Sightings – November 2009

Aylburton (29 November 2009, contributed by Andy Jayne)

At Aylburton this morning, a possible Siberian Chiffchaff seen briefly along the Stockwell Brook, but no further sign during the next two hours in blustery conditions. Also in the area a Sparrowhawk, a Peregrine, 50 Golden Plover, 1000+ Lapwing, 540 Dunlin, one Snipe, 92 Curlew, two Redshank, two Treecreepers, 10 Ravens, 25 Goldfinch, a Siskin and 15 Reed Buntings plus a Stoat and two Brown Hares.

North Cerney (29 November 2009, contributed by Robert Homan)

A Little Egret by the River Churn just north of the village early afternoon.

Severn Hams (28 November 2009, contributed by Les Brown and Mike Smart)

The Severn is still high today (10.52 at Haw Bridge) but has not overtopped its banks and has probably just passed its peak height. Both the Red Lion road at Wainlodes and the Ham road at Ashleworth have remained open all week. However, the high Severn level means that none of the local streams (especially the Chelt) can flow out into the river and so are backing up and flooding meadows in the area.

At Coombe Hill, the floodwater has risen slightly, both hides are inaccessible, but the towpath is still (just) open at its fartherest points, giving splendid views of birds on the floodwater: a genuine wildlife spectacle including 14 Mute Swans, 660 Canada Geese, 45 Greylags, 800 Wigeon, 200+ Teal, 105 Pintail, 30 Shoveler, even 3 Tufted Duck and a Pochard.

The Leigh Meadows have been extensively flooded by the River Chelt.

At Ashleworth the water is also a little higher, but the hide is still easily accessible. Most of the Coombe Hill geese flew over to Ashleworth in mid morning and in addition there were a Sparrowhawk, 315 Lapwings and 7 Snipe; about 25 Pied Wagtails and 20 Meadow Pipits round the edge of the flood.

Still no sign of Whooper Swans anywhere.

Severn Hams (22 November 2009, contributed by Mike Smart and Les Brown)

With yet more rain, water levels on the Severn and tributaries have risen considerably and there is now moderate flooding at both Ashleworth and Coombe Hill. At Coombe Hill, both the Grundon and Long Pool Hides are currently inaccessible, but good views of water birds can be obtained from the canal towpath. At Ashleworth, there is plenty of water on the fields, but the Ham Road is open and all hide are easily accessible.

Seen at Coombe Hill: 250 Canada Geese. 40 Greylags, 1 Pinkfoot, 300 Wigeon, 30 Teal,14 Shoveler, 22 Pintail, 11 Gadwall, 28 Snipe, 1 Peregrine.

Seen at Ashleworth: 550 Canada Geese,11 Greylags, 6 Mute Swans, 215 Wigeon, 105 Teal, 11 Gadwall, 200 Mallard 5 Pintial, 21 Shoveler, 4 Snipe.

No sign of any Whooper Swans.

Severn Hams (17 November 2009, contributed by Mike Smart)

The local rain of the last few days (a total of 26mm in Gloucester on Thursday and Friday, but only 42 mm in the last week) plus rain higher up the catchment in North Wales and high tides in the Severn (9.2 metres at Sharpness at 7.52 am today) have combined to cause the level of the Severn to rise (9.60m at Haw Bridge, probably tide affected, but still the highest since the end of January). As a result local streams cannot flow out and are also at a high level: the Chelt is very high at Wainlodes and close to overtopping its banks along the Leigh Meadows. Coombe Hill is lightly flooded with water just over the boardwalk but all hides are accessible with boots; water is pouring into the GWT reserve at Ashleworth.

These are ideal conditions for arriving Whooper Swans, but, alas none found as yet. At Coombe Hill, about 300 Canada Geese, 30 Greylags, the juvenile Pinkfoot still present, at least 300 Wigeon, 200 Teal, 20 Shoveler; 7 Snipe feeding on maize stubble from which good numbers of gnats were rising; Fieldfares and Redwings everywhere and even a few Song Thrushes.

Severn Hams (10 November 2009, contributed by Mike Smart and Les Brown)

At Coombe Hill, the water level at Coombe Hill is just beginning to rise in the scrapes and Long Pool after a dry autumn. The goose roost included 235 Canadas, 45 Greylags and a Pinkfoot, which must have been wild because it was a juvenile (somebody had taken a picture). All grazed happily in front of the Grundon Hide all morning presenting an attractive spectacle. 22 Wigeon, 155 Teal, 60 Mallard 1 Pochard, 4 Green Sandpipers and a little flock of 5 Redshank, most unusual here at this time of year; one Kingfisher. The hedges were full of Fieldfares and Redwings with at least 100 of each.

At Ashleworth too, the water is beginning to flow into the reserve; 5 Wigeon, 2 Shoveler.

Hasfield and Ashleworth (9 November 2009, contributed by Juliet Bailey)

Despite the weather having turned colder at the start of November, there are still butterflies about. At mid-day, I counted eight Painted Ladies on a lavender hedge in Ashleworth, all in good condition. However, it is getting colder and two hours earlier there had been frost on the grass under the eaves of Corse Grove, Hasfield.

Coombe Hill (6 November 2009, contributed by Andy Jayne)

At Coombe Hill Meadows today, a Water Pipit from the Grundon Hide on the left-hand scrape from 10.35 to 11.00am.

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