Diary – July to September 2010

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30th September 2010 – Nagshead on a spring-like day between 1015 and 1155.  It was sunny, cool and calm.  There was fog in the Severn Valley as seen from Plump Hill en route to Nagshead.  It was generally quiet in the woods but there were several roving tit flocks including Long-tailed Tits.  A Goshawk was soaring over the forestry track at the back of the information centre and there were 3 Fallow Deer in this area too.

          In the afternoon, I went to Slimbridge. At lunchtime, there was a Kestrel over the car park being harried by a corvid.  They drifted off to the north.  From the Zeiss Hide there was a selection of waders including more than 55 Black-tailed Godwits, 10 Ruff, 15 Redshank, 2 Spotted Redshank, 6 Greenshank, 1 Curlew Sandpiper and 3 Dunlin.  From the Holden Tower there were at least 3 Buzzard, a Peregrine, a Kestrel and a beautiful Merlin.  However, the species of note was the first of the White-fronted Geese to appear this winter with 2 adults in front of the tower.   Finally, on South Lake there was a Black-headed Gull with a white darvic ring on the left leg and the inscription read ‘2N21’.  The legs and bill were very orange in contrast to the much more dull red colour of other members of the flock.


28th September 2010 – Ashleworth.  Between 1010 and 1115 it was dull, damp and overcast with a light intermittent drizzle.  I had noted a small flock of hirundines en route and at Hasfield there were at least 20 of them keeping the migration theme going.  2 Red-legged Partridge were again in the Stank Lane area and a Chiffchaff was singing in the copse by the hide but there was no waterfowl visible on the scrape today.

          At Nagshead between 1600 and 1730, the start was in brighter conditions but the drizzle soon returned and was quite sousing when I left.  2 Fallow Deer were on the straight section of the long trail again.  The only butterfly species on the wing here was Speckled Wood. 


26th September 2010 – Eyebrook Reservoir, Leicestershire.  At 1630, it was overcast and dull and starting to drizzle when I looked through the birds that were filling the northern end of the water.  There were many gulls but they were predominantly Black-headed Gulls with a few Common Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  There was only one Great Black-backed Gull and I could not find a Herring Gull at all.  Among the Lapwing were at least 11 Dunlin and separate from them was a Curlew Sandpiper which just had a hint of the summer rufous plumage.  With the rain becoming heavier and the light failing, I departed.


25th September 2010 – Ashleworth was very quite just after lunch.  Today was sunny but with a cold north wind with a cold front having passed through overnight.  There was a lot of Buzzard and corvid activity with a Kestrel and Peregrine also noted again.  Along Stank Lane there was a good number of 7-Spot Ladybirds and several ‘Darter’ dragonflies were on the wing.  There was still one or two Swallows passing on migration.


24th September 2010 – An overcast morning at home at Longhope.  A tit flock made its way along my bank.  Blue Tit, Great Tit and Coal Tit were the components of this flock.  A coincidence that I had noted a similar happening yesterday at Slimbridge.


23rd September 2010 – A short visit to Slimbridge.  Again today it was overcast with some sunny intervals and the temperature was 17 deg . C. at 1230.  On the Top New Piece there were several Snipe, Ruff, Redshank and a small unidentified wader in the distance.  A juvenile Pink-footed Goose was with the Greylag Geese on South Lake.  In the car park as I was leaving at 1730, there was a tit flock roving through the hedges. It included many Blue Tits, fewer Great Tits, some Long-tailed Tits and at least 2 Chiffchaffs.


22nd September 2010 – At Ashleworth it was overcast, quite mild and with a slight breeze.  The temperature at 1200 was 16 deg. C.  There was a big passage of House Martins and some Swallows.  A Peregrine was circling over the reserve and was later seen perched on one of the pylons.  This was the first time that I had seen a bird perched like this since the pylons were painted a couple of weeks or so ago.  A Sparrowhawk and a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker were in Stank Lane and a Kestrel was over the scrape as seen from the hide.  The only waterfowl were 3 Mallard and the injured Canada Goose. 


21st September 2010 – Nagshead RSPB Reserve.  Some sunny intervals and quite warm this afternoon.  The only butterfly species on the wing was Speckled Wood.  There were many Dor Beetles on the damp tracks as I walked to Milkwall and back through the woods around Ellwood where I found at least 6 Wild Boar.  Near Milkwall, there were quite a number of Swallows milling about, providing good evidence of continued migration.


