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Clevedon & Portishead Birds

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A website dedicated to birdwatching in Clevedon & Portishead, North Somerset concentrating on the area of coastline from the Congresbury Yeo through Clevedon and up to Portishead and other areas in between such as the Gordano Valley and Portbury Wharf. The site will be regularly updated with the latest birds sightings and other pieces of natural history information.

19th – And then their were 4 – Med Gulls at Portishead Boating Lake! At the Clevedon Yeo today there were 6 Little Egrets, a Peregrine, 6 Oystercatchers, 39 Lapwing, a Knot, 65 Dunlin, 3 Whimbrel, 80 Curlew, 62 Redshank, 4+ Common Sandpiper and 2 Turnstones.

18th – A good variety at Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve today with 40 Curlew, 37 Black-tailed Godwits, 8 Common Sandpipers, 55 Dunlin, 210 Redshank and a Great Crested Grebe.

17th – Two Med Gulls were seen displaying at Portishead lake grounds today. Thanks to Chris Gladman for the pictures.
med gull 1med gull 2
16th – At the Clevedon Yeo today there were 8 Mute Swans, 24 Shelduck along with 26 young, 6 Little Egrets, 2 Peregrines, 8 Oystercatchers, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 38 Lapwing, 70 Dunlin, 95 Curlew, 3 Redshank, a Greenshank, 12 Common Sandpipers and a GBB Gull. So things are beginning to pick up again! Whilst in Clevedon a Sparrowhawk reduced the local Goldfinch population by 2! (thanks to Martin Parsons for the crackin’ pic).
sparrowhawkjul07
15th – On another wet day the only report was of 2 Peregrines at Clevedon.

14th – Two Med Gulls reported from Portishead today.

12th – At Clevedon today there was a Greylag at Yeo Bank Farm, 15 Shelduck, 8 Little Egrets, 2 Peregrines, 13 Oystercatcher, a Little Ringed Plover, 34 Lapwing, 21 Dunlin, 2 Whimbrel, c50 Curlew, 14 Redshank, 11 Common Sandpiper and a juvenile Wheatear.

11th – There were 190 Redshank (significant increase last few days), 55 Curlew (ditto) and a Kingfisher at Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve today.

8th – Fairly quiet at Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve today with a Hobby, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Tufted Ducks and 3 Shelduck (one brood of 5) really of note in amongst the plenty of Hirundines and common Warblers.
whimbreljul07hobby
6th – More seabirds today with 130+ Manx Shearwaters, 5 Storm Petrel and a Fulmar from Ladye Bay, Clevedon and 10+ Stormies, 12+ Manxies, a Gannet and a Fulmar from Battery Point, Portishead.

5th – A Storm Petrel was seen off Battery Point, Portishead today.

4th – Some productive seawatching today with a Storm Petrel, 53 Manx Shearwaters, 6 Fulmar, 3 Gannets and a Kittiwake from Ladye Bay, Clevedon. On the coast at Clevedon there were 6 Little Egrets, 24 Lapwings, a Black-tailed Godwit, 20+ Redshank, a Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpipers and a 1st summer Kittiwake. 60+ Manx Shearwaters were seen from Portbury Wharf. 6 Manxies were also seen from Portishead with 2 showing characteristics of balearic race.

3rd – Some seawatching from Clevedon today produced 166 Manx Shearwaters and 2 Gannets but alas no Albatross! A Hobby was seen at Portbury Wharf at lunchtime.

2nd – New month, more rain! At Clevedon there were 20+ Shelduck 20 with broods of 14, 5, 3 and 2, 9 Oystercatchers, 14 Lapwing, a Dunlin, a Black Wit in breeding plumage, 90 Curlew, 36 Redshank, 2 Common Sandpipers and 40 Linnets. A Parakeet sp was seen at Clevedon that was probably a Ring-necked. Quite at Portbury Wharf and all I could manage before the rain drove me away was a Little Owl and a Green Woodpecker. Main news of the day however concerned the staggering news that a Yellow Nosed Albatross was found, taken in care and later released on Brean Down yesterday and no local birders were made aware!!!!! Keep an eye out over the next few days

Trip reports

EXTREMADURA – MARCH 11th to 15th 2006

Griffonflying

Information

The only criticism that can be made of John Muddeman’s site guide (A Birdwatching Guide to Extremadura )  is that there is no index and on occasions it is difficult to ascertain the best sites for some species as a result. The references to site numbers below are to the Muddeman guide. We had limited time and as a result, we concentrated on the best sites for particular targets. More general time in the field in a number of areas would almost certainly have resulted in more chance sightings of some of the species. The other relevant main guides used were the Helm series – Where to Watch Birds in Southern Spain  and Where to Watch Birds in North and East Spain .

