Diary – April to June 2019 


30th June 2019 – There were no hirundines at Cannop Ponds by the Stoneworks again.  This is very unusual and I don’t know why they are not there this year.  I have seen them there for as many years as I can remember.


26th June 2019 – Blackcap and Chiffchaff continue to sing around the Wilton Bridge area today and there were the usual 3 cygnets downstream of the bridge.


23rd June 2019 – There were 6 cygnets upstream of Wilton Bridge today and 3 downstream of it.


22nd June 2019 – I saw all 6 cygnets near the Hope and Anchor public house today and also noted cygnets downstream of Wilton Bridge but they were too far away and partially obscured by the adults to count them.


21st June 2019 – An update on the swans from 19th June.  6 cygnets are all present and correct today.


20th June 2019 – The Sand Martins at Wilton Bridge are going in and out of their nest holes on the bridge quite frequently.  The may have hatched young.


19th June 2019 – At Wilton Bridge today, I was surprised to find 6 Goosanders.  There were one female and 5 very well grown young. The Mute Swan cygnets from the Hope and Anchor public house area are still going strong.  There were out on the bank and sat down in long vegetation and thus I was unable to get a clear view and count them.


17th June 2019 – The Sand Martins around Wilton Bridge have been very active over the last two days.


14th June 2019 – Today was the third day of very heavy rain.  The heaviest downpour occurred yesterday at about 1220 and lasted for about 20 minutes.  This has probably been the wettest June period for several years.  Approximately 3 inches of rain has fallen (about 75mm) in the last 3 days and the river is at 3.18m and the level at which localised flooding begins is at 3.20m.  So, it was almost a June flood which is very unusual.


12th June 2019 – At Cannop Ponds near the Stoneworks, I found two Swallows hawking insects low over the water.  These were the first hirundines that I have found at this location this year which is surprising and somewhat worrying in that in previous years there are a number of hirundine around the ponds.  The highlight of the visit was the sighting of a Dipper behind the Stoneworks.


8th June 2019 – A thunderstorm this evening produced about 16mm of rain.


6th June 2019 – The Water-crowfoot in the River Wye is flowering in greater profusion than ever today.  At Lower Lydbrook, a Red Kite drifted over and was lost to sight upstream along the river.


5th June 2019 – I saw the 6 cygnet family of Mute Swans again today.


3rd June 2019 – The Mute Swans that nested opposite the Hope and Anchor public house still have their 6 cygnets and there is a new family of 4 downstream of Wilton Bridge.  A new species for Ross-on-Wye town was a pair of Nuthatch near the canoe launch


1st June 2019 – Along the River Wye at Ross-on-Wye today, there were a number of Banded Demoiselle Damselflies on the wing.  The river is quite low at 0.5metres.  There is a lot of waterweed flowering.  It would be appear to be Thread-leaved Water-crowfoot.  At Wilton Bridge, a Buzzard was causing havoc among the House Martins who were getting water from the river for their nests on the nearby buildings.


31st May 2019 – Here is an update on the Mute Swan family which were hatched opposite the Hope and Anchor public house.  Today they were being fed by the public at the canoe launch site near the bandstand.  All six cygnets were present.


28th May 2019 – For the second day running there was a Red Kite over Ross-on-Wye and this time it was flying quite swiftly to the east.


27th May 2019 – There was a Red Kite over Ross-on-Wye today which flew steadily to the west.


25th May 2019 – I had a short walk around Alney Island nature reserve not far from the centre of Gloucester city.  Highlights were a good number of Common Whitethroat and Reed Warblers, both species being very vocal.


23rd May 2019 – I had a walk around the RSPB Reserve at Nagshead today.  Two very vocal Wood Warblers were nice to hear especially as they appear to be a declining species.  Two Pied Flycatchers and several Nuthatch were around the short trail. Along the Gloucestershire Way, I found a very red Roe Deer.  The usual deer species around these parts are Fallow Deer so this was especially nice to see and very beautiful in its red coat.

          I checked the southern pond at Cannop for hirundines but again I did not see any.  This is slightly odd in that there are ususally Swallows around the stoneworks.  I will have to keep checking.

          I could not relocate the Goosander family in my travels today and I made two attempts at the beginning and end of the day.  I wonder where they have gone?


22nd May 2019 – The Swifts have returned to Garway Church.  My visit today was productive with this species with quite a number wheeling around the area.  This was a good sight to see.


