Diary – January to March 2017


31st March 2017 – I noted my first Holly Blue butterfly of the year near the memorial garden in Ross-on-Wye not far from the Hope and Anchor public house


28th March 2017 – The first Chiffchaff of the year in my garden today and he was singing.


24th March 2017 – Chiffchaffs and Greenfinches were singing along the River Wye between the rowing club and Wilton Bridge.  Two Goosanders were on the river.


21st March 2017 – Another Chiffchaff was singing near the Rope Walk today.  There seems to be several territories between the rowing club and Wilton Bridge.


18th March 2017 – There were two different Chiffchaffs singing near Wilton Bridge today and the Long-tailed Tits are still building their nest. Of note over the past few days, I have heard several Greenfinch singing along the Rope Walk near the rowing club.  This is of note from a species which is declining nationally.


17th March 2017 – No hirundines were seen this lunchtime at Wilton Bridge but a Buzzard was noted soaring over.


16th March 2017 – It was a dull but dry day.  I logged my first Sand Martin at Wilton Bridge, Ross-on-Wye today and nearby a Long-tailed Tit was building a nest. 


15th March 2017 – There were seven Goosander noted on the River Wye at Ross-on-Wye this morning although it was a very foggy dawn.  A Chiffchaff was singing near the rowing club. 

          I saw four species of raptor from or in a Milkwall garden this afternoon.  There was Sparrowhawk that comes through the garden and sometimes spends time perched in one of the trees.  In addition and in the distance, I logged three different Buzzards, a Goshawk and a Kestrel.


14th March 2017 – I noted only one Goosander on the River Wye at Ross-on-Wye this morning on a short walk.  No doubt there are others of this species in the general area.


13th March 2017 – I saw my first butterfly of the year, a Small Tortoiseshell, on the bank of the River Wye near Wilton Bridge on a bright and mild day after overnight frost.


12th March 2017 – At RSPB Naghead around lunchtime there was a very grey female Fallow Deer on the Gloucestershire Way and it was joined by at least 3 others later when I was walking back.  There were several frogs and toads on the paths near the information centre.  These were middle sized individuals and I suspect that they were offspring from last year. 

       I checked Cannop Ponds for early hirundines but found none.  Of note was a fishing Cormorant which is unusual there. 

      At a Milkwall Garden there were at least 9 Chaffinch in a flock but they were dispersed by a Sparrowhawk passing through.


9th March 2017 – There were many Red Kites around Gigrin Farm near Rhayader during the middle of the afternoon when I passed by which is not surprising as the farm feeds them at this time.


4th March 2017 – I briefly checked the southern pond at Cannop this afternoon at 1730.  Of note were many Mandarin Ducks.


2nd March 2017 – I found a minimum of 27 Bewick’s Swans at WWT Slimbridge today. 5 were in a roadside field and the rest were on the Dumbles.  These are the remaining birds which have still to commence their spring migration. 


20th February 2017 – Both Buzzards and Goshawks were displaying over Chase Hill near Ross-on-Wye today. 


19th February 2017 – At WWT Slimbridge there were still the majority of the wintering Bewick’s Swan flock still present.  There were at least 20 Avocets which have returned to the site for breeding and several pairs of Oystercatchers and a Goshawk flew low of the Dumbles at lunchtime.


18th February 2017 – A Little Egret was in the brook by the rowing club at Ross-on-Wye.


14th February 2017 – At WWT Slimbridge there were still over 140 Bewick’s Swans present. Many were asleep for most of the time that I was there.  This is classic pre-migratory behaviour.  I scanned the Dumbles very carefully from the Holden Tower to try to find the reported Lapland Bunting but I was unable to find it.  There were, however, quite a number of Meadow Pipits present. 


13th February 2017 – I had a day out at WWT Steart near Bridgewater.  Birds seen included Grey Plover and many Stonechats around the reserve.  For the first time this year, I noted Skylarks singing from high up in the sky. There were lots of Shelduck, Lapwing and Redshank with a few Black-tailed Godwits.  This reserve seemed to be very good and has lots of promise as it matures.  I need to visit again to see some of the areas that I could not cover today.  It is a big reserve.


1st February 2017 – A Little Egret was high up in a Horse Chestnut tree in Greytree Road, Ross-on-wye.


26th January 2017 – On the lower part of the Bixslade Valley near Cannop there was a flock of 5 Bullfinch flying about. 

      Two Great Spotted Woodpeckers were in a garden at Milkwall in the afternoon.

      At Cannop Ponds in the late afternoon, the southern pond was partially frozen over but there were 55 Mandarin Ducks near the outfall.


25th January 2017 – Again there was freezing fog at dawn.  3 Little Egrets were on Rudhall Brook and there were 25 Goosander on the river between the town and Wilton Bridge.  Later in the day there was only one Goosander present. There were many Blackbirds, Redwings and one Fieldfare on the riverside near the bridge in the morning. A Muntjac Deer was on the road north of Lea late this evening.


24th January 2017 – There was freezing fog at dawn.  There were 17 Goosander on the River Wye at Ross-on-Wye.  The Grey Heron was on the roof of the swimming pool again. 


23rd January 2017 – I went to WWT Slimbridge today.  I managed to get some good Bewick’s Swan bill pattern photographs for the record.  The highlights of the trip were a Little Stint on the Rushy Pen which gave excellent views in the sunshine and was a beautiful little bird.  Later, a Marsh Harrier flew north over the Dumbles which I found from the Holden Tower.


20th January 2017 – Today I went to Red Kite feeding station near Usk Reservoir.  It was a very good spectacle with the birds being very close to the hides and it is a very good site for photography.  It was a bright, sunny but very cold day and thus the light was good for taking pictures.  An excellent day.


19th January 2017 – I have been under the weather with flu-like symptoms for the past two weeks and thus have nothing to report because I have not been out in the field from 5th January until today. Today I noted a Grey Heron standing on the roof of the swimming pool at Ross-on-Wye.  I think that it is using this spot as a vantage point to watch the many fish which are in the brook which runs at the back of the pool.  It must be easy pickings for this bird as the many fish reported late last year are still there in numbers.


5th January 2017 – I made a short trip to Cinderford to try to find the reported Waxwing.  I found at least 15 birds near a local supermarket.  They were feeding on Rowan berries but they were of the pink variety.


4th January 2017 – The highlight of my walk along the River Wye at Ross-on-Wye was a Kingfisher near the rowing club and a Little Egret was just down river from that club.


3rd January 2017 – On my walk along the River Wye at Ross-on-Wye, I counted at least 8 Goosander on the river but there may have been more as they were very mobile. Later in the day, I noted a Goshawk over Penyard Hill seen from my H.Q. window.


2nd January 2017 – I only went out for a short walk today but there were 2 Cormorants on the River Wye at Ross-on-Wye as I passed and a Pied Wagtail was scurrying around the main shopping street (Broad Street).  It appeared to be dodging cars and pedestrians.


1st January 2017 – Happy New Year to all of my readers. It rained nearly all of the daylight hours.  The first bird of the year was a Carrion Crow seen from the window of my H.Q.  I passed the southern pond at Cannop later in the day and the highlight there was a Little Grebe which was an unusual species on this pond.



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