Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Xmas bird watch and campfire cook up - volunteers celebrate and rewarded for a years hard work

The picture here shows a few volunteers tucking in round the fire. Hopefully some more pictures to follow shortly.

Most of our regular volunteers turned up on Tuesday 20th, for a pre-Xmas social. We ventured on a birding walk through the reserve to Chapel Pill near the port, enjoying flocks of fieldfares and redwings. A kingfisher was spotted at a distance, before returning to our Wharf Lane area where lunch was being prepared over the wood fires. The fayre included vegetable soups, hot dogs, mulled wine and a range of salads, including a fresh sorrel salad, foraged from our field next door just an hour before! Most were prepared to sample this and agreed it is adds a tangy zest to any salad stuff. You can try it next year when we run a foraging walk and cook - scheduled for Sunday 23rd September 2012. All next year's events will be on the web site early January, and we are taking bookings now.

A chance for a reminder to all Village Quarter residents about our forthcoming evening's talk about Portbury Wharf on Tuesday 10th January from 7-9pm at Trinitiy school. Please email or call 07808 789 192 to book your free place.

Over 800 hits on our Portbury Wharf web page and blog each month, making it one of AWT's most popular web pages!
We hope you will start to follow us on Twitter and like our facebook pages too in 2012!
May a wish all our blog readers a merry Christmas and a very happy new year!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Weston RSPB Group Visit


Song Thrush


Many thanks to the Weston RSPB group for paying the reserve a visit for a guided walk on Saturday morning. It was lovely weather for birding. The group had a very pleasant time and were delighted to see the new habitats that have been created for birds and also surprised by how quickly the pools have naturalised. The usual suspects were on the pools and the Stonechat was an added Christmas bonus. We look forward to seeing some of the group members paying the reserve more visits in the future.

Thanks to all involved in the organisation of this walk.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Resilient Little Owls!

Regular visitors to the reserve and our blog page will know that the Little Owls liked to spend their time watching the world around them from our neighbouring field. Sadly, the recent windy weather has taken its toll on the already derelict barn and caused the roof to almost completely collapse. However, if you were worried about whether you might see them at their usual haunt, the picture below will answer that question. They seem content with their altered surroundings so hopefully they will feature strongly in our 2012 blog!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Great-Crested Grebe

Great-crested Grebe is an uncommon bird on the Pools, we normally only get around one or two sightings per year. This bird turned up on Saturday 10th of December.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Residents and regular visitors

Curlew (below): are present on the Portbury Wharf shoreline throughout the year, but most birds depart in Spring to breed elsewhere. Their long bills allow them to get at food not accessible to other waders with much shorter bills. In wet winters Curlew fly over from the muddy estuary to feed in our fields.

Shelduck: These handsome piebald-plumaged marine ducks actually breed inland away from the shoreline. They make their nests in rabbit burrows and holes at the bottom of trees. In Spring it is not unusual to see small parties of these birds flying over the reserve and farther into the Gordano Valley to look for nest sites. How they manage to safely navigate their chicks across the M5 and A369 to the coast is anyones guess... but they do pull it off!

Photos taken at the reserve on the 1.12.11

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

School assemblies, then 6th formers campfire cook up as an early Xmas reward

The first picture shows a year 10 assembly at Gordano this morning. We were launching a competition for the students to design the decoration for a storage container, situated on the reserve in a field by Wharf Lane. We ran from this assembly to another for Year 7's. Hopefully we'll get a winning entry to transform our container next year. Watch this space...

In the afternoon, in the bright December sunshine, we cooked up over the campfire, celebrating a term's work, (and some learning), for conservation on the reserve.

We were slightly light on numbers, due to some pressing lessons for a few and an Oxbridge interview for another, but Alice, Rich, Kris, Will, Sean and Tom all enjoyed the nearly festive fayre.

We did attempt some wild food, but the burdock root we dug up was past its best. Shame, as this common plant root is excellent roasted or sliced and fried. I promised a sorrel salad when we start back next term so a (very early!) happy new year to all!