20th September 2010 – Symonds Yat Rock over lunchtime.  I went there to see if I could see the juvenile of the pair of Peregrines which are the Yat regulars as the youngster has reportedly  not been seen of late (only the two adults).  In a three hour session, I did seen 2, possibly 3 Peregrines in the distance to the north of the viewpoint but it was not possible to age them and not be able to see if it was the local pair.  Later, the male perched on one of the rock faces almost hidden by leaves and then he moved to the Ash Tree which is located between the two cliff faces.  Other raptors included at least 5 Buzzards and a Kestrel which put in several appearances over Coppit Hill.  A Sparrowhawk also came through.  Butterflies on this warm day included a ‘blue’ and a Small Tortoiseshell.

          At Nagshead in the late afternoon, it was 18 deg. C.  Speckled Wood butterflies and a Small Copper were in the meadow and a ‘hawker’ dragonfly  was in the car park.  There is much more Boar tillage especially near the track entrance at the main road.  A Fallow Deer was again near the straight section of the long trail walk but otherwise the woods were very quiet.


19th September 2010 – Strumble Head, Pembrokeshire.  It was an overcast but dry day with the wind in the south and force 3 to 4 increasing to 5 later.  Generally the passage of birds was light.  A female Wigeon was with 2 Common Scoter and 3 Great Skuas,  2 Red-throated Divers with a possible 3rd passed.  There were 4 Shearwaters, two each of Manx and Balearic.  Most of the Manx Shearwaters must have left on migration whereas there was a steady trickle of hirundines, mostly Swallows in off the sea.  A walk to the east along the coastal path revealed a large flock of Linnets and a Wheatear.  Also, several Rock Pipits and 3 Chough but none of the warblers seen a fortnight ago.  At the harbour there were 3 Mediterranean Gulls, 1 first winter, 1 second winter and an adult among the Black-headed Gulls.  Of note in the morning en route to the Head, there were 19 Oystercatcher on the grass verge opposite the flagpoles car park in Goodwick.


18th September 2010 – Ashleworth, 1300.  There were some sunny periods and a light breeze but there was a coolness to the day.  There was a large passage of Swallows with a few House Martins present.  To the north of Stank Lane near the top end, there were 3 Hobbies flying.  At least 1 Buzzard was on the wing and together with a Kestrel, these were the raptors noted.  Butterflies  noted were Large White and Speckled Wood.  Odonata included Darter and Hawker species but they were not seen well enough to be identified.  There were a number of 7-spot Ladybirds as well as some Harlequins.  It would appear that at least some of the native ladybirds are surviving the apparent onslaught of the Harlequin invader.


15th September 2010 – Rainham Marshes RSPB Reserve, Essex.  A dry day with some sunny intervals but very windy.  In the conditions which was not condusive  to finding small passerines, the main highlights were of a Hobby overflying and a Manx Shearwater out over the River Thames.  3 Whinchat gave close views and there were a good number of the declining House Sparrow around the visitor centre.  In all, 38 species of bird were recorded.  Butterflies included Small White, Comma and Red Admiral.  Odonata on the wing in the sheltered spots as preferred also by the butterflies were Common Darter and Hawker species.  Bullfrog and Toad were in the many channels.


12th September 2010 – Eyebrook Reservoir, Leicestershire.  A fine day which was still sunny when I arrived at 1800.  1 Knot, 7 Dunlin, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and a Little Egret were of note.  There was a tremendous number of gulls and after careful scanning I could not find an unusual species in this flock.  Wigeon, Teal, Pochard and Gadwall indicated the start of the winter arrivals. 


11th September 2010 – There was a small passage of hirundines over Longhope this morning and a Hobby was overhead.

There were sunny periods with a good breeze and it was warm at Ashleworth at 1300. The only birds on the scrape was the injured Canada Goose and a Moorhen.  Up Stank Lane there were 2 Red-legged Partridge as well as Darter and Hawker species of dragonfly.  A Buzzard was in a tree at the end of the tarmac on the lane.  Butterflies noted was solely a Small White and there was another passage of Swallows over Ham Road at 1425.