There are a wealth of reports which cover this area available on the Internet and particular help was received from reports by Guy Langan (26.03.04-10.04.04), Tom Goossens (18.05.04-25.05.04) and Nigel Voaden (16.04.05-22.04.05).

We formed the view that of the specialities Spanish Imperial Eagle and Eagle Owl would be best at the Portilla del Tietar nest sites (which we knew had been occupied in 2005 and proved to be occupied again in 2006); the bustards would be easiest at Belen Steppes but the sandgrouse probably in the steppes around Santa Marta de Magasca; Black-shouldered Kite at the site near Monroy; Citril Finch at Sierra de Gredos; and Azure-winged Magpie would be common which indeed it proved to be with our first from the car on the main NVE90 on the first morning.

Sites

11th March 2006 – we arrived at around 9.30pm Spanish time and excelled with the arrangements by securing the hire car swiftly and having something to eat at the airport. Arrangements then hiccupped with a diversion through the heavy traffic of central Madrid on a Saturday night after we inadvertently came off the ring road and headed into the city centre (The driver thanked the Navigator.. lots of times!!!!). A circuitous route got us to our hotel for the first night – a basic affair next to the NVE90 south-west of Madrid at Mostoles – for 12.30pm. It was better inside the gated compound notwithstanding the expert identification of American Cockroach by one of our number in his bedroom rather than with the groups of youths in the building site outside.

12th March 2006 – after the overnight stay at Mostoles, we left (in the dark) at about 6.30am to the sounds of a singing Blackbird and Crested Lark. We stopped at a roadside services near Navalmoral and then travelled to Embalse de la Arroyocampo (Q1); and from there we travelled to Monfrague (Site 4 and CC7 in Helm) where we spent the balance of the day with a lunchtime stop of Chorizo floating in grease at the bar near the visitor’s centre at Villareal de san Carlo. The visitor’s centre confirmed that the Eagle Owl and Spanish Imperial Eagle nest sites at Portillo del Tietar were occupied this year. We travelled back towards Trujillo shortly before dusk with Purple Swamphen, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, all three vultures, Thekla Lark, Azure-winged Magpie and Rock Bunting safely seen. A pizzeria in Trujillo provided the evening meal and we then travelled to our excellent accommodation at Finca Santa Marta about 11 km east along the EX208 from Trujillo. The plan was to tackle the steppes the next day. The day ended with 81 species recorded.
finca2finca1finca3

Our accommodation – Finca Santa Marta, highly recommended

castilloviewmindtheedge

Vulture and Eagle Watching, mind the edge!

13th March 2006 – an early morning walk around the spacious and luxurious accommodation before breakfast at 8.00am before setting off via Trujillo in search of steppe species. We searched the sites around Santa Marta de Magasca (site 10) before travelling to the Black-shouldered Kite site (site 11.10) near Monroy. We travelled back to Trujillo via a late afternoon stop in a bar in Monroy and on to the Belen steppes (site 12) until dusk. The evening meal at our accommodation was very worthwhile. The day yielded the majority of our remaining target species with both bustards, both sandgrouse, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Lesser Kestrel and Black-shouldered Kite the highlights. The remaining main targets had been reduced to Black Wheatear and Rock Sparrow. The day ended with Scops Owl as the 105th species – with fittingly Great Bustard the 100th for the trip.

14th March 2006 – an early morning start to Belen Steppes yielded good views of sizeable flocks of both bustards before returning for breakfast at 8.30am; we then travelled to a good Black Wheatear site at Cabanas del Castillo (site 10.6) before excursions to search the rice fields (site 17.9) and Embalse de la Sierra Brava (site 17.2). An attempt to secure Rock Sparrow at Botija (site 16.5) at dusk failed save for a brief probable sighting but we had secured Black Wheatear and two category “C” species – Red Avadavat and Common Waxbill. The day ended with 127 species recorded.

evening

15th March 2006 – the final morning we again concentrated around the Finca Santa Marta before breakfast at 8.30am. We then travelled back to Madrid via sites in the Sierra de Gredos (site 1 and C500 in Helm). The highlights were catching up with Rock Sparrow at our accommodation and Citril Finch in Sierra de Gredos.

