Showing posts from July, 2007


Monday 30th July 2007

At Elmore, the male Redstart was near Stonebench again this evening. A second bird could also be heard calling. Also a Kingfisher along Dimore Brook, a Buzzard, a Kestrel, a Yellowhammer, a Green Woodpecker a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Brown Hare(Photo © Paul Masters).

This just in: water is once again flowing from our taps, over a week after being cut off when the Mythe water treatment plant at Tewkesbury was flooded. Hoorah!

Green Lane and Slimbridge

Saturday 28th July 2007
A warm, sunny morning walking from Ryall's Lane (Cambridge) and along Green Lane to the viewing platform produced eight Little Egrets and a Common Tern on the 100-acre, at least eight mostly juvenile Long-tailed Tits with a party of Tits, a juvenile Common Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler, three Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler, six Linnets, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, two juvenile and an adult Sparrowhawk, two Stock Doves, and a Buzzard. There were also lots of insects, including Green-veined White (I think the Green-veined White must be the most under-rated butterfly, what an exquisite insect!), Peacock, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies, Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies, Common Darter, Ruddy Darter and Migrant Hawker dragonflies.

Later atSlimbridge WWT the only birds of note from the Holden Tower were Oystercatchers, four Curlews, a Stock Dove and a Kestrel, however the best birds were on South Lake with 92 Black-t…

Flooded River

Tuesday 24th July 2007

The flooded River Severn at Weir Green, Elmore, early this morning (photos © Paul Masters).

Butterfly Survey

Sunday 22nd July 2007

I carried out a butterfly survey of my BBS square around Clarke's Farm, Hardwicke, in the sunshine today. The list of species seen is: Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Large White, Small White, Red Admiral, Peacock, Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown(photo of Essex Skipper © Paul Masters - note the black undersides to the tips of the antennae, the best way of separating from Small Skipper).

Slimbridge and Stonebench

Saturday 21st July 2007

It was a much better day than yesterday, much brighter with only a few periods of very light rain and feeling much warmer, although many of the local lanes were still flooded. With news of a Curlew Sandpiper, I headed for WWT Slimbridge, made for the Zeiss Hide, set up the scope and there it was right in the middle of the view. It was a cracking adult in summer-plumage, although quite distant (in the bottom photo you can just pick out the brick-red bird among the Dunlin). Also from the Zeiss Hide, three Green Sandpipers, two Spotted Redshanks, one still in black summer plumage, 108 Common Redshanks, 140 Dunlin, four Black-tailed Godwits, one Oystercatcher and one Common Tern. On South Lake, a male Ruff, a Green Sandpiper, two very vocal Kingfishers, two Oystercatchers, the two Spotted Redshanks seen earlier at Zeiss Hide, two Black-tailed Godwits, 40+ Common Redshanks and 10 Dunlin. Also a pair of Great Crested Grebes copulating on the Tern island. Near the hide…


Friday 20th July 2007

After a day of constant rain in Gloucestershire, the water was over a foot deep next to The Pilot by the evening.

Little Owl

Thursday 19th July 2007
A Little Owl at Stonebench, Elmore, this evening (Photo: © Paul Masters).

Hardwicke & Elmore

Tuesday 17th July 2007

Along the canal towpath this evening south of The Pilot (the towpath has re-opened after the recent closure) 1-2 Kingfishers, a pair of Blackcaps, a Reed Warbler singing briefly and a Chiffchaff. Among the canal-side flora, Broad-leavedEverlasting Pea (one of the many garden escapes to be found in this area) is in flower along this stretch of the towpath at the moment, as well as a host of native species including Pyramidal Orchid, Tall Melilot, Tufted Vetch, Wild Basil, Agrimony, Spear Thistle and Wild Carrot. A Little Owl was at Elmore. (Photos of female Kingfisher and Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea: © Paul Masters)

Slimbridge - again.

Sunday 15th July 2007

It was back to Slimbridge for more wader action today with 58 Black-tailed Godwits, 123 Redshanks, the moulting Spotted Redshank, an adult with two juvenile Common Terns and three adult and two juvenile Oystercatchers on South Lake, and from the Zeiss Hide another 39 Black-tailed Godwits, a Greenshank, two Green Sandpipers, two Common Sandpipers, two Little Ringed Plovers (adult and juvenile), 90 Dunlin plus a Skua sp. The latter was resting and preening on the river for about 30 minutes before flying downriver early afternoon. This bird was mid-river, therefore quite distant, so exact identification was not possible, but it was most likely the Arctic Skua seen by a fellow birder (John) at approximately 12.15pm flying low in a northerly direction over the dipping-pools (near the centre) and towards the river. Shortly before being located on the river, a large number of gulls were seen to take flight off the edge of The Dumbles, and no gulls or other birds were see…


