Diary - April to June 2003

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29th June 2003 - Nagshead RSPB Reserve. Today in hot sunshine was the official public opening of the new information centre at the reserve. Generally, the woods are quiet with bird song but before the centre opened, there were Painted Lady and Red Admiral butterflies on the grass outside, both species being migrants. More butterflies were in evidence along the woodland trails. Silver-washed Fritillary were along the short trail along with many Speckled Woods. At New Fancy View, I noted Marbled White for the first time this year.
Walking along the old railway line to the south of the stoneworks at Cannop I heard Wood Warbler still singing but the bird highlight of the day was a pair of Goshawk, wheeling around the road by the entrance to the car park at New Fancy View. They were below the height of the viewpoint and gave a fantastic display for nearly a minute.

28th June 2003 - Ashleworth on a cool cloudy morning with the sun breaking through to give a calm warm morning. The Chiffchaff which seems to be resident in the copse near the hide was singing and the other regulars included the male Shoveler, a Mute Swan with 2 cygnets and a pair of Canada Goose, all noted from the hide. One other species, not so often seen was the Kingfisher. 4 Buzzards were in the air together and talking of multiple sightings, a flock of at least 12 Long-tailed Tits including juvenile were at the top of Stank Lane where a Sedge Warbler was noted with food and other juveniles in that lane included Common Redstart, Great Tit, Blue Tit and a trio of Blackcap, one of which I believed to be a juvenile.
At least 10 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were circling low over a field at the back of the reserve for over 15 minutes but I could not see what was attracting them for the vegetation was too high. A high count of 7 Curlew in field 21 was the biggest number since the spring and the other unusual visitor was a Cormorant which is seen occasionally overflying but this one circled several times and then dropped down onto the pool in front of the hide. This bird was probably after the easy pickings of quite large fish which have become trapped there by the falling water levels of summer.
Treecreeper in Stank Lane was a little unusual and the first Ringlet Butterfly of the season was also in that location but the usual Sedge Warbler opposite the drive to Colways Farm was singing as it has done every visit recently and the regular Bullfinch and Great Spotted Woodpecker were in Stank Lane.

26th June 2003 - A quick look around two hides a Slimbridge on another hot and humid day produced the following:- 3 Green Sandpipers were in front of the Robbie Garnett hide until a grass mowing tractor displaced them. On South Lake there were 46 Redshank and at least 140 Black-headed Gulls. 3 Common Terns were among the gulls with a further one on the nest. A Little Ringed Plover was over the back on the mud.

25th June 2003 - Ashleworth on a very warm, calm and sunny morning. A Chiffchaff continues to sing in the copse by the hide while away over the reserve, a Sedge Warbler was doing likewise. A third songster started up in Dirty Lane in the form of a Willow Warbler. The fields off this lane were alive with birds including juveniles of Common Whitethroat Great Tit and Redstart, proof that breeding of these species has taken place on or near the reserve. I walked along Ham Road in search of singing Yellowhammer near Stonebow Farm but I failed, although Greenfinch were in full voice and the House Martins were 'buzzing' around the farmhouse. On my return I found a female Great Spotted Woodpecker near the copse where this species has bred this year. I then walked past Colways Farm and up Stank Lane. Along the road by the farm, Sedge Warbler and Blackcap were singing while overhead a Buzzard was making use of the hot rising air. I finally hear the trilling of Curlew to the north of the lane and upon my return to the hide, a pair of Mute Swans were preening in the middle distance but there was too much vegetation to see if there were any youngsters with them. The last bird noted here was the partially injured male Shoveler.
I moved on to Nagshead but the woods were extremely quiet with just about all of the nestbox breeders fledged or dead. Beyond the gate on the descending walk to Cannop Ponds is a favoured spot for Song Thrushes and today was no exception with several present and scratching about in the undergrowth for food. The ponds are back to the normal level after their repairs and the large amount of rain over the weekend of the 21st/22nd. There were 7 Mandarin Ducks on the water with one tiny juvenile, another proof of breeding. Grey and Pied Wagtails were around the Stone Works marsh as usual as was a female Bullfinch, but I could not find the Dipper. The undergrowth here as in most of the forest is very deep and thick. This feature is in part due to the lack of sheep whose presence limited the growth of some of the thick vegetation.
Finally, after a dinner in Parkend, I went again to find Nightjars at Oakenhill Plantation. There was a brief spell of churring but no birds were seen. Several Woodcock were also heard but only one good flight sequence was noted. The highlight, literally, of the evening was at the side of the main track on the way back to Parkend Church when Glow worms were noted, a total of 5 seen. Fireworks to finish the day, so to speak.