21st May 2019 – I made a short visit to WWT Slimbridge today.  Highlight was a Garganey from the Zeiss Hide.

          On my way home I found a female Goosander with a brood of at least 6 youngsters.  They must have bred not far away as they were not very big.  Goosander breeding in Gloucestershire is not a frequent event.


20th May 2019 – There were two dead Lesser Black-backed Gulls at different parts of Barton Street, Gloucester this morning.  I checked them for rings since quite a number of urban gull now carry plastic rings on their legs.  I found none.

          Around the river where I live, there are still Chiffchaffs singing today.


19th May 2019 – The Mute Swans on the River Wye still have their youngsters.  They were a long way upstream near the A40 bridge and were too far away to get a count.


18th May 2019 – The find of the day was of a Club-tailed Dragonfly in Wilton Road.  I was able to take a picture of it when it was settled on a stone wall. This is a localised species and is thus fairly scarce.  The Mute Swan pair was again on the river with their 6 cygnets.  At Wilton Bridge there appeared to be more House Martins and they were getting mud for their nests behind the white house next to the bridge.


17th May 2019 – The Mute Swan pair on the River Wye was on the river with their family and I was able to see 6 cygnets.


16th May 2019 – At Nagshead RSPB Reserve, I found my first odonatan of the year in the form of Broad-bodied Chaser and Large Red Damselfly at the Nursery Pond. Another first for the year was a pristine Red Admiral Butterfly on the Gloucestershire Way on the descent to the Stoneworks at Cannop. There appeared to be several Treecreepers around the site. At Cannop Ponds (southern pond) one of the pairs of Greylag Geese have goslings.  No hirundines were seen which is surprising. I need to monitor this area.


13th May 2019 – The swan pair opposite the Hope and Anchor public house have a family. There are cygnets around the adults on the far bank but I was unable to count them as some were obscured by the adults and vegetation.  Swallows are still attending the nest sites at the White Lion public house and the Blue Tits are still going to their nest site on Wilton Bridge.


12th May 2019 – The swan nesting is still sitting.  That is the only news of the day.


8th May 2019 – The only news today is that the Mute Swan that I have been observing for many days now is still sitting. 


7th May 2019 – There was plenty of activity near Wilton Bridge this afternoon.  A Hobby and Sparrowhawk were hunting and there were many hirundines present.  House Martin, Sand Martin and Swallow species were all attending to nests in various parts of the White Lion public house building.

Sand Martins and a Blue Tit pair are nesting in the holes in the sandstone of the bridge.  The Mute Swan further upstream is still sitting.


6th May 2019 – Swallows were giving great views of their blue iridescent backs as they flew below me to go under Wilton Bridge in the bright afternoon sunshine.  The Mute Swan is still sitting.


5th May 2019 – The Mute Swan on the River Wye is still sitting.  Over the library in Ross-on-Wye, there was a party of 8 screaming Swifts.  They nest somewhere in the town but I have yet to locate their breeding area.


3rd May 2019 – There were many hirundines high over the car park at Lower Lydbrook and at Cannop Ponds the Greylag Geese goslings were a first for the year for me.  3 Mandarin Duck were perched in a tree which may seem an odd sighting but they do nest in tree holes.Chiffchaff singing strongly near the middle car park at Cannop Ponds.


1st May 2019 – There were still Chiffchaffs singing along the river and the Mute Swan is still sitting on her nest.  At Wilton Bridge there were a few Swifts screaming around.


30th April 2019 – At Garway church there seemed to be a lot of Raven activity and many of the birds are in wing moult.  A Blackcap was singing in the little copse to the east of the church.  There was no sign of any Swifts around the tower where they breed but it is a few days early.  There were masses of flies in the churchyard and some gravestones were covered in them.  It would appear that there has been a large emergence over the last 24 hours or so.

          At Wilton Bridge, there were many Sand Martins present.  At the moment it looks to be a good year for them.  Last year there did not seem to be many breeding pairs there.

          At home at 1935, I noted my first Swifts of the year with at least 9 individuals in a small flock seen from my lounge window.  An April Swift!


29th April 2019 – The River Wye at Ross-on-Wye has dropped a little from a higher level a couple of days ago.  The Mute Swan nest opposite the Hope and Anchor public house seems to have survived although the water level nearly reached it.  The adult is still sitting so I hope that the eggs are still viable. There seems to be another or the same Willow Warbler singing nearby and I think that along with the last sighting near the bandstand, these could be passage birds.


