Showing posts from May, 2008

Ring-billed Gull plus

Friday 30th May 2008
I left work at 4pm today to get down to Slimbridge WWT in time to see the Ring-billed Gull, which was a welcome sight on the Dumbles (photos above and below, but for some much better photos see Mike's on The Gloster Birder). A real bonus came at 5pm when a Spoonbill appeared in front of the Holden Tower from the right and was just about to land on the pool in front of the hide when it was rather discourteously seen off by a Shelduck. It then headed off north and was last seen going in the direction of Frampton. As I said, that was a real bonus, and has taken my county year list total to 185. I don't think I've mentioned my year list much on my blog, but I'm increasingly hoping I might just crack the magical 200 this year. I've certainly had a run of luck lately, which is what is needed, and it would be a nice achievement. The next 15 will be the hardest though since I have already ticked most of the usual birds, only a few left I can usually ban…


Wednesday 28th May 2008

Another day's leave, and a return to very wet weather. Despite the mist-enshrouded hills, that didn't stop me going to Hawling to year-tick a Quail which was calling in a cereal field at 1.00pm near the minor road off the A436 at SP057217. I spent the rest of the afternoon at Upton Warren, in Worcestershire, where Avocets are the star attraction. I saw 10 adults in total plus a brood of four young on the Flashes Pools. The weather seemed to be improving when I got there, but when the inevitable rain started again, the youngsters retreated for cover under the body of one of it's parents (photo above and movie below). Other highlights were two Common Sandpipers, three Little Ringed Plovers, a Redshank and two Common Terns. A Cetti's Warbler, several Reed Buntings, Reed Warblers, Sedge Warblers, a Little Ringer Plover and a Ruddy Duck were at the Moors Pools.

(More photos of Avocets below, bottom two of Common Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plover respe…

Purple Heron

Tuesday 27th May 2008

The highlight of the day out birding with Andy was the Purple Heron at Lydney Marsh (SO637017), which was present until 11.15am at least and showing well on the far bank of the east lake, and seen catching and eating a large eel (fourth photo below) - a lifer for me.

In the Forest of Dean, at least four Turtle Doves were at Oakenhill Wood (SO626076) late morning. Listen to one of the Turtle Doves here:
We then went on to Newport Wetlands RSPB reserve in Gwent, where the highlights were Bearded Tit (heard only), a Cuckoo, many Cetti's Warblers, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warblers, Reed Buntings and Whitethroats, and a Lesser Whitethroat. This was my first time here and it's a great place, with extensive reedbeds and a variety of other habitats including the coastal salt marsh and shoreline.

Despite the Rain

Sunday 25th May 2008

Yes, despite the rain, the local male Blackcap was singing strongly in the garden this morning, and again this evening, as was the Chiffchaff. Listen to the Blackcap (supported by Blackbird) here:

It had finally stopped raining by the end of the Monaco Grand Prix (a great race and a superb win to Lewis Hamilton - also despite the rain, or maybe thanks to the rain!) so I spent an hour or so at Slimbridge WWT. From the Holden Tower there was a good variety of waders on the exposed mud of the falling tide with five Knots, three Turnstones, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Greenshank, four Curlews, a Little Egret, and 180 small waders mainly Ringed Plover and Dunlin in roughly equal numbers with c20 Sanderlings. A Black-tailed Godwit was on South Lake. I stopped off at Frampton on the way back where c150 Swifts, House Martins and Sand Martins were feeding on and around the sailing lake as a Great Crested Grebe sat on the water close by. (Photos of Swift, above, and Great Crested …

BBS and Atlas Surveys, and Odonata

Saturday 24th May 2008

In mainly sunny conditions but with a stiff north-easterly breeze, I carried out two surveys this morning, starting with a Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) in grid square SO7713 in Hardwicke. 32 Species were encountered along the two 1km transects, these were:

Mallard 1
Common Buzzard 2
Common Kestrel 1
Pheasant 2
Moorhen 2
Herring Gull 30
Woodpigeon 6
Collared Dove 5
Cuckoo 1
Swallow 6
Wren 9
Dunnock 5
Robin 2
Blackbird 9
Song Thrush 4
Lesser Whitethroat 2
Whitethroat 13
Blackcap 1
Chiffchaff 3
Long-tailed Tit 2
Blue Tit 3
Great Tit 1
Magpie 3
Jackdaw 3
Carrion Crow 14
Raven 1
House Sparrow 4
Chaffinch 11
Greenfinch 2
Linnet 3
Yellowhammer 2

It was nice seeing the Cuckoo back again at Hockley Hill and picking it up within the survey, and there were good numbers of Whitethroat. I then went on to Brockworth to carry out my third and final early breeding season visit for the BTO Atlas survey in SO81Y. The following birds were seen or heard here:

Stock Dove 6
Woodpigeon 15
Collared Dove 1 S
Swift 2
Skylark 3


Tuesday 20th May 2008

At Fretherne this evening before high tide there were eight Sanderlings, 12 Ringed Plovers, six Dunlins and an Oystercatcher. On the way home, there were two Little Owls, one at Longney and the other at Hardwicke. (Photos: Sanderlings)

Orange Tip

Sunday 18th May 2008

An Orange Tip posed nicely (above) near Lower Slaughter this afternoon, and was one of the few butterflies on the wing in sunny but coolish conditions.

I spent an excellent morning with Mark in the Forest of Dean, the highlights being a Firecrest, two Garden Warblers and a Great Spotted Woodpecker at Cannop, and at Nagshead two Spotted Flycatchers (one bird seen feeding, another bird was calling nearby), two Goldcrests, a Pied Flycatcher and a Wood Warbler (same singing male as yesterday near the top gate on the short trail). Two Tree Pipits, 7-8 Linnets, a Whitethroat and numerous singing Willow Warblers were at Tidenham Chase. (Photos of Wood Warbler, above, and Spotted Flycatcher below)


Saturday 17th May 2008

Another cool day, but at least it was mainly dry and with only light winds. A morning in the Forest of Dean with Andy produced a Firecrest at Cannop Ponds, and at RSPB Nagshead a singing male Wood Warbler, 3-4 singing male Pied Flycatchers, a pair of Redstarts, and a female Mandarin with six young at Lower Hide (photo of Wood Warbler above).

Hempsted BTO Atlas survey

The results from a two-hour survey in SO81D Hempsted I carried out last Saturday morning were as follows:
Shelduck 2
Mallard 1
Pheasant 5
Buzzard 1
Moorhen 2
Lesser Black-backed Gull 51
Herring Gull 15
Feral Pigeon 3
Stock Dove 2
Woodpigeon 37
Collared Dove 4
Swift 1
Green Woodpecker 1
Sand Martin 12 (colony)
Swallow 3
Wren 18
Dunnock 8
Robin 10
Blackbird 21
Sedge Warbler 3
Reed Warbler 3
Blackcap 8
Lesser Whitethroat 2
Whitethroat 8
Chiffchaff 5
Long-tailed Tit 2
Blue Tit 7
Great Tit 12
Jay 1
Magpie 10
Jackdaw 2
Carrion Crow 17
Starling 4
House Sparrow 12
Chaffinch 6
Greenfinch 5
Goldfinch 9
Linnet 3
Reed Bunting 1

White Wagtail

Monday 12th May 2008
An excursion to the forest after work this evening produced little of note, three Pied Flycatchers were heard in song at Nagshead and a Redstart was calling, but no sign of Spotted Flycatcher or Wood Warbler, in fact hardly any warblers were in song. At Cannop, this White Wagtail(above and below) was at the entrance road to the ponds.