22nd June 2003 - A walk on Cleeve Hill this morning but it was fairly breezy, warm and humid and birds were scarce. Nevertheless, several Stonechat, Yellowhammer, Willow Warbler, Linnets, Skylarks and a lone Common Whitethroat was by Wontley Farm.
At Hawling Triangle, there was a Corn Bunting singing from the top of a tree near the main road and around Huntsmans Quarry, there were several more. Generally a quiet day.

19th June 2003 - An hour at lunchtime in the South Lake hide at WWT Slimbridge on a breezy, yet humid day. Black-headed Gulls and Redshank are beginning to flock up with 73 and 15 present respectively. Also present were 10 Black-tailed Godwits, several Lapwing, one with 3 chicks, an Oystercatcher with a well grown chick, A Little Grebe and a Common Tern which looks to be incubating eggs on the left hand raft.

18th June 2003 - Ashleworth on a cloudy but warm morning. 3 Lapwing were in front of the hide but no young were seen although they were tending to mob other birds including Grey Herons, Buzzard and corvids. A pair of Mute Swans were also present but they had 2 cygnets with them. Both Blackcap and Chiffchaff were singing in the copse by the hide.
In the afternoon at Nagshead, there was no sign of any Redstart nest activity where I had taken the photographs on Saturday (14th) but a Redstart was on the Bixslade Tramway. I had tw sightings of Fallow Deer in the same area and alongside Cannop Brook, there appeared to be a pair of Grey Wagtails with two young. An adult Dipper was also present. Finally, when I was almost back at the car park, the resident Carrion Crow caught a frog/toad and flew off with it.
I did note that at the southern pool at Cannop Ponds the water level was very low and I learned that this had been done to repair a leak in the wall near the waterfall and the work was ongoing with heavy plant present.

14th June 2003 - Ashlewroth on a morning that was cloudy but warm. Two Lapwing were feeding on the mud in front of the hide but no chicks could be seen whereas, the Canada Goose pair still have one gosling. Several Common Whitethroat, Reed Bunting, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler and Cuckoo are still vocal and all were seen. By the hide, there are at least 2 Blackcap on territory. Shelduck and Grey Heron are still present in small numbers. Finally a Hare running around a field off Stank Lane was unusual.
There are many Willow Trees along Stank Lane and I have walked that road on numerous occasions and today I learnt just how unobservant I am. There is a pollarded Willow in a line of the same that has an Ash Tree growing from the bowl. The Ash is about 25 feet high, in other words it is not just a tiny seeding. At first, I thought that there was an Ash Tree growing from the ground and squeezed in between the Willows but this is not the case. The branches of both trees are intertwined.
In the afternoon, I went to Nagshead RSPB reserve to digiscope a Redstart at its nest. This one is using a natural nest hole. Although the sun was shining, the light under the canopy was not good but nevertheless, I managed to get a record shot of Redstart breeding in a natural nest (as opposed to a nest box) in the Forest of Dean in 2003.

11th June 2003 - Ashleworth in the morning en route to the Forest on business. Many Swifts were around at low level and up Stank Lane, two Curlews were still displaying. Common Whitethroat, Redstart and Linnet were all along Stank Lane. A Blue Tit has young in a gate post nest in one of lanes near the reserve where one nested two years ago. The post is metal and the bird gains access to the hollow interior by way of the hole where the bolt on the gate would be located to keep the gate shut. The bolt is not there so there is no danger of the hole getting 'plugged up'.
I quickly called into Nagshead and found that the area in front of the new information centre has been laid to lawn and the car park has be properly laid out and the areas around it have a dressing of grass seed. All this work was just being finished as I arrived.
Finally, to end the day, I went up onto the ridge at Oakenhill Wood and just on the stroke of 10.00pm by the church bell at Parkend, two Nightjars began to churr and in a short time, very close but short views of two birds were obtained.

