Sightings – April 2010

Swillbrook Lakes (28 April 2010, contributed by Ken Cservenka)

In the evening: 1 Swift, several singing Cetti’s Warblers, 3 singing Nightingales, a Cuckoo heard. Also Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Sedge and Reed Warblers.

Stratton (28 April 2010, contributed by Ken Cservenka)

A singing Blackcap, and throughout April at least 2 pairs of Yellowhammers.

Miserden Park (27 April 2010, contributed by Ken Cservenka)

I heard a Cuckoo today at Bullbanks in Miserden Park. Also a Raven overhead being harassed by a Carrion Crow. The crow then turned its attention onto a pair of Buzzards.

Ashleworth (27 April 2010, contributed by Mike Smart)

When the morning mist lifted, it was clear from the birdsong, that most of the summer songbirds were present in force: a male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker seen drumming and calling from the same oak tree as this time last year; no less than three different Grasshopper Warblers singing; at least six or seven Redstarts singing; about five Sedge Warblers, three or four Whitethroats and a Lesser Whitethroat singing.

Severn Vale (25 April 2010, contributed by Mike Smart)

Severn Ham, Tewkesbury: 1 Shelduck on the Severn, 2 pairs of Curlew bubbling on the Ham, 1 Common Sandpiper by the weir and an unusually high total of four singing Corn buntings round the Ham.

Lower Lode brickpits: 1 Mute Swan’s nest, 2 pairs of Shelducks on arable nearby, 2 pairs of Tufted Ducks, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 2 pairs of displaying Lapwings on arable and 1 Cuckoo.

Near Chaceley: a Redstart singing at a new site.

Coombe Hill during evening GWT walk: the Brent Goose was not seen, 2 displaying Oystercatchers, 5 Lapwings, 6 Curlew, 1 Whimbrel, 3 Snipe and 1 Cuckoo.

Twyning and Lower Lode (22 April 2010, contributed by Mike Smart)

At the Great Hay Meadow, Twyning, this morning: about eight pairs of Curlew on the Hay Meadow and two or three more pairs on surrounding grassland; interestingly, they were nearly all walking round and feeding in pairs, with little vocal display. This suggests to me that they haven’t laid yet (the more so as the grass is still pretty short, with clumps of longer sedge and lots of Ladies’ Smock). Only one Redshank. No sign of any Corn Buntings. Two Hobbies flying over Bredon, but they were marginally in Worcs. Lots of paired Canada Geese, which appear to have lost their eggs/nests. About five Sedge Warblers singing along the Avon.

Four Roe Deer, appeared to be the same individuals (two male as and two females in the same place) as last week. Lots of Rabbits (a rarely recorded mammal) round Sandacre Farm and on the base of the motorway bridge.

At Lower Lode, at least 30 Sand Martins around the colony which is in the river bank, a Little Owl; one Lesser Whitethroat and one Whitethroat singing; there seem to be more Lessers than Common so far this year.

Ashleworth (21 April 2010, contributed by Mike Smart)

At Ashleworth this evening: the male Garganey, for once sitting right in front of hide, but no sign of the female; about 34 Teal, overwhelmingly in pairs; a pair of Shelduck; 6 Wigeon; a single male Shoveler; only two Curlews, probably a pair, came in to roost.

Tewkesbury (20 April 2010, contributed by Mike Smart)

At Severn Ham in the morning were: 1 Cuckoo, 1 reeling Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Sedge Warbler. Later along the River Swilgate by Priors Park, in the masses of Blackthorn now in full bloom, were: 1 Nightingale, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Grasshopper Warbler singing.

Coombe Hill (19 April 2010, contributed by Mike Smart)

Seen during an evening look at Coombe Hill, mainly to see waders, both local birds roosting and passing migrants: about eight Curlews coming to roost with a Whimbrel, two Oystercatchers, two Little Ringed Plovers, the latter being more vocal than usual. One sitting Canada Goose plus about 20 non breeders, the Brent Goose yet again. Four pairs of Shelduck. One male Wheatear. A Lesser Whitethroat singing briefly. There was a complete absence of Lapwing and Redshank.

Port Ham, Gloucester (18 April 2010, contributed by Gordon Avery)

A male Cuckoo was present this afternoon.

North Meadow, Cricklade (18 April 2010, contributed by Juliet Bailey)

As the picture below shows, the fritillaries are looking good now but are not quite at their peak yet.

Hemmingsdale Road, Gloucester (17 April 2010, contributed by Gordon Avery)

A Holly Blue today was the first this year, plus a first for the garden came in the form of a Larch Ladybird (Aphidecta obtiterata).

Coombe Hill (17 April 2010, contributed by Tom Cash, Mike Smart and Les Brown)

A cold morning with a light frost, although it brightened up with lots of sunlight later. There was not a lot of birdsong first thing.