Birds
1. Little Grebe – several sightings on roadside pools.
2. Great Crested Grebe – single sighting of at least 20 birds at Embalse de la Sierra Brava on 14.03.06.
3. Black-necked Grebe – single sighting of at least three birds at Embalse de la Sierra Brava on 14.03.06.
4. Cormorant – a reasonably common species with several groups of around 20 seen at dawn and dusk flying to and from roost sites.
5. Cattle Egret – a surprisingly uncommon species but groups of up to 20 around Trujillo.
6. Little Egret – again a surprisingly uncommon species but seen in small numbers.
7. Grey Heron – scattered sightings.
8. Black Stork – three sightings in Monfrague on 12.03.06 – at least two at Pena Falcon both perched and in flight from Castillo de Monfrague and the pull-in; two in flight at Mirador de la Tajadilla; and a single feeding alongside the rio de Tietar at Portillo de la Tietar. Not seen away from Monfrague.
blackstork2
9. White Stork – absolutely everywhere.
whitestork
10. Wigeon – a single sighting of a pair at Embalse de la Sierra Brava on 14.03.06.
11. Gadwall – a few sightings on roadside pools.
12. Mallard – as expected, the commonest duck on roadside pools and ditches.
13. Pintail – two males seen at Embalse de la Sierra Brava on 14.03.06.
14. Shoveler – seen from a roadside pool on 12.03.06 from the NVE90 and at Embalse de la Sierra Brava on 14.03.06.
15. Black-shouldered Kite – two adults seen displaying and chasing each other at Muddeman site 11.10 on 13.03.06.
16. Black Kite – scattered sightings.
blackkite
17. Red Kite – still quite common – presumably a number had not yet left for their summer quarters.
18. Egyptian Vulture – seen each day with probably up to 10 in Monfrague.
Egyptian
19. Griffon Vulture – the commonest vulture. Hundreds seen. If you scanned, you would find it.
vulturestretchgriffonperch
20. Black Vulture – seen each day particularly in Monfrague and the steppes.
21. Short-toed Eagle – surprisingly common for the early date (in a late spring) with perhaps five pairs seen.
22. Marsh Harrier – the only harrier species seen. Seen at the rice fields and at Embalse de Aroyocampo.
23. Sparrowhawk – a single female seen near Canamero on 14.03.06.
24. Goshawk – single male displaying and circling over the pines at Parador Nacional de Gredos on 15.03.06.
25. Buzzard – a few seen mainly on the steppes.
26. Spanish Imperial Eagle – single adult seen at the nest site at Portilla de la Tietar on 12.03.06. The nest is at the top of a large oak. The birds are normally out of view from the hide at the viewpoint. However, approximately 300 to 400 yards further to the east along the road there is a high stile over the roadside fence and from here the nest can be viewed from the south bank of the river. The nest is situated to the very bottom right of a large scree slope as you view back left to the main rock face.
eagle
Spanish impsmall

Site Information

Description: From the town of Clevedon on the North Somerset coast a walk exists from the south west of
the town along a permissive footpath (partway; see below).

The walk is along the coast of the Bristol Channel which is a very good area for waders and the like. The habitat
includes tidal salt marsh, mudflats, some small areas of woodland and farmland which supports a wide variety of
species throughout the year. Regular birds include, Peregrine Falcon, Little Egret, Buzzard, Stonechat,
Wheatear,Goosander and Ringed Plover depending on the season. The Severn Estuary has a very high tidal
range and timing your visit around high tide can be crucial or else the birds will be mere specs in your
scope or bins!.
wains
The above picture is of wains hill looking back from the permissive path.

Directions: It is best to start the walk from the church in the west end of town (ST393707). From Junction 20 of M5
take the first L off the motorway, left at the next roundabout, straight over the next and then left to the church, which is
about 400 metres past the sports centre on the left-hand side.

Grid Reference: ST3870

Access: Walk is along a good permissive footpath, several stiles but very flat. Note that the permissive right-of-way
does not extend beyond the Kenn estuary (Kingston Pill). Another alternative is to start your walk from Channel view farm, Kingston Seymour, walk along the path until you reach the coast.

Facilities: None on the walk, but Clevedon is a large town with plenty of facilities.

Parking: Usually no problem on a minor road opposite the church cemetery. No charges.

Key areas/routes: Check the woodland when you start the walk for a variety of warblers. The harbour for ducks,
pipits, gulls and waders. The Blind Yeo for Goosander in winter. Blackstone Rocks especially good for Peregrine Falcon
and waders. Large flocks of waders and Little Egret can appear anywhere along the coastline (especially Kingston Pill).

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