Showing posts from 2007

Egrets at Fretherne

Saturday 29th December 2007
The Cattle Egret was still at Fretherne this afternoon with nine Little Egrets. The Egrets were the in the part of the field nearest the road, giving me my best views yet of the Cattle Egret. On the way, a Peregrine flew over the A38 at Hardwicke, just south of the Quedgeley by-pass roundabout. It headed towards the industrial park causing a large number of gulls to take to the air.

BTO Atlas count: Hempsted

Friday 28th December 2007

A windy day with increasing rain although fairly mild. I surveyed SO81D around Hempsted with Andy this morning. Of course, taking in part of the landfill site meant a lot of gull counting - and Carrion Crows. I find it best in these situations to take a series of photos (like the one above) which can be 'stitched' together on the PC allowing a more leisurely and accurate count. Here is the total count for the two-hour survey period:

Mute Swan 1
Wigeon 2
Mallard 10
Sparrowhawk 1
Buzzard 1
Pheasant 17
Moorhen 1
Common Gull 39
Herring Gull 842
Lesser Black-backed Gull 648
Great Black-backed Gull 11
Black-headed Gull 156
Feral Pigeon 10
Wood Pigeon 13
Collared Dove 6
MeadowPipit 6
Dunnock 1
Mistle Thrush 2
Redwing 20
Fieldfare 13
Blackbird 13
Robin 5
Stonechat 3
Chiffchaff 1
Goldcrest 1
Long-tailed Tit 12
Great Tit 3
Blue Tit 5
Magpie 10
Jackdaw 13
Carrion Crow 347
Raven 2
Starling 30
Chaffinch 8
Greenfinch 6
Goldfinch 4

Cotswold Water Park

Sunday 23rd December 2007

A frosty and very foggy day with fog remaining around the vale, and at the Cotswold Water Park where I took Andy and mark. The visibility was abysmal, and at pit 46 tantalising glimpses of one particular bird suggested Red-necked Grebe but conditions just didn't allow us to be certain. On pit 46 we did see a red-head Smew, a drake Goosander and five Goldeneyes in the murk. On the way back at Driffield, nine Grey Partrigdes were hunkered down in a field, the most I have seen together in a few years, a female Stonechat was nearby and two Tree Sparrows were at Harnhill.


Saturday 22nd December 2007

A slightly warmer (or less cold!) day brightening throughout the morning to some nice spells of hazy sunshine. Sightings this morning were:

Frampton, a Water Rail calling and 12 Long-tailed Tits at the reed-bed south of Splatt bridge. At the 100-acre, from Green Lane, there was a Kestrel, 220 Lapwings, a Kingfisher, 2-3 Stonechats, a Mistle Thrush, a Sparrowhawk, a Buzzard and four Curlews.

Slimbridge WWT, two Little Stints, a Peregrine, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Redshank, 70 Golden Plover, 50 Dunlin and a Buzzard were on the Tack Piece and another Peregrine was on the Dumbles. The White-fronted Geese and Bewick's Swans(photos) were quite dispersed. A male and a female Blackcap were near the restaurant.

Frosty photos

Thursday 20th and Friday 21st December 2007

The photos of Marsh Tit, Robin and Blue Tit were taken at the RSPB Highnam Wood car park yesterday lunchtime on a very cold and frosty day, with daytime temperatures down to -30C.

This morning at Hardwicke, with temperatures up to 30C (wow!) a Little Owl was near the Pilot Inn, about 50m on the other side of the canal on the right of the lane to Elmore, at 7.45am.


Saturday 16th December 2007
A brighter morning but with a cold easterly wind. A trip with Andy to Frampton along the canal between Cadbury and Splatt bridges produced a Cetti's Warbler (calling and singing from the far bank and then flew across the canal towards us), a Chiffchaff, two Stonechats, a Reed Bunting, a Goldcrest, three Pied Wagtails, a Linnet, two Nuthatches, a Green Woodpecker, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, three Buzzards, a Raven, four Redshanks, a Curlew, 20 Lapwings, a Cormorant, a Little Egret and a Grey Heron.

More Cattle Egret photos

Saturday 15th December 2007

Another gloomy day but feeling colder with a light NE breeze. I went out with Andy, first to Fretherne where the Cattle Egret was with and five Little Egrets at first but later teamed up with the Black-headed Gulls.