7th June 2003 - A morning at Ashleworth. Two Curlews were in the fields up Stank Lane with the male giving display flights with much calling. A Jay was in the area which is not rare but fairly uncommon. The Canada Geese still have their young with them. Finally of note were three different male Redstarts, one with food.

6th June 2003 - This morning from my windows, I have noted two firsts for the year in terms of breeding. The first young Starling flocks are flying about and there was a juvenile Great Tit in the garden.

4th June 2003 - I decided to have a short look over Ashleworth Ham Reserve this morning but on the way there I noted a yellow road tanker with a pipe dropped down into the nature reserve at Coombe Hill Canal (western end). I telephoned Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust who sent someone out to see what was going on. By the time I had made the call and gone back the tanker had gone. There was no flow in the canal and all seemed in order in that there was no pollution or stirring up of the sediment to indicate dumping of liquid. I spoke to a local farmer who said that he thought they were using the water to spray onto newly tarmaced roads before sweeping up excessive gravel to avoid clouds of dust. This is still probably illegal to extract water from a nature reserve without authority (they may have that authority) but at least the bottom line is that there is no damage to the reserve.
At Ashleworth, a Buzzard was sitting in a tree and as it flew it was mobbed by a Lapwing. Does the latter have young? This is difficult to know as it is now difficult to observe the birds as the vegetation has grown quite high. Reed Bunting, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Cuckoo were all very vocal. 3 Shelduck, 2 Canada Geese (no young noted) and a Grey Heron were in front of the hide.
Late in the evening I joined a walk at Oakenhill Plantation in the Forest of Dean near Parkend to look for Nightjars. On the way at 8 pm it was a pleasant calm evening but by 9.30pm, it had become overcast and cold with a strong wind blowing. No Nightjar was seen or heard, but Woodcock were there in abundance. Both Little Owl and Tawny Owl were heard and several bats were noted with the bat detector.

3rd June 2003 - Around Nagshead RSPB reserve, there were at least three different Spotted Flycatcher territories. I looked along Cannop Brook for the Dipper but to no avail but one of the Spotted Flycatchers was there and both Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail were along the watercourse.
Between the two Cannop Ponds there is a picnic site and although it was deserted, a bird on one of the signs caught my eye as I emerged from the trees lining the walk. It was a very light bird, almost as big as a Starling and looked to have extensive pale blue underparts and very light grey back with a whitish head? Putting my binnies onto it, I discovered it to be a Budgerigar!!. There are very few dwellings nearby so where had that come from?

1st June 2003 - On a warm morning, I called into Highnam Woods RSPB reserve on my way to the Forest of Dean on business. I had a short walk around the reserve and found a singing Nightingale. I checked on the Wild Service Tree and found it to be in good health. The general clearance around it seems to have had no effect on it. Back at the car park just as I was about to leave a pair of Buzzard appeared overhead and then a Hobby passed over.
I moved throught Nagshead RSPB reserve in the morning and tried again to find and pbotograph the Adders in the field opposite the site of the old information centre. Although I managed to find only may second snake of the year it was not possible to get a picture of it as it lay coiled under some nettles. The first Common Spotted Orchid was in flower at the reserve and then I moved on quickly to try to find the Dipper on the Cannop Brook but on this hot day there were several people walking along the path beside the water and no bird could I find but in compensation there were a pair of Grey Wagtails and a female Mandarin Duck as usual present. Two Spotted Flycatcher, the first of the year for me were on the short walk on my return as were the usual Pied Flycatchers and a Redstart. Later in the day, towards evening on my return, I tried the brook again and this time I managed to find a Dipper. This looked a dull individual with much grey underneath and a fairly 'fluttery' flight which suggested a juvenile bird.

31st May 2003 - Coombe Hill Canal on a very hot and humid morning. The female Mute Swan with an orange ring AAGX (Orange ring 3AY is the male) now has hatched 2 cygnets and there is one unhatched egg still on the nest. On the scrapes, the Lapwing have also been successful in hatching at least 3 youngsters. There appeared to be 5 adult Lapwing, 7 Shelduck, 1 Curlew and a couple of Grey Herons. A Lesser Whitethroat was by the bridge and near the car park Reed Warblers were singing with Sedge Warblers further along the canal. Finally, there was a late female Wheatear on the scarified public footpath across the reserve.
At Ashleworth, there were 3 Shelduck, the Canada Goose pair still have at least one youngster but there may be more in the vegetation. 2 Buzzards were soaring on an even hotter mid morning. Finally, the Great Spotted Woodpecker parents are very busy flying back and forth across the reserve and the youngsters are very vocal at times.

