Sightings – December 2004

Coombe Hill and Uckington (30 December, contributed by Robert Homan)

Still many Fieldfares feeding on hawthorn berries along the canal. 3 or 4 Water Rails heard in the willows around the new hide and there were many Wigeon calling from the Long Pool. At Uckington, NE the junction of the M5 and A4019, there were 820 Lapwings in a field of winter cereals.

Cheltenham (24 December, contributed by Robert Homan)

The satsuma shown here was bought in a Cheltenham shop on Christmas Eve. The mark on the peel shows the track of the larva of the micro-moth Phyllocnistis citrella. This is the first time this species has been recorded in the British Isles. The moth originates from S. E. Asia, but has spread widely to most of the world’s citrus growing areas, arriving, for example, in Spain in 1993.
Blemishes on the peel of citrus fruit are not unusual, but what is distinctive about this example is the serpentine shape of the mine and the deposit of frass along the centre of the track – both of these features are shown in the more detailed view below.

Bourton-on-the-Water (24 December, contributed by Robert Homan)

A morning visit produced the following:
3 Little Grebes, 6 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Cormorants, 8 Mute Swans, 70 Canada Geese, 31 Pochard, 3 Red-crested Pochards, 56 Tufted Ducks, 102 Coot and a very aggressive Black Swan.

Pittville Park, Cheltenham (21 December, contributed by Robert Homan)

A variety of wildfowl present this morning, including 34 Canada Geese, 16 Tufted Ducks and, the highlight, the first Goosander (a male) of the winter.

Port Ham (14 December, contributed by Gordon Avery)

2 pairs of Stonechats overwintering in the area.

Frampton and Fretherne (14 December, contributed by Robert Homan)

Among the more usual ducks on the Sailing Lake was 1 female Goldeneye. At nearby Fretherne there were 4 Little Egrets feeding in a pasture field just north west of the swing bridge this morning.

This superb picture of a Kingfisher at rest was taken by Brian Bailey at Frampton on 13th December.

Gloucester Landfill Site (13 December, contributed by Gordon Avery)

The “pond” by the Household Waste area in the morning had 1 Little Grebe, 1 Shelduck, 1 Pintail and a adult ‘Yellow legged’ Gull amongst the bathing gulls there.

Cheltenham (11 December, contributed by Robert Homan)

A flock of 25 Canada Geese in Pittville Park this afternoon – it took this species a long time to work out that there were rich pickings of bread to be had in the park, but this flock now seems to be well established. A Kingfisher also present. There was a male Blackcap in Swindon Lane.

CWP (early December, news via Gareth Harris)

Pit 32 – a Peregrine hunting pigeons on 7th
Pit 68c – a male Hen Harrier hunting over reed beds on 8th
Pit 68c – 2 or more Jack Snipe flushed while strimming willow on 8th.

Brockhampton, near Swindon Village (7 December, contributed by Robert Homan)

A Chiffchaff feeding with a mixed flock of Blue and Long-tailed Tits and Goldcrests by Hyde Brook on the south side of the sewage works.

Sudmeadow (6 December, contributed by Gordon Avery)

A pair of Stonechats and a Chiffchaff reported this morning.

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