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24th December 2020 – Eastville Park

It felt that this robin was giving us a special Christmas welcome as we walked around our local park this morning.

Robins are the nation’s favourite bird and have such strong association with Christmas that it seems very appropriate to wish everyone who reads my blog a very Merry Christmas by posting this picture and my header photo which I took earlier this week at Tyntesfield in North Somerset.

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7th December 2020 – Tyntesfield NT

Health warning – photographs taken on a dismal morning in December in North Somerset probably don’t have a lot of merit or interest for visitors to this blog but for the record (and to keep me occupied) I am publishing a blog of our visit to the National Trust estate of Tyntesfield (see the National Trust website for details and better photos) and our brief visit to the nearby seaside town of Clevedon.

Thrush
Blackbird
Dunnock

There were a few trappings of Christmas to be seen but, as the house is currently closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic , nothing like the fabulous Christmas decorations which we saw last year.

A great source of mistletoe
A few Christmas decorations on the veranda of Tyntesfield
There’s a robin on top (honestly!)

At Tyntesfield we saw robins, blackbirds, dunnocks and thrushes and at Clevedon black-headed gulls and a pied wagtail. Oh for the black redstart that has been reported on the pier at Clevedon!

A very grumpy black-headed gull
Pied wagtail
Clevedon pier (but no sighting of a black redstart)
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6th December 2020 – Eastville Park, Bristol

We thought we would take an early-ish walk to Eastville Park before the crowds arrived but clearly we were’t early enough and, as the park soon became quite congested, we limited the time we spent there.

We were rewarded with a good view of a kingfisher on the River Frome but I’m sorry to say I was much too slow to get a shot.

Black-headed gull testing the water

There were three grey herons on the lake and lots of cormorants. On a small brook that feeds into the River Frome there were several birds taking a bath, including a song thrush which I haven’t seen in the park for a while.

Song thrush taking a bath in Fishponds Brook
Blue tit also taking advantage of the amenities
The grey wagtail wasn’t so sure about getting wet

The sun didn’t last long in the park and neither did we.

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2nd December 2020 – New Passage, Severn Estuary

It was very dull as we walked along the Severn Way from Severn Beach to New Passage and back, but at least we got back to the car before the rain set in.

There was very little to see until we reached New Passage where there were lots of waders. Unfortunately the tide was rather low by this point and the light was so dismal that there wasn’t much joy in photographing them in these conditions. For the record though we did see dunlin, redshank, black-tailed godwits, wigeon, little egret, curlew and plenty of oystercatchers. Back at Severn Beach there were pied wagtails. All in all we considered ourselves to be lucky rather than unlucky.

Loads of waders
The ostercatchers with their orange bills were the easiest to pick out
We could hear the curlew long before we saw it
The whistling wigeon were rather noisy too
This black-tailed godwit came a little closer
The red legs of the redshank could just be seen
No problem seeing the little egret
Oystercatchers were the best of the day
The pied wagtail at Severn Beach was certainly close enough