28th April 2019 – There was only one male Mandarin Duck on the River Wye today near to the Hope and Anchor public house.  No sign of the other birds of this species.  I noted a Buzzard and a Goshawk at different times from my lounge window, the latter stooping towards me at one point.


27th April 2019 – It was quite a windy day today but there were still Chiffchaffs singing along the River Wye.  The Mute Swan is still on the nest opposite the Hope and Anchor public house.  Many Sand Martins were being buffeted by the wind around Wilton Bridge


26th April 2019 – There were three Mandarin Duck near the Hope and Anchor public house but there was no sign of the female seen recently with a male. There were at least 2 Chiffchaffs singing along the river and plenty of hirundines around the river.  A Great Spotted Woodpecker was near to the skate park.


24th April 2019 – There was a Chiffchaff still singing by Wilton Bridge and hirundines wheeling around there too. 


21st April 2019 – The Mandarin Duck pair was back by the Hope and Anchor public house and there was no sign of the other male bird.  Around Wilton Bridge at 1015, there were at least one or two House Martins gathering mud from the river bank and going to nest sites behind the large white house next to the bridge.  Swallows were doing the same with their nests at the White Lion public house.  Sand Martins were inspecting nest sites on the bridge itself.


20th April 2019 – It was a warm Easter weekend.  There were plenty of hirundines around the Rope Walk area of Ross-on-Wye today.


18th April 2019 – There were a good number of Swallows around the Wilton Bridge area today suggesting a new group of migrants have arrived.


15th April 2019 – There were 2 Goosander and 1 Little Egret along the river today.  The Mallard ducklings are still going strong near the Hope and Anchor public house.  The Mute Swan is still on the nest opposite this location.  There were 2 male Mandarin Ducks also here and no sign of a female.  There were bats flying around the garden of the White Lion public house at Wilton at dusk.


14th April 2019 – There were Chiffchaffs singing in several areas along the river towards Wilton Bridge from the Ross-on-Wye town centre.  A Common Buzzard was soaring downstream of the bridge and then made its way to the Wilton Castle area before moving back downstream.  It did this twice before I left the area.


13th April 2019 – The Willow Warbler which I first heard on 10th April was still singing near the bandstand.  A Common Buzzard was soaring over Wilton Bridge and was seen to descend into a large tree upstream of the bridge and disappear into the tight branches.  It may be a nest site.


12th April 2019 – There was another first for the year today in the form of a Mallard with 10 ducklings at the canoe launch site near the derelict Riverside Inn. 


11th April 2019 – The Mandarin Duck pair was in the same area as yesterday and there was at least one Goosander and one Grey Heron on or near the river today.


10th April 2019 – A surprise this morning in the form of a Willow Warbler singing near the bandstand in Ross-0n-Wye.  This is a first for within the town boundary. The Mandarin Duck pair was near the Hope and Anchor public house again today.


9th April 2019 – The highlight today was of a Marsh Harrier over the swimming pool at Ross-on-Wye being mobbed by a Buzzard at 1740.


8th April 2019 – There were hirundines all along the river on my walk from the rowing club to Wilton Bridge.  3 Goosander were on the river downstream from the bridge on a day which was damp and cool and which could be described as autumnal.


7th April 2019 – At Wilton Bridge there was a small flock of Sand Martins and at least one Swallow was inspecting nest sites near to the White Lion public house.  Near to the Man of Ross public house there were Sand Martins exploring the sandstone walls opposite this establishment.


6th April 2019 – There were no hirundines at Cannop Ponds when I checked in the late afternoon.

          This evening along the Rope Walk there was a flock of hirundines which seemed to be exclusively Sand Martins.  At Wilton Bridge, the Chiffchaff was singing and there were more hirundines with a possible one or two Swallows but they were a little distant to be sure. One Grey Heron was of note.


3rd April 2019 – There was a steady hail shower as I walked to Wilton Bridge today and there was a Little Egret and a Grey Heron near the river and a Chiffchaff singing by the bridge.  The highlight of the day was seeing a first for the year, that being a flock of hirundines flying low over the river downstream of the bridge.  They were distant but were almost certainly Sand Martins.

          There was a passage of Sand Martin over my home at 1700 between hail and light rain showers.


1st April 2019 – There was one Little Egret and 4 Goosander on the river at Ross-on-Wye and a pair of Mandarin Duck by the Hope and Anchor public house.



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