10th September 2010 – At Nagshead at 0845, it was overcast, generally dull and breezy.  In these conditions and at this time, I was surprised to see 2 Emerald Damselflies and 2 hawker species on the wing at the Nursery Pond.  A Fallow Deer crossed the straight section of the long trail and there was at least one warbler in the same area.  Migrants are still present it seems.  No butterflies were seen but a Buzzard flew out of the trees on the logging trail behind the information centre.


9th September 2010 – It was overcast at dawn and by 0830 there had been a light shower.  There was rainbow in the west.  A few Swallows and more House Martins were moving through at Longhope.

          At Nagshead at 1005, there were a few sunny periods emerging but it was generally overcast and cool.  A Raven was calling at the far end of the long trail.  There is a lot more tillage by the boar on both the long and short trails.  There were a number of Dor Beetles active but the only butterfly on the wing was the Speckled Wood.  It was 18 deg. C. at 1100. 

          At Kilkenny viewpoint, near Andoversford, there were again Swallows on the wing and some of these were adults, feeding perched young. The temperature had risen to 21 deg. C. by 1700. 


8th September 2010 – A foggy morning, the first for quite a while.  At nearly midnight, this evening, there was a Tawny Owl hooting only  a few metres away from my bedroom window in Longhope.


7th September 2010 – A short visit to Slimbridge revealed a Black Tern over the scrape at the Robbie Garnett hide.


5th September 2010 – Sunny periods at Strumble Head and sea state 2 with the wind in the south.  The seawatch session was highlighted by 2 more Swifts and a steady stream of terns and waders.  Among the terns were several Black Terns and this made the ‘collection’ of terns complete and these were Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Sandwich Tern, Little Tern (today), Black Tern (today) and Roseate Tern (yesterday).  A large pod of Porpoises (about 20) were noted at 0852.  This was a bigger number than usual in one place.  Another bird of note was a juvenile Little Tern which moved fast and steadily to the east.  

          I did another walk along the coastal path to the east and back through the tracks as yesterday.  Today, there were even more passerines in the hedgerow including many Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Spotted Flycatchers and a Redstart.  There were hundreds of Swallows and House Martins and a lone Sand Martin.  A White Wagtail and more Spotted Flycatchers were around the fields near the old coastguard station.  There were occasional light rain showers and these, together with the wind which had shifted to the SSE, were holding up the southerly migration. 

          Later in the afternoon, I went to the harbour by the ferry terminal and was surprised to see 4 Common Dolphins very close in.  This was unusual and they appeared to be in a confused state and were swimming around apparently aimlessly.  News later was that they found their way out as the tide went out overnight. 


4th September 2010 – A morning seawatch at Strumble Head.  Similar weather conditions to yesterday.  Most notable was a small passage of Swifts and a Balearic Shearwater.  A Roseate Tern was another first for me at Strumble Head and on the cetacean front, there were two sights of Common Dolphins with the last being of about 30 animals which passed close in and heading west. 

          I walked to the beach area along the coastal path.  Along the tracks inland towards Tresenwin, there were many Willow Warblers, Chiffchaff and Chaffinch.  Further along the road back towards the lighthouse, there was a Spotted Flycatcher not far from a House Sparrow flock which were in the middle of nowhere and quite a way from any habitation.  Butterflies included Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral and Wall Brown.


3rd September 2010 – Strumble Head, Pembrokeshire.  It was sunny, hazy and warm, about 20 deg. C. at 1500.  Wind was south and a sea state of 2.  There were clouds of flies down by the observatory which was sheltered by the southerly wind.  Wader, Tern and Skua species all passed and 4 Sandwich Terns went east. 

          At the harbour, there were 4 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 adults, 1 2nd year and 1 1st year bird which had a green darvic ring ‘R60S’.  A Swift over the flagpoles was a good September record but although I did not know it at the time but there was more of them to come.  2 Sandwich Terns (one with a metal ring), 2 Common Terns and a White Wagtail were the other birds of note.


2nd September 2010 – Another sunny and warm day.  Walked the rides around Boy’s Grave in the Forest of Dean.  There were several sightings of Fallow Deer and odonata were represented by several specimens of Southern Hawker.  Butterflies noted were Speckled Wood and Peacock. 

