Sightings – February 2006

Sudmeadow (27 February, contributed by Gordon Avery)

Seen this morning were: 1 Golden Plover flying through with 60 Lapwing. Pair of Shelduck still on GLS pond ( breeding pair no doubt). 8 Teal on the marsh and 2 pairs of Stonechats on Port Ham near the Parting.

CWP (26 February, contributed by Andy Jayne)

An almost full-plumage adult and a 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull in the CWP(W) pit 16 roost this evening. Fairly standard fare elsewhere around CWP(W) including 4 Shelduck, 50+ Shoveler, 1 Pintail, 30+ Goldeneye, 5 Smew, 11 Goosander, 23 Ruddy Duck, 2 Little Egret, 1 Barn Owl, 1 Kingfisher, 1m Stonechat, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Marsh Tit and 1 Lesser Redpoll (+ 3 Roe Deer).

Walmore (24 February, contributed by Mike Smart)

Water levels still very low. Noted between 12h15 and 13h30 were:

A total of 34 Bewick’s (seven cygnets) with 30 sitting on Field D included two families with two cygnets; only one bird ringed, the inevitable 541. The other four were on the common, a family of one adult and three cygnets; couldn’t see if they were ringed, but I’ll bet they were one parent ZBJ plus cygnets.

60 Lapwings, looked like passing migrants.

50 Teal.

1 Buzzard.

1 Skylark singing.

Not a Snipe to be seen, Common or Jack, even though conditions looked very favourable.

Naunton Park, Cheltenham (21 February, contributed by David Anderson)

The Siskin has now increased to an impressive 75 birds.

Severn Hams (21 February, contributed by Mike Smart and Les Brown)

Whooper Swans: the group of seven has been difficult to see on the Leigh Meadows for the last few days as they have been sitting separate from the Mutes, grazing out of the wind close under the hedges. But two nice records demonstrating their regular habits: last night (20 February) at 18h10 when it was nearly dark, all seven were seen to arrive at Ashleworth to roost; this morning at 06h50 they were seen flying from the direction across the river just above Wainlodes and landing on the Leigh Meadows.

Barn Owl: one at first light outside the Red Lion at Wainlodes, going to perch (day roost?) in the trees on the cliff at Wainlodes.

Goosander: the female still on the Severn at Wainlodes.

Ducks: rather few at Coombe Hill, mainly Teal with a few Wigeon in the Long Pool. At Ashleworth, still about 1000, over half of them Wigeon coming to graze on teh grass below the hedge, up to 40 Gadwall, 60 Shoveler, 40 Pintail, even 5 Tufted Ducks.

Lapwing: flock of 300, still very frisky, at Ashleworth.

Snipe: very few at Coombe Hill, but at least 40 at Ashleworth with five Jack Snipe.

Naunton Park, Cheltenham (18 February, contributed by David Anderson)

The increase in Siskins in the garden has continued with the count at 35 this morning. The increase appears to be at the expense of Goldfinches whose numbers are down from the usual Saturday morning count.

Sudmeadow (17 February, contributed by Gordon Avery)

An afternoon visit produced the records: a first winter Little Grebe on the Pylon pool by tip offices; a pair of Shelduck on GLS pond plus 5 Tufted Ducks (3m); a Green Sandpiper along the river at Sudmeadow and a pair of Stonechats on Port Ham.

Barnwood Industrial Estate (16 February, contributed by David Anderson)

A starling roost at the west end of the industrial estate with 1000+ birds in a pre-roost display at 17:15.

Severn Hams (16 February, contributed by Andy Jayne)

The 7 Whoopers Swans again at Leigh Meadows today and a Woodcock flushed to the north of Coombe Hill Meadows.

Guscar Rocks area (15 February, contributed by Andy Jayne)

The highlights of a walk from Woolaston Grange (Guscar Rocks) to Pillhouse Rocks today were 80 Teal, 2 Sparrowhawks, 11 Ringed Plover, 6 Dunlin, 1 Jack Snipe, 8 Snipe, 210 Curlew, 12 Redshank, 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Little Owls, a male Stonechat and 2 Chiffchaffs.

Naunton Park, Cheltenham (14 February, contributed by David Anderson)

Our first ever record for Siskins at our terraced row, town garden feeders was of a single female on 29 January 2006. The count has since grown, over two weeks, to 15 on 14 February. The increase in the flock size has been generally linear over the period. The count for other regular species has not changed noticeably over the period. Is there any relevant science on the way birds pass on information on food sources as has been noted for bees?

Sudmeadow (14 February, contributed by Gordon Avery)

A single Green Sandpiper over the marsh. There were also 2 Jays about which are usual here at any time of the year!

