Stratton near Cirencester (27 February 2010, contributed by Ken Cservenka)
On my Nyger seed feeder today were a male Siskin and up to 6 Goldfinch. On my Sunflower heart and seed feeders, 8 Greenfinches. On the ground under the feeders and on them, around 30 Chaffinch. On the ground under the feeders and on the overgrown Hawthorn at the end of my garden, 14 Yellowhammers and a female Reed Bunting. I also have regular visits from a cock Pheasant. The Jackdaws have learnt how to hang on to the thin perches of my seed feeders and the wire cage of my fat ball feeder and while flapping their wings they are managing to feed. During the worst of the snow, a Rook also learnt this method of feeding. The Wood Pigeons are now fearless and I have around 12 feeding regularly under the seed feeders.
Coombe Hill (26 February 2010, contributed by Robert Homan)
Early afternoon there were 2 Snipe by the canal near the start of the board walk and from the Grundon Hide there were 2 Mute Swans, the Brent Goose again, 8 Shelduck, 2 Grey Herons, a Little Egret and just 4 Lapwing. A Curlew was heard calling from the area.
In the Mistletoe at the Wharf end there were 2 mines of the BAP species micro-moth, Celypha woodiana. Compared to previous years these showed only modest development, perhaps reflecting the cold weather.
Cirencester (24 February 2010, contributed by David Scott-Langley)
Spring must have arrived early! The Rooks have been collecting sticks for some time now and then there was the House Sparrow in Woodmancote ten days ago. Now the male Robin, which has been in my garden through the winter as I rebuild it, has teamed up with a female who is now taking nesting material into some ivy on my next-door neighbour’s fence. As I will be churning the soil around for the next few weeks, they could be on to a good thing. However, if they are successful, they will miss the BTO atlas breeding season surveys and have to do it all over again!
Stratton near Cirencester (22 February 2010, contributed by Ken Cservenka)
Garden sightings today included 14 Yellowhammers and a male Brambling.
Coates (20 February 2010, contributed by David Scott-Langley)
A friend of mine, John Brook, happened to look out of his kitchen window yesterday and saw this Sparrowhawk (see picture below) arrive on his garden fence and spread its feathers to warm itself in the afternoon sun.
Fossebridge (19 February 2010, contributed by David Scott-Langley)
Three Hares crouching in a cereal field near Stowell Park eating the young green shoots as the snow was melting.
Deerhurst (16 February 2010, contributed by Robert Homan)
2 male Chaffinches singing at the church this morning and 12 Buzzards over the arable fields next to the lane to the B4213.
Coombe Hill (15 February 2010, contributed by Robert Homan)
Compared to last week the Grundon Hide was much quieter early afternoon today. The Brent Goose was present but otherwise just 3 Mute Swans, 1 Grey Heron and 29 Lapwings which were joined by another small flock of 20 with all of them departing to the west some minutes later. 2 Mistle Thrushes in the willows with large clumps of mistletoe next to the canal.
Woodmancote, nr Cirencester (13 February 2010, contributed by David Scott-Langley)
A female House Sparrow was seen collecting nest material (dead grass) and flying off with it.
North Cerney (13 February 2010, contributed by David Scott-Langley)
A Little Egret was on the River Churn again today – is it now a permanent resident?
Netheridge (12 February 2010, contributed by Gordon Avery)
A Little Egret was in the field just north of the Owl Centre at Netheridge late morning today.
Another Gloucester Starling Roost (12 February 2010, contributed by Mike Smart)
A lonely vigil outside a carwash provided news of another north Gloucester Starling roost, at The Triangle, Longlevens; the car owners had the grace to say that the birds were wonderful to watch in their evening display, but did cause a large bill at the car wash.
Walmore (12 February 2010, contributed by Mike Smart)
At Walmore Common today the water level was low and it was very quiet from 12.00 to 1.15pm. There were no Bewick’s, just 23 Snipe and a few Teal.
Ashleworth Ham (11 February 2010, contributed by Andy Jayne)
The three adult Whooper Swans were present again this afternoon. Nearby on Hasfield Ham there was a Knot, a Dunlin and eight Ruff amongst about 400 Lapwing. The Knot has earlier been at Coombe Hill (see below).
Coombe Hill (11 February 2010, contributed by Robert Homan)
With sub-zero temperatures overnight, there was a great reduction in the number of waders present with a maximum of 130 Lapwing in the morning, none of which stayed long on the partly frozen ground. They were however joined by a single Knot. The duck flock was confined to the deeper water to the north of the Grundon Hide. There were also 14 Shelduck from the Grundon Hide, 10 Coot on the Long Pool, a Snipe by the North Meadow bridge and a solitary Curlew.
Gloucester Starling Roosts (10 February 2010, contributed by Mike Smart)
There are currently two roosts in north Gloucester, both in little clumps of firs: one with maybe 5,000 birds is in a line of conifers in Great Western Road just behind the station; local residents told me it’s been there for two weeks. Another roost with some 2,000 birds is in Old Cheltenham Road Longlevens in some thick conifers in a garden. Aerial displays over both sites, with Sparrowhawks in attendance but so far unsuccessful, take place every evening from 4.45 to 5.15pm
Coombe Hill (10 February 2010, contributed by Mike Smart)
The water level continues to drop and the hides are easily accessible. The wildlife spectacle continues however, with really good numbers of ducks just in front of the Grundon Hide. There was no sign of the Whoopers or Bewick’s early on, but the Brent Goose was still present. Also 4 Shelducks, 1500+ Wigeon, 500+ Teal, 30 Gadwall, 20 Pintail, 10 Shoveler, 10 Tufted Ducks, 500 Lapwings, 8 Ruff. There was a Green Woodpecker near the canal which is unusual for this area! 2 Whitefronts and a Dunlin also seen by another observer.