          At Woorgreens Lake in the afternoon there were 7 Mallard, the 3 Greylag Geese, one of the adults having a metal ring ‘5221925’.  Butterflies noted were Speckled Wood, Green-veined White and a ‘blue’.  Odonata noted – Southern Hawker, Emerald Damselfly and Large Red at Blackpool Brook Lagoon, Common Hawker and Common Darter in the open area on the way to Dilke Lagoon where there were Common Hawker, Southern Hawker, Common Darter, Ruddy Darter and Emerald Damselfly.  A Hobby flew over the open area on the way back.  House Martins were still around Kensley Lodge and also about 30 were over Woorgreens main lake with at least 2 Swallow. 


1st September 2010 – At Woorgreens in the afternoon, it was about 23 deg. C. after a low of 6 deg C. overnight.  11 Mallard and 3 Greylag Geese (1 juvenile) were the only waterfowl.  Butterflies included Holly Blue and Speckled Wood.  Odonata there and at Blackpool Brook Lagoon were Ruddy Darter, Common Darter, Southern Hawker, Emerald Damselfly and a late Azure Damselfly. 

          At Nagshead at 1620, there were 2 Southern Hawkers at the Nursery Pond and the only butterfly species noted was Speckled Wood.


31st August 2010 – It was a fine, sunny and warm day at Ashleworth.  2 Hobby were very high over the reserve and they were of different size thus suggesting a male and a female.  A Chiffchaff was in full song in Stank Lane.  In the hedge opposite the hide there was a male and female Blackcap and a Common Whitethroat.  Butterflies included Speckled Wood and Large White.  Odonata noted were two different Southern Hawkers in Stank Lane and a Ruddy Darter in Ham Road.  Later there were at least 80 House Martins in a ‘cloud’ over The Boat public house at Ashleworth Quay.

          At Longhope, 2 Swallows passed at 1815.


30th August 2010 – At Plump Hill at 1015, a Cormorant with light underparts circled several times.  It was 14 deg C. at 1000 and the daily max of 19 deg. C. was after I had left at 1500.  A Raven was heard and 5 were seen very high over the aerials later.  Another Coal Tit flock (see 29th August) was seen early on, and House Martins were present in the Haygate Road and Woodgate Road area of Cinderford.  (Hirundines were over Longhope at 0945).  At least 4 Chiffchaffs were together by the aerials.  Butterflies included, Speckled Wood, ‘White’, Holly Blue and Brimstone.  Odonata, all noted at Edgehills Pond were Large Red (several), Black Darter (4), Common Darter (5+), Ruddy Darter (1), Emerald Damselfly (10+), Common Hawker (4+) and a ‘Blue’.


29th August 2010 – Nagshead RSPB Reserve.  In the morning it was overcast with some sunny intervals  and a light shower.  It was 14 deg. C. at 0900 with a cool north west breeze.  Song Thrushes were of note on the lower part of the short trail.  A Goldcrest was with a flock of at least 6 Coal Tits were near Nagshead Lodge.  Yet another Coal Tit flock was just on the long trail at the western end of the heath.  A Blue Tit flock of more than 10 individuals were near the path to the Campbell Hide and a flock of Long-tailed Tits was near the information centre.  Thus there appeared to be a lot of activity of the smaller species today.  At the Lower Hide, a Kingfisher was fishing and at least 5 fish were caught.  Butterflies noted included Speckled Wood and a ‘White’ and the sole odonata was a ‘Red Darter’ at the information centre.


28th August 2010 – Ashleworth.  There was a steady hirundine passage all morning again.  There was not quite the numbers of 24th August but it was a significant movement.  Both House Martins and Swallows were present.  Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Common Whitethroat were in the hedge opposite the hide and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was calling from the thicket.  On the scrape area, the only waterfowl are 3 Mallard and a Canada Goose.  A walk up Stank Lane revealed the highlight of the morning as I looked back across the reserve.  There was a Marsh Harrier gradually drifting north and being harried by corvids.  This was a chocolate brown bird with a yellow crown thus it must be either an immature male or a female.  It was too far away to make out any finer detail.  Later, I noted a number of 7-spot Ladybirds along the lane which seems in general to indicate a bigger number than over the last two years.  A Redstart was also present in the lane.  Later, from the hide, a Cormorant overflew as did a Hobby and a Treecreeper was nearby.  Butterflies noted today were Green-veined White, Brimstone and  Speckled Wood on this bright and breezy day. Odonata were thin on the ground with only Hawker and Darter species noted but no definite identification was made.


