Coombe Hill and Ashleworth (22 March 2011, contributed by Mike Smart and Les Brown)
Coombe Hill at first light: the threesome between the two Canadas and the white Farmyard goose continues, the Farmyard bird getting more and more insistent; three pairs of Shelducks, 2 Wigeon, 110 Teal, 8 Shoveler. The pair of Oystercatchers looking well settled; 12 Lapwings with lots of aerobatics and tail-up display, lovely to see them so active and a month earlier than last year; six Snipe; one Redshank; about eight Curlews, apparently all local birds; one Little Egret; one Swallow; three Chiffchaffs singing.
However, another observer arrived later at about 10.00am and later told me that at about midday ten Curlew had arrived, one of them colour-ringed; I took another look in the afternoon to confirm his reading of the rings and it proved to be one of the 66 birds ringed at Wibdon Warth on the Severn estuary in September 2010 (see GNS NEWS for December 2010). This demonstrates that some of the birds at Coombe Hill are clearly migrants on their way back to continental nesting grounds, shows the inland route they take, and their habits en route (leisurely progress, stop to feed and roost). By the evening there were also two Egyptian Geese, displaying quietly, a second Little Egret and a Little Ringed Plover, and a total of 30 Curlews. It just shows it’s worth spending as much time as possible in the hide, all day at this time of year!
The water level has gone down a fair bit at Ashleworth: 130 Wigeon, 80 Teal, 8 Shoveler, three displaying Lapwings, eight Snipe, at least one Chiffchaff.