Having missed the redstart at Battery Point on Monday, I assumed that was it for the month. So, imagine my surprise, on returning from a tramp round Portbury Wharf and Sheepway, to see maybe the same bird hawking from the roofs not a hundred yards from Gibb Towers. At the junction of Fennel Road and Phoenix Way, to be precise.
She rather stole the thunder from an unaccustomed headline billing for stock doves on the Wharf, which became my 120th species on the year list. I always make a point of checking doves and pigeons, just for the reason that it’s easy to overlook Columba oenas. They’re not hard to pick out, even in flight, given that they lack the conspicuous white patches of wood pigeons and the pale rump of most ferals. Add the black wing edges when they bank enough to reveal a view from above and there’s no excuse for not identifying them.
Easy to say after fifteen years’ experience, I know. Anyway, the doves, along with reed buntings, a lone siskin and finally a male kestrel, boosted the car-free list to 70. Awesome. I never imagined that was possible in only two weeks. I’m still missing turnstone and jay, which do occur in Portishead, and I’m a bit surprised at the lack of shoveler, any grebes, several waders and grey wagtail. And are there no yellowhammers round here?