The latest round of deep flooding in the riverside meadows between Gloucester and Tewkesbury is beginning to drop, but many of the usual bird-watching areas are still inaccessible, and the birds are very widespread, seeking shallow edges difficult to apprach, rather than the deep water still to be found in many places.
At Coombe Hill it is now possible to walk along the towpath (which is very muddy indeed), but only as far as the first gate into the GWT reserve; the lower lying area of towpath between this gate and the entrance to the boardwalk is still under water, which will probably clear in the next few days: 8 Mute Swans, maybe 100 Canada Geese, one Shelduck, Wigeon and Teal very widely spread, but at least 500 each, maybe 50 Pintail, 10 Shoveler, 1 Shelduck. Bird of the day a Curlew, the first of the year in the meadows, suggesting that those wintering on the estuary have begun to move back towards nesting grounds, whether locally or further afield on the continent.
Cobney/Leigh Meadows: the road past the Red Lion at Wainlodes is just passable by car (for the first time today); still extensive flooding, though water is flowing out fast down the Parish Drain and the Chelt to the Severn. At least 500 ducks on the floodwater, probably more, mainly Wigeon, three Shelducks.
Ashleworth Ham: not accessible at all, because the Ham Road between Ashleworth and Tirley is still partly under water.
Meadows near Chaceley north of Haw Bridge: at least 1,500 ducks on shallowly flooded meadows, visible from the river bank, in a place where they are not normally seen at all. At least 100 Fieldfares and a couple of hundred Black-headed Gulls feeding on fields recently emerged from the floodwater.