Sightings – August 2004

Standish (Late August, contributed by Juliet Bailey)

Swallows have nested in the barns here, and currently there are flocks of 30 or more, joined by House Martins that I believe eschewed the immediate neighbourhood for nesting. I have surveyed the four corners of the tetrad that includes SO7909 this summer for the BTO Swallow feeding survey, and it would appear that this is about the busiest part of the tetrad for them. All this hirundine activity is bringing in the raptors. We had beautiful views today of a Hobby stooping to try to catch various Swallows, when not being pursued by a jeering pack of them.

My neighbour tells me of Wheatear on the fence last week. He had good views over several hours of “a little brown bird with a thin beak that, when it flew, showed a white rump”.

Severn Vale (August Bank Holiday Weekend 2004, contributed by Robert Homan and Gordon Avery)

A Little Egret was at Coombe Hill Meadows Reserve on 26 August. A Hobby was over Ashleworth Ham on 27th. Ravens have been much in evidence with a family party of 5 at Sudmeadow on 28th , 2 over Lower Lode, Tewkesbury on 28th and 2 at Elmstone Hardwick on 29th. Also seen at Sudmeadow on 28th were 2 Green Sandpipers and a Greenshank. A few warblers moved through with 7 Whitethroats, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 4 Blackcaps and a Garden Warbler trapped for ringing.

Longford (23 August 2004, contributed by Andy Jayne)

It’s surprising what can be found just on the outskirts of Gloucester. This evening a short walk around the Longford Water Works/Drymeadow Farm area produced 4 Snipe, 1 Swift, 1 Kingfisher, 13 Yellow Wagtails, a Redstart and Spotted Flycatcher. It seems the heavy showers are grounding a few migrants.

Sudmeadow (16 August 2004, contributed by Gordon Avery)

A Clouded Yellow and 2 Green Sandpipers seen today.

Cheltenham (15 August 2004, contributed by Robert Homan)

An addition to the county’s moth fauna was found in a moth trap in Swindon Lane this morning. Tachystola acroxantha has an interesting history as it is an Australian species first found in the UK in Devon in 1908. Since then it has gradually expanded its range in southern England. As the picture here shows, it is a distinctive moth even with its fairly small wingspan of about 15 mm.

Tachystola acroxantha, Cheltenham

Cheltenham (12 August 2004, contributed by Robert Homan)

A big movement of Swifts involving about 100 birds moving SE round the edge of a big rain storm over Cheltenham this evening.

CWP(W) (8 August 2004, contributed by Robert Homan)

Damselflies were at their most striking this morning, with hundreds of Common Blue Damselflies (Enallagma cyathigerum) in the lee of the trees on the NE side of pit 57 . 2 “Commic” terns over pit 57 and 7 Red-crested Pochards on pit 41.

Common Blue Damselfly

Coombe Hill (7 August 2004, contributed by Andy Jayne)

A good variety of bird species at the Canal and Meadows this evening including a Teal, 3 Snipe, 2 Greenshank, 3 Green Sandpipers, 1 Kingfisher, 2 Redstarts, 3 Whinchats, 100 Greenfinch (plus the usual warblers).

Cleeve Hill (6 August 2004, contributed by Robert Homan)

3 Ravens over West Down this afternoon. Many Gatekeepers on thistles and brambles. Chalkhill Blues flying over the Butterfly Conservation Aerials Reserve.

The fenced areas on the common have a good display of Heather Calluna vulgaris, Harebell Campanula rotundifolia and Betony Stachys officinalis. At West Down ragwort flowers hosted a typically rich variety of insects, including Cinnabar moth larvae and many hoverflies (Scaeva pyratri shown here).

Severn Vale, Wainlode area (2 August 2004, contributed by Andy Jayne)

An all dark immature Marsh Harrier at Wainlode flew towards Coombe Hill Canal at 7pm. There was a Little Egret and Yellow Wagatil by R. Severn just south of Haw Bridge and a Quail and 3 Whinchats at Hasfield Ham.

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