8th April 2021 – Stoke Park Estate, Bristol

I have been rather frustrated over the last few days as I have seen reports of sightings of a common redstart on my local patch but knew I didn’t have the opportunity to go and try to spot it.

This afternoon, with dwindling light (and a cold northerly wind) I found an hour to go searching. On turning up at the acknowledged spot I met other photographers who had seen it in the morning (with their proud photos). But nothing to see. I hung around in the cold without any success. Another birder claimed to see it across the pond, but all I found in my lens was a robin.

Raised hopes but only a robin

It started to rain so I set off home on two occasions but kept coming back. And then – voilà – my redstart appeared on the barbed wire. I fired a few shots and then it flew off only a few seconds after it arrived, never to be seen again.

Male common redstart
I’m sure it had spotted me
Right profile
Left profile
Canada goose flying in the rain
Lots of ducklings around the pond
The robin came back to show off

6th April 2021 – Eastville Park, Bristol

It was bitterly cold around the lake in the park and so we were quite pleased to spend time in the woods looking for birds. We really only managed to see two birds (which were making very loud calls) – a nuthatch and a great tit.

Nuthatch calling
More familiar pose of the nuthatch
I thought I was back at school with the great tit shrilling “Teacher, Teacher”

As we made our way alongside the lake on the way home it was good to see the Tawny Owl in its box on one of the islands.

You could just see the male tawny owl in its box

3rd April 2021 – Iron Acton, South Gloucestershire

We had visited Algars Manor and Algars Mill gardens near Iron Acton just north of Bristol as part of the National Garden Scheme in March, and enjoyed the spectacular show of daffodils in the 2 acre woodland gardens which are bisected by the River Frome. We returned again for another NGS day and this time we were treated to another spectacular show: this time it was the turn of the camellias and magnolias to steal the show. The wood anemones and the fritillaries were pretty amazing too.