Sunday, 27 February 2011

Portishead Ashlands

Not much in the way of new birds on the nature reserve at the moment so we though we'd post this delightful photo of the Black Redstart which has been present intermittently in one of the gardens along Sorrel Rd recently.

Many thanks to Helen Mason for sending it in to us. Another or same was was seen near the rocky beach and pier houses close to the marina lock gates today.

Monday, 21 February 2011


Unfortunately Western Power need to carry out essential works on their services over the next two to three weeks on the reserve. This will involve excavating a large trench between the two pools next to the foreshore. We have been working closely with them to ensure that disruption to the wildlife is minimal. The works have been brought forward so as to reduce the impact upon the breeding season. Our consultant ecologist carried out surveys prior to the work commencing and advised Western Power of any necessary action to take.
We are sorry for any inconvienience caused.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Portbury Wharf NR 20/2/11

A veritable red letter day for the reserve with the appearance of a tiny little gem in the shape of a Firecrest along Wharf Lane this morning.

The bird was flitting about the bushes about 30yds down the track from the barns, past the purple gate.

It is only the 4th record of this species on the reserve ever.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Pirate Island day for Year 2 Trinity school

Following their term topic of pirates, the children today visited to learn of the many links to piracy in the Bristol Channel, and how some relate to our wildlife. From the wonderful new Tower bird hide, the crew imagined they were aboard a wooden sailing ship. With their telescopes, they viewed Newport, birthplace of legendary pirate Captain Morgan. Our own Cpt. Morgan character, led the crew around the reserve, walking the plank, testing what floats in nature, hunting for treasure and singing sea shantys, celebrating the birds of Portbury Wharf. He also sported an oystercatcher on his shoulder, which the crew have now named Pearl. We looked at ragworms, which many waders feed on in the estuary.

The activity 'Pieces of "Ate"' involved looking at barn owl pellets to discover what they ate!

The constant rain could not spoil the day, and after the long walk back to school, all were as wet as if they'd been out at sea!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Portishead 9/2/11

A couple of pictures of the male Black Redstart, present in Sorrel Gardens since 2 January. There is another (female) bird present on the rocky beach over by the marina outer lock gates. Hopefully, the two will meet up this spring....

Many thanks to Portishead resident Helen Mason for the photos.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Battery Point

While out searching for the Purple Sandpiper at Battery point, David Gale took a lovely snap of a Turnstone. They are often spotted in the rocky areas rumaging for food.
Please send us pictures of your sightings or let us know if you see anything interesting.

Monday, 7 February 2011

'Lower plants' learning day -mosses, liverworts and lichens

A diverse group of mainly AWT Volunteers enjoyed a wet and windy day at Portbury Wharf, discovering the diversity of lower plants at the reserve with Justin Smith. Despite being a relatively 'young' site, there are many interesting species to be found. This was the first time such a survey has been undertaken by such a national expert, and his records will be soon be available to all. The group found mosses, lichens and liverworts on trees, hedge plants, rocks and stones - with a diversity suggesting reasonable air quality, considering the proximity of heavy industry, population and the motorway!
Further learning events are planned this year with Justin, who is able to impart his knowledge to beginner and enthusiast alike.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Portbury Wharf NR 6/2/11

We have 2 new bird species to report for the nature reserve.

Dunlin waders have started to use the newly flattened island as a roosting site and a Bittern was seen in the ditch along Wharf lane today.

The bird list now stands at 145 species.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

World Wetlands Day celebrated - Care home residents enjoy bird watch

World Wetlands Day was Wednesday 2nd Feb., celebrating the convention of 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar, which gave wetlands increased recognition and protection.

Our own wetland welcomed two residents of Haven Lodge Care home, Portishead, who would have been in their 50's when the Ramsar convention was held 40 years ago! Jean and Joan enjoyed watching the birds on the northern pools, including a young cormarant drying his wings on the island.
Together with Val, Dudley, Elinor and Keith, we enyoed a flask of tea and the cosy views from the hide. The disabled access ramp and wheelchair friendly hide were successfully tested, and a good time had by all. Further visits are now booked for more Haven Lodge residents in May and July.

Portishead marina 2/2/11

Off the reserve but we thought residents might to be made aware of a Black Redstart present near the marina.

The bird favours the rocky beach near the fishermans pier just past the Lock House restuarant.

The Black Redstart is a plain blackish-grey bird but with an instantly recognizable reddish tail, you can't fail to spot it.