Friends of Portbury Wharf Walk – Saturday 6th May 2017 – led by Giles Morris and Dave Horlick
(report by Dave Horlick)
The Friends’ inaugural guided walk around Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve started at the Marina Lock Gates on a cool, breezy, cloudy morning. Not necessarily the best of conditions but, as it turned out, a very successful couple of hours. Before we reached the reserve, we were bombarded with a wide variety of bird song which our leader Giles was able to identify for us; the explosive call of the Cetti’s warbler, the gentle descending song of the Willow Warbler, the scratchy Whitethroat and many more.
Overhead there was a regular stream of Swallows and Martins passing through … with a few of the House Martins undoubtedly returning to their nests at the Fishing Village. After spending a good few minutes trying to spot a vocal, but rather obscured, Reed Warbler we came across our first real highlight of the morning. Looking up the rhyne alongside the Sanctuary, we were able to see a distant Water Vole. Although there is a good population of Water Voles on the reserve, sightings are far from guaranteed – or even common.
We settled into the Tower hide for a good look at the many birds that take advantage of the North Pools. With plenty of Swallows and House Martins hawking over the water a lone Sand Martin could be seen while, on the island itself, were three Bar-headed Geese, a couple of Redshanks, a couple of Little Ringed Plover, a Common Sandpiper and an Oystercatcher – along with the regular ducks, grebes and gulls.
Our final stop of the morning was the South Pools hide where bird life was rather less busy that on the North Pools. However, there was still plenty to see; a very young Coot was being fed by an attentive parent, an Oystercatcher sitting on the island and, in the distance, a beautiful Whinchat and a smart male Reed Bunting. It was here that we spotted our only butterfly of the morning – a Green-veined White.
The final sighting as we returned to the Marina along the sea wall was a Sedge Warbler. This brought our total for the morning to 51. A very respectable total for a couple of hours. Many thanks to Giles for leading.