Sightings – November 2005

Coombe Hill and Ashleworth (29 November, contributed by Mike Smart)

Water levels were falling fast this morning after a cold night with snowfall and frost. Walking along the boardwalk to the Grundon hide, a Bittern flew out of the osiers on the right; it was in flight for about ten seconds, but it was quite unmistakable – a big brown, gangling heron-like bird which probably came in overnight with the cold weather. It subsequently disappeared behind the treetops and probably landed somewhere else in the osiers and will be very difficult to find again. Otherwise with the water dropping fast there were but few ducks left. The new hide on the Apperley side is being refurbished. Up to 300 Canada Geese roosting, but they moved off by about 09h00 leaving only about 600 ducks, mainly Wigeon; still two Ruff, about 220 Lapwings, a whisp of 20 Snipe, 28 Golden Plover late morning and a male Blackcap. It looks as though most of the ducks moved over to Ashleworth where water levels are high: nearly 2000 ducks, mainly Wigeon, perhaps 200 Teal plus a sprinkling of Shoveler, Pintail and Gadwall.

Walmore Common (27 November, contributed by Andy Jayne)

2 Little Egrets in the afternoon.

Awre (27 November, contributed by Andy Jayne)

An afternoon visit produced 2 Little Stint, 800 Dunlin and 2 Rock Pipits.

Coombe Hill (26 November, contributed by Ian Ralphs)

In the early afternoon there was a shoal of between 100-120 Tench estimated as being between 8 oz and 3 lbs (with a few bigger), right in up against the wall on the extreme eastern edge of the Wharf.

Witcombe Res. (26 November, contributed by Gordon Avery)

A male Goosander on the reservoir in the morning.

GLS (25 November, contributed by Gordon Avery)

The female Goldeneye had moved on to the river. A female Siskin also present; the first since November 2001.

GLS (23 November, contributed by Gordon Avery)

A female Goldeneye and a Water Rail on the pond today.

Severn Hams (17 November, contributed by Mike Smart)

The recent light flooding has left excellent conditions for waterbirds. At Coombe Hill, the Grundon Hide is still inaccessible, but good views can be had from the canal bank: on 17th November: 600 Wigeon, 80 Pintail (promising numbers for the time of year), but rather few Teal and Shoveler; nearly 600 Canada Geese are rather prominent! A flock of 230 Lapwings, accompanied by five Little Stints, rarely seen here. A Chiffchaff calling with two very noisy Water Rails.

The floods have gone down on the Leigh Meadows, but there are few birds about; no sign there (or anywhere else) of the Whooper Swans, and no Bewick’s have arrived from Slimbridge.

Flooding still extensive at Ashleworth; a Peregrine on the pylons and some Shoveler and Coot.

Walmore Common (12/13 November, contributed by Andy Jayne)

The extensive flooding at Walmore Common has attracted good numbers of wildfowl. Over the course of the weekend I have counted 400 Wigeon, 4 Gadwall, 350 Teal, 150 Mallard, 104 Pintail, 54 Shoveler and 1 Tufted Duck.
Nearby, there were 5 adult Bewick’s Swans and 4 Lesser Redpoll at Wilmer, Rodley early afternoon on 13th.

Coombe Hill (9 November, contributed by Andy Jayne)

A first-winter Grey Phalarope today from Grundon Hide. Also 2 adult Bewick’s Swans flying in from the south west at 1230, 1000 Wigeon, 37 Pintail, 2 Water Rail (heard), 1 Green Sandpiper (heard), 1 pair of Stonechats and a female Blackcap along the Canal.

Sudmeadow (9 November, contributed by Gordon Avery)

A pair of Stonechats just past the Lower Parting along the Severn Way. A first-winter Little Grebe still on the pond.

Severn Hams (6 November, contributed by Mike Smart)

Duck count day today (or Wetland Bird Survey – WeBS count day as we have to call it nowadays); the day once a month when people all over the country go out to count wetland birds, so as to monitor population sizes and sites used. True to form, it rained hard, and the Severn, already high, caused local streams to back up further. At Coombe Hill, there is fairly extensive but still shallow flooding between the Grundon Hide and the Long Pool; the Grundon hide is still accessible with wellingtons, and conditions are perfect for surface feeding ducks: 130 Mallard (including a number of call ducks and hybrids), 425 Teal feeding in the shallow water, 645 Wigeon, up to ten each of Gadwall, Shoveler and Pintail, plus over 350 Canada Geese, at least 20 Greylag Geese and one Canada x Greylag cross. The only swans were Mute, no sign of Bewick’s or Whoopers, despite suitable conditions. One Green Sandpiper and a dozen Lapwings. The hide overlooking the Long Pool can be reached via Wick Street (alongside the Farmer’s Arms), but there are rather fewer birds to see on that side.

On the Leigh Meadows, there is no flooding, though the Chelt is fairly high; birds a bit thin – some flocks of Fieldfare and Redwing going over.

At Ashleworth, water levels are rising, and there is a fair amount of water on the Ham Road, especially at the Ashleworth end; best approached from Tirley; the hide is still easily accessible from Tirley. Less birds about, a few Wigeon and Teal, but the Peregrine was on the pylons as usual this morning.

Beachley Point (3 November, contributed by Gordon Avery)

Despite the very strong winds there was little to record apart from a Rock Pipit and a dead Harbour Porpoise on the high tide line.

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