Damp Coombe Hill

The much-needed April showers continue, and make things more interesting at Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s Coombe Hill Meadows reserve.  Slight rises in water levels on the pools, but ground nesting birds so far coping well: one Lapwing brooding three chicks, now eleven days old, at least five more Lapwings still incubating eggs, plus a pair each of Oystercatchers and Redshanks, and several Curlews.

A lot more Whitethroats along the canal, at least five singing in the rain, plus two recently arrived Lesser Whitethroats, and two SedgeWarblers, with a Cuckoo for good measure.

The rain seemed to have brought in some passing migrant waders, bound for breeding grounds much further north, and stopping off for wash and brush-up: one Little Ringed Plover, two Ringed Plovers (nice to see these two similar species together), ten Dunlin, three Common Sandpipers and a very noisy, agitated Black-tailed Godwit (in breeding plumage but unringed), flying round shouting “Grutto, Grutto” (its name in Dutch, derived from the breeding call, though this one was more likely to be going to Iceland, so was probably saying the Icelandic equivalent, not given in most identification books); it upset the on-guard male Lapwings which tried to chase it off.  At least five Whimbrels, also likely to be Iceland bound.  Graham Smith reported a female Marsh Harrier yesterday, which also caused extreme perturbation among the Lapwings.

Mike Smart

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