Coombe Hill on 29 May

Waters continue to drop gradually after the flooding of early May.

The female Red-necked Phalarope, not seen since Saturday last and thought to have departed towards its northern (Shetlands?) breeding grounds, was nevertheless still present and showing well on the north scrape.  A rare visitor to Gloucestershire, particularly in spring.  This is a family where the female is the brightly-coloured one; she lays the eggs, then leaves the male to incubate them and raise the young.

Otherwise, no great surprises: ten Mute Swans (nearly all non-breeding immatures, the nesting adults having lost their nests and eggs in the floods); 29 Canada Geese (presumably also non-breeders); two Shelducks (both males: are there females sitting on eggs somewhere?); a pair of Gadwall; just three drake Tufted Ducks (which occurred in good numbers on the floodwater, but have decreased since the flooding dropped); one Sparrowhawk; 50 Coot (with a family of three chicks on the canal); one Oystercatcher (which lost their eggs in the floods; are they going to try again?).  The Lapwings were very interesting: only about five adults present, against fifteen or twenty before the flooding, (one pair apparently beginning a replacement nest), plus three full grown and flying juveniles, which had come through the floods unscathed, possibly because they were moved by human hand to higher unflooded ground.  Only two or three Curlews: will they try to lay a replacement clutch?  Similarly a single Redshank, perhaps nesting again?  Two Cuckoos singing; one Yellow Wagtail, a species which has decreased greatly in hay meadows in recent years;  four singing Redstarts, a typical species of the site, unlikely to be affected by flooding because they nest in holes in trees; only two Sedge Warblers singing, rather less than might have been expected, (perhaps because they nest near the ground and had suffered from flood waters); one or two Whitethroats in song.; two or three Reed Buntings in song.

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