A South Gloucestershire Birder's Diary: Birdwatching Insights and Experiences

A South Gloucestershire Birder's Diary: Birdwatching Insights and Experiences

As an ‘obsessive’ birder based in S. Gloucestershire I’m keen to see (and if possible find) rare and scarce birds and butterflies in my area: over the years (now more than 50) I’ve been fortunate to do both!

When I can I like to share my experiences and photo’s with others – you can follow me and my ‘birding’ buddies exploits via Twitter @southglosbirds or for more detailed information via the TBOSG website at www.thebirdsofsouthgloucestershire.co.uk.

Here’s a taster….

Blue butterfly

South Gloucestershire is a unitary authority area in South West England. It comprises of multiple suburban areas to the north and east of Bristol. South Gloucestershire was created in 1996 from the northern section of the now ‘defunct’ county that used to be Avon (or as we endearingly refer to it ‘CUBA’), which was abolished at that time.

It is considered to be one of the premier birding and butterflying areas in our region and as a consequence I wanted to record and share the beauty of some of the wonderful natural history found here.

My primary objective with TBOSG was to provide a point of reference with easy access to information about rare, scarce and unusual bird and butterfly sightings, both full species and forms, seen in ‘S. Glos’ to anyone from the back garden birdwatcher with a mild interest in local birdwatching to the avid ‘birder’ and yes even the odd ‘twitcher’.

It is by no means authoritative nor exhaustive but it does I feel capture the essence of modern ‘birding’ and ‘lepping’ in this extremely important region of the UK. It also, I feel, highlights the changing trends of species seen across the recording area hopefully aiding conservation efforts.

The original idea was hatched after seeing several Common Crane at Tortworth in February 2003 and wondering, ...’how many previous records had occurred in S. Glos’...

It was then that I realised just how difficult it was to access ‘easily’ the information I was looking for. I could see no easy solution, information needed to be collated and laid out in a resource that anyone could use. Now after nearly fifteen years and over 400,000 visitors TBOSG is firmly established as the ’go too’ website for reliable and current information.

At the time of writing (July 2017 one of the quietest months of the year) it’s still possible to see some spectacular birds and butterflies.

Yellow & Black & white butterflies

This Temminck’s Stint that spent a couple of days on Butts Pool, Pilning Wetland on the coast proved to be just the fourth ever recorded and the latest date ever for this species in S. Glos. Also recently Egyptian Goose, Cattle Egret, Mediterranean Gulls, Red Kites and Common Quail have all been seen.

On the butterfly front some super specimens were ‘on the wing’ locally – Silver-washed Fritillary, White Admiral and both Purple and White Letter Hairstreak all seen at Lower Woods LNR.

Written by Martyn Hayes


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