Sightings – July 2007

Sudmeadow (23 July, contributed by Gordon Avery)

A Kingfisher landed for a few seconds on the washing line in my floooded back garden.

Severn Hams (20 July, contributed by Mike Smart )

The Severn level began to drop on Wednesday, and there was some outflow of water trapped on the meadows, but it’s very slow and the water is of an appalling quality: black in colour (the Chelt and the Deerhurst Parish both leave a black plume as they flow into the mud brown Severn). The black colour seems to be coming from decomposing plant matter which is using up all the oxygen, and there is an unpleasant oily film on the surface. This means that any small fish which were in the floodwater have died from lack of oxygen, and it seems that large numbers of earthworms and other invertebrates have died too. As a result, the hay crop has been completely spoilt, and no-one in the farming community knows quite what to do with the resulting dirty vegetation.

The Ham Road past Ashleworth is now open and the hide is easily accessible, but water levels on the reserve are very high and have prevented the Constant Effort ringing from taking place. The Red Lion road at Wainlodes is open; but the Coombe Hill hides are still only accessible with thigh waders. The heavy rainfall of today will only make things worse over the next few days.

The large number of dead fish attracted unusual numbers of herons: there were up to 30 Grey Herons on the Ashleworth reserve on Monday; some observers thought they had seen a Night Heron, but this was not confirmed. Little Egret numbers round the edges of the Coombe Hill floods have been unusually high (reports of 10 and 16), and a group of 21 were found roosting in a nearby wood.

A Hobby over Ashleworth on Tuesday, and an adult Mediterranean Gull flying over in the evening en route to the estuary.

Barn Owl calling from Meerend Thicket near Ashleworth late in the evening on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Sudmeadow (18 July, contributed by Gordon Avery)

A juvenile Nightingale trapped for ringing this morning at Sudmeadow was only the second ever ringed at the site. The first being an adult female as long ago as 9th June 1994!

Coombe Hill (15 July, contributed by Andy Jayne)

Seen in the evening were six Teal, three Shoveler, c.32 Tufted Duck, two Little Grebe, two Great Crested Grebe, 13 Little Egret, 19 Grey Heron, a Hobby, three Water Rail (heard), 38 Lapwing, a Dunlin, two Ruff, two Curlew, two Green Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper and two Redstart.

Sudmeadow (14 July, contributed by Gordon Avery)

A Clouded Yellow seen at Sudmeadow this afternoon.

The Leigh (12 July, contributed by Gordon Avery)

6 Little Egrets flying south over the A38 near Leigh at 21:10.

Severn Hams (10 July, contributed by Mike Smart)

The level of the Severn is dropping now, but the Ham road at Ashleworth and the road past the Red Lion at Wainlodes are still under water. Since the river overtopped its banks a week ago, a lot of water has got behind the riverbank and can only flow out slowly through the small number of outlets; it’s not supposed to do this in July! At Coombe Hill, the Grundon Hide is still inaccessible and likely to remain so for some days yet, as much of the canal bank is still under water. At Ashleworth, the hide is still inaccessible from the road, though will probably become accessible fairly soon.

There is still quite a lot of shallowish floodwater about which is quite attractive to birds, but very difficult to get at!

At Coombe Hill this morning, about 28 Lapwings (21 adults and seven flying birds of the year), one Redshank, all undoubtedly passing migrants rather than local birds, and a Green Sandpiper. No sign of Curlews which must also have lost their young, just one adult by floodwater at Wainlodes.

At Ashleworth, three Shelducks, a Greenshank and ten Lapwings on floodwater; no sign of Curlews either.

Lots of gulls on the edges of the floodwater, about 1,000 Lesser Blackbacks and 1,000 Black-headed at the Wainlodes end of Coombe Hill, also 3 Little Egrets. About 300 Black-headed (all one year olds or adults, no juveniles) at Ashleworth.

Some Whitethroats still singing and a Reed Warbler in a new place by the Red Lion.

Coombe Hill (4 July, contributed by Andy Jayne)

Some of the effects of the deep flooding at Coombe Hill Meadows and Ashleworth Ham are demonstrated by the picture below taken by Andy. It is a young Willow Warbler displaced from its nest by the floodwater, but luckily still being fed by the parents. The bird was discovered about 100 yards along Coombe Hill Canal from The Wharf where the tow path is inundated by 2ft of water.

Tuffley (early July, contributed by Rob Purveur)

This female Misumena vatia was photographed in Rob’s garden and identified by David Haigh. David commented as follows:
“It seems to be a good year for this species. I had a record last week from a correspondent Up Hatherley She described as you did the crab-like attitude and surprisingly a white variety on a pink rose. There is another colour form – yellow, which usually takes up its position on the yellow disc of Ox-Eye daisies, but I have quite often seen the ‘wrong’ colour variety against unsuitably coloured flowers. If it is not disturbed you will probably have it with you until maturity, unless its lack of camouflage makes it prey to garden birds. You may see it with prey, it will take pretty well anything, bees, wasps, butterflies, hoverflies, etc..”

Misumena vatia, Tuffley, July 2007, Rob Purveur

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