28th May 2003 - Ashleworth in the morning. Not very much of note but 8 Grey Herons in front of the hide and one pair of the Canada Geese have at least three goslings. Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpeckers are calling in the vicinity.
At Nagshead in the afternoon, I tried once again to photograph the adders in the field by the old information centre but again I could not find any. I have only seen one this year and they seem to be thin on the ground. I did, however, seen a new Common Lizard as this one was the first one that I have seen with an intact tail. The bird activity was low, as it was a warm afternoon but the ground is carpeted with Greater Stitchwort and Bluebells at the moment.

26th May 2003 - After a week out of the county, I have been out and about today in the Slimbridge area. Reed Warbler, the first of the season for me was singing in Green Lane at Frampton along with a Cetti's Warbler today. At least two Little Egrets were in the same area as well as several Grey Herons.

15th May 2003 - A quick look at Middle Point, Slimbridge at lunchtime and the noticable thing were the number of Painted Lady butterflies around. It looks like being a 'good year' for them.

14th May 2003 - Took a break from the desk and spent a couple of hours this morning walking around the reserve at Ashleworth Ham. Of the 44 species noted, the highlights were numerous Common Redstarts and Common Whitethroats in Stank Lane. Also, Curlew were present in a field with some sheep at the top of the lane and a Kingfisher sped by. The most conspicuous aerial bird of the morning was the Swift. There were many of them all over the reserve. A Cuckoo rested for a short while in the top of a very tall, but dead tree and called for a while around the area. Raptors included one, maybe two Buzzard, and a falcon flying very high and purposefully to the west. This was probably a Peregrine. Also an unidentified raptor with longer wings, more prominent head and tail than a Common Buzzard flew steadily to the north but for most of the time when it was at its nearest it was directly into sun and a full identification could not be made. Of the duck still present there appeared to be several Teal, 2 Wigeon, a female Pintail and 20 plus Mallard. 4 Shelduck were present and 6 Grey Heron were stalking the open water together on this beautiful sunny morning with showers building up in the distance.

13th May 2003 - While on a house hunting trip in the Forest of Dean, I called into Nagshead RSPB reserve in the hope of photographing some snake. Again, I failed to find any but saw the tail-less Common Lizard, in one of the grass piles. I carried on along the first part of the short trail and discovered my first damselfly of the year along the path, a Large Red, . A little further on I was somewhat surprised to find a Tree Pipit, deep in the woodland. I watched this bird for a couple of minutes as it preened. Having said that, it was not too far from the open area where they display. I moved onto Cannop Brook and went in search of Dippers which I have seen there earlier this year but again I had no luck. However, there were 2 Grey Wagtails, , a Kingfisher, which I saw twice, a lone male Mallard, , 3 Mandarin Duck, together, 2 males and a female along the watercourse. In the trees was a male Great Spotted Woodpecker, .

12th May 2003 - Last night at about midnight, a Cockchafer came to my outside light. This is only the second time that I have seen one in my garden.
Today, a fleeting visit to middle point at Slimbridge where there was a steady passage of Swifts, with over 50 being present at any one time. Also around and about were at least 3 Painted Lady butterflies. At The Splatt at Frampton when I went to check on the Lapwing nesting progress, the Short-eared Owl was sat on a log in the field by the swing bridge.

5th May 2003 - In the middle of the day I went to Nagshead RSPB reserve to try to get some better quality pictures of snakes. I failed to find any because of the cold wind but I did see some Field Voles and Common Lizards, one of the latter had a stunted tail which was probably the result of a close encounter with a predator. Since these animals were in the heaps of bramble and dead grass where the adders like to sun themselves, perhaps that predator was an adder. Finally by late afternoon I gave up and went for a walk along the trails. Upon my return I met Tony Everleigh and he had come to try and find the lone Waxwing which had been reported briefly both yesterday morning and this morning. It was a beautiful sunny evening by this time and after about half an hour, it appeared in the trees on the far side of the 'snake field' We watched it for about half an hour as it moved around several of the large trees in the area. It looked like a young bird, probably a female but it was preening heavily, especially its left wing which on occasion seemed to be drooping. Nevertheless it appeared to fly quite strongly. An impressive and beautiful bird.

