We’re lucky in our parish to have a number of important wildlife sites – the Ice Age Ponds in Kenchester and Bishon Common in Bishopstone. Mervyn Davies from Bishopstone has been monitoring the birds on Bishon Common since July 2020 and here’s what he’s seen.
To date 47 species have been logged. In summary, the list includes many of our common resident species, but also a few of the less common ones have shown up at specific times of year – these latter species include: Bullfinch, Coal Tit, Jay, Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting and Siskin. It was particularly pleasing recently (January 2022) to see a flock of 67 Siskin feeding on the seeds in the top of the alder trees.
Summer visitors have included the partial migrants, Chiffchaff and Blackcap, and also true migrants like Swallow and Whitethroat. Amongst the waterbirds using the pond are: Grey Heron, Mallard, Moorhen and Teal.
The winter species have been most interesting with occasional flocks of Fieldfare and Redwing seen during the Nov – Mar periods, but more significantly the presence of Snipe when the seasonal pond and marshy areas return from November through until April – a maximum of 36 Snipe were present in Feb 2021 together with three Jack Snipe; the Snipe breeding stronghold is the uplands of northern England whereas the smaller and more uncommon Jack Snipe migrate to northern Scandinavia and Russia to breed.
In addition, if you keep your ears tuned in an evening, you will frequently hear the “hooting” of a male Tawny Owl coming from the direction of the Common and occasionally a sharp “kee-wick” response, probably from a nearby female.
Mervyn Davies, January 2022. There’s more info on local birds at Herefordshire Ornithological Club.