Severn Hams (14 February, contributed by Mike Smart and Les Brown)

Spring is in the air with an influx of breeding birds and more bird song.

At Coombe Hill, a lot more Reed Buntings (at least half a dozen), that must have moved in during the last few days; the first Curlew of the year, no doubt a bird moving in to take up breeding territory, plus the usual: 60 Wigeon, 60 Teal, 8 Gadwall, 5 Snipe, 3 Jack Snipe.

At Leigh Meadows, several Skylarks singing, plus the 7 Whooper Swans (none of them are ringed), 1 Black Swan and about 25 Mutes.

At Ashleworth, the same group of very frisky Lapwing just in front of the hide, certainly look like migrants stopped off on their way north; this morning accompanied by an Oystercatcher. Plus usual ducks.

Severn Hams (11 February, contributed by Mike Smart and Les Brown)

Coombe Hill and Ashleworth iced over and therefore very convenient for counting ducks:
at Ashleworth, a total 990 ducks, of which 80 Shoveler, 60 Pintail, 70 Gadwall, 210 Teal, 520 Wigeon (coming nicely up bank to graze on grass right under the hedge by the roadside); 30 Coot, a Peregrine, a Sparrowhawk, two Buzzards and, bird of the day, a Red Kite (no wing tags); only about ten Snipe in icy conditions, two Jack Snipe.

At Leigh Meadows, seven Whoopers, a Black Swan and a Green Sandpiper; the female Goosander still on the Severn at Wainlodes.

Coombe Hill quiet, about 98 Teal and three Wigeon, only four Snipe.

Colesbourne Park (11 February, contributed by Robert Homan)

12 or so Tufted Ducks on the lake with several males displaying in early afternoon sunshine.

Severn Hams (8 February, contributed by Mike Smart and Les Brown)

The first fine sunny day for a long time brought a touch of spring to the air: hazel catkins, Glyceria and Flag Iris beginning to shoot and some bird song from Robin, Great Tit, Chaffinch and Dunnock.

Leigh Meadows: the Whooper Swans flew in, calling, from the Ashleworth direction at 07h35 (they weren’t at Coombe Hill yesterday at dusk, so had presumably roosted at Ashleworth); sadly, only seven of them were left with four adults and three cygnets and it looks as though one of the cygnets has either hit one of the electric power lines or been caught by a fox; Peregrine on a pylon; Green Sandpiper on the River Chelt.

R. Severn at Wainlodes: a female Goosander sitting on a floating log outside the Red Lion, also a Great Crested Grebe.

Ashleworth: usual ducks – 500 Wigeon, 200 Teal, 75 Shoveler, 50 Gadwall, 40 Pintail; 15 Snipe, 5 Jack Snipe, a flock of 100 Lapwings, quite excited, looked like northward migrants, though still in winter plumage; a couple of quite perky Reed Buntings, the first for some time; a mixed flock of 30 Long-tailed Tits, Great Tits and Goldcrests, all hunting for insects, but there were no Chiffchaffs with them.

Hasfield Ham (6 February, contributed by Andy Jayne)

A Barn Owl hunting from just after 1600hrs and a Woodcock flushed from a very dry ditch. Not much else apart from a male Stonechat.

Port Ham (6 February, contributed by Gordon Avery)

A male Stonechat still present by the Power Station, presumed overwintering. Also a pair of Stonechats river-side of the Oxlease opposite Sudmeadow in the morning.

Severn Hams (4 February, contributed by Mike Smart and Les Brown)

Water levels are low everywhere, following lack of rain in recent weeks: the Severn at Haw Bridge is low, water only in scrapes at Coombe Hill and on the reserve at Ashleworth – no flooding.

At Coombe Hill; most roosting swans had left by 07h45, only a few Mutes left; 54 roosting Canada Geese went off to NW at 08h00 as usual; 50 Teal, 40 Wigeon, only 3 Snipe.

At Leigh Meadows, the eight Whooper Swans (original two adults, plus family of two adults and four cygnets) grazing mid morning.

At Ashleworth, 200 Wigeon, grazing high up the bank near the road, practically under the hedge.

At Walmore, 31 Bewick’s at 11h00, five cygnets; only two ringed birds, both familiar visitors from Slimbridge to Walmore: yellow ZBJ, with three cygnets, and the yearling yellow 541; 60 Teal, a couple of Ravens.

Cheltenham (4 February, contributed by Robert Homan)

A male Blackcap in full song in Swindon Lane today.

Castle Meads (2 February, contributed by Gordon Avery)

A Barn Owl seen late afternoon.

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