Diary - January to March 2019

 

29th March 2019 – Chiffchaffs were on territory along the river at Ross-on-Wye today and one Goosander was on the river. No hirundines were seen in 15 minutes scanning at Wilton Bridge.

 

28th March 2019 – There were singing Chiffchaffs at the sandstone cliffs near the skate park and at Wilton Bridge. There was a Goosander on the river and a Mute Swan has begun to build a nest opposite the Hope and Anchor public house.

          I checked Cannop Ponds later in the afternoon in the hope of seeing my first hirundines of the year but none seen.  There were, however, at least 30 Mandarin Ducks present.

 

27th March 2019 – I walked along the Rope Walk again today and just as I surmised yesterday there were many insects on the wing today in the area where I was surrounded by the bats last night.  There must have been a mass emergence in the last 12 hours or so.

 

26th March 2019 – I made a visit to WWT Slimbridge for one last visit to the HoldenTower before it is demolished to make way for a new hide.  There was still a good number of the wintering flock of White-fronted Geese and still plenty of Wigeon ducks around the site.  Cranes were on the Dumbles.

           I walked down to the Rope Walk in Ross-on-Wye at dusk and was surrounded by many bats.  They were close and flew all around me.  There must have been plenty of insects on the wing.  The bats were probably Pipistrelle bats.

 

25th March 2019 – A Treecreeper was carrying nesting material near to the rowing club on the bank of the River Wye. Chiffchaffs were singing at the Rope Walk and near Wilton Bridge. There was only one Goosander on the river.

 

24th March 2019 – A Grey Heron was loafing on the bank of the River Wye and there were Goosanders in the distance downstream of Wilton Bridge.

 

22nd March 2019 – Two Kingfisher flew downstream together at Wilton Bridge.  A Chiffchaff was singing near the red sandstone cliffs near the skate park.  3 Goosander were on the river and a Little Egret was on the bank of the river near Ross Rowing Club.

 

20th March 2019 – My first Chiffchaff of the spring was singing near Wilton Bridge today.  A flock of 12 Canada Geese were of note and a single Goosander was close by.

 

19th March 2019 – There were still 2 Goosander near Wilton Bridge in the flooded river.

 

18th March 2019 – There were 2 Goosander just downstream from Wilton Bridge and were diving and presumably feeding in the fast flowing and swollen river.

 

16th March 2019 – The River Wye is just over its banks at Ross-on-Wye today.  I cannot do my usual walk along the Rope Walk because it is underwater.

 

14th March 2019 – The river is very high at Ross-on-Wye and when I walked to Wilton Bridge, I found 7 Goosander together just downstream of the bridge.

 

12th March 2019 – I walked to Wilton Bridge but only found one Little Egret near Rudhall Brook and one Grey Heron overflying and there was two Goosander on the rive, otherwise a quiet afternoon.

 

11th March 2019 – There were 2 Little Egrets and 10 Goosander around the river at Ross-on-Wye this afternoon and by the Hope and Anchor pubic house there was a pair of Mandarin Duck on the river with the resident Mallards.  I have seen the former species around this area before although not very frequently.  There are many trees lining the river bank here and there is a possibility that they might nest if they can find a tree with a suitable nest hole.  I will keep watching.

 

5th March 2019 – There were 3 Little Egret, and 3 Goosander around the river at Ross-on-Wye in the afternoon.

 

2nd March 2019 – At Symonds Yat this morning, there was a Muntjak Deer in the car park.  From the viewpoint, I noted three sightings of Goshawk and the resident Peregrines. They were flying on several occasions. There were 14 Common Buzzard together in the sky at one time and a Red Kite put in an appearance.  A Kingfisher was perched below the viewpoint and there were 10 Goosander on the river. 

          Later in the day, I failed to find any Little Egrets, Grey Herons or Goosander on or near the river at Ross-on-Wye.

 

1st March 2019 – There were 9 Little Egrets opposite the Rope Walk in Ross-on-Wye today.

          Later, I checked Cannop Ponds for any early hirundines but I found none.

 

28th February 2019 – I walked to Wilton Bridge taday, 4 Little Egrets and a Grey Heron were around Rudhall Brook. 3 Goosander were downsteam of the bridge.  A pair of Mandarin Ducks was with the resident Mallards again near the Hope and Anchor public house.

 

26th February 2019 – I went to Ashleworth to check for Bewick’s Swans.  There were none there and the water has dropped away although there is still plenty in the scrape opposite the hide.

