Sightings – October 2009

Standish (23 October, contributed by Juliet Bailey)

Over the last week Starlings have been going round in flocks of 100 or more, descending on elder bushes and eating the berries. (See the pictures below taken by Paul Tyers of the birds at Standish). I’ve always thought it a bit odd that the classic 1954 book “Food in England” by Dorothy Hartley gives November as the month when elderberries are ripe. There have been ripe berries here since September.

Corse Court Farm (18 October, contributed by Robert Homan)

A mixed flock of 50 Redwings and Fieldfares in and around the orchards at the farm this morning.

Sudmeadow (8 October, contributed by Gordon Avery)

A couple of items from early afternoon: a Green Sandpiper on the Plantation Pool and a male Stonechat just below the Lower Parting.

The Park, Tidenham Chase (8 October, contributed by Ian Ralphs)

A walk today produced a good variety of wildlife with 2 Hawfinch, 15 Crossbill, and singles of both Redpoll and Siskin, 10 Raven, 9 Chiffchaff, 25 Meadow Pipits, an easterly passage of 50 Skylarks mid morning, 1 Swallow and 6 Stonechats.

Also 2 Southern Hawkers, 1 Migrant Hawker and a Common Darter, and 4 Red Admirals flying strongly due south over Poors Allotment around 11.

GLS (7 October, contributed by Gordon Avery)

Seen today was the area’s first ever Rock Pipit, found on one of the drainage pools by the tip.

Standish (early October, contributed by Juliet Bailey)

Moles are very active in the garden currently creating hills and surface runs. This follows months without problems, though it was equally bad last winter and spring. I hoped that they had sorted out their tunnel system then. Is this just a spate of tunnel maintenance, or is it young dispersing? My leeks are looking terrible (see picture below). I blame Acrolepiopsis assectella, the leek moth, which I understand to be a relatively new arrival in Gloucestershire. Add fungal rust and I’m likely to lose the crop. Onto more cheerful matters – there were four species of butterfly in my garden today (4 October) sunning themselves or feeding on ivy flowers. There was Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Comma, and Painted Lady. In addition there are small white and large white caterpillars feeding on the brassicas. Until 25 September there were plenty of Swallows about, but most disappeared that weekend. I saw three on 30 September, but none subsequently.

Ashleworth (4 October, contributed by Ian Ralphs)

A quiet circular walk at Ashleworth Ham this afternoon produced 5 south bound Swallows, 3 very fresh Small Coppers, 5 large Whites, 1 Southern Hawker, and several Common Darters. There were several plants of Great Burnet coming back into flower in the meadows.

Pillhouse Rocks, Tidenham (4 October, contributed by Andy Jayne)

17 Sandwich Terns were seen today off Pillhouse Rocks. Subsequent research in the Glos Bird Reports published since Swaine’s book showed that this is the second highest count in the county, the highest being of 19 flying downstream at the New Grounds on 1st October 1983. It seems there are no other counts of more than six, so both of these records are exceptional.

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