Showing posts from November, 2007

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).


Sunday 4th November 2007
First-winter Mute Swan on the canal at Moreton Valence.
In the garden, a female Great Spotted Woodpecker was on one of the peanut feeders this morning.

Water Pipit

Saturday 3rd November 2007
On a fine, sunny morning I made for Ashleworth Ham to look for the Water Pipit. I was fortunate enough to arrive at the Meerend Thicket hide and see it within a few minutes, at 9:15am. It showed on the marshy area twice for about 10 minutes before it suddenly flew up, apparently chasing off a Meadow Pipit, but after over an hour it didn't re-appear. Also from the hide, six Snipe, a Little Grebe, a male Stonechat, a Grey Wagtail, two Pied Wagtails, 8+ Meadow Pipits, a Great Spotted Woodpecker calling, three Long-tailed Tits, two Blue Tits, two Grey Herons and c150 Fieldfares with at least one Redwing. There was also flock of 400+ Starlings around the pylons towards the river. I later went to look for two Great Grey Shrikes seen earlier at the bottom of Stank Lane. No luck with them but Neil Smart had spotted a pale bird among the Starling flock. This bird was a very distinctive, and much lighter in colour, almost beige, compared to the individuals in the r…