4th May 2003 - I went out to the Forest of Dean via Ashleworth on business and had a quiet look around before calling on at Slimbridge on the way home. Highlights of the trip were a Tawny Owl in its usual tree at Ashleworth. It flew when it saw me but only to the next tree. In the forest, Wood Warblers seem to be everywhere but not so many Willow Warblers and a lone Redstart. At Slimbridge, Whinchat and Wheatear were on one of the cross fences and Mediterranean and Little Gull were on the river with Turnstone. My thanks to Martin McGill for showing me those species. Also present was a summer plumaged Grey Plover near Saul Warth, such a stunningly beautiful picture of black and white! The Whooper Swan which turned up recently was still there among the Mute Swan flock on Big Pen. Finally, an early Painted Lady butterfly was in one of the fields near Green Lane. Bird total for the day was a satisfying 78 species.

3rd May 2003 - A Collared Dove is beginning to build one of their flimsy nests on one of the trees in my garden.

2nd May 2003 - A first of the year in the garden at home when a very spotty, juvenile Robin put in an appearance.

27th April 2003 - The noticable thing of the day was the constant passage of hirundines and Swifts all day past Middle Point, Slimbridge and the Splatt Bridge area of Frampton. Swifts were in good numbers as were Swallows with at few Sand Martins and House Martins. Finally a Yellow Wagtail over The Splatt was a first for the year for me.

26th April 2003 - A showery day. My first visit of the day was to the Coombe Hill Canal. The reason for the visit was to see how much water the new scrapes held, if any, after the dry weather of the past month and a half. I was pleasantly surprised that there was still plenty of water there and the birds present included 2 Redshank, at least 4 Lapwing, a Green Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper and a pair of Mute Swans ringed with orange darvics 3CC(female) and 3AY(male). 2 Shelduck flew in and the two Mutes departed. A Cuckoo was also present and along the canal, a Curlew could be heard in the fields to the south and Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Bullfinch, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit and Blackcap were all seen and heard. Interestingly, when I had nearly got back to the car park, I noted a female Mute Swan on the canal and was surprised to see it was 3CC. I thought that this bird was from the nest by the car park but when I arrived there I found not only the female which had been on the nest all along but also 3AY alongside her. Thus, 3AY had been away on the scrapes with this other female!
At Ashleworth, there were a large number of hirundines, House Martins, Sand Martins and Swallows over the reserve and they were accompanied by some Swifts. In terms of wildfowl, there were 2 Shoveler, at least 15 Wigeon, over 50 Teal, some Mallard and a Grey Heron.

23rd April 2003 - A quiet afternoon at Slimbridge, the only highlight was the first sighting of the year of a Swift which flew slowly up river from Middle Point.

22nd April 2003 - A morning in the Forest of Dean. The first stop was at Nagshead RSPB reserve and just about the first bird noted was a Garden Warbler, singing by the gate to the drive to the old information centre. After this, the next stop was the Cannop Brook to see the Dipper again but although a careful search was made to the Stone Centre, neither this species nor Grey Wagtail were noted, however, the first Wood Warbler of the day was singing in the valley. So, on to the Long Trail and a look for the Tree Pipit in the newly cleared area with a few tall trees to the east of the straight part of the Long Trail. It took a while but eventually one bird was noted at the top of one of these trees. This bird then began calling and did a 'parachute' flying display. While returning to the carpark, Pied Flycatcher were noted at a nest box and a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was calling over the last few yards of the Long Trail. A quick check for Firecrest near the old information centre drew a blank. While taking lunch in the car park, a Tawny Owl hooted once and then on the way home, a visit to Woorgreens Lake produced the Black-necked Grebe. This bird was watched for about ten minutes before it disappeared into the vegetation on the far side of the lake but not before the beautiful summer plumage was really appreciated in the sunny conditions and calm water.

21st April 2003 - A Green Sandpiper was present on the Great Narles early this morning and Dunlin and Ringed Plover were viewable from Middle Point, WWT Slimbridge. A correction to 19th April and the Peregrine sighting. I saw the same bird again but much closer and in better light overhead and it is not a true Peregrine but a hybrid with very frayed tail and wing tip feathers. Feathers should be in pristine condition at this time of year and these on this bird suggests that it has been kept in a cage and is thus an escapee hybrid.