27th August 2010 – Nagshead in the late afternoon and early evening.  A dry day until a shower at 1845 when I was finishing my walk.  Of note there was a flock of Siskins near Nagshead Lodge and a Red Fox which I thought was initially asleep as I approached. It was just off the logging trail where I often see a lone Fallow Deer.  Of the deer, today, there was no sign. 


26th August 2010 – Another very wet day.  Over the past week up to midnight tonight there has been over 60mm of rain which is approaching 2 ½ inches.


25th August 2010 – A very wet day today.


24th August 2010 – Ashleworth in the morning was pleasantly warm with some sunny periods but with a strong breeze.  There was a very large movement of both House Martins and Swallows.  A Sparrowhawk, possibly with prey was in the copse to the north of the hide.  There is much more water in the scrape in front of the hide with muddy edges and mud islands no longer present and the rhine at the top of Stank Lane has now about a foot of water in it (dry a week ago) and it is flowing strongly to the south.  This is as a result of the recent rain, 37mm having fallen in the past 6 days.  On the scrape there was a Grey Heron, a Moorhen, 2 Mallard and a smaller duck which was difficult to see but may have been the first Teal of the winter.


22nd August 2010 – Strumble Head, Pembrokeshire.  There were many misty patches en route to the Head but upon arrival there at 0745, I found plenty of sunshine and a sea state of about 3 with excellent visibility.  The wind was southerly at the beginning but by midday had gone around to the south west.  A large variety of species passed the observatory during the morning and early afternoon.  Great Skua, Arctic Skua, many terns including ‘Commic’, Arctic and Sandwich Terns passed.  Knot and Sanderling were the waders noted and in the afternoon there were several Balearic Shearwaters passing.  During my time there, a steady build up of rafts of Kittiwakes, auks and Manx Shearwaters occurred offshore.  Several Mediterranean Gull of various ages joined these rafts.


19th August 2010 – It was warm but generally overcast at Nagshead RSPB Reserve in the late afternoon.  The woods were very quiet and nothing of note was seen apart from a Spotted Flycatcher in the Meadow area. 


18th August 2010 – Ashleworth in the late afternoon had a warm westerly wind and there were sunny periods following a heavy shower after lunchtime.  There was another passage of hirundines, this time being mainly House Martins.  A Green Sandpiper and a Grey Heron were on the scrape and a Painted Lady butterfly was near the hide.


17th August 2010 – It was warm at Ashleworth in the morning but there was slight rain.  A large flock of Long-tailed Tits including juveniles was along Ham Road.  2 Ravens were in the trees at the top of Stank Lane and they were calling almost incessantly.  There continued to be a small passage of hirundines.  Workmen painting the pylons on Hasfield Ham were probably causing some unintentional disturbance to that area. 


16th August 2010 – A visit to Symonds Yat this time produced the juvenile Peregrine (missing on Friday 13th August) which was plucking/eating prey on a ledge on the right hand cliff.  This was particularly pleasing to see and a successful breeding year after two years of failure (this years adults are new birds to the territory).  7 Fallow Deer were in the ‘D’ shaped field.

          At Nagshead RSPB Reserve later in the afternoon it was still sunny and warm (25 deg C. at 1500).  A Spotted Flycatcher and a begging youngster were trees in the meadow area.  Along the logging trail, at the usual place, there was the solitary Fallow Deer.


14th August 2010 – A morning of very heavy rain (10mm by 1530).  At Ashleworth at 1130, the weather had dried up a little.  There was a large movement of Swallows and House Martins moving through and most of the time at very low level.  Up Stank Lane, I noted two Swallows flying upwards quite rapidly with their breasts almost touching.  It appeared that one was feeding the other and the bird on the receiving end landed in a nearby tree and I was able to see that it was a juvenile with quite a yellow gape.  The youngster then chased the adult as if soliciting more food.  I had never seen this behaviour with this species before.  In the rhine at the top of the lane, I found myself looking down at a Mink which was ambling up the dried up bed.  It did not look up and did not see me.  Back at the hide, I disturbed a Buzzard which was in a small tree by the door.  It only flew a short distance to another tree before flying a second time around the hide and was lost from view.  It looked to be in heavy moult and somewhat bedraggled, possibly having got a soaking earlier in the morning. The scrape in front of the hide has very low water now and there are mud patches showing in the middle.  A juvenile Little Egret flew in for a few minutes and then flew out again.


