Monday, 28 November 2011

Linnets are small brown stripey birds in Winter plumage. There is currently a small flock of 25+ birds along the seawall and saltmarsh feeding on weeds and seeds. Many of these wintering birds will disperse in Spring to breed elsewhere but a couple of pairs usually stay to nest in the scrub and hedgerow along the seawall. In the Summer the male bird has a lovely rosey-pink breast. The photo above was taken by the tower hide on November 24th.

Below, the barn owl was spotted out hunting on Saturday mid-morning. Now that their young have safely fledged we can happily announce that our barn owl pair were proud parents to TWO broods of barn owlets this year!

Monday, 21 November 2011

New Arrivals

There was much excitement and interest on the pools on Saturday with the arrival of a blue phased Snow Goose type (lookalike/hybrid can't be ruled out!). Thankfully we have got some pics (see above) and will be investigating this further. Either way it is a fantastic looking bird. It was not seen on Sunday but will hopefully drop in again.

Also sighted on the pools towards the end of last week were 40-50 Wigeon (see above). They are winter visitors to the Severn Estuary from Russia and Scandinavia in the Oct- Mar period. When seen in good sunlight, the drake bird shows a bright creamy yellow facial blaze, whereas the female bird tends to be more dull and inconspicuous in plumage.

If the pools do not freeze over in really cold weather, these birds should stay with us until early Spring.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Busy day for community involvement - one payback team and two public talks!

This morning we were visited for the first time by North Somerset's Community Payback Team. As reparation for offences the individuals work on local projects to give something back to the community. Our work force got stuck in with some litter clearance near the Sheepway railway bridge, and along some paths on the reserve. They then spent the day removing tree guards which have now served their purpose and, in some cases, are restricting the tree's growth.

I left the group at lunchtime to go and present an illustrated talk to the Senior Citizens Forum at The Folk Hall. A great turn out on such a grey and miserable day, with nearly 70 in the audience! I was helped in my presentation by eight young people from Gordano 6th form, who all spoke and demonstrated with a range of props to illustrate the work of the reserve.
Gordano Head of 6th Tom Inman came along to support them, and the students received rapturous applause from a grateful and now well-informed audience. Thank you to the Forum for their generous donation to Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve.

I write this just before delivering the second talk of the day, later this evening, to Redcliffe Bay Methodists! We may post some video of this 'performance' , as the 6th formers efforts were recorded, so watch out for a brief edited version on our AWT You Tube account?

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

A pair of Black Redstarts near the marina

These pictures were not taken on the reserve but we thought the residents might like to know about a lovely pair of birds that have taken up residence near the marina recently. A Black Redstart pair have been present near the lock gates and the Royal Inn Pub over the past week or so. Black Redstarts are small drab coloured birds with bright red tails. They like hanging around houses, gardens and rocky beaches where they can forage for food. A pair was present here last winter and it's tempting to think they may have returned. So if you are out and about taking in the sea air do keep an eye out for them!

Many thanks to Vic Savery and Sue Blackmore for the lovely pictures.