Sightings – September 2010

Coombe Hill area (28 September 2010, contributed by Mike Smart and Les Brown)

Coombe Hill was quiet today with the water level low (no water in scrapes, but still some in the Long Pool). The extension to the board walk has been completed completed and looking good; it should now be possible to reach the Grundon Hide in low to moderate flooding. 72 Teal, 3 Shoveler, 4 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, unusually large flock of 150 Goldfinches, some passage of Meadow Pipits, maybe 50 over to southwest.

River Chelt near Prior’s Norton: 1 Kingfisher.

Barrow Ponds: 6 perching Cormorants.

Wibdon Warth (26 September 2010, contributed by Mike Smart)

On Sunday 26 September at Wibdon Warth (on the Severn Estuary between Lydney and Chepstow) an experienced team of BTO ringers, led by Steve Dodd and Dave Coker, caught and ringed 67 Curlews out of about 300 present on a high tide roost; another larger roost of 500 birds remained entirely undisturbed. The catch was carried out on the Severn Estuary SSSI/SPA, with the permission of the landowner, and with authorisation from Natural England.

The purpose was partly to provide additional data for assessing the effect of possible tidal barrages on the Severn, and partly to contribute to a larger BTO project of monitoring turnover of waders at sites they regularly use. This was almost certainly the first Curlew cannon-net catch in Gloucestershire, and produced interesting new information about Curlews in the county; nearly all the Curlews were adults which had almost finished their moult, with only a single first year bird; there were three ringed birds (an excellent proportion for such a catch), one with a British ring, one with a Dutch ring and one with a Finnish ring. This suggests that the 800 odd Curlew regularly found in this area from late summer through autumn and winter may be adults from the Low Countries and Fenno-Scandia (as reported in the BTO Migration Atlas), rather than birds from the Gloucestershire breeding population; the finding of few young and lots of adults ties in with findings from Curlew catches in North Wales.

All the birds were marked with a combination of colour rings, and it is very much hoped that local bird watchers will note any observations of colour-ringed Curlews very carefully and report them to BTO. Please report them to Niall Burton of BTO at [email protected] or on 01842-750050, giving details of the colour and position of all colour and metal rings.

Walmore (25 September 2010, contributed by Andy Jayne)

At Walmore Common today sightings included a Sparrowhawk, a Snipe, a Green Sandpiper, a Kingfisher, a Sand Martin, a Whinchat, a Wheatear and four Siskins overhead.

Coombe Hill and Walmore (21 September 2010, contributed by Mike Smart)

At Coombe Hill, everythingis still very dry with little or no water in the scrapes, although there is still some water in the Long Pool. 2 Herons, 4 Teal, 1 Green Sandpiper, 10+ Chiffchaffs calling from the bushes, one or two bursts of song. The scrub has now been cleared along the north bank of the canal as far as the footbridge, and the hedges cut back further down, making it more open and making access easier. The extension to the broadwalk is under construction; this will allow access to the Grundon hide in light flooding.

At Walmore there was one Green Sandpiper (unusual here) 2 Snipe, 2 Stonechats, 1 Whinchat, about 100 Swallows and at least 20 Meadow Pipits.

SUD/GLS (15 September 2010, contributed by Gordon Avery)

Fairly quiet, although a single juvenile Dabchick and a Green Sandpiper around the pools today.

Aylburton Warth, Guscar Rocks and Wibdon Warth (12 September 2010, contributed by Mike Smart)

The high tide of 9.2 metres today did not flood the riverside warths. 560 Curlews, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 1 Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Lapwings, 1 Little Egret, 200+ Swallows and 40+ House Martin going downriver in little parties, one Yellow Wagtail, 3 Wheatears, Meadow Pipits much more in evidence than of late, maybe 30 individuals.

Hasfield Ham (12 September 2010, contributed by Andy Jayne)

In the afternoon there were three Hobbies, a Stonechat and five Spotted Flycatchers.

Aylburton Warth (11 September 2010, contributed by Andy Jayne)

Seen at the warth this morning were: a Merlin (presumed same as 29th Aug), a Peregrine, one Little Stint, one Curlew Sandpiper, two Dunlin, 98 Curlew, one Common Sandpiper, two Sand Martins, one Yellow Wagtail, six Wheatears plus a flock of 13 Knot and c.20 Bar-tailed Godwits flying upriver.

Aylburton Warth, Guscar Rocks and Wibdon Warth (10 September 2010, contributed by Mike Smart)

I went to Guscar /Aylburton again yesterday on what was (as noted in the latest GNS NEWS) one of the highest tides of the year (9.8 meters at Sharpness). A most impressive sight as the river surges upstream with huge energy on such occasions and floods areas that normally remain dry; the whole of Aylburton Warth was under water, as was much of the warth between Pillhouse and Wibdon. Newspaper reports last weekend suggested that funding for the largest version of the proposed Severn barrage was unlikely to be forthcoming in the current financial situation.

The main bird interest was the large concentration of Curlews, many of them in full wing moult with about 850 individuals moving their roost site from Aylburton via Guscar to Pillhouse and Wibdon as the tide rose. With them were three Knot and four Bar-tailed Godwits, two Common Sandpipers and (on Aylburton Warth) a Green Sandpiper. Four Yellow Wagtails went high downstream, at last a few passage Meadow Pipits, not many, perhaps half a dozen; one Wheatear and two Whinchats at Guscar; the hedges full of the calls of young Chiffchaffs, at least one singing. Ravens everywhere, with at least ten.

Aston Down (2 September 2010, contributed by Gordon Avery)

There were 2 Wheatears at midday at the airfield.

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