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Monday 20 February 2023

13th to 19th February –Brief sunshine before the cloud descended

 A dry and mild start to the week. Southwesterlies from the 15th brought low cloud and poor visibility. A moderate northerly on the 19th provided a brief day of sunshine.

Seven Teal were counted at Pondsbury on 16. A Stock Dove flew over the village on 13th and a Woodpigeon was in Millcombe on 16th. Two Water Rail were squealing loudly below Brambles on 15th. 33 Oystercatchers were counted along the Lower East on 16th and nine Purple Sandpiper were still present at Brazen Ward.  A Red-throated Diver was seen close in off the East Side on 17th.

Oystercatchers, Brazen Ward © Stuart Cossey

Purple Sandpipers, Brazen Ward © Stuart Cossey

The first confirmed signs of breeding Raven were identified with nest material collection and a predated egg by Pondsbury on 16th. Herring, Lesser Black-backed and Great Black-backed Gulls are starting to pair up and congregate at breeding sites.

With sunset getting later, after work birding is now a possibility. Incredible behaviour was witnessed in the late afternoon of 14th as a Skylark was heard calling over Millcombe pursued by a Merlin. It then dropped steeply into the pines as a Sparrowhawk and Peregrine joined the hunt. The Sparrowhawk continued the chase through the trees but it is unclear whether the Skylark got away. The overwintering Sparrowhawk is the first since 2019 and with this only happening on a handful of occasions.

The male Song Thrush from 2022 is continuing to sing its heart out in Millcombe. It has a few distinctive phrases which mimic other birds. Hopefully this year it finds a mate and breeding can be confirmed.

Two Pied Wagtail were seen on 13th and 14th and one on 16th. A Grey Wagtail flew out of Millcombe on 15th. A high count of 14 Chaffinch was recorded on 13th. Four Linnet were seen on 14th and two on 15th.

Contributors: Stuart Cossey, Rosie Ellis, Eleanor Grover

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