Showing posts from April, 2009


Monday 27th April 2009
At Hardwicke, a Nightingale has at last appeared and was in full song just south of The Pilot this evening. This is a rather late arrival, with dates in recent years ranging from 14th to 19th April. There were several Swallows over the canal, and a Reed Warbler was singing again nearby. A Kingfisher flew south along the canal low over the water, the first I've seen here this year.

An update from the weekend:

Sunday 26th April 2009
A couple of hours around Frampton pools produced two Cuckoos (possibly a pair) around the sailing lake, a Nightingale, and c20 Swifts with c30 Sand Martins and Swallows.

Saturday 25th April 2009
The highlight on Saturday was the Whiskered Tern at Frampton on the sailing lake, I arrived with Andy in the nick of time, as not 10 minutes after we arrived, it flew off toward the estuary. It was reported a couple of minutes later at Saul Warth but didn't stay there long, and was last seen at the trust on South Lake via the 100-acre. That …

Saul Warth/Frampton?WWT

Friday 24th April 2009
Above: Saul Warth at low tide
I started off the day's birding at Fretherne/Saul Warth, not much on the high tide but a Common Sandpiper at the edge of the river was a year tick. I then made to long walk round to view the south flash from the towpath viewpoint, where a pair of Garganeys were present, plus seven Black-tailed Godwits, 40 Sand Martins, 41 Shelduck, including an apparent RuddyX, and small numbers of Teal, Shoveler, and Gadwall. Next it was on the Splatt Bridge and the walk to Green Lane. A Cuckoo was calling from the direction of Nebrow Hill, and a Lesser Whitethroat was between the canal and Green Lane. From the viewing platform, a nice male Ruff, approaching breeding plumage, was on the 100-acre, plus six Redshanks and two Little Egrets. Next, Slimbridge WWT and a nice summer-plumaged Curlew Sandpiperwas on the Top New Piece (record shot below) along with a near-summer plumaged Spotted Redshank.
A walk down to Middle Point was unrewarding, but I …

Sightings South of The Pilot

Monday 20th April 2009
On a lovely, warm evening I took a bike ride south of The Pilot along the canal to Parkend Bridge. I counted three Lesser Whitethroats, my first of the year, plus four Mandarins (three drakes), six Swallows and a Grey Heron(above).

Coombe Hill/Highnam Woods

Saturday 18th April 2009
I tried Coombe Hill again this morning, but found even less than on Tuesday with no waders at all on the scrapes, although a Little Egret did fly through and a male Wigeon was still present, while along the canal there were no additions to the warblers. Highnam Woods was more productive with three male Nightingales singing well, also three drumming Great Spotted Woodpeckers, two Green Woodpeckers and a pair of Bullfinches, plus Speckled Wood, Comma, Orange-tip, Small White, Large White and Green-veined White butterflies.

Coombe Hill/Saul Warth

Tuesday 14th April 2009

A couple of excursions out today:

In the morning, Coombe Hill Meadows - along the canal, six Willow Warblers, five Chiffchaffs, four Blackcaps, a Sedge Warbler, a Whitethroat and a pair of Bullfinches. Not much from Grundon Hide, just two Redshanks and four Swallows of note. The floods of last summer apparently decimated the invertebrate populations here, resulting in poor numbers of waders seen. It will be interesting to see how this habitat recovers.

An afternoon trip to Frampton - two first-winter Little Gulls on Saul Warth south flash viewed from the canal (above, that's not a shark next to it, just an up-ended Coot! - another record shot below), also a drake Garganey heard, and a Whitethroat and Cetti's Warbler.

Damsells Mill

Monday 13th April 2009
A walk in the superb weather today north of Painswick included a section along the beautiful Painswick Stream. This is one of my favourite areas in the county for walking, and a bonus was seeing a Dipper on the stream just south of Damsells Mill (above), and a Grey Wagtail (first of the year!) on the millpond. The views around here are just wonderful, this photo below is looking towards Painswick from Lord's Wood, near Sheepscombe.

Cleeve Hill & WWT

Saturday 11th April 2009

I headed for Sudeley Castle first thing hoping to see the Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, but with no sign I thought things could only get better. They did. Cleeve Hill provided an excellent morning's birding with five Ring Ouzels(above and below) near the north side of the electric cattle fence (around the 'heather enclosure') at the head of Postlip Valley, two Redstarts were also here, then a male Grasshopper Warbler(next photo below) was reeling in Gorse next to the Cotswold Way (east of the 'heather enclosure' - thanks to Steve Owen for putting me on that).

Other birds included two male Stonechats(below), a Swallow and a House Martin over, two Stock Doves, 2+ Yellowhammers and 12 Ravens displaying and mobbing one of two Buzzards.

As if that wasn't enough: later at WWT Slimbridge, three Avocets and an immature Little Gull were on the Top New Piece, viewed from the Zeiss Hide (the Little Gull remained until 2:50pm when it flew off NE over t…

Fretherne/Saul Warth

Friday 10th April 2009
The high tide on the river today at Fretherne produced next to nothing this morning, but a drake Garganey was still on on the south flash (viewed from the canal bank). Also on and around the flashes were a House Martin (my first of the year), four Swallows, 20+ Sand Martins, a Whimbrel over, three Willow Warblers, a Cetti's Warbler, a Little Egret, three Snipe, two Oystercatchers, a Lapwing, seven Black-tailed Godwits, two Spotted Redshanks, three Redshanks, a LittleGrebe, six Skylarks and two Meadow Pipits.

Fretherne/Saul Warth/Frampton

Saturday 4th April 2009

A good morning's birding with two singing Willow Warblers at Fretherne (near the sewage works), four Whimbrels at Saul Warth between the south flash and the river (also some Curlews nearby) and three Garganeys on the south flash. The Garganeys were seen from the canal towpath south of Fretherne Bridge (keep going past the two viewing points, but just before the metal gate) and were quite near, with two drakes displaying and in pursuit of a female, and being quite vocal with their strange characteristic call. Also two Small Tortoiseshells and a Peacock butterfly seen.
Garganey photos above and below:

At Frampton, not much to report around the lakes, just one Pied Wagtail, two Green Woodpeckers, a Blackcap, several Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest. No Hirundines seen at all.
Willow Warbler photos below:


Friday 3rd April 2009
The two Little Ringed Plovers(record shot above) were still present this evening at 7:00pm on part of the old RAF Quedgeley new development site (near the new houses on the Kingsway Estate); also 18 Fieldfares.

Fretherne/Saul Warth

Thursday 2nd April 2009

A visit to Saul Warth/Fretherne shore this evening produced a drake Garganey on the north flash, a Wheatear (above), and c10 Sand Martins. Also on the flashes were small numbers of Pintail, Wigeon, Teal and Shoveler and a Redshank was heard.