Coombe Hill (9 February 2010, contributed by Les Brown and Robert Homan)
The water level at Coombe Hill and at Ashleworth is dropping fast now and the Grundon Hide at Coombe hill easily accessible with wellingtons; bird numbers are holding up well, although the birds are concentrated onto smaller areas of floodwater.
In the morning (LB) there were: 3 Whooper Swans, 15 Bewick’s (which took off and went towards Ashleworth at 09.15am), 1 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 2800 Wigeon, 420 + Teal, 185 Pintail (the highest count this winter), 570 Lapwing, 2 Dunlin, 1 Curlew, 8 Ruff, and 2 Peregrines. Early afternoon (RH) much as above although 10 Bewick’s Swans had returned only to fly west again mid-afternoon, 30 or so Mute Swans, 100+ Greylag Geese, 3 Shelduck, 4 Gadwall and 2 Curlew. There was a great deal of disturbance in the afternoon with distant gun shots, several low flying helicopters and, more naturally, a passing Peregrine. One advantage of this was that it was much easier to see the waders in flight than against the extensive areas of mud, water and grass. The pictures below show a variety of afternoon views of Coombe Hill, including part of the 3000+ flock of ducks (click on the image for a larger view), the tide line from the flood water showing a mass of short grass stems (where from?) and the view from the Wharf end showing the recently shorn south bank of the canal.
Ashelworth (9 February 2010, contributed by Mike Smart)
10 Bewick’s which flew in from Coombe Hill at 09.20am, 375 Canadas, 300 Wigeon (with more not counted on Hasfield Ham), 370 Teal, 28 Pintail, 44 Shoveler and 150 Lapwings.
Severn Hams (7 February 2010, contributed by Mike Smart and Dursley BWPS)
At Coombe Hill at 09.00am at the eastern end of the canal, a group of 38 Whitefronts, flying over high to the south, circled and appeared to be going to land on the floodwater but didn’t. This is the biggest flock here for a very long time. On the floodwater 3 Whoopers, 8 Bewick’s (flew in from the direction of Cobney Meadows and landed on the floodwater), 1 adult Brent Goose, 2 Whitefronts, 2000 Wigeon, 800 Lapwings, 1 Golden Plover, 1 Curlew (heard – the first of the season), 1 Peregrine.
At Ashleworth the water is a bit lower and there were 200+ Canada Geese, 5 Tufted Duck and 1 Pochard.
Coombe Hill (6 February 2010, contributed by Mike Smart, Les Brown and Mike King)
Seen today were: 3 Whooper Swans, 2 Whitefronts, 1 Bar-headed Goose, 2000 Wigeon, 600 + Lapwing, 1 Dunlin. Plus at Cobney Meadows at the west end of canal, an increase in the number of Bewick’s Swans which are now up to 19 with 16 adults, including one family of two adults plus three cygnets.
North Cerney (6 February 2010, contributed by Robert Homan)
3 Little Egrets were by the River Churn, late morning.
Coombe Hill (5 February 2010, contributed by Mike Smart and Hugh Tollemache)
Coombe Hill was at its winter best today, with signs of an early wader passage. The floodwater is still extensive and the hides are still inaccessible but there were brilliant views from the canal towpath: 3 Whooper Swans, 1 Dark-bellied Brent, at least 2000 Wigeon, 1 Peregrine, 1 Water Rail calling, at least 1000 Lapwings with other associated waders, 5 Golden Plover, 2 Dunlin, 1 Ruff, 2 Black-tailed Godwits.
North Cerney (5 February 2010, contributed by David Scott-Langley)
A Little Egret was on the River Churn in the morning.
Coates (4 February 2010, contributed by David Scott-Langley)
A specimen of the bright, metallic blue ground beetle Leistus spinibarbis was found wandering around under a manhole cover before moving off into the surrounding grass.
Witcombe Woods (4 February 2010, contributed by Gordon Avery)
A male Brambling seen in the woods today.
Severn Hams (3 and 4 February 2010, contributed by Mike Smart and Les Brown)
The Severn has dropped sharply in the last few days and the flood water is flowing off the meadows.
At Coombe Hill on 3rd, the hides were still inaccessible, but good views could be obtained from the canal bank: 3 Whooper Swans, 1 White-fronted Goose, 1800 Wigeon and the remarkable figure of 1200 Teal (LB). At the Wainlodes end, most of the flooding has gone, but the remaining water held 15 Bewick’s Swans, a higher figure than that recorded lately: a family of two adults and three cygnets, plus five adults (these ten have been around for some days); but also another pair and a group of three, hence 15 in all. Also on the 3rd a Nuthatch at Apperley (MS).
On 4th, a Merlin hunting in vegetation round the edge of Severn Ham, Tewkesbury (MS).
Cheltenham (3 February 2010, contributed by Robert Homan)
A male Brambling feeding with a handful of Chaffinches in Swindon Lane today.
Llantony Weir (2 February 2010, contributed by Gordon Avery)
A Little Egret flew south over the weir at about 2.30pm today.
Walmore (2 February 2010, contributed by Mike Smart)
The floods have almost entirely receded with no surface water left. Consequently, there has been a decrease in birds and today there were no Bewick’s. On a more positive note there were 2 Mute Swans, 1 Shelduck, 150+ Teal in the ditches, 20 Mallard, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Peregrine perched in a line of poplars and about 15 Snipe.