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

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