Purple Sandpipers, Battery Point

Purple Sandpipers

So they do visit Portishead but I had almost given up early this morning when two showed themselves. Then Steve Hale’s shadow loomed over me, he found another two, which I turned into three, and we stopped at five. They resolutely steered clear of the one sunny patch of rock so the picture is the best I could do.

The Pupples (that’s what we used to call Deep Purple) took my Somerset list to 150, Avon to 149 and the year’s car-free list to 106. I’m still aiming at 110 there. Yellowhammer is now possible, having been reported near the Portbury grey partridges*, and I’m continuing hopeful for tawny owl. Beyond them? Firecrest? It pops up locally from time to time. Water pipit? Both would be cracking year birds too.

My newest life list now also shows 141 car-free birds, that is to say species that I’ve seen on foot from where I live. It helps that I’ve moved – a lot in the last eight years: Auchmithie; Dundee; Edinburgh; Redditch(!); and now Portishead. This doesn’t include last century’s living next door to Upton Warren, records that may be difficult to extract from when I used to drive there. And of course it doesn’t include my time in California and Connecticut. I’ll just keep this list to the UK!

*The bad news on these is that they are escapees from vandalised pens. Can I be bothered to rescind the record? I have the justification that I count similarly artificial pheasants every year. What say you, Saint Nick?

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