Monday, 25 July 2011

Women's Institute, Harbourside, enjoy an afternoon stroll

The lovely ladies of Harbourside WI and a granddaughter Sophie, joined us at the reserve today for a guided walk. Around 25 ladies met at Wharf Lane Layby for a quick introduction before setting off towards the foreshore. Along the way we talked about future plans for the reserve and had an opportunity to have a look inside a couple of the bird hides.
Stopping at the foreshore we discussed rights of way issues and proposed plans to improve access to the reserve from the Marina. Other topics of conversation were the disabled access problems, encountered today by one wheelchair user, as well a number of the conservation projects taking place at Portbury Wharf.
On the way back the group were even lucky enough to spot a couple of shy grass snakes and some slow worms, more than willing to stop briefly and pose in front of the crowd! Even the weather was on our side, with only a few drops of rain as we headed back to the meeting point.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

A day in July

Many thanks to David Gale for the picture of the Barn Owl and to Rod Holbrook for the pictures of the Deer, Whitethroat and Bulfinch.

Monday, 18 July 2011


Two Kingfishers were fishing in Chapel Pill Creek, near the sewage farm beside the North Pools, on Friday. These birds are amber listed as they are struggling in Europe. Kingfishers do not breed on the reserve YET but they are one of our target species and we hope that habitat enhancement works that we carry out in the future will encourage them to breed here.

The Kingfishers seen on Friday are probably post-breeding birds from elsewhere in search of new sites to take up.

On a different matter I hope that people enjoy reading the new interpretation boards around the reserve. Many thanks to Helen M., Helen B., Nick, Giles, Jeremy, Phil and Paul for helping to install them last week. Much appreciated!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

New Arrivals! (Not Harper Seven)

Our Oystercatcher adults have hatched another 2 chicks on the nesting island. The chicks were hatched on Sunday July 10 and we have been watching the parent birds closely over the past few days to see how many chicks there are. It's only today that we've managed to get this record shot showing the 2 chicks with mum and dad.

The Oystercatcher parents are on constant guard and alert to fend off the attention of marauding gulls. We'll keep you posted on how they are doing over the coming weeks.

We carried out another barn owl survey last night. I'm pleased to report that they were quite active and were spotted swooping into the long grass to catch small mammals on a number of occassions. Many thanks to the kind volunteers who joined the stake out. We were also treated with sightings of 3 deers, a fox cub and also the resident little owls just before we set off home.

Friday, 8 July 2011

First inner city Bristol school visit to Portbury Wharf, thanks to Western Power Distribution

A group of year 3 pupils from St Werburghs visited this week, looking at the land and wildlife of Portbury Wharf through the eyes of the Romans and Britons they have been studying this year. On a long and, at times, rather wet, walk, they encountered rabbits and hares and discussed the introduction of the rabbit from mainland Europe and it's management for food in warrens. They looked at many plants used for food and medicine, and enjoyed the large numbers of water birds from the bird hides - a few using binoculars for the first time.

We played some games on the foreshore demonstrating the camouflaged eggs of ground nesting birds and others which encourage some thinking about the different habitats of a range of different species. The children enjoyed making their own 'wood cookie' as a memento of the day - a wooden disc name badge on which they wrote their own name and their given Roman or Briton name. Some had time to decorate their cookie, before the walk back to the coach and return to Bristol.

The picture shows the group gathered on the sea wall beside the foreshore, together with a few pictures of members of the class having fun and enjoying learning in the outdoors.