Highlights along the canal around Hardwicke and Quedgeley today: along the canal south of The Pilot this morning, a Common Sandpiper, three Nightingales (two calling, one singing) and a Reed Warbler heard singing (it seemed to be keeping down low near the water out of the breeze). Travelling north, between The Pilot and Sims Bridge, I saw a Common Whitethroat and heard a Sedge Warbler and two Lesser Whitethroats. On the canal, a pair of Mute Swans were courting. Carrying on towards Gloucester (by bicycle of course - see reference to bicycles later on) at Middle Rea, a male Blackcap conveniently landed and started singing just yards away from me, as I was just about to put my camera away! I switched it back on, lifted and shot away for about a minute.
Now that reference to bicycles. After planning a short escape from the rat-race, on the bike, over lunch, I soon found myself instead spending my well-earned lunch-hour purchasing a puncture repair kit, and fixing a puncture (presumably sustained on the way in!), to make sure I could get home again. Lucky I spotted it at one o'clock instead of five o'clock. It's not easy being healthy and green. Anyway, back to birds, on the way home there were another two Lesser Whitethroats north of The Pilot, while south, a drake Mandarin was resting in it's usual spot. (photos of Common Sandpiper, Blackcap and Common Whitethroat: © Paul Masters).