          At Slimbridge, there were 21 Bewick’s Swans on the Rushy Pen.  Most were asleep on a mild and sunny day.  They had not gone out into the fields to feed and this docile behaviour is typical of pre-migratory behaviour.  Late in the afternoon, between 1645 and 1715, I was watching several of them floating around on the lake.  Some were closing their eyes and dropping their necks but before the bill reached the water, they partially woke up, opened their eyes and repeated the sequence. It gave the impression that they were sleepy.  I left at 1715 but received a report that they had departed on migration at about 1820.  They had obviously woken up fully by then!

 

25th February 2019 – There was a record February temperature in excess of 20 deg. C. in Wales today.  4 Goosander were by Wilton Bridge and 4 Little Egrets were at various locations along the river.

 

24th February 2019 – I found 10 Little Egrets loafing on the field opposite the Rope Walk in Ross-on-Wye.  This has been recently ploughed. 2 Grey Herons were there too and 4 Goosander were downstream of Wilton Bridge.

 

23rd February 2019 – Noted a Song Thrush singing from the top of a tree not far from my kitchen window here in Ross-on-Wye for the second time in two days.  Spring is here!

 

22nd February 2019 – I did a quick check of the River Wye near the rowing club and found 5 Little Egrets on the river bank opposite the club.

 

19th February 2019 – I checked Ashleworth and Hasfield Hams for wild swans but there were none there.  The water level has gone down since February 14th and the area is not so suitable for them now.

          At Slimbridge, there were reported only about 75 Bewick’s Swans so a number have departed on migration.

 

18th February 2019 – The only bird of note was a solitary Goosander on the River Wye.

 

17th February 2019 – I walked to Wilton Bridge and one field down river from that bridge.  Totals were 7 Little Egret, 2 Grey Heron and a high number of 17 Goosander, the majority of the latter were downstream of the bridge.

 

16th February 2019 – I could only find one Little Egret around the river at Ross-on-Wye today but there were 2 Grey Heron and 3 Goosander present.

 

15th February 2019 – Another very mild day for the year.  7 Little Egrets around the Rope Walk and Rudhall Brook.  7 Grey Herons were opposite the Rope Walkin in Ross-on-Wye.

 

14th February 2019 – I checked Ashleworth Ham for Bewick’s Swans but although the habitat is good with some flooding of Ashleworth Ham and Hasfield Ham, no wild swans were seen.  This is migration season for them and they sometime occur here at this time. 

          At Slimbridge I found many of the reported 118 Bewick’s Swans.  Some were on the Tack Piece but many were loafing on the river.  This is typical migration behaviour.  They will be on their way soon. 2 Oystercatcher were of note on the Tack Piece.  They breed here at Slimbridge but winter away. A Brimstone butterfly was my first sighting of butterflies of the year.  It was flying around the Caribbean Flamingo pen.  Ideal conditons on a very warm day for the time of year.

 

12th February 2019 – Only one each of Little Egret and Grey Heron were along Rudhall Brook near the rowing club at Ross-on-Wye today.

 

11th February 2019 – Again, there were 2 Little Egrets along Rudhall Brook at Ross-on-Wye and a total of 3 of this species seen.  The river is very high after the recent heavy rain.  I also noted a male Bullfinch near the entrance to the skate board car park.  I have seen both sexes of this species in this area before.  I wonder if they are going to nest around there.

 

10th February 2019 – Today, I could only find 5 Little Egrets including 2 along Rudhall Brook at Ross-on-Wye.

 

9th February 2019 – I found a total of 8 Little Egrets today including 6 along Rudhall Brook by the rowing club at Ross-on-Wye.

 

8th February 2019 – Numbers today were 7 Little Egrets and 7 Goosander around the river at Ross-on-Wye.

 

6th February 2019 – Today, there were 2 Little Egrets, 2 Grey Heron and 8 Goosander around the river at Ross-on-Wye.  A Kingfisher was also active.

 

3rd February 2019 – 3 Little Egrets, 5 Grey Heron and 1 Goosander were in or around the river at Ross-on-Wye today.

 

2nd February 2019 – After lunch, I walked to Wilton Bridge from the town area along the river at Ross-on-Wye.  2 Little Egrets were perched in the trees alongside Rudhall Brook near the rowing club.  5 Grey Herons were in the field opposite the Rope Walk and 3 Goosander were on the river.

 

1st February 2019 – Before lunch I noted three Red Kites together drifting north over the town of Ross-on-Wye.  This is a record number for me for this location. Later, at lunchtime appropriately, I noted a Peregrine hunting the local Feral Pigeons.  Outcome of the hunt was not seen. 

 

31st January 2019 – In the afternoon again, I logged 8 Little Egret and 8 Goosander in or around the river at Ross-on-Wye.  There was a Kingfisher flying around the river by the Rope Walk. 

 

27th January 2019 – In the afternoon, I logged 3 Little Egret, 1 Grey Heron and 1 male Goosander on the river at Ross-on-Wye.

