The Strawberry Line

This runs from my new workplace of Yatton to somewhere much further south than Yatton. In fact, Cheddar and Wells, with a branch off to Blagdon (to build the reservoir, I believe). In a lunchtime I’m only able to get somewhere a little further south but this is enough to clock some interesting birds.

Prime of these are redpolls, which are not guaranteed but always a welcome addition to the month list. Many redwings and the odd fieldfare have also been prominent this winter. More recent new sightings include one little egret on the flooded fields and a reed bunting, which is apparently common.

But it’s the habitat that appeals most. Some of it looks rough, uncultivated, i.e. without the baleful hand of Man. So too do the odd patches of moor on the way down from Clevedon to Yatton; they make my inward morning journey a treat. Friday was especially fine with a fog hanging thick on the ground.

One other local bird deserves mention and that is lesser black-backed gull. The species disappears from Portishead during the winter, is occasional in Bristol but one bird certainly is easy to to see in Yatton. The rest of ’em bugger off to Portugal and Spain and even West Africa at this time of year. I grew used to their migratory behaviour in my Dundee years: none stayed north of the border in the winter. This is less obvious further south.

How long before climate change, or our generally slovenly habits, makes this forager a year-round resident too?

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