13th August 2010Nagshead.  Very quiet as expected this afternoon between 1300 and 1500 with only a Bullfinch party along the short trail of note.  The Red Admirals were not on the logging trail.  They must be gone for the season now but I did see the lone Fallow Deer again in the usual place.

          Symonds Yat beween 1525 and 1625 was also fairly quiet.  There were 3 Goshawk over Coppit Hill at 1530 and there were 4 Buzzard together in the same area at about 1600.  There was a noticeable passage of House Martins during my stay.  Unfortunately there were no Peregrines seen which was the aim of my trip so see if the juvenile of the year was still progressing.  I will try to make another visit in the next few days.


12th August 2010 – Nagshead 1115 – 1230.  At the far end of the long trail on a very breezy day, there was a male Goldcrest with a brilliant orange crest, actively pursuing a female in the midst of a mixed tit flock.  The lone Fallow Deer was around the logging track in the place that I have seen one several times before.

          I drove over the old Severn Bridge (M48 motorway) and a Peregrine passed over the bridge at the eastern end.

          At Slimbridge I stayed only a short while to deliver some paperwork but there were 2 Black-tailed Godwits and a Green Sandpiper from the Robbie Garnett hide. At Middle Point, there seemed to be a good scattering of birds over the estuary where the tide was out.  Gulls, Curlew, Shelduck, 2 Little Egret were among the species present. There were some heavy rain showers in the vicinity and I left at 1530 with the temperature at 18 deg C. but the wind was gusting in the shower activity.

          By 1100, the sky had cleared and I spent 20 minutes at home in Longhope looking for evidence of the Perseids meteor shower.  This proved to be a good spectacle with the forecast of about one per minute being the rate that I saw them.


11th August 2010 - At Edgehills Pond over the top of Plump Hill, I found 2 Black Darter dragonfly, which is the first that I have seen in Gloucestershire.  Common Hawker, Common Darter and Emerald Damselfly were also on the wing. 


10th August 2010 – At Ashleworth, a Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust work party was busy on the reserve in front of the hide so I did not stop there.  I did find evidence of breeding Hobby at a site in the county.


9th August 2010Nagshead. It was very quiet today between 1000 and 1115 around the woods and the Red Admiral butterflies do not seem to be on the logging track anymore. 


8th August 2010Edgehills Pond near Plump Hill.  Odonata noted included 2 Emperor Dragonflies, several Emerald Damselflies, 2 Common Darter and 3 Common Hawker.  It was overcast, humid with some sunny intervals.


7th August 2010 – I made a day visit to Strumble Head in Pembrokeshire today.  I seawatched between 0715 and 1130 and was particularly interested in the movements of Manx Shearwaters to the east from their breeding islands early on which dropped away to just a few birds.  There were quite a number of this species in rafts offshore with gulls and auks.  Great Skua(2), a juvenile Mediterranean Gull among the Kittiwakes and several Common Scoter passed to the west were the highlights of the watch.  I went for a walk along the coastal path to the east and near the site of the old coastguards lookout, I found 2 Wheatear, a Common Whitethroat and a Great Tit, the latter species unusual on the coast.  On my return in the late afternoon, there were 3 Mediterranean Gulls offshore at the Flagpoles car park in Goodwick.


6th August 2010 – Quite a number of hirundines over Longhope today suggesting a passage of these species.


3rd August 2010 – I made a late visit to Ashleworth at 1800.  The evening was spectacular in the myriad of cloud formations.  There were very dark clouds to the north west with an impression of imminent rain.  To the north east, the clouds were slightly lighter but still dark but in front of them and thus closer to me were fluffy white cumulus clouds which stood out with the darkness behind them.  To the south and extending overhead to eventually blend in with the dark, heavy clouds was a mackerel sky with many tiny clouds of various white, cream, yellow, pink and orange hues.  It became quite windy for a time which was probably tied in with some precipitation to the far west.  During this time there appeared to be a small passage of swallows which were hawking insects of the recently cut fields whilst on their was south.  In the rhine at the western end of Stank Lane there was an adult Mute Swan with at least one cygnet.  The vegetation around this area is very high and dense and there may well be more swan offspring of the year lurking therein thus making it difficult to assess the breeding success of the local birds.  In the hedgerows, there appeared to be many birds on the move including young of several species such as some of the warblers, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff.


