Coombe Hill Canal

Sunday 10th April 2011

On a beautiful sunny morning, I walked the entire length of the Coombe Hill Canal, something I've never done before, only ever having walked between the car park and the hide or a short distance beyond before. The highlights were firstly the warblers, with two Sedge Warblers, seven Whitethroats, 12 Blackcaps, 12 Willow Warblers, 16 Chiffchaffs, and secondly the butterflies with numerous Orange-tips, Brimstones and Green-veined Whites plus two Peacocks, three Meadow Browns, a Small Tortoiseshell and a Comma. From Grundon Hide birds included a pair of Little Ringed Plovers, a pair of Oystercatchers, a Redshank, 10 Lapwings, two Egyptian Geese (above), a pair of Teal, a pair of Shelducks and three Swallows.
Whitethroat:

Chiffchaff:

Brimstone:

Green-veined White:

I like the new boardwalk giving more direct access from the canal to the hide, and hopefully keeping the hide more accessible in the winter floods. But they seem a long way off, in fact I hate to say it but we could do with some rain as everywhere is drying out fast. I had hoped to get to see the Garganey at WWT afterwards but for the Hempsted canal bridge deciding to malfunction – it took nearly an hour to get from across Gloucester, not good, and by the time I got home I had run out of birding time. I did see two more Swallows over Netheridge Farm whist sat in my car on the by-pass, oh to have wings!
I scoured Cleeve Hill yesterday morning with Mark looking for Ring Ouzel, but to no avail, but a Wheatear was some consolation. Three Tree Pipits at the nearby Bill Smyllie reserve, Prestubury Hill, was also nice. A Holly Blue in the garden yesterday afternoon got me rushing for my camera, but too late - it had gone - a first for the year and an addition to my garden butterfly list.

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