Monday, 31 January 2011


It was nice to see the Hen Harrier at Portbury Wharf captured on Inside Out West this evening! The picture above captured one of our four legged residents in the field by the south pools/scrapes. It's also nice to see the snow drops emerging too- it won't be long until Spring...
We've been busy pollarding willow before the next nesting season. The willow needs to be cut on rotation to leave an uneven aged stand (variety of habitats) and the thinning out will also help the ground flora. The logs from the willow are being used to help construct the paths to the hides.
We have borrowed the vehicle from HQ again this Thursday and plan to crack on with the final path to the hide by the south pools.

Portbury Wharf NR 31//1/11


It may look like photos that we've previously posted but this picture was taken 9.30am this morning showing the Little Owl still at home at the barns.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Portbury Wharf NR 25/1/11


There is a roaming flock of about 50+ Linnets on the salt-marsh and seawall areas. Linnets are small brown stripey birds with a hint of white in the wings.

If you are strolling along the seawall and see and hear a chattering flock of small birds flying overhead, they will almost certainly be our Linnets.

Most of these wintering birds will depart in the coming weeks but a few will stay on to breed on the reserve in the spring in the thicker bramble bushes along the sewall and the boundary rhine near the houses.

Photo shows some of these birds near the Tower Hide this morning.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Open Country

Portbury Wharf NR featured on this weeks Open Country on BBC Radio 4. The show is repeated this Thursday at 15.00 and is available to listen to on BBC IPlayer now!

I was out on the reserve this Sunday morning and really enjoyed watching the birds on the foreshore and in the pools. We had a 14m+ tide and it was an impressive sight.
Work will continue this week on the paths leading to the hides. Myself and volunteers were busy
this morning pollarding willow and we will use some of the wood for the paths. I can borrow a vehicle on Thursday and we will spend the day collecting chippings to use as a surface for the new paths. I can happily report that the reserves vehicle will be coming soon.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Portbury Wharf NR 22/1/11



The usual suspects were present around the pools this morning. Main bird interest was at the saltmarsh with lots of birds on show arising from the exceptionally high tide.

Of note were: 10 Canada Goose, 52 Shelduck, 57 Wigeon, 190 Teal, 18 Mallard, 4 Shoveler, 18 Curlew, 6 Redshank, 36 Skylark, 12 Rock Pipit and 18 Reed Buntings.

The Little Owl was still at home at the barns.

In the afternoon, a Yellow-legged Gull and a Barn Owl were seen. The Yellow-legged Gull is only the 2nd record for the reserve and the Barn Owl is the first sighting for several months.

Monday, 17 January 2011










We had a wet but satisfying day on the reserve last Wednesday cutting back some reeds by the edge of the northern pools. The reeds need to be managed or they would dominate an area. However, they will only be cut on rotation to minimise disruption to birds/invertebrates etc. Cutting the reeds provides reeds at different stages of their life cycle which in turn provides a broader range of niches for the wildlife. We were also recorded by BBC Radio 4 while we worked for a Saturday morning show called open country. Further details will be provided. Many thanks to Helen M, Helen B, Paul, Jeremy and Steve!
After we had finished the task we went to the tower hide to take in the view. Unfortunately we noticed that the roof of the hide had suffered minor damaged. The evidence suggests that a set of rockets had been taped to the roof and set off over the reserve. Along with damaging the hide this reckless activity would have been extremely stressful for the wildlife. This behaviour by a few individuals could one day result in the tower hide being completely destroyed or someone being seriously injured. Thankfully our volunteers had locked the hides that evening.
Please get in touch with me at bernied'arcy@avonwildlifetrust.org.uk if you would like to volunteer to help us open and close the hides. This role is vital to help protect them and any assistance would be much appreciated.

A Mystery Guest


We have had an unusually pale looking common Buzzard on the reserve since late December. It caused a lot of interest with the birdwatching community who were hoping it would prove to be a Rough-legged Buzzard, which would have been a national rarity. Better views of the bird in the last few days have confirmed it's identity as an ordinary common Buzzard. If you see our Lapwings on the island going bananas it's a sure sign the Buzzard is out hunting!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Portbury Wharf NR 16/1/11


The birds are really taking a liking to our new island at the main pool. Today, there were still 90+ Lapwing roosting on the mud as well as a party of Cormorants.


Many thanks to Helen Mason for the photograph.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Portbury Wharf NR 9/1/11


We took a party from the Bristol Naturalists Society around the reserve this morning. The usual Gadwall, Teal, Tufted Ducks and Lapwing were around the pools plus some Shoveler on the estuary.

The bushes have been mostly stripped of berries now so there were hardly any winter Thrushes to be seen except for the resident Blackbirds.

We saw and heard a Raven croaking on one of the pylons....heavens knows how these birds managed before electricity came along.....

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Mike Dilger Filming

The reserve will feature on Inside Out West at 7.30 on BBC1 on Monday the 31st of January.

Mike Dilger came out to film the wildlife and a variety of activities before Christmas.

Thank you again to everyone involved.

Please tune in! Any comments following the show will be very welcome.

'Redhead' Goosander Photo


Another photo of the 'redhead' Goosander that has been lingering in the Portishead Dock and Marina areas since 21 December 2010. Goosanders are rare in the estuary so this bird is probably a refugee from the recent cold spell.


Many thanks to Brian Atkinson for the photo.


Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Hides are now Open

Happy New Year!

The hides have been opened for the first time this morning. They will be opened at roughly 8.30 in the morning and closed at roughly 4.15. Weekend times may vary slightly.

When the daylight increases they will be opened for longer hours. If you would like to make any other arrangements beyond these times please don't hesitate to contact me at 01275 817710 or bernied'arcy@avonwildlifetrust.org.uk.

Enjoy watching the wildlife and please let us know if you spot anything interesting.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Portbury Wharf NR 2/1/11


Around the reserve this morning:

2 Mute Swan, 23 Gadwall, 11 Tufted Duck and 62 Lapwing at the pools and 5 Bullfinch along Wharf lane track.

The pools are largely ice-free now though the main boundary rhine still has skim ice on it.

The very large numbers of Fieldfares and Redwings we have been experiencing recently, have deserted the area.

Off the reserve, but close by and very noteworthy, a superb male BLACK REDSTART was seen in a garden (Sorrel Gardens) in the Village Quarter at Portishead.

Many thanks to Helen Mason for the photograph.