Portbury Wharf Ton

The very prosaic great crested grebe brought up my hundred for the local nature reserve. Prosaic yet pretty, especially in breeding plumage, the species is also new for my car-free list, according to the fading Birdstack.

Not so. The website’s demise has forced all my records on to an Excel spreadsheet (OpenOffice actually) and from this I can calculate that the grebe is as high up as number 36. A walk way back in 1996 down the Itchen Way from Winchester to Eastleigh was responsible but I knew I’d also seen plenty during my residence within binocular distance of Upton Warren.

This new version of the list also adds pintail, ruddy duck, water rail, golden and little ringed plovers, jack snipe, black-tailed godwit, greenshank, green sandpiper, willow tit and brambling – 11 species for a revised total of 158. All but one were from Upton in the 1997/8 season. That was in the days when you could still see willow tit somewhere; it used to be regular on the feeders at the Moors Pool.

Nevertheless, great crested grebe is new for Portishead, which brings the town up to match Cupertino‘s 114 species. Mountain View is still way ahead for the conurbations with 135 and Edinburgh(!) is second on 120.

Today has been the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch and, unlike last year, 52 Phoenix Way has manifested an entire bird – to whit, one magpie scavenging under the roof tiles and gutters. That’s the kind of creature you get when you cover the land with tarmac, etc.

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