2nd August 2010 – I went down to Poor’s Allotment at Tidenham Chase to view any odonata that might be on show.  It was a site for the Black Darter dragonfly in former years but I understood that it had not been reported from this site in recent years.  Although I had made a recent visit to find the location of the pool, I was surprised to see how much it had dried up and was no more than a muddy puddle which had been churned up by the local cattle.  The only odonata seen was a single specimen of an Emerald Damselfly. 


1st August 2010Nagshead RSPB Reserve on a generally overcast day with the temperature at 1000 being 18 deg. C.  There were a number of juvenile birds around the woods this morning including tit species and warblers.  A large number of Gatekeepers were feeding on flowers at the side of the logging trail but there were no Red Admiral butterflies to be seen in the usual places but there were a number of Speckled Wood butterflies flying up from the track as I walked along as the Red Admirals had been doing.


29th July 2010Crickley Hill Country ParkAn overcast day with some sunny intervals.  Butterflies included for the first time this year, Chalkhill Blues and Walls ( in Gloucestershire).  Other species noted there included Small White, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Meadow Brown, Large White, Small Heath, Gatekeeper, Common Blue, Small Blue and Large Skipper making 12 species at this location.  A Hummingbird Hawk Moth was of note.

          At Prestbury Hill, Bill Smylie Reserve, the butterflies included Dark-green Fritillary, Peacock, Ringlet, Marbled White, Green-veined White, Small Skipper, Common Blue and Gatekeeper making 17 species for the day. 

          At Coombe Hill Canal ( Wainlodes end), I went to look for Purple Hairstreak butterflies and eventually I found them in the early evening.  A beautiful, pristine Painted Lady was of note and other species included Meadow Brown, Comma, Green-veined White and Speckled Wood.  This makes the daily count of butterfly species 21 and 40 for the year in Gloucestershire.


28th July 2010Nagshead.  There were several Gatekeeper butterflies near the Nursery Pond where there were several Emerald Damselflies and a Pipit species which was probably a Tree Pipit.  The meadows have been cut since Friday 23rd July.  Later, I returned to Nagshead and found one Red Admiral butterfly at the usual location.


25th July 2010 – Slade Bottom near St Briavels.  It was a warm and humid day and I was able to find 2 White-letter Hairstreaks on Hemp Agrimony alongside the track on the ‘butterfly ride’. 

          At Nagshead, there was one Red Admiral butterfly on the usual logging track at the cross roads with the long trail.


24th July 2010Ashleworth.  A Little Egret was on the scrape in front of the hide with a Grey Heron this morning on a cloudy day.  The temperature was 19 deg C. at 1600.


23rd July 2010Nagshead.  It was an overcast day with some sunny intervals.  Along the track between the meadows down the slope from the old information centre there were 13 species of butterfly in less than 100m.  They were Large Skipper, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Gatekeeper, Small Copper, Common Blue, Comma, Silver-washed Fritillary, Ringlet and Meadow Brown.  There was a Red Admiral by the new information centre making 14 species of butterfly for the afternoon.  Earlier, there were at least 4 male Fallow Deer on the western ridge above Cannop Ponds, one animal was ‘in velvet’.


22nd July 2010Nagshead and the Cannop Valley again.  Sunny Periods but with heavier rain showers.  The butterflies noted were similar to yesterday but there were 4 Red Admirals along the usual forest track and 2 more on the drive down from the information centre.  The highlight of the afternoon was a wild boar with at least 4 boarlets on the lower part of the short trail.


21st July 2010Nagshead and the Cannop Valley.  A day of sunny periods and a few light showers in the afternoon.  Around the trails the butterflies noted included various White species, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Silver-washed Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Common Blue and Red Admiral.  There was only one of the latter on the usual forest track.


17th July 2010 – At Nagshead, it was an overcast  and breezy afternoon with a few sunny periods.  19 deg. C. at 1400.  I walked to Cannop and along the short and long trails.  9 species of butterfly were noted including Comma, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Large White, Green-veined White, Speckled Wood, Silver-washed Fritillary and Red Admiral.  Of the latter, there were 7 individuals along the usual forest track.  Odonata species included Four-spot Chaser, Emperor Dragonfly, Broad-bodied Chaser, Black-tailed Skimmer and Large Red Damselfly all at the Nursery Pond and an Azure Damselfly at Cannop.  At the north pond at Cannop, there was the unusual sighing of at least 4 Green Sandpipers.  This is my first record of this species at this location and it was all the more unusual with so many people milling around the pond.  A Fallow Deer at the far end of the long trail was a singleton.


