Orcombe

I do much of my birding on Orcombe Point during spring and autumn but rarely cover it in the winter and summer. I love it because it is not a 'prime' site and consequently I often have it to myself. 
The coastal path from the Foxholes estate to Sandy Bay is heavily used by dog-walkers, joggers and ramblers so if I cover it, it's usually very early on, but to be honest I much prefer birding the area at the top of Gore Lane that I call, unimaginatively, the 'top fields'. I am lucky to have permission from the farmer to walk around these fields but obviously I can't when there are crops growing in them. Most of the area is viewable from Gore Lane anyway. It's the autumn when one or more of the fields are left as stubble that they come into their own, attracting skylark and meadow pipit flocks that are occasionally joined by something better. I also have permission to go into the Bristol Schools camp but from late spring to the end of summer it's utilised by different schools so birding it is out of the question. 
The majority of sea-watching is done from the raised bank below the beach huts as it usually affords some degree of shelter. This also overlooks Maer rocks that can be good for gulls and sometimes waders.
I very rarely have time to cover the whole area marked out on the map below. To do this properly requires at least 5 hours  - time that with a full-time job and young kids just isn't normally available. Very often visits are fruitless but that is the nature of covering any local patch, particularly one that isn't very good like Orcombe! 





Looking south-west across the 'turnip' field with the 'main' field beyond. Berry Head is just about visible in the distance. The weedy margins in autumn 2013 attracted plenty of Linnets and the turnips hid Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, the odd Snipe and Song Thrush. Best of all, the second Turtle Dove of the autumn spent a few days in this field and in the 'main' field beyond, Lapland Bunting and the White-fronted Goose were the highlights with a Richard's Pipit over.


Looking back towards the Warren from the top of the 'ditch' field with the Foxholes estate on the right.


Looking south'ish from the Geoneedle towards Berry Head. This would be a good sea-watching spot if it weren't so exposed. Wheatears often pitch down here before moving inland.


This is the public footpath that leads from the Foxholes estate to the Geoneedle. The scrub looks good for all sorts of stuff but I've never seen much in there, apart from a Yellow-browed Warbler (Oct 2016). Mind you I tend to concentrate more on the top fields so this area is somewhat neglected. Behind the hedge on the left is the Bristol School's camp.


This is the track leading down to the entrance of the Bristol Schools Camp, accessed off Gore Lane. Ring ouzel, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher, Firecrest, Pallas's Warbler and Redstart have been recorded in this area.


My Orcombe List:


  1. mute swan
  2. white-fronted goose
  3. greylag goose
  4. canada goose
  5. brent goose
  6. black brant
  7. [bar-headed goose]
  8. shelduck
  9. mallard
  10. gadwall
  11. pintail
  12. teal
  13. wigeon
  14. pochard
  15. scaup
  16. eider
  17. common scoter
  18. velvet scoter
  19. long-tailed duck
  20. red-breasted merganser
  21. goosander (3)
  22. red-legged partridge
  23. quail (2)
  24. pheasant
  25. red-throated diver
  26. black-throated diver
  27. great northern diver
  28. fulmar
  29. great shearwater (3)
  30. manx shearwater
  31. balearic shearwater
  32. storm petrel
  33. gannet
  34. cormorant
  35. shag
  36. little egret
  37. grey heron
  38. purple heron
  39. great white egret
  40. great crested grebe
  41. red-necked grebe
  42. black-necked grebe
  43. red kite
  44. marsh harrier (3)
  45. sparrowhawk
  46. buzzard
  47. osprey 
  48. kestrel
  49. merlin
  50. hobby
  51. peregrine
  52. oystercatcher
  53. avocet
  54. stone curlew
  55. ringed plover
  56. golden plover
  57. grey plover
  58. lapwing
  59. knot 
  60. sanderling
  61. purple sandpiper
  62. dunlin 
  63. ruff
  64. jack snipe
  65. snipe
  66. woodcock
  67. whimbrel
  68. curlew
  69. common sandpiper
  70. green sandpiper
  71. wood sandpiper
  72. greenshank
  73. redshank
  74. turnstone
  75. grey phalarope
  76. pomarine skua
  77. arctic skua
  78. long-tailed skua
  79. great skua
  80. sabine's gull
  81. kittiwake
  82. bonaparte's gull
  83. black-headed gull
  84. little gull
  85. mediterranean gull
  86. common gull
  87. lesser black-backed gull
  88. herring gull
  89. yellow-legged gull
  90. iceland gull (2)
  91. kumlien's gull
  92. glaucous gull
  93. great black-backed gull
  94. little tern
  95. black tern
  96. white-winged black tern
  97. sandwich tern
  98. caspian tern
  99. common tern
  100. roseate tern
  101. arctic tern
  102. guillemot
  103. razorbill
  104. feral pigeon
  105. stock dove
  106. woodpigeon
  107. collared dove
  108. turtle dove
  109. cuckoo
  110. short-eared owl
  111. tawny owl
  112. little owl
  113. swift
  114. hoopoe
  115. kingfisher
  116. green woodpecker
  117. great spotted woodpecker
  118. wryneck
  119. skylark
  120. woodlark
  121. sand martin
  122. swallow
  123. house martin
  124. tawny pipit
  125. richard's pipit
  126. rock pipit
  127. meadow pipit
  128. red-throated pipit (2)
  129. pied wagtail
  130. yellow wagtail
  131. grey wagtail
  132. dunnock
  133. robin
  134. redstart
  135. black redstart
  136. wheatear
  137. whinchat
  138. stonechat
  139. song thrush
  140. redwing
  141. mistle thrush
  142. fieldfare
  143. blackbird
  144. ring ouzel
  145. garden warbler
  146. blackcap
  147. whitethroat
  148. lesser whitethroat
  149. sardinian warbler
  150. dartford warbler
  151. sedge warbler
  152. grasshopper warbler
  153. reed warbler
  154. willow warbler
  155. chiffchaff
  156. siberian chiffchaff
  157. yellow-browed warbler (4)
  158. pallas's warbler
  159. dusky warbler
  160. goldcrest
  161. firecrest
  162. wren
  163. spotted flycatcher
  164. red-breasted flycatcher
  165. pied flycatcher
  166. great tit
  167. coal tit
  168. blue tit
  169. long-tailed tit
  170. nuthatch
  171. treecreeper
  172. magpie
  173. jay
  174. jackdaw
  175. chough
  176. rook
  177. carrion crow
  178. raven
  179. starling
  180. rose-coloured starling
  181. house sparrow
  182. chaffinch
  183. brambling
  184. linnet
  185. redpoll
  186. goldfinch
  187. greenfinch
  188. siskin
  189. serin
  190. bullfinch
  191. crossbill
  192. reed bunting
  193. snow bunting
  194. lapland bunting (12)
  195. yellowhammer
  196. cirl bunting
  197. corn bunting
  198. [ring-necked parakeet]

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