Purton Jan 8th 2018
Purton Walk Jan 8th 2018
Nineteen members gathered by the canal bridge junction in Purton in rather chilly conditions with poor light due to the dark cloud cover, not ideal for bird watching perhaps. However our list was off to a very good start when some of our party reported having spotted a Goldcrest as they parked their car and indeed we were surrounded by numerous birds even before we set off on our walk. Atop poles were Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Collared Dove. Around us were large numbers of Rooks, Jackdaws, a couple of Ravens, a Wood Pigeon, several House Sparrows, Blackbird and, of course, a robin!
Setting off along the lane towards Sharpness a large number of the houses had bird feeders and our list quickly grew with Blue Tit , Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker enjoying the facilities laid on for them. Overhead and in the surrounding hedges and fields were noted Buzzard, Kestrel, Herring Gull, Magpie, Mallard, Pheasant, Wren, Pied Wagtails, Fieldfare and Meadow Pipits.
Taking to the field path down to the docks area we passed the remains of a manure heap that was attracting many Pied Wagtails and some Meadow Pipits and as we watched a flash of yellow announced the arrival of a Grey Wagtail. Emerging onto the old lane leading down to the docks some of the back markers were lucky enough to get sightings of several Bullfinches.
After a brief lunch break, utilizing the picnic tables at the Dockers Club (unfortunately closed!), we headed for the pond by the SARA Rescue Centre in the hope that the Great Northern Diver, which had been reported there daily since Christmas was still present, and to our delight it was! It entertained us for some time, diving and reappearing, after what seemed an impossible long time and distance away, and at times appearing to lie flat to the water as if impersonating a floating log. There were also Great Crested Grebe and Cormorant fishing in the pool.
Moving on through the Marina we saw more Great Crested Grebe and Moorhens and a Coot swimming amidst the moored boats.
At the start of the Sharpness Canal we watched a Little Grebe successfully fishing on the far bank, before we headed on our way back to Purton along the towpath and facing into an increasingly chilly breeze. The only birds of note on the Severn itself were flock of Wigeon and a lone Grey Heron, well hidden amidst reeds at the edge of the river. Few birds were seen along the canal but pairs of Gadwall and Mallard were spotted in an adjoining pool off to the far side.
As we arrived at our parked cars visibility was noticeably decreasing and there was an increasing dampness in the air - time to go home. Not too bad a day for birding after all!
Species List (42)
Goldcrest Lesser BB Gull Robin Cormorant
Blackbird Carrion Crow Moorhen Jackdaw
House Sparrow Collared Dove Wood Pigeon Blue Tit
Herring Gull Rook Buzzard Raven
B Headed Gull Mallard Magpie Pheasant
Great Tit Goldfinch Wren Long-tailed Tit
Chaffinch G S Woodpecker Fieldfare Pied Wagtail
Meadow Pipit Grey Wagtail Kestrel Bullfinch
Gt Crested Grebe Gt Northern Diver Dunnock Coot
Little Grebe Grey Heron Wigeon Gadwall
Mute Swan Song Thrush