Orcombe - the patch

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 (2)
  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. sandwich tern
  97. caspian tern
  98. common tern
  99. roseate tern
  100. arctic tern
  101. black guillemot
  102. guillemot
  103. razorbill
  104. feral pigeon
  105. stock dove
  106. woodpigeon
  107. collared dove
  108. turtle dove (2)
  109. [ring-necked parakeet]
  110. cuckoo
  111. little owl
  112. tawny owl
  113. short-eared owl
  114. swift
  115. kingfisher
  116. green woodpecker
  117. great spotted woodpecker
  118. wryneck (2)
  119. jay
  120. magpie
  121. chough
  122. jackdaw
  123. rook
  124. carrion crow
  125. raven
  126. goldcrest
  127. firecrest
  128. blue tit
  129. great tit
  130. coal tit
  131. woodlark
  132. skylark
  133. sand martin
  134. swallow
  135. house martin
  136. long-tailed tit
  137. yellow-browed warbler (2)
  138. pallas's warbler
  139. dusky warbler
  140. chiffchaff
  141. siberian chiffchaff (2)
  142. willow warbler
  143. blackcap
  144. garden warbler
  145. lesser whitethroat
  146. whitethroat
  147. dartford warbler (6)
  148. sardinian warbler
  149. grasshopper warbler
  150. sedge warbler
  151. reed warbler
  152. nuthatch
  153. treecreeper
  154. wren
  155. starling
  156. rose-coloured starling
  157. ring ouzel
  158. blackbird
  159. fieldfare
  160. song thrush
  161. redwing
  162. mistle thrush
  163. pied flycatcher
  164. spotted flycatcher
  165. red-breasted flycatcher
  166. robin
  167. black redstart
  168. redstart
  169. whinchat
  170. stonechat
  171. wheatear
  172. dunnock
  173. house sparrow
  174. yellow wagtail
  175. grey wagtail
  176. pied wagtail
  177. richard's pipit
  178. tawny pipit
  179. tree pipit
  180. meadow pipit
  181. red-throated pipit (2)
  182. rock pipit
  183. chaffinch
  184. brambling
  185. serin
  186. greenfinch
  187. goldfinch
  188. siskin
  189. linnet
  190. lesser redpoll
  191. crossbill
  192. bullfinch
  193. lapland bunting (12)
  194. snow bunting (2)
  195. yellowhammer
  196. cirl bunting
  197. reed bunting
  198. corn bunting (2)

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