The Work/Bird Balance

Strawberry Line, Yatton, N Somerset
Strawberry Line, Yatton, N Somerset

So, a flyover red kite, being mobbed by a crow, down the Strawberry Line at Yatton on Thursday brought me my 187th Somerset species. The bird has been a long time coming with regular reports, along the Gordano Valley for instance, in the three years I’ve been living in Portishead.

Talking of which, that list moved too, on Wednesday with the somewhat trashy Egyptian goose that’s taken up residence at the Boating Lake. The 14-metre tide that morning also flushed a snipe off the Woodhill Bay saltmarsh – another new species for what I call the Portishead coast. This stretches from Battery Point to… I guess the road sign at Redcliffe Bay. At least that’s where I saw a kestrel a couple of weeks ago for my 72nd patch species.

Back to Wednesday, the ex-Portbury Wharf scaup has relocated to the Boating Lake and is now looking like a proper scaup. Later, in the afternoon, I tried for my Chew Valley permit at Woodford Lodge. Closed. But additions for the year list were barnacle goose, goldeneye, goosander, great crested grebe…

Yes, you heard right: I’m even seeing such common birds for the first time in 2013. That’s what full-time work does for you. That and the shite weather. Those and getting sucked in to massive games of Civilization IV. Be warned, I may share my thoughts on that with you some time.

Anyway, one other highlight lately has been the twite at Aust Warth as a new Avon species. I say highlight but a glimpse of one’s back through a scope and then the two flying over were not the stuff of fantasy.

Today should mark my first little ringed plover but not unless I suddenly take off for Upton Warren. Later in the week should be wheatear although they’re already being reported, as are sand martins and even a willow warbler. Let me see if I can keep pace with spring, having missed out on winter.

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