Not another bird list, please

From our Victorian Picture Library (

Lists of birds can seem dull when they’re not your own. What they never convey is the huge enjoyment you experience at each sighting. Nor can they reveal the excitement of a dawn walk along a Quantock combe when you are startled by a wood warbler flitting silently among the leaves; the surprise, sudden glimpse of a red kite sailing unobtrusively high overhead; the excitement as you hurry towards the hide at Steart hoping the spoonbills and avocets will be feeding in the scrapes; or, after six years regular patrolling of Hodder’s Combe, at last seeing the reported resident dipper.

Anyway, here are my lists for what they’re worth. I’ve probably forgotten a few birds. They cover the year from July 2017 to July 2018. At least the exercise has forced me to work through a heap of unruly notes and turn the sightings into some sort of order.

Stolford, Steart, Wall Common, Lilstock

Little egret, swift, great spotted woodpecker, lark, martin, swallow, kestrel, golden plover, lapwing, heron, dunlin, ringed plover, little grebe, spoonbill, shoveller, redshank, knot, bar-tailed godwit, reed bunting, reed warbler, wigeon, snipe, brambling, grey plover, curlew, shelduck, green woodpecker, peregrine, siskin, avocet, pintail, brent goose, reed bunting, marsh warbler, linnet, turnstone, redwing, fieldfare, sand martin, meadow pipit, hen harrier, merlin, oystercatcher, turnstone

Quantock combes and ridges

Whitethroat, green woodpecker, wheatear, raven, stonechat, buzzard, willow warbler, wood warbler, yellowhammer, rock pipit, chiffchaff, spotted flycatcher, red kite, jay, peregrine, redwing, fieldfare, missel thrush, meadow pipit, grey wagtail, wood warbler, blackcap, pied flycatcher, whitethroat, linnet, sparrowhawk

Ham Wall

Great white egret, glossy ibis, marsh harrier, water rail, Canada goose, cettis warbler, bittern, wigeon, teal, pochard, gadwall, tufted duck, coot, shoveller, merlin, greylag goose, great spotted woodpecker, snipe, goldcrest, great crested grebe, reed bunting, reed warbler, black-tailed godwit, common sandpiper

About Terence Sackett

I am a writer and designer. I live in Nether Stowey, which is on the borders of the Quantock hills. I am a committee member of the Friends of Coleridge, and wrote and designed the booklet/visitor guide for the National Trust’s Coleridge Cottage. I look after the website for the Friends ( My novel about Siamese twins titled ‘Riven is now on Kindle. It can be read with a free downloaded Kindle app for an iPad, smartphone, tablet, or computer. The book is available from Amazon. What’s it about? Brief blurb below: It is the story of the Victorian painter Thomas Tait Genoa and his desperate flight through the West Country to save his conjoined twin daughters from the surgeon’s knife. This was before the era of anaesthetics. A 5-start bAmazon review: 'A masterpiece, truly deserving of the five star rating I have given it. The very human experience described so eloquently could not fail to tug at the heart of any parent who has ever gazed on a poorly child in the dark hours of the night and anguished over what to do for the best. This novel might be set in a very particular time and space but the heartfelt emotions of the protagonists are timeless, I have no hesitation in recommending this wonderful work to anyone who has a heart.
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