During a few weeks in early 2005, Narroways Hill was host to a flock of waxwings, exotic pink crested birds from Scandinavia. Normally, though, the sights are less exciting – a flurry of feral pigeons over Church Field on their way back to St Werburghs church tower, several magpies balancing on the fence line on Narroways Hill, a snatch of robin song from a naturalised plum tree, a pair of blackbirds chasing each other through the hedge. But these are welcome residents; they belong here.

As the habitat of Narroways has changed over the years, so has its wildlife. Once there were very few trees beyond a small orchard area, the grassland was subject to frequent fires from the sparks of steam engines and nesting birds no doubt had to brave the depredations of egg collectors. From the 1950s onwards though, trees of ash and sycamore took root, the Midland railway line was closed, the old orchards and allotments became wild and overgrown and Narroways became a haven for birds and other wildlife.

If there is one bird you are most likely to see over Narroways it is a magpie. 13 were seen on the fence line and trees on the hill in November 2007. Along with carrion crows they seem to act as self-appointed guardians of the area, mobbing birds of prey such as buzzard and sparrowhawk and other large birds. Since September 2005 ravens, birds more associated with wild mountains, have visited the area, apparently roosting in the City of Bristol College rooftops at Ashley Down. Two settled for a while on St Werburghs church tower one day in September 2005.

Name Latin name Notes
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea Occasionally on nearby ponds
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
* Buzzard Buteo buteo Being mobbed by gulls high above Narroways(GW 14.8.2001)
* Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus Increasingly seen darting from trees and bushes
* Kestrel Falco tinnunculus Occasionally on gateposts and hovering overhead.
Pheasant Phasianus colchicus
Moorhen Gallinula chloropus On Boiling Wells Brook
*Woodcock Scolopax rusticola (RH & DL late 1994)
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
Herring Gull Larus argentatus
*Stock Dove Columba oenas
*Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus
*Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
Kingfisher Alcedo atthis On Boiling Wells Brook
*Green Woodpecker Picus viridis
Skylark Alauda arvensis
*Swift Apus apus Regular visitor in Summer
Sand Martin Riparia riparia (DB 24.4.1988)
*Swallow Hirundo rustica (DB 23.4.89)(HMcP 29.4.2001)
*House Martin Delichon urbica Summer
*Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis
*Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba yarrelli
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea On stream by Lynmouth Road
Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava Flying through on migration (DB 30.4.2001)
*Wren Troglodytes troglodytes Common
*Dunnock Prunella modularis
*Robin Erithacus rubecula
*Whinchat Saxicola rubetra (DB 26.8.90)
*Blackbird Turdus merula
*Fieldfare Turdus pilaris (HMcP 11.2.1991)
*Redwing Turdus iliacus Winter
*Song Thrush Turdus philomelos
*Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus
*Garden Warbler Sylvia borin Summer
*Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla Summer
*Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca Summer
*Whitethroat Sylvia communis Summer
*Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus Summer
*Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita Summer
*Goldcrest Regulus regulus
*Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
Coal Tit Parus ater
*Great Tit Parus major major Common
*Blue Tit Parus caeruleus Common
*Jay Garrulus glandarius Up to 7 at a time
*Magpie Pica pica
Jackdaw Corvus monedula
Rook Corvus frugilegus (DB 18.10.89)
*Carrion Crow Corvus corone corone
Starling Sturnus vulgaris
*House Sparrow Passer domesticus
*Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
*Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
Siskin Carduelis spinus Winter
Linnet Carduelis cannabina
*Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
*Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula
Budgerigar Escaped from captivity (HMcP 2.7.1995)
Guinea Fowl Escaped from City Farm(HMcP 22.10.2000)

* = Actually seen on Narroways

DB = Des Bowring:HMcP = Harry McPhillimy: RH & DL = Rupert Higgins & Dawn Lawrence: GW = Guy Watson

3 Responses to Birds

  1. Beki says:

    Hi yesterday evening (16th May 2016) I saw a Red kite circling above Narrowways, Beki.

  2. harrymacp1 says:

    Wow – that’s a first I think. They are being seen more over West Country so I suppose it was a matter of time

  3. Beki says:

    We live in Kathdene Gardens so have a great view of Narroways, especially for big birds!

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