See Bristol’s beautiful nesting goldfinches

Local Patch Reporter Sam Hobson has been busy monitoring Bristol’s blossoming birdlife.


A few weeks ago, I took a lazy walk around the patch to see how spring was progressing. I had a walk around the harbour and up to Brandon Hill, as I spent a few years monitoring the wildlife there and it’s the best place for me to quickly find out how far along the birds and flowers are.


The season was already in full swing – the blackcaps were back and nest-building, the first few swallows had arrived and the bluebells, ramsons, cowslips and snake’s head fritillaries were all fully out. Brandon Hill is an oasis for inner-city wildlife and one of my favourite urban parks in Bristol.

Just down the road from the park, I went to meet up with an old acquaintance who used to help me out with “Birds over Bristol” – an urban migration study that I run in the autumn at Brandon Hill. She has a pair of goldfinches nesting just outside her window on a busy main road in central Bristol, so I asked if I could pop over to take some pictures.

After watching the female on the nest for about 15 minutes, I heard the tinkling call of the male nearby. The female sat up, excited by the prospect of a meal, and a few moments later, the male appeared, edging up the branch to feed her. Quite a tender moment, which was lovely to watch.


Read more exciting nature blogs by BBC Wildlife local patch reporters

BBC Wildlife wanted to find a new way to share some of our readers’ natural-history diaries with other wildlife enthusiasts, and Local Patch Reporters was born. 

Our 20 Local Patch Reporters for 2014 are aged from 10 to 64 and live from Dorset in the south to Shetland in the north.

Throughout this year they will be exploring and reporting on nature in their neighbourhood via online blogs.

Sam Hobson is a local patch reporter from Bristol

Local nature patch: Bristol City Centre

I am a wildlife photographer and film-maker and I run a visible migration study and raptor watch group from Cabot Tower in the autumn. 

Wildlife aims for 2014: To write about discovery and adventure on my doorstep and show how the wildlife knowledge I gain locally can be taken with me when I head out into the wilds.