Diary - April to June 2008

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30th June 2008 - You may have noticed that there are no entries for June and also a gap in those during May. I was busy working on my new base and spent a large portion of the month out of the county.

31st May 2008 - Ashleworth at 1000 on a warm and sunny day. Much more water than on 27th May. From the hide, I noted that the Mute Swans still have their cygnets and a Cuckoo was heard. At Stank Lane, a male and female Curlew by the pond in the field to the south of the lane. Treecreeper with food, seen for the second time running and also a Great Spotted Woodpecker again in the lane. Of really nice note, a House Sparrow was near the Stank Lane crossroads. 27th May 2008 - A cool and drizzly day at Ashleworth. From the hide, a Mute Swan with 5 cygnets. These must have come from the nest in sight of the hide. 2 Canada Geese, 5 Mallard, 1 Coot and a Cuckoo was heard. Along Stank Lane, 4 Redstart, a Goldfinch, Reed Bunting, 7 Mute Swan, a Treecreeper with food suggesting breeding in the lane, 48 Mallard scattered, Long-tailed Tits and a female Great Spotted Woodpecker.

6th May 2008 - A visit to Symond Yat Rock and the Peregrine viewpoint between 1025 and 1700 on a warm, sunny but hazy day. The highlight today was an Osprey.

3rd May 2008 - Ashleworth in hazy sun but a cool day. 3 Wigeon, 2 Mallard, 1 Coot, 1 Canada Goose, 2 Mute Swans with one still on the nest from the hide. Curlew and Cuckoo were both heard. Near Colways Farm there were a Whitethroat and a Sedge Warbler and on to Stank Lane where 3 Redstarts were noted and a Greenshank was on the pool to the south, 6 Buzzard soaring and 32 Mute Swans on field 22 but no Lapwing on field 27. I really do think that this latter species have failed in their breeding attempt.

1st May 2008 - Symonds Yat Rock from 1055 to 1600. Apart from the resident Peregrine pair, an immature Peregrine appeared as an intruder. Sparrowhawk and Kestrel put in an appearance during the day and I was able to see a food pass between the local Peregrine pair which is an unusual sight to catch. Fallow Deer in the fields below the viewpoint peaked at 130 animals.

26th April 2008 - Warm and sunny at Ashleworth with almost no duck present with only Mallard being seen at first but later one male Teal noted. Other species included Coot, Grey Heron, Moorhen, 2 Shelduck and a Curlew heard from the hide.

22nd April 2008 - Ashleworth, today being overcast with a slight mist and cool, 7 deg. C. at 0900. Another first for the year was a Cuckoo and Teal numbers were surpisingly over 50. 1 Shoveler and 2 Wigeon were the other duck present. A Goshawk was over Ham Road. In Stank Lane, 19 Mute Swan, 4 Redstart and another first for the year in the form of a Whitethroat along the lane. No Lapwing were on field 27 - have they failed in their breeding attempt? A Sedge Warbler was yet another first for the year for me and in addition to the hirudine passage overhead, there was a Little Grebe and a Little Egret seen from the hide. The former is becoming a regular and the latter quite a rare species in these parts although they are plentiful down the river to the south of Gloucester.

19th April 2008 - Ashleworth. Breezy and cool with a north east wind. 29 Mute Swan, 6 Canada Geese and less duck than on Tuesday (15th) with Teal, Shoveler and Mallard in descending order of abundance. 2 Shelduck were also noted.

18th April 2008 - The colour ringed Black-headed Gull was seen again today at Slimbridge (See 15th February 2008).

15th April 2008 - Ashleworth. Sunny and cool. There were less duck present than on Saturday (12th) but there were Teal and Shoveler still around. A Shelduck was opposite Colways Farm and a Redstart was in Stank Lane where they nest.

12th April 2008 - Ashleworth. Sunny and 6 deg. C. at 1145. Shoveler were probably the most numerous duck but there were more than 10 Teal, a few Wigeon, 2 Pintail, a Coot and 6 Canada Geese. A male Blackcap was in the copse by the hide and along Stank Lane, 2 Willow Warbler, a Peregrine on the pylon, Mallard pairs in varioud ditches and a Shelduck in field 27. 3 Lapwing may be sitting in different parts of the footpath field to the south of the lane. A Curlew was heard over Hasfield Ham and there were 32 Mute Swans near Great House Farm. 51 Coot were noted from the hide with 3 Grey Heron and hirundines were passing through. A Small Tortoiseshell butterfly was on the wing in Ham Road and there appeared to be fresh Badger excavations in the copse.

5th April 2008 - Ashleworth at 0945. 8 deg. C. and partially cloudy. A nice flock heralding spring was the sight of 24 Sand Martins seen from the hide. 11 Tufted Duck was a very good number and other duck included Wigeon, Teal, Mallard and Shoveler. 2 Swallow were seen later and 3 Gadwall showed themselves. On Hasfield Ham, there were 2 Shelduck and a Grey Heron. Another first for the year was a Willow Warbler in Stank Lane and then a second one was found further up the lane. 2 Long-tailed Tits, a Buzzard and a Skylark were also noted from the lane. There appear to be very few of the latter species displaying this year or have I not noticed them. I suspect that there is a decline sadly. 24 Mute Swans were opposite Colways Farm with 2 Greylag Geese and a Great Crested Grebe was on the scrape, the latter a scarce bird at this site. White Violets are flowering again by the hide.

4th April 2008 - 0700 at Slimbridge with fog clearing slowly. Walked south along the canal from 0710 to 0800 where I found at least 2 Chiffchaffs. At the Centre from 0815 onwards, Oystercatchers were flying around and were very vocal. A Pink-footed Goose was with the Greylag Geese on the Tack Piece and a Water Rail was heard at the Martin Smith Hide. Shelducks appeared to be very active too. A Swallow and Sand Martin were seen from the same hide and these were the first for the season for me.

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