Sightings – May 2009

Painted Lady influx (late May, contributed by Robert Homan and Gordon Avery)

The mass migration of Painted Ladies into the UK which started in the week ending 25th May has been evident in the county. There were 2 seen in a few minutes flying northwards across Pittville Park golf course on the 24th. There was one near Winstone on 25th and many in the Frocester Hill area on 26th. Today (28th) there were also 11 Silver Y moths, another immigrant species, near Dumbleton and Gordon noted 10 Painted Ladies by the River Severn at Sudmeadow. Butterfly Conservation is organising a big Painted Lady survey at the end of this week. See

Coombe Hill (26 May, contributed by Mike Smart and Les Brown)

A cold windy day, not very good for birdsong. The Spoonbill, first seen on 16 May, has been seen several times since, and was present again today, spending a lot of time in the Long Pool, where it has perhaps been overlooked; it’s a first summer bird, with lots of yellow on the bill and black on the wingtips; it won’t be breeding yet so it’s probably hanging around, growing up; maybe it wintered in SW England.

Also: 1 Little Egret; pair of Canada Geese with four smallish goslings; two pairs of Shelducks (one pair constantly on the scrapes, so the female isn’t sitting, and the male only has a very small knob on the bill); one male Gadwall; one Redstart singing; one Reed Warbler, two or three Sedge Warblers, one or two Lesser Whitethroats, at least six Whitethroats, all singing.

At the Wainlodes end, the Canada Geese have hatched four goslings and taken them onto the Severn. No sign of singing Cetti’s Warbler.

None of the nesting swans have hatched yet.

There is a nice stand of Ragged Robin at the back of the reserve in SO8727. Water Dropwort is all over the place, though I am not sure as to which species, in fields where there is no grazing.

Flaxley (24 May, contributed by Andy Jayne)

At Flaxley this afternoon a Goshawk, a Hobby, a Cuckoo, three Garden Warblers, two Siskins and two Hawfinches. At Flaxley Pool a female Mandarin with seven ducklings and a Turtle Dove nearby at Elton Lane.

Westbury (23 May, contributed by Andy Jayne)

At Westbury this morning a ‘reeling’ Grasshopper Warbler and a pair of Yellow Wagtails near the Strand.

Tuffley (14 May, contributed by Rob Purveur)

A Red Kite flying over in a NW direction at about 3.35pm.

Cheltenham (14 May, contributed by Robert Homan)

8 of the spectacularly marked froghopper Cercopis vulnerata along a 100m stretch of the Honeybourne Cyclepath this morning.

Sudmeadow (11 May, contributed by Gordon Avery)

A Garden Warbler was trapped and ringed today, the first here this season.

A Little Egret on the Lower Parting loosely accompanied by a very noisy Canada Goose and 7 Whimbrel flew north over Sudmeadow. The first record since one was seen flying over on the 13th June 1995.

Severn Hams (9 May, contributed by Mike Smart and Les Brown )

Coombe Hill on a cool rather windy day was not very good for birdsong, but we met two Roe Deer coming along the towpath at 6.45am: about 35 non-breeding Mute Swans on the scrapes; 13 Greylags; the pair of Canada Geese by the hide now has four tiny goslings left; another Canada Goose was at Cobney Meadows and still on eggs; at least 4 Shelducks; one Ringed Plover; 1 Whimbrel; 2 non-breeding Lapwings; a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker drumming along the south bank of the canal not far from the Wharf (it has been there for a week); rather few singing Redstarts in the wind, only two were heard.

At Wainlodes, the Cetti’s Warbler is still singing but has moved across to the west bank of the river.

Sudmeadow (5 May, contributed by Gordon Avery)

An unseasonal Grey Wagtail was on Sudmeadow and a Common Sandpiper was at the Lower Parting. Little else of note, mainly because of the strong winds.

Cheltenham (5 May, contributed by Robert Homan)

A Peregrine falcon was low over St Paul’s in the morning and later there was a single Swift over Swindon Lane battling against the wind.

Minsterworth Ham (5 May, contributed by Andy Jayne)

Recorded today were two Shelduck, a ‘bubbling’ Curlew, a Whinchat and two Lesser Whitethroats. Also three Brimstone butterflies.

Cheltenham (4 May, contributed by Robert Homan)

2 Swifts over St Paul’s this morning were the first of the spring.

Clarkes Pool Meadow near Blakeney (3 May, contributed by Peter Fitchett)

A good selection of colour forms of Green Winged Orchids seen this afternoon in the meadow as shown in the Peter’s pictures below.

Tewkesbury area (3 May, contributed by Mike Smart)

Along the Avon: at Upham Meadows, numbers of Curlew (apparently only six) and Redshank (only a single) were lower than usual – the result of the summer floods which caused the death of many worms which are the normal foodstuff of these species. About eight Sedge Warblers singing, mainly along the river also a few along the ditches. A Mute Swan and a Canada Goose, both on eggs; two broods of Mallard ducklings. No Corn Buntings.

Along the Severn: at Mythe Brook another female Mute Swan incubating while her mate chased off the neighbouring pair of Canada Geese; a male Tufted Duck on the Brickpits. A Curlew and (at last!) 2 Lapwings on the wet green field below Shuthonger Common. Remarkably few singing warblers. One Yellow Wagtail in the last field before the county boundary, probably overshot from the new Ripple Gravel Pits south of the M50 in Worcestershire, where there were at least ten apparently breeding in cereal fields round the pits; also a Nightingale singing plus 6 Lapwings, 2 Redshank, 2 Little Ringed Plovers and 4 Curlews.

Sudmeadow (1 May, contributed by Gordon Avery)

A pair of Tufted Duck have at long last arrived on the tip pools, hopefully to breed. The first sighting of the species this year.

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