Then at Frampton, along the canal from Cadbury to Splatt bridges, there was a Kingfisher, a Sparrowhawk, a Reed Bunting, three Green Woodpeckers, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Little Egret and three Curlews and at the 100-acre from Green Lane, two Peregrines, two Buzzards, a Kestrel, a male Stonechat and six Snipe. A Water Rail(above) was at the reed-bed south of Splatt bridge.

Brent Goose at WWT and other sightings

Friday 14th December 2007

At Hardwicke, on a very gloomy day, a Green Sandpiper(above) was still next to the A38 on a flooded part of the field opposite the large lay-by (near Moreton Valence) this afternoon. At Saul there was a Little Egret and two Great Crested Grebes(below) on the fishing-lake, and a Grey Wagtail (but no sign of the Cattle Egret although it was reported earlier).

At Slimbridge WWT this afternoon, six Ruff and 100 Dunlin were among the Lapwings and Curlew on the field alongside the approach road, a Dark-bellied Brent Goose was on the Tack Piece (bottom) also a TundraBean Goose, while a Stonechat and a Buzzard were seen from the Zeiss Hide. A Chiffchaff and a Cetti's Warbler were heard near Robbie Garnett hide.

Aust Warth

Monday 10th December 2007

A lovely sunny day but with a cold NE wind and a short visit to Aust Warth this afternoon produced just one Short-eared Owl.I located the owl distantly on the ground near the edge of the estuary where it remained and steadfastly refused to take to the air. No doubt it did just after I left! The only other birds of note were a Kestrel, a Buzzard, a few Meadow Pipits, a calling Curlew and a male Stonechat.

Cattle Egret

Sunday 9th December 2007

With less rain and wind than yesterday but still cold, a Cattle Egret turned up at Fretherne today in a field near Fretherne Bridge with Little Egrets. The Egrets were disturbed after some time by a Sparrowhawk and a Buzzard and the Cattle Egret disappeared from view.

(Photo above with a Little Egret)

Earlier at Slimbridge there was a Little Stint and a Spotted Redshank on the Tack Piece, also a Peregrine, 63 Bewick's Swans, a Snipe, 85 Golden Plovers, 25 Redshanks, 40 Curlews, c50 Dunlin and 1000 Lapwings. 80+ White-fronted Geese were on the Dumbles.


Sunday 2nd December 2007

A very windy day with rain in the morning clearing to give sunny spells and the bird of the day was the American Golden Plover with the Golden Plover flock from the Holden Tower this afternoon. It showed well for a short time before the birds were put up yet again by the two Peregrines which were giving everything in sight a hard time. It was strikingly different from the Golden Plovers, greyer in comparison with a taller stance. Now trust me, it's the greyish-looking blob in this very poor record shot (left) - the upper-most bird to the right of centre. Hopefully the bird will stay over the winter and allow further study not to mention better photos. Also on the Dumbles were 50+ White-fronted Geese, around 2000 each of Golden Plover, Lapwing and Dunlin with large numbers of waterfowl including Wigeon and Teal both here and on the Tack Piece. Four Ruff were seen from the Zeiss Hide and c25 Redwings were in the overflow car park (photos also of Golden Plover…

Bird recording in Gloucestershire

Submitting bird sightings/records for Gloucestershire
By Richard Baatsen, County Recorder

Common Resident Species
These are best recorded on a monthly basis; you should either report a monthly maximum figure were the site is visited a number of times during the month or a dated monthly count where the site is only visited once during the month. Please record breeding activity, the number of singing males etc. This is recommended for local patches and garden feeding stations. This sort of data provides good data on common species that observers tend to ignore and is vital when monitoring population trends

Places like the Severn estuary/river are where birds move on the tide and under certain weather conditions. Other birds many not be migrant but use the estuary as a refuelling stop. So record the tide time and whether the birds moved off north. There may be little time to count a flock moving through at speed so the “Black Art” of estimating flock size will be come in very handy. …


Sunday 25th November 2007

On a sunnier and slightly warmer day than yesterday the field to the south of the approach road to the centre at Slimbridge WWT held a good population of grazing swans and geese this morning. A total of 95 White-fronted Geese with 11 Bewick's Swans and 34 Curlew were occupying this field (photos of the White-fronts above, other photos of Pochard and Pintails - taken from the In-focus shop - below).

