Latest from the Severn Vale

The level of the River Severn is dropping again, though quite gradually; paradoxically therefore, the river is dropping but the shallow flooding on meadows in the Vale continues to rise slightly, because the drop in the Severn level is not enough to allow water to begin flowing off the meadows. It seems likely that levels on the meadows will start to drop in the next few days

At Coombe Hill the floodwater on the meadows is still rising very gradually, and there is very little unflooded grass left for birds to graze on.  The Grundon Hide is still accessible (with Wellingtons, water calf deep on the board walk).  There are still masses of birds, probably 5,000 ducks, 1,000 Lapwings and 1,500 geese (including what is almost a record number of Canada Geese – the highest number ever noted at Coombe Hill was 1,300 in November 2014); the same few hybrid and feral geese are still present and act as markers, suggesting that many of the same individuals are staying in the area.  Still a tremendous spectacle of calls, wing beats, huge numbers of birds on the shallow flood.

Detailed records, Coombe Hill first: 6 Mute Swans; 380 Greylags (including the one from Windermere, marked with a neck collar reading PXS); 1,100 Canada Geese, 1 Barnacle Goose, 1 Swan x Greylag hybrid, 5 Canada x Greylag hybrids, 1 white farmyard goose (the same one with black flecks), 2 Shelducks, 2,000 Wigeon and 2,000 Teal (rough estimate in each case, not an exact count),  2 Gadwall, 30 Mallard, 210 Pintail (slight increase) 40 Shoveler, 1 Pochard, 3 Little Egrets, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Buzzard, 3 Coot, 500 Lapwings, 100 Black-headed Gulls, 4 Meadow Pipits, 25 Fieldfares, 1 Cetti’s Warbler (couple of bursts of song from Broadmere; this is a Mediterranean species, clearly liking the mild conditions), 100 Starlings, 2 Bullfinches.

At Cobney Meadows: 200 Lapwings

At Ashleworth Ham: 2 Mute Swans; no geese at all (they were all at Coombe Hill!) , 280 Wigeon, 170 Teal, 95 Mallard, 8 Pintail, 3 Shovelers, 1 Grey Heron, 75 Lapwings flying over, 2 Meadow Pipits, 150 Redwings, 10 Fieldfares, 1 Nuthatch, 250 Starlings, 150 Jackdaws, 3 Reed Buntings.

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