Westbury & District

Bird Watching

Leader: John Osborne
Tel 01373 864598, email Bird Watching.

Meets on 3rd Thursday with the location and time being dependent on the event (usually all day).

On a sunny, autumnal morning in October 2020 we visited Shearwater in two groups. To comply with the COVID rule of six, five of us walked clockwise around the lake led by Mike while five of us walked anticlockwise led by Chris. A Nuthatch was calling as we set off and we soon saw several Great Crested Grebes on the water. A Kingfisher dashed into a tree at the lakeside and we spent a few minutes looking for it without success. The woods were quiet apart from a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Coal Tits and a passing Raven. But the few who chose to have a coffee at the end of the walk were rewarded with the sighting of two Red Kites soaring above them.

We were locked down again in November but, by December, it was possible for groups of six to meet again outside. Five of us visited Langford Lakes and managed to record 41 bird species. These included a Raven calling overhead, Gadwall and three little Egrets on Brockbank lake, three Wigeon and a Yellow Legged Gull on Long Pond and good views of a pair of Bullfinch. Instead of a pre Christmas pub lunch, we then enjoyed a socially distanced picnic together on the new Terrace.

Another lockdown prevented us meeting until April 2021 when, on a cold but sunny morning, two groups of six went to Box and the Bybrook river. We hoped to see Dipper and weren't disappointed when one showed well for us from the bridge not far from the car park. Nuthatch was calling and a Sparrowhawk was spotted before we reached the wide meadows alongside the river. Here Stock Doves were added to the list. Some of us called in at Corsham Lake where we had lunch and scrutinised the gulls on the water for rarities. None found but we added several more species including Shoveler, Great Crested Grebe and Cettis Warbler bringing our day total to 40.

Just three of us went to the RSPB Nags Head Reserve in the Forest of Dean in May. We soon found Pied Flycatchers coming and going to nest boxes and a pair of Redstarts feeding on the woodland floor. Nuthatches and Treecreeper were also seen and a singing Garden Warbler was located.

Despite a poor weather forecast, the seven of us who met at Winterbourne Down RSPB Reserve in June enjoyed a dry, warm, bright day which proved excellent for butterflies as well as birds. As we arrived in the car park, three Red Kites circled above us. Our target bird, Stone Curlew, was soon spotted on the scrape and we all had reasonable telescope views of two birds. Small Blue and Common Blue butterflies were quite numerous and the first Meadow Browns and Large Skippers were flying too. The 14 species of butterfly seen also included Painted Lady and Small Copper. After lunch, we wandered into the flower meadow adjoining the car park and found both Bee and Pyramidal Orchids.

With several of our group of six staying in the area, we were able to make the most of our trip to Portland and Weymouth in September. We met at Ferrybridge where we found plenty of waders to examine. There were good numbers of Dunlin and Ringed Plovers, two Bar Tailed Godwits and Oystercatchers as well as Mediterranean Gulls. Moving on to the Bill, we headed for the Quarry where a Wryneck had been seen. John S arrived first and glimpsed the elusive bird but, despite a long wait, it didn't emerge for the rest of the group. However, on our way to the Quarry we did find a Whinchat and several Wheatears. Apart from a couple of Gannets, the calm sea was quiet so we headed for Lodmoor. Here we found a good variety of wetland species including a magnificent white headed Ruff. A very enjoyable, sunny day's birding with 50 species recorded.

See also Natural History.

Dates for your Diary
Thu Oct 21st Shearwater
Thu Nov 18th Blashford Lakes
Thu Dec 16th Langford Lakes and festive lunch at a nearby pub.
Thu Jan 20th 2022 Westbury STW and the Mead.
Thu Feb 17th 2022 Blakehill WWT Reserve and Cotswold Water Park.
Thu Mar 17th 2022 Mark Ash Wood and Milkham enclosure, New Forest.
Thu Apr 21st 2022 Fonthill Lake
Thu May 19th 2022 Alner's Gorse
Thu Jun 16th 2022 Haxton Down
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More Group Pages
Art - Painting Art Appreciation
Bird Watching Book Club
Canasta Classical Music
Computing Creative Textiles
Exercise Group French Conversation
Gardening History & Archaeology
Mahjong Natural History
Photography Silver Screen
Strollers Table Tennis