Des Bowring's Blog (74)

Bird Walk 15 January 12

A beautiful sunny morning brought out the birds and the watchers and we were treated to a taste of winter and the promise of spring. The full list is as follows:

Fieldfare - first spotted by Simon as it fed on the ground. Unusual to see one 'on the deck' in the park. 

Redwing - 2 or 3 birds and one showing particularly well.

Blackcap - at least 1 over-wintering bird. A brief burst of almost full-blown song was unusual so…


Added by Des Bowring on January 15, 2012 at 13:30 — No Comments

Bird walk 20 Nov

It was a quiet start to our monthly stroll round the park this morning and I did wonder if we'd see anything at all. However, we were later rewarded with superb views of sizeable Starling and finch flocks making it a spectacular end to this year's bird walks. The full list is as follows:


Starling - a notable and noisy influx of these birds, many no doubt arrivals from the continent.

Greenfinch - a good showing of 10+…


Added by Des Bowring on November 20, 2011 at 12:56 — No Comments

Bird walk 16 October

A select band of birdwatchers gathered in beautifully warm sunshine and encountered an equally select band of birds,  As the winter approaches, seeing birds will become less problematic because there will be fewer leaves!

The line-up is as follows:

Jay - one flew over the pond

Carrion Crow - one ot two feeding on the grass

Magpie - several birds seen

Great Tit - quite a few around, calling…


Added by Des Bowring on October 16, 2011 at 16:00 — No Comments

Bird walk 18 September

It might have been the weather or just bad luck but the bird list for today is the lowest in the illustrious history of St Andrews Park bird walks. Never mind, we did make the most of what the park has to offer in broader wildlife terms including some interesting Ash galls pointed out by Jo and Simon. These are caused by the eriophyid mite Aceria fraxinivorus which is apparently very common. We also saw Grey Squirrels and a Common Carder Bee. The bird list is as…


Added by Des Bowring on September 18, 2011 at 12:36 — No Comments

The joy of i-spot

I was recently recommended this website by a keen local naturalist. It is run by the Open University and is a great place to upload photos of wildlife and have experts identify them for you. Not only that, but you gain 'social points' the more you use the site and build up your reputation as a naturalist when you identify other people's sightings. Because of this, there is a real incentive to use the site and to be honest… Continue

Added by Des Bowring on September 15, 2011 at 21:15 — 2 Comments

Bird walk 15 May

Well, the birdsong may not have equalled the music of Bach, Handel and Vivaldi at Paul's concert, but we heard a Blackbird or two and that's close enough. The full list is as follows:

Magpie - one or two

Blackbird - two or three singing and several seen

Mistle Thrush - a late arrival seen after the walk from the cafe area

Robin - one or two, including one carrying food near the pond, suggesting a…


Added by Des Bowring on May 15, 2011 at 16:28 — 2 Comments

Make your wildlife sightings count!

I work at Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre (BRERC) as a volunteer, and I would urge anyone to send in records of the wildlife they see in the park. The centre has literally millions of records and is busy digitizing them - a mammoth task. The database is an invaluable tool with which to identify key wildlife sites and threatened habitats throughout the Bristol region, and it would be great to see St Andrews Park well and truly put on the map and recognised as a wildlife haven,… Continue

Added by Des Bowring on May 4, 2011 at 19:32 — No Comments

Bird walk 17 Apr

Frustratingly, one of my ears is blocked and I was fairly useless at hearing the birds this morning, but luckily there were enough keen ears and sharp eyes among the group to compensate. Highlights were at least two Blackcaps and a Chiffchaff no doubt recently arrived from Africa. This is the list:

Blackcap - at least two seen and heard

Chaffinch - rather thin on the ground, with just one heard singing briefly



Added by Des Bowring on April 17, 2011 at 11:56 — No Comments

Bird walk 20 March

These walks always seem to provide some excitement and this morning's was no exception - 2 Buzzards and a Peregrine passing overhead within minutes of each other made St Andrews Park feel more like the Bosporus than Bristol! The list in full:

Coal Tit - at least 3 birds singing, calling and showing well

Blue Tit - 1 or 2 singing

Great Tit - a few around the park

Long-tailed Tit - small groups…


Added by Des Bowring on March 20, 2011 at 16:20 — 2 Comments

Bird walk 20th February

This is the third year of these walks and I'm always gratified by the fact that people always turn up for them. There is usually something unusual to see, and we noted a new bird for the park this morning - a Grey Heron! Sadly it only passed overhead chased by gulls, but one day it might hang around and have a look at the pond! Other highlights included Blackcap, Redwing and Jay. Here's the list:


Redwing - 3 or 4 feeding on the grass and in the…


Added by Des Bowring on February 20, 2011 at 13:32 — No Comments

Big Garden Birdwatch

The RSPB's  annual Big Garden Birdwatch happened this weekend and I chose St Andrews Park to do mine this morning. Highlights included a couple of male Blackcaps feeding on cotoneaster berries at the bowling club, 3 Mistle Thrushes and this Redwing. Near the pond 3 Robins were seen together - an unusual sight for this normally aggressive species - although one of them was doing a curious display (presumably threat rather than courtship) waving its head around slowly and baring its…


Added by Des Bowring on January 30, 2011 at 15:45 — 1 Comment

Bird walk 16th Jan 2011

The rain held off and we had a good birdwatching session this morning. As we gathered, we were serenaded by a Mistle Thrush, but I would say the song was atypical for this species, sounding more Blackbird-like than usual. Another highlight was a Blackcap giving its 'tack' alarm call but I don't think any of us were able to see it among the dense vegetation near the bowls club. The full list is as follows:


Chaffinch - one or two feeding in the…


Added by Des Bowring on January 16, 2011 at 16:25 — No Comments

Bird walk 21st November

A cold and drizzly morning did not deter a dedicated band of birders this morning, and we were rewarded with some good birds, many of which were almost certainly of Scandinavian and eastern European origin. A tantalising glimpse of a raptor (I would put my money on Peregrine but cannot rule out Sparrowhawk) set the pulses racing! Species seen and heard:

Starling - a good flock of at least 30 birds wheeling around in spectacular fashion were no… Continue

Added by Des Bowring on November 21, 2010 at 12:36 — 1 Comment

Bird walk 17th October

We had to work surprisingly hard to find the birds today, but eventually the birds found us - a mixed flock of tits and a Goldcrest provided some entertainment at the end of the walk. Full list as follows:

Woodpigeon - 1 or 2 flying around

Jay - 1 heard calling

Carrion Crow - 2 or 3

Magpie - several birds in and… Continue

Added by Des Bowring on October 17, 2010 at 14:32 — No Comments

Bird Walk 19th September

Well, the birdwatchers outnumbered the birds this morning, but never mind - these walks are a good forum for exchanging information not only about birds but St Andrews Park itself, so thanks to all who attended. I'm sure next month's walk will be a little more lively! Here is a list of what we did manage to see and/or hear:

Magpie - four or five birds in and around the park

Carrion Crow - two or three seen feeding on the…


Added by Des Bowring on September 19, 2010 at 15:42 — 2 Comments

Next Bird Walk in September not August shock

The next bird walk will be on 19 September. I think I may have said the next one will be in August but to be honest the birds are rather quiet at this time of year. See you all next month!


Added by Des Bowring on August 8, 2010 at 16:18 — No Comments

Bird Walk 16th May

Despite the decidedly unpromising weather, several people were mad enough to join me in another walk round the park. The overcast, cool and drizzly conditions really seemed to suppress bird song and activity. The list is as follows:

Mistle Thrush - 2 or 3 birds seen

Blackbird - several, including a female gathering nesting material

Starling - 2 or 3

Goldcrest - 1 seen near the…


Added by Des Bowring on May 16, 2010 at 14:10 — No Comments

Bird Walk 18 April

The list of birds seen today doesn't look particularly impressive on paper but our feathered friends behaved particularly well, allowing close and prolonged views. A very good turn-out for the event, so thanks everyone who turned up.



Wren - sat on top of fences and bushes and feeding on the grass. In short, flaunting themselves.…


Added by Des Bowring on April 18, 2010 at 17:42 — No Comments

Birds of St Andrews Park - the story so far....

Over the last couple of years I and many others have been noting the birds in St Andrews Park and I've finally got round to doing a spreadsheet as attached. Of course, there will be frequent additions to the list and changes in status of various species, so the list is by no means set in stone. Meanwhile, please feel free to report any sightings either to me privately, or via the website.…


Added by Des Bowring on April 16, 2010 at 13:30 — 2 Comments

Petition: Save threatened trees in Bishopston

I received this email and thought I'd pass it on:

I'm writing in the hope that you can help us save 3 trees in Bishopston which face imminent destruction unless the community can pull together to find another way

and save them.…

Added by Des Bowring on April 6, 2010 at 18:30 — 2 Comments

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