20th April 2003 - A very short visit to Nagshead RSPB reserve this morning brought the first Wood Warbler of the year. Generally the birds were quite vocal in spite of a cold, overcast morning with a stiff breeze.

19th April 2003 - Godwits, Curlew, Whimbrel, Grey Plover, Dunlin and Ringed Plover were on the river today viewed from the Sharpness Canal towpath for all but the last which were noted from Middle Point where a pair of Oystercatcher were also present on a cold and blustery early morning. A Peregrine overflew the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust centre building mid-morning.
I went up Chosen Hill very briefly at lunchtime to view the tree and scrub clearance that has taken place near the church. One of the large evergreen trees by the door to the church has been felled and by counting the rings which are very conspicuous, it was at least 112 years old and it is such a shame that such a magnificent tree has had to go but I understand the the subsidence of the church foundations has had something to do with the demise of this tree.

17th April 2003 - Another check at Saul Warth and again there are approximately 270 Shelduck present on a beautiful sunny and warm day.

16th April 2003 - About 275 Shelduck noted off Saul Warth this afternoon.

15th April 2003 - A quick look over the river at Slimbridge. A Whimbrel and the sickly looking Kittiwake viewable from the newly opened Middle Point. Also today there were several Swallows apparently on territory in the village of Slimbridge itself.

13th April 2003 - Another visit to Frampton this morning and the noticable feature was a steady stream of Swallows passing through with a few Sand Martins mixed in. A Cetti's Warbler was singing in the distance from the canal towpath. I am told that the summer walk is open at Slimbridge for those who want to get close views of the river.

12th April 2003 - The male House Sparrow was back in the garden collecting nesting material again today and it flew off in the same direction as two days ago.
A bit of business in the Forest of Dean saw me look in at Nagshead RSPB reserve. The new information centre is not yet complete but it has moved on apace. A Blackcap was in full song and showing very prominently on the drive towards the old information centre (now demolished). The first Adder that I have seen this year was basking in the pleasantly warm sunshine on one of the grass piles and another first for the year was a male Pied Flycatcher around the edge of the field. Finally from here, a pair of Mallard have at least 10 ducklings on the car park pool.
During the afternoon, I went to Frampton to commence some data gathering on Redshank and Lapwing. There were at least 24 Redshank and a Spotted Redshank on the Great Narles with at least 2 Ruff. A Little Egret was on The Splatt as viewed from the gate by the swing bridge and also in that area was a colour ringed Redshank. which is probably the same one that was there last year. Finally, also present was a Short-eared Owl. Later in the afternoon, in the Saul Warth area were a lone Kittiwake which has a mark on the back of the head and its wings are drooping slightly suggesting that it is sick, several Bar-tailed Godwits, Black-tailed Godwits and Ringed Plover. My thanks to Richard Baatsen for pointing these out to me. A Little Ringed Plover was on the 100 acre from Green Lane.

11th April 2003 - I took a quick drive towards Cirencester today and noted 9 Buzzards soaring together over the Sapperton Valley.

10th April 2003 - I have not been out for over a week so I thought that I would mention some happenings here in the garden. A House Sparrow was in the garden today collecting nesting material. He flew away to the north. I have not logged this species for several months so this was a nice surprise. There appears to be a Blackbird breeding the the overhanging shrub from next door in my front garden and there is the possibility that there is one of this species in one of my shrubs in the back garden. The former is taking nesting material into the shrub and the latter is visiting this shrub often but it is not easy to see what, if anything, is being taken in. A pair of Greenfinches and a pair of Goldfinches are now regular visitors again after some weeks absence. Indeed the winter has been a quiet time in my garden.

2nd April 2003 - Ashleworth on a showery and cool day. The water level has dropped significantly but there are still several hundred duck present. They included 6 Gadwall, in the region of 50 Teal, a handful of Shoveler, just a few Mallard and 3 Pintail. Also present were Coot, 3 Canada Geese, 2 Lapwing and Curlew calling and displaying and the usual Peregrine was on the pylon. Along the lane, there was a dead Badger in the ditch and the first Orange tip butterfly was fluttering along the roadside.

1st April 2003 - At lunchtime at Slimbridge over Rushy Pen, I logged my first Sand Martins of the year. At least 10 passed overhead and kept going.

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