In this article, we have highlighted some of the places ideal for birdwatching and identified the species that can be found there.
Golden Valley, Wick
There is a mix of different habitats to be found at Golden Valley, which is located in the middle of Wick. Grassland, mature woodland with the underlying limestone makes this an excellent habitat for butterflies and wild flowers. It is a scenic spot with the River Boyd running through. There is an information board in the parking area in Wick High Street.
Birds: Grey Wagtail, Osprey, Raven, Dipper, Peregrine, all three types of Woodpecker, Kingfisher, Little and Tawny Owls and Warblers.
Haw Wood is near to Cribbs Causeway. Travel to the end of the A4018, and cross the causeway, follow the lane to the top for parking. There is a winter pond full of dead trees, which is an eerie site, especially in wintertime. Following the footpath, you can come across several bird species.
Birds: Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Marsh and Willow Tits, Tree Pipits, Woodcock, Pied Flycatcher and Redstarts have been seen here historically.
Heneage Court Pools
In 1990 at Heneage Court near Falfield two freshwater pools were formed, enclosed by parkland on three sides and woodland on the fourth side. The pools are private but a public footpath crosses the land between the house and the pools. A wonderful variety of birds can be seen here.
Birds: Many varieties can be spotted including Egyptian Goose, Mandarin, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker, and glorious flocks in residence of Tufted Duck and Canada Geese.
The Marshfield area is the highest point in South Gloucestershire and is arable farmland with beautiful dry stone walls and hedgerows. Although it is a large area, there is some fine birdwatching to be had especially from late summer into winter.
Birds: This area is perfect for spotting the elusive Corncrake and Quail. Many other species may be seen such as Corn Bunting, Red-legged and Grey Partridge, Yellowhammer, Hobby, Tree Sparrow, Merlin, Montagu’s Harrier, Dotterel, Short-eared Owl, flocks of Golden Plover, Lapwing, and Brambling. Most exciting of all is that sightings have included Goshawk, Black, and Red Kite. Other surprising sightings have included Lapland Bunting, Bluethroat, and Woodchat Shrike.
This large area of commonage is used mostly for grazing but has lots of deciduous woodland and scrubby areas. It is easily accessible and ideal for catching sight of some scarce varieties.
Birds: Flycatchers, Willow and Marsh Tit, Flycatchers, all types of Woodpeckers, Peregrine, Wood Warbler, Little and Tawny Owl, plus some scarce birds such as Wryneck, Turtle Dove, and Long-eared Owl. In the winter months look out for Siskin, Redpoll, and Crossbill.
Oldbury Power Station
This is a large site with many habitats. The mudflats of the River Severn, tidal and rocky pools with three lagoons combine to make this a very exciting spot for birdwatching. Lagoon I is an old settling tank now filled but it still floods in winter. Lagoon II is disused with a small reed bed and scrubby habitat. Lagoon III is an active settling tank. The lovely nature trail has an orchard and meadows.
Birds: Lagoon III is ideal for seeing high tide waders and gull roosts but some very rare sightings are possible such as Ring-necked Duck Green winged Teal, Sabine’s Gull, Green-winged Teal, Long eared Owl, Kumlien’s Gull, Sandpiper, Semipalmated and Black winged Stilt.
Overscourt Wood & Plantation
This Forestry Commission land at Overscourt Farm has been planted out with the result there is 87 hectares of open space and new woodlands. There are scenic views of the Cotswold Edge and Bristol. Work is ongoing to make this a proper public amenity with the opportunity to view birds in their natural habitat.
Birds: Several varieties are on parade including Lesser Whitethroat, Grasshopper Warbler, and several other common warblers, Green/ Great Spotted Woodpecker, Redpoll, Bullfinch, Raven, Siskin and Owls.
These are just some of the places you can visit for a spot of birdwatching in Gloucestershire. And do not forget the Severn Estuary where over 250 species of bird can be seen including waders and mudflat birds.