The Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) is a national survey organised by the British Trust for Ornithology. Volunteer observers count water birds once a month at wetlands over the British Isles (and indeed counts are carried out all over the world), to produce a picture of water bird numbers, and the sites they use. Among the sites covered in Gloucestershire are three wetlands in the Severn Vale (the GWT reserves at Coombe Hill and Ashleworth Ham) and Leigh and Cobney Meadows, along the River Chelt upstream of Wainlodes.
Counts carried out today produced the following results.
– At Coombe Hill: 3 Mute Swans, 33 Canada Geese, 12 Shelduck, 220 Wigeon, 4 Gadwall, 28 Teal, 37 Mallard, 58 Shoveler (one of the biggest counts of the winter for this species), 10 Coot, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Oystercatchers, 19 Lapwings, 9 Curlews, at least 6 Reed Buntings, 1 Yellowhammer. (Counts made by Les Brown and David Anderson).
– At Leigh/Cobney Meadows: 30 Mute Swans (the wintering flock still grazing), 1 Shelduck, 15 Mallard, 35 Wigeon, 2 Grey Herons, 4 Stock Doves, 2 Meadow Pipits, 2 Fieldfares. (Count made by Mike Smart).
– At Ashleworth Ham, after a misty start: 2 pairs of resident Mutes (plus some of the swans that were grazing at Leigh Meadows, which had roosted at Ashleworth before flying across the river); 15 Canada Geese; 210 Wigeon, 4 Gadwall, 120 Teal, 10 Mallard, 20 Shoveler, 4 Pintail, 2 Peregrines on the pylons, 28 Coot, 180 Lapwings (a big excited flock, no doubt mainly migrants), 20 Snipe, 1 Curlew, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming in Meerend Thicket, 30 Fieldfares, 10 Redwings, 1 Goldcrest singing in Meerend Thicket, at least six singing Reed Buntings (relatively recent arrivals, and a sign of spring). (Count made by Les Brown and Mike Smart).