BTO Atlas count: Brockworth

Saturday 24th November 2007
On a cold morning with a SW breeze and some rain, the birds seen on my early-winter Bird Atlas two-hour count within SO81Y Brockworth, were:
Buzzard 1
Peregrine 1
Lapwing 1
Black-headed Gull 21
Green Woodpecker 2
Feral Pigeon 20
Wood Pigeon 32
Collared Dove 1
Meadow Pipit 1
Grey Wagtail 2
Pied Wagtail 3
Wren 1
Dunnock 1
Robin 8
Blackbird 27
Fieldfare 19
Redwing 28
Long-tailed Tit 11
Blue Tit 8
Great Tit 7
Jackdaw 4
Magpie 13
Carrion Crow 5
Starling 37
House Sparrow 13
Chaffinch 6
Goldfinch 4

A dramatic moment was when the immature Peregrine attacked a Feral Pigeon near the Barn Owl centre. Despite losing some feathers, the lucky pigeon appeared otherwise uninjured while the falcon continued flying and disappeared from view near the centre. The centre have confirmed Peregrines are regularly seen in the area, thanks to Vince Jones for the info on what I initially thought may have been one of the centre's birds.

Highnam Wood

Wednesday 21st November 2007

A milder day by comparison to recent days, with some sunshine, and I celebrated being re-united with my 400D (full marks to John Lewis and Canon for their service) with a lunchtime visit to RSPB Highnam Woods to photograph birds at the feeding station. This Great Spotted Woodpecker and Marsh Tit both posed nicely for me.


Saturday 17th November 2007

A comparitively milder day after the frosts of the last two days.
At Slimbridge WWT this morning, 43 Bewick's Swans and 73 White-fronted Geese were on the roadside fields. The swans included Gulfoss (ringed TXP) and Grindavik (ringed BCP) with their cygnet. One of the Geese was sporting a neck ring with the letters large N with PC below. On the Tack Piece there were 200 Dunlin, 200 Lapwing, 300 Golden Plover, five Redshanks, a Curlew, 2200 Wigeon, 60 Teal, 30 Pintail, seven Shoveler, two Shelduck and a male Sparrowhawk which took a Dunlin which it then released after being mobbed. A Pergerine was on the Dumbles and three more Bewick's Swans were in the Rushy Pen.
At Splatt bridge, Frampton, there was a male Blackcap, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and c10 Fieldfares. There are a lot of Fieldfares about now. One in the garden on Thursday was a first, and 50 flew over the garden this afternoon.

(photos: Wigeon grazing on the Tack Piece)

Geese and Swans at WWT

Sunday 11th November 2007
Photos of White-fronted Geese and Bewick's Swan from Robbie Garnett hide at Slimbridge WWT this afternoon:

The Tack Piece is getting busy now with wintering waterfowl especially Pintail, Wigeon and Teal. A male Ruff and a Sparrowhawk were also seen on the Tack Piece and from the Holden Tower a Stonechat was at Mid Point, and a large flock of at least 2,000 Golden Plover with 800 Dunlin were an impressive sight in flight over the river (a bit too distant to check for American GP though!). A Bittern was seen at the Zeiss Hide, I only had time for a quick look but by then it was hidden in the reeds. Let's hope it performs as well as last winter.

BTO Atlas count: Quedgeley South

Saturday 10th November 2007

On a mild, sunny morning, the results of my early-winter Bird Atlas two-hour count within SO81B, Quedgeley South, today were as follows:
Mallard 5
Pheasant 1
Buzzard 1
Kestrel 2
Moorhen 4
Woodpigeon 13
Collared Dove 1
Meadow Pipit 11
Pied Wagtail 2
Wren 3
Dunnock 5
Robin 15
Blackbird 36
Fieldfare 4
Redwing 94
Mistle Thrush 1
Goldcrest 2
Long-tailed Tit 1
Blue Tit 12
Great Tit 8
Magpie 9
Carrion Crow 6
Starling 12
House Sparrow 72
Chaffinch 5
Greenfinch 5
Goldfinch 1

The visit also produced two surprise insects still on the wing, a female Common Darter(below) and a Speckled Wood(top).

Later, four Stonechats were the only highlight of a bracing hike around Cleeve Hill this afternoon in rather windy conditions (below).