Saturday 14th July 2007

A good selection of birds, especially waders were at Slimbridge WWT this morning including a Little Egret at Robbie Garnett hide, a Common Sandpiper and two Oystercatchers at Mid Point, two Common Sandpipers, three Little Ringed Plovers (2 adults and a juv), a Green Sandpiper, a Greenshank, two Black-tailed Godwits, 33 Lapwings and a Redshank at Zeiss Hide (also a pair of Swallows nesting in the hide) and 71 Black-tailed Godwits, 88 Redshank, a Spotted Redshank and 240 Black-headed Gulls on South Lake. Also, a dead female Great Spotted Woodpecker was lying next to the path near the Zeiss Hide with a metal leg ring no. RA86996. (Photo of Common Sandpiper: © Paul Masters).


Tuesday 10th July 2007
On a warm, pleasant evening, a Great Crested Grebe, a Common Tern several Swallows and a Sand Martin were on the canal at Splatt Bridge. At Green Lane, a male Chiffchaff unconcerned by my presence, numerous Common Blue Damselflies, Blue-tailed Damselflies and Azure Damselflies, and a Marbled White (Photos of, above, Great Crested Grebe and below from the top, Azure Damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly and Chiffchaff: © Paul Masters).

Hardwicke BBS

Sunday 8th July 2007
On a warm sunny, morning, I carried out my 'late' Breeding Bird Survey in my allotted 1km grid square SO7713 around Clarke's Farm, Hardwicke. The highlights were a Raven, five Stock Doves, two Reed Buntings, 3+ Yellowhammers, a Green-veined White and three Brown Hares(Photos of Raven and Chiffchaff: © Paul Masters).

The full species list for this year (from both early and late season visits) was: Grey Heron, Shelduck, Kestrel, Pheasant, Moorhen, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Green Woodpecker, Skylark, Swallow, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Raven, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting.Total species count for 2007: 39 (The total species count for 2006 was also 39, the total number of spec…

Clearwater, Quedgeley

Saturday 7th July 2007
A walk around Quedgeley's Clearwater Drive marsh today with Andy produced an abundance of butterflies, especially Ringlets and Marbled Whites, plus Small Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell, Green-veined White, Small White. Also a Six-spot Burnet, a female Broad-bodied Chaser egg-laying and a Blue-tailed Damselfly. Birds included a singing Common Whitethroat and Blackcap. This site is sadly under threat from housing development despite being a local wildlife haven. More information can be found on the Quedgeley Area Conservation Association website, including an online petition against the development. (Photo of Marbled White and Broad-bodied Chaser: © Paul Masters).


Friday 6th July 2007

This afternoon at Slimbridge WWT, on South Lake there was a first-Summer Mediterranean Gull, 88 Black-headed Gulls, three Green Sandpipers, 16 Black-tailed Godwits, 38 Redshanks, five Oystercatchers including a juvenile and a Common Tern with two chicks (Photos of Mediterranean Gull (top photo with Black-headed Gull) and Black-tailed Godwit: © Paul Masters).

The New Bird Atlas of Britain and Ireland - and how to make your birding count!

You may already know about the huge bird atlas project being launched by the British Trust for Ornithology and its partners. Did you also know that in Gloucestershire there are plans to produce, for the first time ever, a county atlas alongside the national one?

Why not get involved so that your birding records can contribute to the data being collected all over the county during the next five years? You can volunteer to do two-hour visits to count birds in a 2km x 2km square, either in the winter or the breeding season, or just send in details of any of your sightings. To find out more or to volunteer, contact

The New Bird Atlas of Britain and Ireland - and how you can get involved:
Every twenty years or so, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), together with its partners Birdwatch Ireland and the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club, produces an atlas of British breeding birds. These are very important publications: as well as being of general and scientific interest, th…

Good Weather for Ducks ...

... not quite so good for this Wood Pigeon:

As the wet weather continues, these two images taken at South Lake, WWT Slimbridge, today give a good demonstration of the water-proofing qualities of a duck's plumage. Water is sitting in round droplets on the Mallard's head and body, whilst the poor Wood Pigeon is looking more like I was at that point, complete with slightly despondent countenance. Also on South Lake were two Oystercatchers, an adult Common Tern with two chicks, 80+ Black-headed Gulls, a Teal, several Shoveller, a female Mandarin and around five House Martins.

Earlier in my garden, there were a number of birds taking advantage of the newly replenished feeders including immature Great Tits (five), Blue Tits (three) and House Sparrows. I like to think at least some of these birds were raised in my nest boxes. In this photo of one of the the House Sparrows below, the remnant of it's yellow gape is still just visible.

(Photos: © Paul Masters).