Showing posts from June, 2008

Brandon Marsh

Sunday 29th June 2008
I spent the day at Brandon Marsh, in between taking my youngest daughter and some friends to Drayton Manor. Brandon Marsh, near Coventry in Warwickshire, is always a good day out and with the birding typically quiet for late June, insects and flowers were the main interest. Bird highlights included plenty of singing warblers still with Blackcap, Whitethroat, WillowWarbler, Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler and Cetti'sWarbler all in evidence, plus several pairs of breeding Common Terns with young, two Green Sandpipers, two Redshanks, four Oystercatchers and a Ringed Plover. Insect highlights included Common Blue, Azure and Blue-tailed Damselflies, Black-tailed Skimmer, a Beautiful Carpet moth, Comma, Ringlet and Meadow Brown butterflies and the hover-fly Volucella pellucens. Botanical interest included Common Spotted Orchid, Fringed Water-lily, Common Centaury, Marsh Thistle and Marsh Woundwort.(Photos, from the top: Azure Damselfly, Beautiful Carpet, Common Centaury, F…

Hardwicke BBS

Saturday 28th June 2008

The highlights of a BBS survey at Hardwicke, around Clarke's Farm, this morning were a pair of Whitethroats(photo above) taking food to young, and another pair and several singing males, Yellowhammers in song, lots of Swallows and Swifts feeding over the cereal and rape fields, a Brown Hare, and Grass Vetchling in flower (below).

Local Sightings

Thursday 26th-Friday 27th June 2008
A Curlew flew SSE over Clearwater Drive wetland this morning at 9.05am, and a Whitethroat was singing towards Sims Bridge. Yesterday a Lesser Whitethroat was also singing near here and a Common Tern was fishing on the Gloucester-Sharpness canal at two-mile bend. Several Chiffchaffs are also still in song along the canal between Clearwater Drive and the city.

Grasshopper Warbler

Tuesday 24th June 2008
A Grasshoper Warbler was calling and reeling at Warden's Wood, Cleeve Hill Common, late evening. I made the detour in between Dad's Taxi runs, and the bird eventually performed and gave good views in the twilight amongst the gorse. A Willow Warbler and a Whitethroat were also in song, a Buzzard and 2-3 Brown Hares were along the approach road from Whittington.

A Blustery Day

Sunday 22nd June 2008
With a strong SW wind, a morning visit to Middle Point at WWT Slimbridge over high tide produced a Fulmar. Andy and I picked it up at 10.20am on the far side of the river as it headed north and was last seen in front of Hock Cliff going towards Saul Warth. Other birds included, mostly flying into the wind, nine Oystercatchers, 10 Curlews, c8 Canada Geese, 14 Shelducks, four Great Black-backed Gulls, 10+ Black-headed Gulls, three Skylarks, two Pied Wagtails, a Reed Warbler and a Reed Bunting. A female Redstart was along the summer walkway, a Brent Goose was lounging by the Knott Pool abd 23 Black-tailed Godwits were on South Lake. (Photos: above, windswept reeds and white-topped waves at Middle Point, below, from the top, Curlew, Oystercatchers, Black-headed Gulls, Great Black-backed Gull).

Ring-necked Parakeet

Saturday 21st June 2008

A Ring-necked Parakeet was still at Down Hatherley today (photo above). Many thanks to Helen and Bill Welsh for allowing Andy, Mark and myself to see the bird from their garden. We also saw two Little Owls, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Green Woodpecker. A female Redstart was along nearby Ash Lane. A trip to Coombe Hill Meadows afterwards produced two Little Egrets, three Redshanks, five Lapwings, 1-2 Cuckoos, a Kestrel, a Sparrowhawk, a Buzzard and another interesting Buzzard hovering, with white patches on it's upperwing and on the base of it's tail - we watched it somewhat distant before it dropped down out of view. A Green-veined White was seen along the old canal (below).

Cannop Ponds

Sunday 15th June 2008
I spent father's day at Cannop Ponds, and had a very pleasant time with the family, once the early afternoon heavy shower had ceased. Nature highlights were a Firecrest (calling) a Garden Warbler (singing), a Grey Wagtail, a Pied Wagtail, a female Mandarin with eight young, a pair of Mute Swans with eight cygnets, a Speckled Wood, a few Common Blue Damselflies and a Four-spotted Chaser(photos: cygnet above, Mandarin young, a Four-spotted Chaser and a Speckled Wood below).

Gloucester-Sharpness Canal

Friday 13th June 2008
On a pleasant evening, a cycle ride along the canal towpath from Sellar's Bridge (The Pilot) to Cambridge Arm Bridge, returning to Spatt Bridge at Frampton via Green Lane and back along the canal, produced a good list of birds including:
Nightingale (one calling near The Pilot)
Kingfisher (south of The Pilot)
Great Crested Grebe
Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler (several of each singing)
Grey Heron
Whitethroat (numerous)
Lesser Whitethroat (south of The Pilot)
Song Thrush (numerous in song)
Willow Warbler (a few in song, one north of Parkend Bridge)
Sand Martin (several at Parkend Bridge)
House Martin, Swallow, Swift (latter especially numerous)
Mandarin (seven at Saul Junction)
Cetti's Warbler (one south of Fretherne Bridge and two WWT 100-acre/Green Lane)
Common Tern (one at Splatt Bridge)
Reed Bunting (WWT 100-acre and reed-bed north of Splatt Bridge)
Cormorant (WWT 100-acre)
Redshank (WWT 100-acre)


Saturday 7th June 2008

On a warm sunny day, the highlights of a trip to Slimbridge WWT with Andy this morning were a Little Owl at 8:50am in the village near Kingstone farm and at the trust, a Kingfisher and a Little Grebe on the Knott Pool, two Green Sandpipers on the pool in front of the Holden Tower and a pair of Shelducks still with five young, and at Mid Point six Oystercatchers, three Little Egrets, a Grey Heron, three singing male Reed Warblers, a pair of Reed Buntings taking food into the reeds, two singing male Skylarks, a Peregrine and a Short-eared Owl was also seen from here by Andy over the sea wall looking north (photos of Reed Bunting, top, Kingfisher and Little Owl below).

Red-footed Falcon

Tuesday 3rd June 2008

I made the trip after work today to see the first-summer male Red-footed Falcon near Kempsford. It spent most of the evening in a willow tree over-hanging the river, i.e. the county border, but was forced to make a sortie into deepest Gloucestershire (SU168960) when it, and a Hobby it was sharing it's tree with, were spooked off by a crow. It then spent some time on a different tree, allowing closer views, before returning to it's original perch, where it could also be viewed looking south from the road between Hannington Bridge and Kempsford (SU169963). A fantastic life-tick!


Sunday 1st June 2008
Photos here of a male Firecrest at Cannop Ponds taken this morning.

Demoiselles and Damselflies

Saturday 31st May 2008

A warm day, dry and mainly sunny day, but a bit quiet on the birding front after the excitement of yesterday. At Slimbridge WWT a Kingfisher was on the footbridge near Martin Smith hide, but a strong heat-haze made identification of birds on the river impossible. A walk from Splatt Bridge north along the towpath produced three Cetti's Warblers and two Little Egrets as the only birds of note. A good showing of Damselflies however was present, with Common Blue, Large Red and Blue-tailed. A trip to Westbury Court Garden in the afternoon was very pleasant, with several Beautiful Demoiselles along the ditch. (Photos: female Beautiful Demoiselle, top, below, male Beautiful Demoiselle, Large Red Damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly)