Diary – April to June 2010

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29th June 2010 – Warm and humid.  I went to the Elan Valley and noted several male Redstarts around the reservoirs.  There were probably at least 200 Red Kites at the feed at Gigrin Farm which was more than I was expecting at this time of year. 


28th June 2010 – At Daneway Banks and Siccaridge Wood there were several Silver-washed Fritillary butterflies which were the first of the year for me.  There was no sign of the Large Blue but the habitat looks very good and different to last year in that the vegetation is much more short and the ant hills exposed whereas they were ‘buried’ in grass last year.  I suspect that as none were found last year apparently, they have gone extinct at this site.  There were less meadow butterflies compared to last year.  11 species of butterfly were noted today


27th June 2010 – Another hot day.  At Cannop Ponds, many Red-eyed Damselflies near the outfall of the southern pond.  There were at least 3 Golden-ringed Dragonflies.  Also present were many Beautiful Damselflies including a female which completely submerged in order to oviposite


26th June 2010 – A very hot day with the temperature at least being 27 deg. C.  I stopped at Ashleworth Ham reserve.  From the hide, both Little Egret and Grey Heron were on the scrape which still has water in it.  On the shore was a Lapwing.  A Broad-bodied Chaser was in the hedge on the opposite side of the road to the hide.

          I moved on to The Mythe, to the north of Tewkesbury and went to the fishing ponds alongside the river.  Odonata recorded were Black-tailed Skimmer, Broad-bodied Chaser, Emperor, Azure and Red-eyed Damselflies and Brown Hawker, the latter being a new species for the year. 


25th June 2010 – Yet another hot day.  I went to Selsley Common looking for Adonis Blue Butterflies.  I eventually found several specimens lower down the slopes towards the west side of the common.

          At Edge Common, I found Small Skipper and a Dark-green Fritillary which were new species for the year with the help of some friends at both locations.


24th June 2010 – Another hot day but with some cloud.  The temperature reached 24 deg. C.


23rd June 2010Nofold Lake at the north end of the Linear Park, near Cinderford.  Odonata seen there today included Four-spotted Chaser, Black-tailed Skimmer, Emperor, Broad-bodied Chaser and Downy Emerald.  It was a hot day and full sun.


22nd June 2010 – Frampton – I went to look for a reported Scarce Chaser dragonfly.  Upon arrival, a likely candidate appeared immediately.  It was perching on a dead umbellifer.  From the views I could get, it was not absolutely clear regarding the identification.  I was 95 per cent certain it was one.  It soon disappeared and I could not refind it.  I spent quite some time trying to relocate this male. After about 2 hours of searching, I found another individual which was duller and thus was a different one.  This specimen gave much better views and I was able to observe the smoky wing spots and the dark patches on the inboard sections of the wings which are characteristic features. 

          In the afternoon, I went to Edge Common to try to find Dark-green Fritillary but none were seen.  I was possibly a day or two early.


21st June 2010 – The longest day of the year!  Westonbirt Arboretum was quiet this morning and it was similar at Nagshead in the afternoon where there was still one Wood Warbler singing on the long trail.


20th June 2010Strumble Head in Pembrokeshire on a warm and sunny day.  The sea was quiet but along the coastal path, there were at least 11  species of butterfly including a Ringlet which was the first for me for the year as was a pair of Chough who did a fly by.  A Common Lizard was also enjoying the sun on the coastal path track.  Sadly, a dead Grey Seal pup was on the beach to the east of the observatory.  Of note were large amounts of floating seaweed on the sea which I have never seen before in this quantity.  It suggests that there has been some rough weather somewhere?


18th June 2010 – Another visit to the northern part of the Linear Park to try to refind the Club-tailed Dragonfly.  This I could not find but I did find a Downy Emerald on another lake. The weather was generally overcast but humid and not too many insects were on the wing.


17th June 2010  - Another warm day (24 deg. C.) and I walked the length of the Linear Park near Cinderford from the southern end.  11 species of odonata were recorded today including 2 Downy Emerald which is a scarce species and a male Club-tailed Dragonfly at Nofold which is really out of context in terms of habitat as they prefer large, slow flowing rivers according to the books.  2 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries were in their usual haunt at the Linear Park.


16th June 2010 – A warm day but quite breezy.  Walked from Speech House car park (the one with the cattle grid) to Woorgreens Lake, Blackpool Brook Lake and the Dilke Lagoon.  Quite a number of odonata on the wing including Downy Emerald at the Dilke Lagoon.  In the middle of the forest at a clearing with a small lake, the real highlight of the day was the finding of a Variable Damselfly amongst the Azure Damselflies at this tiny body of water.  This could be the second record in Gloucestershire, the first being in the Forest of Dean in 1998.


15th June 2010 – A blustery day in part with an overcast morning but an afternoon with sunny spells and the temperature rose to nearly 19 deg. C.  At Nagshead, I walked the Gloucestershire Way to Cannop Ponds.  The highlight was of three Golden-ringed Dragonflies on the lower part of the Bixslade Tramway.  A few odonata were on the wing at the ponds but in the windy conditions it was fairly quiet.

          On the long trail at Nagshead, there were at least 2 Red Admiral butterflies again.  At the end of the lower part of the short trail, there was a Pied Flycatcher again but this time it was a female.


14th June 2010 – At Awre in blustery conditions and overcast, it was very quiet but there was a tattered Painted Lady butterfly on one of the bare earth tracks. 

          At Nagshead later in the day, the two Wood Warblers were still singing around the long trail.


13th June 2010Nagshead.  Two Wood Warbler were still singing around the long trail and a Pied Flycatcher was at the end of the lower short trail again. 


12th June 2010 – A warm day again.  I went to Awre on the west bank of the River Severn.  A Meadow Brown butterfly was a first for the year but generally it was very quiet.


11th June 2010 – A warm day at Over Ponds near Gloucester city centre.  A Little Grebe has bred on the large lake as it was there with two young.  Quite a number of odonata were on the wing and my first sight of an Emperor Dragonfly for the year was followed by a second sighting where the insect had caught and was eating a Black-tailed Skimmer.  Large Skipper butterflies were on the wing for me for the first time this year.


10th June 2010 – A short visit to Symonds Yat.  The male Peregrine spent the time perched near the nest hole and all was quiet.  It seems that the rearing of the now hatched young is continuing.  It was an overcast, breezy and slightly damp day. 

          On May Hill later in the day with low clouds near the summit, it was very quiet but some BBC tv filming was taking place with a Peregrine.


9th June 2010Nagshead to Cannop.  A Pied Flycatcher was again at the end of the short trail as I walked past the junction to Cannop.  At the feeders at the stone works, there were Goldfinch, Siskin and Greenfinch on the one feeder, Chaffinch was nearby as were some Bullfinch.  3 Grey Wagtails were on the outfall of the pond.  Many blue damselflies including Red-eyed Damselfly were on the edge of the lower pond.


8th June 2010 – Heavy rain overnight with 7mm of rain recorded in Gloucester.  Nagshead was relatively quiet but there were still 2 Wood Warblers singing around the long trail.  A Pied Flycatcher at the end of the lower section of the short trail was of note. 


7th June 2010Nagshead.  At the Lower Hide, there were Pied Flycatchers, Spotted Flycatchers, Nuthatch and Treecreeper all within a few minutes.


6th June 2010 – A Hobby over Longhope was a nice surprise when I left this afternoon to go to Nagshead. 

At Nagshead there was another Painted Lady flying through and several Red Admiral Butterflies along the trails suggesting a small influx of migrants.  Both Pied Flycatcher and Spotted Flycatcher were in evidence at the Lower Hide.  At the Nursery Pond I did a scaled up count of the tadpoles which were forming dense ‘strings’ and I estimate a number of about 9000!


5th June 2010 – Along Cannop Brook, south of the Stoneworks, at least 69 Beautiful Demoiselle Damselflies present along with the first 3 Golden-ringed Dragonflies of the year.  A Dipper was  also present.

          A Painted Lady butterfly was a first for the year at Nagshead where there was a family party of Marsh Tits along the short trail.


4th June 2010 – I went over the border to the Blorenge, near Abergavenny to see the Mamora’s Warbler.  This bird gave prolonged views near the top of the mountain. 

          At Symonds Yat, there was more evidence of the Peregrine chicks having hatched.


3rd June 2010 – At Symonds Yat Peregrine viewpoint, behaviour suggests that some or all of the chicks have hatched.

          At Boy’ Grave, several Nightjars and Woodcock present this evening.


2nd June 2010 – Dilke Lagoon again and more odonata on the wing on a warm day.  More Downy Emerald Dragonfly with many Broad-bodied Chaser present.  I found two exuvia of the latter. 

          At Cannop Ponds south lake, Red-eyed Damselflies was a first of the year for me. 


31st May 2010 – Dilke Lagoon near Woorgreens.  A Downy Emerald Dragonfly was a first for the year. 


30th May 2010 – After a wet day yesterday, I went to Nagshead where the Wood Warblers were still singing around the long trail.


28th May 2010 – A short visit to Symonds Yat, but the Peregrines were quiet although the male was perched at the nest hole entrance.  Have the young hatched?


27th May 2010 – Linear Park, Cinderford.  A short walk from the car park to the south and I was able to find 2 individuals of Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries.  Around the Boys Grave area there were more deer including 2 seen on the 25th May identified by their markings.  At New Fancy View in the general area, there were at least 3 more different Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries. 


26th May 2010 – I went to Symonds Yat to see if there was any difference in the behaviour of the Peregrines given that hatching may have just happened/about to happen.  There appeared to be little activity although the male spent some time at the nest hole entrance and did go in the then come out of the hole which is unusual as when  bird goes in, it normally remains there for some time unless a change over takes place.  In this instance, it was the same bird which went in an out.


25th May 2010 – A Dipper at Cannop Brook and a Spotted Flycatcher at Boys Grave were highlights of the day.  Also at the latter, there were six Fallow Deer, one was very spotted in white, one was very dark and one had a notched left ear.  If these were together in a group in the near future, I may be able to recognise them.


24th May 2010 – I went in search of odonata in the Woorgreens area.  I was particularly interested in the lake shown on the OS maps a few hundred metres to the east of the main, large lake as I had not been there before.  I was disappointed to note that it was virtually dried up and instead of being about the size of the island on the main lake, it was no more than 4m in diameter.  Nevertheless, there were 4 species of odonata present.


22nd May 2010 – Linear Park, Cinderford – Grizzled Skipper butterfly was new for the year and 7 species of odonata noted at various sites in the Forest of Dean today.  Another hot day.


21st May 2010 – At Brierley, a Wood White butterfly was new for the year and 9 species noted at this site. A very warm day with the temperature at 25 deg. C.


20th May 2010 – At Edge Common, Brown Argus, Small Blue and Small Copper were new butterflies for the year. 

          At Strawberry Banks near Chalford, at least 40 individual Marsh Fritillaries shows that the population of this species which has been listed as ‘fragile’ is doing well. 

          Another visit to Cirencester Park, I noted Pearl-bordered Fritillaries in 3 different areas.  16 species of butterfly noted today.


19th May 2010 – A visit to Symonds Yat revealed the Peregrines still apparently incubating.


18th May 2010 – A fine warm day and of note at Edge Common near Stroud were Duke of Burgundy fritillary and Green Hairstreak butterflies and a Roe Deer. 

          At Cirencester Park, there were at least three Pearl-bordered fritillaries.


17th May 2010 – Since I was in the area, I went to Wentwood to try to find the reported Iberian Chiffchaff which proved to be near the forestry car park and singing very distinctly.  


16th May 2010 – Light rain this afternoon when I went to Nagshead but the Wood Warblers around the long trail were still singing.


15th May 2010 – I visited Plump Hill Quarry, Fairplay Iron Mine lake and one of the tracks at Brierley all of which were reconnaissance for finding butterflies and odonata this coming summer. 

          Pied Flycatcher noted near the lower hide at Nagshead.  They appear to be thin on the ground this year.


14th May 2010 – I made the same visits as yesterday and the same activity noted.


13th May 2010 – At Symonds Yat, the Peregrine activity suggests that incubation is continuing as expected. Hatching should take place between 18th and 26th of the month.

 Nagshead in the afternoon and Wood Warblers still singing around the long trail.


10th  May 2010 – At Symonds Yat during a short visit, I noted the female take over from the male on the nest and the latter flew off and was lost to sight.  The incubation appears to be continuing as per the timetable.


8th  May 2010 – A cold wet day at Tidenham Chase.  Many birds singing and moving around even in the poor weather.  A small flock of Crossbills were of note on my short visit.


7th  May 2010 – Wood Warbler at Haywood Plantation was the only bird of note today.


5th May 2010 – Tree Pipits. Yellowhammers and Linnets were the main species of note at Tidenham Chase today.  At Nagshead RSPB Reserve, several Wood Warblers in the same areas of the long trail as of late.


4th May 2010 – I had four sightings of Fallow Deer including some antlered males around the Boys Grave area today.  There were also several ringed Greylag Geese whose details have been passed on through the appropriate channels.


3rd May 2010 – Strumble Head, west Wales.  The was a very impressive passage of Swallows for most of the day.


2nd May 2010 – A passage of Swifts over Tidenham Chase this afternoon heralded more migration. 


1st May 2010 – A Garden Warbler at Nagshead RSPB Reserve was of note and at Symonds Yat, the Peregrines appear to be still sitting on eggs judging by behaviour.  At Slimbridge, Bar-tailed Godwits on the river were new birds for the year for me. 


30th April 2010 – Nagshead – A pair of Pied Flycatchers along the long trail was a first for me for the year. 

          A little later in the morning, it came on to rain and there was no Pergrines seen in the one and a half hours I spent at the viewpoint at Symonds Yat.


28th April 2010 – A Wood Warbler was of note at Boys Grave on a cool morning.


27th April 2010Rainham Marshes in Essex on a warm day.  Over 50 species noted during an afternoon visit and I would recommend this fine reserve.  A Great Silver Diving Beetle was probably the rarest animal seen.


26th April 2010 – At Symonds Yat on a warm day, there was very little activity from the Peregrines.  The incubation must be going well.


25th April 2010 – More Wood Warblers singing at Nagshead.


24th April 2010 – Warmest day of the year with the temperature at 20 deg. C.  At Symonds Yat there appeared to be a significant passage of House Martins with a Swift with them.  A first for the year for the latter species.  A Holly Blue butterfly passed by and a Noctule bat was flying over the fields below the viewpoint.  Quiet on the Peregrine front.

          At Nagshead later in the day, a Wood Warbler along the long trail was another first for the year.


23rd April 2010Symonds Yat.  Less activity with the Peregrines with at least one bird in the apparent nesting hole at any one time. 


22nd April 2010 – Symonds Yat.  A change in behaviour by the Peregrines suggest that they may have started incubation. 


21st April 2010 – Strumble Head.  A Manx Shearwater was a first of the year for me.  There appeared to be a small fall of warblers in the low vegetation and at least 8 Wheatears were in a nearby field. 


20th April 2010 – Sunny periods but cool at Symonds Yat.  The behaviour of the Peregrines suggest that they have chosen a hole in the cliff for nesting. 


18th April 2010 – A fine sunny and warm day.  A couple of clouds in the morning but out in the country it is very quiet as there are no aircraft in the air, as has been the case since last Thursday, 15th April.  This is because they are grounded because of the ash in the air from the erupting volcano in Iceland which makes it unsafe for running jet engines.  Of course, there are no contrails either, so the note of yesterday and earlier this morning that there were no clouds in the sky really meant that it was wall to wall blue sky.  I walked over May Hill just before lunch and the day was quieter with bird song and just a few butterflies on the wing. Meadow Pipits were nest building near the top of the hill.  There was no sign of dragonflies around the various ponds on the hill.


17th April 2010 – Not a cloud in the sky and it was warm and sunny at Ashleworth.  A Redstart in Stank Lane was a first for the year for me.  From the hide, 89 Teal, 2 Lapwing, 6 Canada Geese, 16 Mallard, 10 Shoveler, 12Wigeon, 6 Coot, 3 Grey Heron and 2 Mute Swans, one being on a nest.  Plenty of butterflies were on the wing including Orange-tip, Green-veined White, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Brimstone. 


16th April 2010 – I returned to Boys Grave and walked to the Cannop area again as yesterday.  A much warmer day with the temperature in the mid teens by the afternoon.  A group of Fallow Deer with a young animal were down from the car park.  These were watched for some time as they fed before they eventually moved off into  the woodland.  The highlight of the afternoon was the sight of a Wild Boar in the Boys Grave area.  It appeared to be alone and was probably a young sow with some markings on the back.  Yesterday, in the Russells Enclosure area, there appeared to be thick oil on many of the patches of water on the newly cleared area.  Today, some of these patches have blue absorbent floating squares of thick tissue on them.  I suspect this is some sort of effort to soak up this oil.  The water over quite an area is affected. 


15th April 2010 – Symonds Yat.  A cold day which was generally overcast.  The resident Peregrine were still active today with both birds flying or loafing on the cliffs.  There appears to be no interest in one particular hole for nesting and from the fact that both birds were on view for most of the 1 hour and 35 minutes it would seem that eggs have not yet been laid. 

          I moved on to Boys Grave.  With the cold weather, there were no butterflies seen all afternoon.  Down at Cannop Ponds, I read the ring of the one footed Greylag Goose which appears to have been there for a year or two.  The ring number is 5234008. 


13th April 2010 – Ashleworth.  Again the nagging cold north east wind was blowing but in spite of this there were birds to be seen even if this wind is holding up migration.  Birds noted were 53 Teal, 12 Coot, 10 Shoveler, 21 Mallard, 11 Wigeon, the 2 injured Canada Geese, a Greylag Goose, 2 Mute Swans with one on a nest and a drake Garganey.  A second Mute Swan pair with a nest was on the reserve opposite Colways Farm.  A Linnet was of note along Ham Road and up Stank Lane, a Curlew was heard and eventually seen on the reserve to the west of the wet field with the pylon in it (Field 21).  No Lapwing (one seen later in front of hide) or Redstart were seen from the lane but a Blackcap was in full song by the first bend in the lane. 

          A walk from Cannop Stoneworks up around Barnhill Plantation and back down Bixslade Tramway was quiet although there were some singing Willow Warblers and apparently a lot of singing Chiffchaffs.  A pair of Ravens were calling loudly over Spion Kop quarry. 


12th April 2010 – Slimbridge.  A fine day with a cool north east wind.  I walked north up the canal and was overtaken by a martin species battling against the wind.  A Green-veined White Butterfly along Green Lane was a first for the year.  A Small Tortioseshell along the canal was good to see as I have already noted this species this year and last year I literally only had one or two sightings all year of this nationally declining species. 


10th April 2010 – The warmest day of the year so far with the temperature reaching 20 deg. C.  I walked some way up the River Wye from Lower Lydbrook.  Orang-tip and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies were the first of the year for me.  There appeared to be many Pheasants in the fields surrounding the river and this suggested to me that there were many Pheasant shooting parties who frequent the area.  Song included several Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs and a Tawny Owl was calling at 1255. 

          Nagshead for half an hour from 1730 had plenty of song around the woods. 


9th April 2010 – A fine, warm day at Symonds Yat Rock.  I was there between 1305 and 1645 and noted Goshawk, Kestrel, the two Peregrines and a House Martin flying north was a first for the year.  No Sparrowhawk was seen today.  The Peregrines made a kill during the afternoon.  This was an unfortunate Stock Dove.


8th April 2010 – A sunny and mild day with the temperature reaching approximately 18 deg. C.  I walked the region of the Forest of Dean from Boys Grave and Cannop Ponds.  Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff were singing and a Tree Pipit was in an open area down from the car park where a Goshawk overflew.  The Willow Warbler, Tree Pipit and a Blackcap were new species for the year as were butterfly species, Brimstone, Peacock and Comma.


7th April 2010 – Another stint at Symonds Yat between 1055 and 1355.  There were sunny periods and one heavy shower.  Still plenty  of action with the Peregrines but there is still no sign of any egg laying and indeed of a choice of nest hole.  They seem to be spending time in the right hand hole of both near cliffs.  A Goshawk was noted in a tree on Coppet Hill for a while before it flew off. 

          Nagshead Reserve in the evening was quiet with Tawny Owls calling.


6th April 2010 – A fine and mild day.  Two sessions at Symonds Yat between 1235 – 1400 and 1450 – 1700.  There was plenty of action from the resident Peregrines. Sparrowhawk and Goshawk  also noted today.


3rd April 2010 – An overcast day but heavy rain started at 1330.  Until then, I had been at Symonds Yat from 1210.  Upon arrival, there was no sign of the resident Peregrines but at 1213, both birds were observed high over Coppet Hill.  A short time later, I counted no fewer than 15 Buzzards in the air at one time. 


2nd April 2010 – Heavy rain in the morning and then showers in the afternoon (6 mm) when I went to Symonds Yat arriving at 1450.  The two resident Peregrines were very active with many flights around the local area.  Sand Martins were high over the river and just before I left at 1620, a Goshawk was over Coppet Hill.


1st April 2010 – A sunny and cold day at Symonds Yat but not long after I arrived at 1000, the clouds built up and some heavy rain and sleet showers set in.  A report today of the resident female Peregrine being taken into care after being found injured, probably after a fight with another bird was significant to our observations.  I had been thinking that the male was a different bird to last year in that he appears to be very dark and both him and the female over the past couple of days have been using different perches to last year suggesting that one if not both birds are newly resident this year.  Now that this news has come, this seems to confirm that there has been a change of residency this year, at least in the case of the female.  I may be able to prove that the male is new too as the bird last year was carrying a metal ring.  I will be trying to see if this bird is unringed. 

          Meanwhile, today both birds were very active during the time that I was there between 1000 and 1145.  Again as yesterday they were using new perching places including use of the Ash Tree in front of the nesting cliffs.  Also of note today were 2 Goshawks interacting high over the summit of Coppet Hill. 

          I moved on to Nagshead and walked the long trail in intermittent rain and sleet and heavy snow showers.  The snow did not settle.  Of note on an otherwise quiet walk was a Goshawk over the long trail and near Nagshead Lodge, I flushed a Red-legged Partridge, the latter being an unusual find at this reserve.



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