8th June 2018 – A general note. Over the past week or so, there have been many hirundines and Swifts flying around over Ross-on-Wye town as seen from my windows. I think that they have been the most numerous this year compared with last year and generally there seem to be good numbers present.
5th June 2018 – I walked up the River Wye from Ross-on-Wye for a mile or so. There were numerous Swallow, Swifts, Sand and House Martins wheeling around on a dull and cloudy but humid day. At the sandstone wall opposite the Man of Ross public house, I noted that there are in fact two holes which Sand Martins are visiting. One is very close to the other and the second is partially covered by hanging vegetation.
4th June 2018 – I noted a Sand Martin visiting a hole in the sandstone wall opposite the Man of Ross public house this evening.
2nd June 2018 – I noted a few Red-eyed Damselflies near the outflow of the southerly Cannop Pond. There is no floating vegetation there and I saw a smaller number than in previous years when there was more of this vegetation for them to alight on. Some Swallows were present but it was a generally quiet day there.
30th May 2018 – An evening visit to Highnam Woods in Gloucestershire produces several Nightingale singing. This involved at least 2 birds but could have been as many as six plus.
29th May 2018 – A Kingfisher flew downstream at Wilton Bridge where there were still plenty of Swallows present. A few House Martins were there today and Sand Martins seem to be inspecting some holes in the river bank near to the White Lion public house.
28th May 2018 – At Wilton Bridge there appeared to be plenty of Swallows in the area but few Sand Martins so far.
19th May 2018 – There appeared to be a lot of Chaffinch in the scrub area above the ferry terminal at Goodwick along the footpaths from the Harbour Village.
17th May 2018 – I went to Fishguard today. At the ferry terminal in Goodwick, I located a single Black Guillemot which breeds here near where the ferry berths.
15th May 2018 – There were at least 4 Goosander including 2 males on the River Wye at Wilton Bridge this evening and a pair were ‘rowing’ up the river as if some sort of display. They eventually flew off with what appeared to be a fifth bird. They are unusual on the river at this time of year. A Kingfisher flew up river and under the bridge while I was watching the Goosander.
14th May 2018 – I noted at least 2 Sand Martin investigating a hole in a wall in a car park just across the road from where I live. This is a long way from the river. I will have to try and monitor their progress.
11th May 2018 – I walked up the River Wye from Ross-on-Wye during the middle of the day. There were many flies on the wing again and there were plenty of Swifts, Sand Martins and Swallows. I saw no House Martins. This is like a summer in the late 1960s when there were few of this species and later I found out that this was because of poor weather that year over the Sahel to the south of the Sahara Desert. I wonder what may have happened to them this year? There is still time for more to arrive.
10th May 2018 – I visited Symonds Yat Rock at lunchtime. It was very quiet in all aspects. There were not many visitors considering it was a beautiful day. There were few birds and almost no canoes on the river. A Goshawk showed briefly over Coppet Hill and one of the resident Peregrines flew around for a short time in the afternoon. There are at least 2 pairs, and almost certainly more, of Canada Geese nesting in the holes in the cliffs where the Peregrines normally nest. I have not seen this before at this location.
8th May 2018 – At Wilton Bridge the local Swallows were coming to their nests under the outer buildings of the White Lion public house. There were a number of Swifts nearby and the Sand Martins were around the bridge. Conspicuous by their absence generally, and not just in this location today, were House Martins. There was plenty of food on the wing for the birds as there appeared to be a mass emergence of large flies around the general area of the river today.
6th May 2018 – A warm and sunny day. TODAY IS THE 16th ANNIVERSARY OF THE START OF THIS WEBSITE AND THIS DIARY. May 6th 2002 was the day.
2nd May 2018 – At Wilton Bridge there were some hirundines flying around the bridge area and some Swallows were collecting mud from the shores of the river to repair or build their nests.
29th April 2018 – Walking through the Forest of Dean to the east of Cannop Ponds, I noted a good number of Willow Warblers. Over the last few years I have noted fewer and fewer of this species so it was great to hear so many singing on not the best day weatherwise. There was some drizzle in the air and it was not very warm.
19th April 2018 - At the standing stone car park on the Gospel Pass road above Hay-on-Wye I found some Stonechats perched on the top of some gorse. The males were in brilliantly stunning plumage as I would expect them to be at this time of year.
At Wilton Bridge in the evening, there were many Swallows on the wing. This was a really good sign of spring.
16th April 2018 – I drove over the Welsh mountains through the tiny hamlet of Abergwesyn and noted several Red Kites which was not surprising since I was in one of their strongholds.
14th April 2018 – At RSPB Nagshead today, I found a pair of Pied Flycatchers inspecting a nest box not far from Lower Hide. Also noted were the usual tit species including Blue, Great and Coal and Chaffinch and Nuthatch. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming.
13th April 2018 – I went to Wilton Bridge this afternoon. There were Swallow and Sand Martins flying in the area of the White Lion public house. Although it was a dull and slightly misty day and generally damp conditions, there were quite a lot of insects on the wing which made a good food source for these hirundines. I also noted in a stay of about 30 minutes, a pair of Common Buzzard, a pair of Sparrowhawk, half-heartedly displaying and a lone Kestrel in a sort of raptor fest while I was sat there. Back in the town, I noted a Greenfinch again in Red Meadow car park tree. Nice to see that species again.
12th April 2018 – I noted a small, mixed flock of Goldfinches and Greenfinches in a nearby garden tree from my kitchen window. It was nice to see the latter species which are reported to be nationally in decline.
8th April 2018 – Several Swallows at Wilton Bridge this afternoon.
6th April 2018 – I walked to Wilton Bridge again. There was a male Goosander on the river downstream of the bridge and the first hirundines, for me, were several Sand Martins high over the bridge. Winter visitor meets summer migrants.
4th April 2018 – There was a lot of heavy rain overnight again. When I had a walk down the river, I found it very high and the Mute Swan nest has been washed away unsurprisingly.
3rd April 2018 – I went to Slimbridge today for a short visit amid very heavy rain showers. An Oystercatcher on the Rushy Pen reminded me of the recent trip to Scotland where they seemed to be on the edge of nearly every body of water. The water level on the back pond on the Rushy Pen was the highest that I have ever seen it.
Back at Ross-on-Wye the river level is very high and just about to top the banks in certain places.
2nd April 2018 – There was heavy rain all night. Walked toWilton Bridge and the swan was still on the nest. No hirundines seen.
1st April 2018 – I walked to Wilton Bridge in the hope of seeing some hirundines but none were seen. A Mute Swan is setting up a nest on the far bank near the Hope and Anchor public house. 6 Common Buzzards were soaring over the bandstand area of the town.