15th July 2010 – A very wet and quite windy evening.


14th July 2010 – Sunshine and showers today.  At Nagshead, the Red Admiral butterflies (4) were still on the logging track and one was on the drive from the information centre.  Otherwise, Nagshead was quiet after the heavy rain.


13th July 2010 – 5mm of rain today made a change from the very dry period of late. 


12th July 2010 – Some rain this morning, the first for nine days and then there was only a millimetre that fell. In reality, it is 28 and 29 days when ‘proper’ rain fell with 2 and 30 millimetres respectively.  At least today there were puddles on the road when I got up this morning.


11th July 2010 – Nagshead in the late afternoon was very quiet in terms of bird sound but there were 6 Red Admiral butterflies as usual along the main logging track (See 8th July).  


10th July 2010 – I made a short visit ‘down the road’ to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge to look for the White-tailed Plover which had been reported late yesterday.  It was apparently settled and feeding around the water to be seen from the Zeiss Hide when I arrived mid-afternoon.  A beautiful bird in what appeared to be fine plumage. 


9th July 2010 – Slade Bottom, St Briavels again.  The day was hot and humid.  Surprisingly there were far fewer butterflies on the wing in this valley compared to the 5th July.

          At Foxes Bridge, there were virtually no butterflies on the wing as the day had become overcast yet the temperature and the humidity seemed to remain high.


8th July 2010 – Warm again.  At Nagshead, the woods were quiet in terms of bird song now that the breeding season is over.  Amazingly, there were 6 Red Admiral butterflies along the trail as yesterday.  These insects are very predictable but the Wood Warblers which have been singing at several points along the long trail have ceased and none were heard today.


7th July 2010 – Yet another warm day.  At the viewpoint at Newnham, there were 2 or possibly 3 Green Sandpipers on the sandbanks on the river. 

          At Nagshead, a juvenile Great-spotted Woodpecker on the lower part of the short trail indicated local breeding.  There were 4 Red Admiral butterflies along the usual forest track (see 3rd July).


6th July 2010 – A warm day with sunny periods and todays location was Daneway Banks to look for Large Blue butterflies.  None were found and since none were found last year as far as I know, and an earlier visit this year was unproductive, it seems that this species is extinct here. A Gatekeeper butterfly was  new for the year, bringing my total (for fun) to 37 species.

          Along the canal in Siccaridge Wood, an Emperor Dragonfly was of note as were several Silver-washed Fritillaries.


5th July 2010 – Slade Bottom, St Briavels.  Many butterflies in this delightful valley including a large number of Comma Butterflies.  A Golden-ringed dragonfly was of note.

          Tidenham Chase and Poor’s Allotment.  Not much water in the pond at the latter but there were at least 4 Broad-bodied Chasers and 1 Four-spotted Chaser and 2 Emperor Dragonflies were over the bracken. At the new pond on the Chase, there were another 3 Broad-bodied Chasers and near the pond an Essex Skipper butterfly was a new one for the year.


4th July 2010 – Many Swifts overhead at Edgehills Bog on a generally windy but overcast day.


3rd July 2010 – 2 White Admirals at Cannop Ponds on a warm day with sunny periods. 

          At Nagshead RSPB Reserve, there were 7 Red Admirals along the forest track between the long and short trails. 


2nd July 2010 – At Nagshead after overnight rain, the woods were exceedingly quiet after the activity yesterday.  At Cannop Ponds, specifically on the cycle track just to the north of the northern pond, I found my first White Admiral butterfly of the year. Of note also, there were very many froglets on the cycle path near the southern pond.  They were on the move after the rain had freshened up the habitat after the long dry and warm spell.


1st July 2010 – Overcast, breezy and mild.  19 deg. C. at 0925.  At Nagshead, a Grey Wagtail at the Nursery Pond was unusual.  The woods were full of juvenile birds in family parties including a Coal Tit and Nuthatch families along the lower part of the short trail.  One Wood Warbler was still singing along the long trail.

          At Symonds Yat, both adult Peregrines were on show and what appeared to be one juvenile appeared several times at the entrance to the nest hole and did some preening.  There is still some fluffy white feathers in the wings and the head pattern is indistinct but I would think that the bird will fledge in the next two or three days which is about right based on the estimates of hatching and changes of behaviour of the parents. 




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