Whiskered Tern

Saturday 10th May 2008

With no wind and temperatures in the 20's, the high tide was very quiet with just eight Ringed Plovers, five Whimbrels, three Curlews, a Common Sandpiper, a Hobby (heading towards Framton), and two Little Egrets at Fretherne today. A Whiskered Tern was then announced at the WWT 100-acre and was visible from across the river. Mark, Andy and me went for a closer look from Green Lane, taking in the two Cattle Egrets and two Common Terns at Splatt bridge on the way. The Whiskered Tern was showing well over the reed-bed, with a Little Gull and a Hobby (possibly the one seen at Fretherne).

(Photos: Whiskered Tern and Hobby)
A Brimstone Moth (Opisthograptis luteolata) was in the garden this evening (below).


Thursday 8th May 2008

Along the canal between The Pilot and Stank Lane this morning there were three Nightingales, two Reed Warblers(photo above) and a Common Sandpiper.

Wood Sandpiper

Tuesday 6th May 2008
I went with Mark to Coombe Hill Meadows this evening to see a Wood Sandpiper from the Grundon hide. Other birds included two Little Ringed Plovers, a Ringed Plover, three Whimbrels and two Lapwings.

Tern, Tern, Tern (sorry about the pun)

Sunday 4th May 2008

A warm day with heavy showers at times and a light southerly breeze. I started off at Fretherne to catch the high tide which produced a good number of terns coming through with 45 Arctic Terns in groups of 16, 23 and then 5, four Common Terns and best of all a Little Tern. Waders included a group of four summer-plumaged Grey Plovers with a single Dunlin and four Ringed Plovers. The Short-eared Owl was also seen across the river at the WWT 100-acre hunting along the sea wall. Not much of note on the Saul Warth flashes, the Black Swan was there again - the third I've seen in the county this year (self-sustaining population?!). I then checked out the sailing lake (with Nick) where there were 13 Common Terns. Then a group of 43 Whimbrels came straight overhead from the west. A break-away group then circled the lake before appearing to land nearby, possible near Court Lake. (Photos: top, Arctic Terns, below, Whimbrels and, bottom, Common Tern)

The afternoon s…

BTO Atlas survey: Quedgeley South

Saturday 3rd May 2008
The results of my early-breeding season Bird Atlas two-hour count within SO81B, Quedgeley South, today were as follows:
Moorhen 1
Herring Gull 5
Great Black-backed Gull 1
Woodpigeon 28
Collared Dove 9
Stock Dove 4
Swallow 1
Skylark 1
Wren 15
Dunnock 9
Robin 21
Blackbird 37
Song Thrush 4
Blackcap 14
Lesser Whitethroat 3
Whitethroat 3
Chiffchaff 6
Willow Warbler 3
Long-tailed Tit 3
Blue Tit 14
Great Tit 7
Magpie 8
Carrion Crow 9
Rook 2
Jackdaw 3
Raven 1
Starling 41
House Sparrow 73
Chaffinch 13
Greenfinch 3
Goldfinch 14
Linnet 3

I got a call in the evening from Mike (thanks again mate) about a Buff-breasted Sandpiper at the Frampton WWT 100-acre, but failed to picked it out among the grass and Juncus. A Short-eared Owl hunting was some consolation.


Friday 2nd May 2008
I rushed down to Fretherne this evening to see the Guillemot loafing on the mud on it's belly - an unusual sight to say the least. Two Sanderlings were also noted at the river's edge, plus a few Dunlin and Curlews.

Sailing Lake

Thursday 1st May 2008

A fine afternoon after the earlier showers had passed through, and an evening visit to Frampton produced a Cuckoo on wires over the Perry Way. Att the sailing lake there were two Arctic Terns, two Common Terns, a Common Sandpiper and dozens of Swifts, Swallows and Sand Martins. At around 6.45pm three Whimbrels flew directly overhead and continued west along the line of Vicarage Lane. (Photos: above and below: an Arctic Tern and a Common Tern, next four: Arctic Terns, bottom: Common Tern)