8 Mute Swans had roosted and went to feed on a fresh grass ley on the Southern Meadows; one pair on the canal seen mating. 15 Canada Geese, the Brent Goose was still there. Three pairs of Shelduck. 56 Teal. 1 Sparrowhawk. Following recent records at Slimbridge, one Avocet was present at first light, maybe a bird en route to Upton Warren near Droitwich, where they have bred for some years. Two Oystercatchers displaying actively, as though they were going to breed. A single Lapwing by the scrapes, only one by the arable to the south; it doesn’t look as though they are going to breed there in any numbers, if at all. 1 Little Ringed Plover, very subdued and probably a passage bird. Maybe 4 Curlew. 1 Redshank, 1 Green Sandpiper. 1 Redstart singing and another calling. 2 Whitethroats and 1 Lesser Whitethroat singing. Numerous Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs.

One Peacock butterfly, two Small Tortoiseshells. One Brown Hare behind the Long Pool.

Ashleworth Ham (15 April 2010, contributed by Mike Smart and Les Brown)

In the evening there were still 40 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 10 Shoveler; 4 Green Sandpipers together, clearly migrants; a late flock of 20 Fieldfares; only one Redstart was found.

Great Hay Meadow, Twyning (15 April 2010, contributed by Mike Smart)

1 immature Peregine was sitting on a stone in the middle of the meadow; more Canada Geese nesting on the Avon bank – at least three nests seen (in pretty obvious places, two of them predated); 2 Oystercatchers flew downriver, 12 Curlews, 1 Swallow, no sign of Corn Buntings or Yellow Wagtails. Four Roe Deer, two males with horns (one pointed, the other still velvety) and two females.

Severn Vale (13 April 2010, contributed by Mike Smart and Les Brown)

Rather a cold north-easterly wind inhibiting birdsong early on, so that many arriving bird migrants may have kept very quiet; brightening later, but still not as warm as the last few days. Water levels dropping gradually everywhere, though ditches and scrapes are still fairly full. Verges full of cuckoo flowers and lesser celandine, but few cuckoo flowers in meadows as yet. One or two Small Tortoiseshells out.

Coombe Hill: Very quiet – 30 Canada Geese, mostly non-breeders, but one on eggs and another suspected; the Brent Goose still keeping them company; 3 pairs of Shelduck; 44 Teal; 3 Oystercatchers; 2 Curlews; 1 Green Sandpiper; no Lapwings; 5 Sand Martins hawking insects over the Long Pool; four singing willow Warblers.

Leigh Meadows: a pair of Lapwings perhaps breeding, two Curlews, a very short snatch of song from one Redstart.

Haw Bridge: 12 Sand Martins around colony in the river bank; one Common Sandpiper on beach.

Staunton: it looks as though the Lapwings have given up on their breeding attempt.

Ashleworth: a male Garganey, 26 Wigeon, 53 Teal, 13 shoveler, 17 coot, one on a nest; no sign of any Redstarts

Standish (14 April 2010, contributed by Juliet Bailey)

Many of the spring crucifers are now in bloom. I am particularly fond of the hardy little annuals, about 2 inches high, that make a living among the crushed stone of my drive. The top below picture shows mostly Whitlowgrass (Erophila verna), with its oval seed pods developing, but in the centre is a stem of Hairy Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) with long seed pods. With them on the drive can be found Danish Scurvygrass, shown in the second picture below (Cochlearia danica) which is the plant that is coating the verges of all dual carriageways currently, looking a bit like a thin skim of snow.


Puesdown, A 40 (11 April 2010, contributed by Peter Fitchett)

A Red Kite circling over the A40 by the Puesdown public house today.

Spring Flowers (11 April 2010, contributed by Peter Fitchett)

Pictures below by Peter show a Pasque Flower on the reserve, near Cirencester and the start of the Fritillary show at Cricklade North Meadow, just over the county boundary in Wiltshire. Peter suggests that the meadow will be at its best in a week or so.

Coombe Hill and Ashleworth (10 April 2010, contributed by Mike Smart and Les Brown)

Coombe Hill this morning: Mute Swans building nest, Brent still there, 7 Shelducks, 45 Teal, 4 Grey Herons in breeding plumage, 1 Little Grebe, 3 Oystercatchers displaying (present for at least four days), 2 Whitethroats singing, at least seven Willow Warblers singing, 2 Blackcaps singing.

Later at Ashleworth,: Mute Swan incubating, 10 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 4 Grey Herons, 6 Buzzards soaring, 2 Curlews, at least 3 Redstarts (two males singing rather poorly; the first ones had been noted on 8 April), about five Willow Warblers, 2 Blackcaps and ten Chiffchaffs all in song.

Cleeve Hill (8 April 2010, contributed by Robert Homan)

7 Wheatears near the trig point this morning.

Severn Vale (3 April 2010, contributed by Mike Smart and Les Brown)

At Coombe Hill: Brent Goose still there, 7 Shelducks, 15 Shoveler, 1 passing Peregrine, 2 Little Ringed Plovers (a male and a female, very placid, looked like passing migrants), 2 Lapwings, 6 Curlews, 4 Snipe, 10 Chiffchaffs singing, 2 Willow Warblers, 6 Sand Martins and a Swallow. LB and MS

Wilmer Common, Rodley: 2 Shelducks, 3 Chiffchaffs. (MS)

Walmore Common: 2 Teal, 4 Lapwings, 4 Snipe, 3 Chiffchaffs. (MS)

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