Shoveler, Portbury Wharf


The temperature has lifted above zero, into double figures in fact. The sun has come out and it’s a new month. The perfect recipe for a stroll round the patch, where the birds were out in force – 43 species, some of ‘em singing too. Tra-la-la.

And an uncommon visitor was a splendid (I use that word a lot!) male shoveler at the edge of the big pool. It was so much at the edge that I missed it on the first few scans. It always pays to look again. February and March last year provide my only other records of Anas clypeata in Portishead. What does clypeata mean?

Mergus merganser merganser (goosander, of course) was still in the Marina, close to Bottelino’s, which I haven’t been to yet. I must try: they’re doing lunchtime mains for £4.95 – sounds good. Anyway, I finished the stroll with probable Phoenicurus ochrurus. Phoenicurus is apt for Phoenix Way, which is where I saw the bird, horribly backlit but I’m 95% certain it was… black redstart. But you knew that, didn’t you?

Now to see if Inside Out West is on BBC’s iPlayer. Last night’s offering was supposed to feature the Wharf. I didn’t get to view it because I was out with my Bristol science fiction chums – ooh, mental note: must check out P.J.Harvey too.

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