 

25th January 2019 – There were 3 Little Egrets and 2 Grey Heron around Rudhall Brook by the Ross rowing club this afternoon.

 

24th January 2019 – 2 Little Egrets were along Rudhall Brook today.

 

23rd January 2019 – At Ashleworth, half of the remaining water was frozen after some cold days and night.  Plenty of waterfowl around the margins of the scrapes but the highlight was a flock of over 100 Lapwing.  2 Mute Swans were the only swan species present.

 

22nd January 2019 – 6 Goosander on the river and 4 Little Egret and 2 Grey Herons were around the river today.

 

21st January 2019 – 6 Little Egrets and 3 Grey Herons were the counts for those species today around the brook and river by the Ross rowing club.

 

18th January 2019 – 4 Little Egrets and 3 Grey Herons were around the river and Rudhall Brook in Ross-on-Wye today.

 

15th January 2019 – There has been no rain here in Ross-on-Wye so far this year.

 

12th January 2019 – Today there were 6 Little Egrets again along the river as yesterday but there were 6 Grey Herons too.

 

10th January 2109 – I found 6 Little Egrets and 1 Grey Heron along the river at Ross-on-Wye today.

 

9th January 2019 – I had a walk over the north side of May Hill.  Buzzard and Raven of note and there was a small flock of Siskins in one of the conifer trees.

 

8th January 2019 – I checked Ashleworth Ham for wild swans again today but there were none there.  The water levels continue to fall.  There is water flowing over the sluice boards and out of the reserve.  There are some sluice boards not in place which if there were would help to keep the winter water levels up.  There has been no rain so far this year which is not helping in keeping the reserve in best condition for the wintering birds.

 

7th January 2019 – At Ashleworth there were no wild swans but there were quite a number of Redwing and Fieldfare on the fields near Colways Farm. 

          At WWT Slimbridge, I managed to get a good number of Bewick’s Swan bill pattern photographs.  There were 72 swans on the Tack Piece and 21 on the Rushy Pen making a total of 93 birds. 

 

6th January 2019 – I made an almost identical walk today but there were many people about and I only noted 3 Little Egret, 1 Grey Heron and 1 Goosander.

 

5th January 2019 – A walk to Wilton Bridge produced 5 Little Egrets and 2 Goosander today.

 

4th January 2019 – I visited Crabtree Hill to see if the Great Grey Shrike had returned but I did not see any of this species.  3 Reed Buntings together and 2 Fallow Deer running about were the highlight of the morning.  There have been a lot of changes over the past year with much fencing to keep the ponies in.  They are keeping the vegetation down in certain parts and making good habitat.  There has been some clearance of conifers too.  The area looks good for wildlife.

 

3rd January 2019 – I went to Ashleworth this morning.  The water level is up nicely and conditions look good for waterfowl.  There were a lot of duck present but my visit was to check for wild swans.   2 Mute Swans were present but no others.  Of note were 112 Greylag Geese on a field opposite the reserve.  Quite often there is a large number of Canada Geese and Greylag geese are much lower in numbers. A Bullfinch was of note in Meerend Thicket. Redwings and Fieldfares were foraging in the fields.

          I moved on to WWT Slimbridge to get some photographs of Bewick’s Swan bill pattern which I was able to.  There were about 100 swans on site. 3 Dunlin on the Rushy Pen were of note.

 

2nd January 2019 – I went to try to see the beavers of the Forest of Dean near Brierley.  This time I walked around the enclosure clockwise and while on the high ground looking down into their enclosure, I noted very large ripples in a calm area of the brook for several minutes.  I could see shadows but I could not claim to have seen a beaver.  There is plenty of evidence of them knawing some trees.  I will have to make another visit.

          In the car park at Lower Lydbrook there were many birds including a Mistle Thrush alarm calling but I could not see what was causing the commotion.

 

1st January 2019 – The first bird of the New Year was a Jackdaw which was calling in the dark near to my garden when the fireworks had stopped at about 0015 in the morning.  When it was light, the highlights of breakfast time were a fly over Little Egret and a Greenfinch in a nearby tree, the latter being quite scarce around this region over the past few years.

          I went to RSPB Nagshead and walked up from the stoneworks at Cannop. There were several mixed tit flocks roaming the woodland including Great, Blue, Coal and Long-tailed.  3 Fallow Deer came running towards me before veering away.  I suspect something had spooked them but I could not see what it might have been.

          I went down to the river in the town at dusk in the hope of finding an owl or two.  I found none but there were 7 Little Egrets and 3 Grey Heron in a field opposite the Rope Walk in Ross-on-Wye.

         

 


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