked to the coastline this month.

Susan Mew:

There was a flock of about 20+ oystercatchers down at Dunster Beach on Friday. And I think there lots of Widgeon out at sea. Otherwise it’s just been the usual visitors in the garden.

From Jan Lowy:

We have very much enjoyed seeing what, for us, are large numbers of birds in the garden this month.  The Blackcaps and Long Tailed Tits are still enjoying the new fat ball and we see the Lesser Redpolls regularly.  We get up to a dozen goldfinches, and often 3 or 4 blackbirds, dunnocks, siskins etc. which are good numbers for our small garden.

From Joy Roscoe:

Sparrows, blackbirds, pigeons, dunnocks, song thrushes heard not seen, wrens, rooks and crows, dippers, peregrines, a small flock of peewits, a pair of Shoveler duck.

Andrew Berry:

Black headed Gull, Black backed Gull, Egret, Common Sandpiper & Shelduck.

I also saw something that I think was a species of goose but have no idea what it was. It was sighted, on its own, on the beach at Blue Anchor; very low tide.

Lynda Edwards:

Yellowhammers or would they be finches, spotted middle top road between American camp and Selworthy Beacon carpark last Thursday on a beautiful summer afternoon.  A splendid sight.

January 2021

Below are sighting in January sent to me by some of the group’s members.

From me (Kay Bullen):

Garden – Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail,   Black Redstart, Robin, Wood Pigeon, Magpie, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Long Tailed Tits, Blackbirds, Herring Gull (still paddling for worms) both male & female Blackcap.

Plus in and around Minehead – Bullfinch, Black Headed Gull, Buzzard, Chaffinch, Collared Dove, Cormorant, Crow, Dunlin, Dipper, Fieldfare, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Little Egret, Magpie, Mallard, Mistle Thrush (H), Moorhen, Nuthatch, Oystercatchers, Pheasants, Raven, Rook, Shelduck, Song Thrush, Starling, Stonechat, Treecreeper, Turnstones, Widgeon, Wren.  Heard numerous Jays.

From Pam & Nic Pettit:

Our New Year’s Day walk got us off to a good start too.  Walking a circuit of lanes from home via Bratton, Woodcombe and Parks Walk, we saw (amongst others) Buzzard, Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Moorhen, and Song Thrush.

We are pleased to have listed 44 species seen during the month, nothing unusual.

Our most profitable walk was a circuit round Marsh Street, Dunster beach and Lower Marsh Farm, where we saw Mute Swan, Little Egret, Mallard, Shelduck, Teal, Wigeon, Curlew, Starling, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Stonechat and Meadow Pipit.  Also an over-wintering Chiffchaff.

We have been pleased to have had 2 sightings of Treecreepers, one in Bratton, one in trees just off Parks Walk – particularly pleasing because we somehow managed not to see a Treecreeper at all last year!

Other notable sightings have been Redwings in Alcombe and a Mistle Thrush in Woodcombe.  We are always surprised to see the Moorhens on the small pond along Woodcombe Walk too.

From Tim Hedgecock:

Birds seen/ heard in my garden during January

(H) = heard only

Carrion Crow

Goldfinch

Greenfinch

Chaffinch

Dunnock

Blackbird

Robin

Wood Pigeon

Blue Tit

Great Tit

Coal Tit

Long-tailed Tit

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Green Woodpecker

Sparrowhawk

Herring Gull

Tawny Owl

Seen or heard elsewhere

 Raven

Jackdaw

Rook

Wren

Song Thrush

Mistle Thrush

Starling

Meadow Pipit

Pied Wagtail

Stonechat

Linnet

House Sparrow

Buzzard

Magpie

Jay

Collared Dove

Black-headed Gull

Common Gull

Greater Black-backed Gull

Curlew (c.30 at Dunster beach)

Dunlin

Sanderling (2 seen on Minehead beach by the golf club still)

Oystercatcher

Little Egret

Grey Heron

Shelduck

Mallard

Teal

Wigeon

Canada Goose

Brent Goose (3 on Minehead/ Dunster beach)

Mute Swan

From Steve Pearce:

Oystercatchers, shelduck, moorhen, chough, common buzzard, lapwing, dunlin, greenshank, flock of chaffinch, woodlark, skylark, wren, fieldfare, redwing, long-tailed tit, goldfinch

On walks from Sampford Brett.

From Jan Lowy:

I thought I would send you the list of birds that we saw in the hour when we sat in the window of our conservatory recording birds for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.  We were amazed by the number, because it wasn’t a pleasant morning.

Goldfinch

Blackcap

Robin

Dunnock

Siskin

Long Tailed Tit

Wood Pigeon

Lesser Redpoll

Blackbird

Chaffinch

Blue Tit

Pied Wagtail

Greenfinch

Starling

I think I mentioned that we recently put up a fatball.  That is what attracted the Long Tailed Tits – we have had 7 of them in and out of the garden for the past week or so.  We also have a male and a female blackcap, both of which use the fatball constantly.

And the Redpoll as well – there were two of them, females I think.

From Joy Roscoe:

Egret, Mineral Line

Three song thrushes, Mineral Line

Curlew, Blue Anchor

Shoveler, Blue Anchor

Long tailed tits, Mineral Line

Great Tits, Robins, Blackbirds, Dunnocks, ditto

Dipper, Washford River

Peregrines, West Street beach, Watchet

All the usual corvids and pigeons!

Andrew Berry:

Nothing too exciting but I have had a sighting of a Chaffinch in my garden today. Have not seen one there before.