Diary – July to September 2015


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30th September 2015 – I walked through RSPB Nagshead again today and found some Wild Boar in the same general area that I have been seeing them in.  I managed to get some photographs (see the Photography page).


29th September 2015 – At RSPB Nagshead, there were two different Kingfishers at the lower hide.  There was a male and a female.  Today I had a record count of Wild Boar in one day with 55 animals seen.  A further 15 were reported to me by a visitor in another area. 


28th September 2015 – I got up at 0300 to take some pictures of a total eclipse of the moon (see photograph page). 

          This afternoon I walked up the Gloucestershire Way from the Stoneworks at Cannop.  Two Fallow Deer and lots of Wild Boar again were seen again.


27th September 2015 – At RSPB Nagshead today there was a sizable flock of House Martins over the Information Centre which was a sign of a small passage of this species.  There were Wild Boar beyond the far end of the short trail and again they ran off only to reappear and come close to me again on two occasions.  I have not seen this type of behaviour until recently.


25th September 2015 – I repeated my walk from 22nd September and again found many Wild Boar.  It would appear that their behaviour has changed over the past few weeks.  Instead of the usual herd of between 10 and 20 animals, there appears to be more groups of smaller numbers.  Every 100m or so there was another small group and they numbered perhaps 6 to 8 individuals.  They forage close and only run off when really disturbed but they don’t go far and the larger ones come back and look at the source of disturbance and they do this several times.  In months past, they would run off and never be seen again.  Are they being disturbed by any culling?  Are they being fed? 


24th September 2015 – I spent the day at Strumble Head.  A few Manx Shearwaters were still passing but the most numerous species was the Kittiwake and there were also many auks flying by.  I only noted 5 Common Scoter and there were no skuas sighted.  However 2 Sandwich Terns were of note and Gannets of varying ages were passing at a steady rate.  Several Choughs were along the coastal path in the afternoon when I walked to the east of the lighthouse.


22nd September 2015 – I did the same walk as 17th September and again there were plenty of Wild Boar along the Gloucestershire Way. 


21st September 2015 – When I drove into the car park between the two ponds at Cannop at dusk this evening, there was a lone Fallow Deer which did not immediately run away.  Instead, it moved without hurrying to the back of the car park and then drifted away into a small group of Birch saplings and disappeared.


20th September 2015 – Surprisingly, a group of at least 8 Wild Boar came running up to me at the far end of the short trail at lunchtime.  The stopped short by about 10 metres and began foraging and then after a warning grunt from one of them, they ran off to the east but left two behind in the bracken.  One of these suddenly ran off in the same direction a minute or so after the main group had gone and then another emerged from the bracken and did the same.


19th September 2015 – I repeated the walk that I did on the 17th September.  Today there were no Boar seen but there was one Fallow Deer on the Gloucestershire Way.


17th September 2015 – I walked up to the centre at Nagshead this afternoon from the Stoneworks at Cannop.  I have never seen so many Wild Boar.  There were at least 4 groups on the Gloucestershire Way and 2 other groups elsewhere.  I did not do a count but there must have been at least 30 animals. 


13th September 2015 – A stunning Kingfisher in early morning sunlight was over the northern pond at Cannop today.


12th September 2015 – At least 150 House Martins were over the southern pond at Cannop early this morning.  Undoubtedly this was a day of passage.


9th September 2015 – There are still House Martins attending nest near the garden centre at Cannop Cross Roads in spite of the steady passage over the past few days.


8th September 2015 – Yet more House Martins passing Milkwall today but a bit less in number than the past two days.


7th September 2015 – A few more House Martins were passing Milkwall again today.


6th September 2015 – A steady stream of House Martins were passing through Milkwall today.


31st August 2015 – At RSPB Nagshead, there was a small party of Wild Boar at the far end of the short trail late this afternoon.  There were young animals there and I am fairly sure this is the same group that I have seen on two previous days recently in this general area on the reserve.


28th August 2015 – There was a small group of Wild Boar along the Gloucestershire Way at RSPB Nagshead this afternoon and these were probably the same group that I had seen on the Bixslade Tramway a few days ago.


26th August 2015 – I spent a few hours at Symonds Yat this afternoon.  The local Peregrines were not showing very well at all.  In fact, I only noted one bird for a few minutes.  However, a Hobby put in some fancy aerial manoeuvers before flying to the north.  There were the usual Buzzards flying about and there were many House Martins on passage.


24th August 2015 – There was drizzle on and off all day.  On the Bixslade Tramway near the Gloucestershire Way was a small family of Wild Boar.  There were at least 7 individuals including some young, golden brown individuals which had lost their stripes.  A lone Red Fox was at the far end of the short trail at RSPB Nagshead.


22nd August 2015 – I went to the Birdfair at Rutland Water today.  I got my Zeiss binoculars cleaned and new eyecups fitted for free while I waited at their stand.  Of note was an Osprey over the site. 


16th August 2015 – A Painted Lady butterfly was in a friend’s garden at Milkwall, Forest of Dean today.


14th August 2015 – There was over 26mm of rain overnight.  My dear friend, Fred Carman passed away early this morning in Gloucester hospital after a short illness.


13th August 2015 – There were at least 50 House Martins over Parkend village at about 8pm  onwards and there were also a few Swallows and one or possibly two Swifts.


9th August 2015 – A lot of hirundines were over Cannop Ponds this afternoon.  There were probably more than I have seen there on any one day this year.


7th August 2015 – I walked past Wilton Bridge at Ross-on-Wye and noted many House Martins there.  It may be a small passage of these birds.


6th August 2015 – Six Buzzards were in the air over the top of May Hill this afternoon.  A male Redstart was near the wall on the western slope.


5th August 2015 – I have been away and have no natural history notes to report. 


30th July 2015 – At the far end of the short trail at RSPB Nagshead, I found a Spotted Flycatcher.  Otherwise the woods were fairly quiet.


28th July 2015 – At Garway Church there is still evidence of Swifts at their nest sites in the tower but they are very few and far between now.  The churchyard was alive with Gatekeeper Butterflies. 

          A juvenile male Blackcap was along the long trail at RSPB Nagshead this afternoon which suggests proof of breeding in the area.  The Rowan Trees have ripe berries now in some cases.  I wonder if there will be any left by the time that the winter thrushes arrive?  A Fox was on the trail at the rear of the information centre and, at the Nursery Pond, three Swallows were gathering mud for nesting and appeared to be flying to the east with it. 


27th July 2015 – There are still some Sand Martins flying around their nesting sites at Wilton Bridge, Ross-on-Wye today but there appear not to be very many present. 


20th July 2015 – I was walking along the Gloucestershire Way at Nagshead in light drizzle.  A Wild Boar grunted at me from under the very tall Bracken very near to the path.  However, I never saw the animal because of the thickness of the vegetation.


19th July 2015 – A White Admiral Butterfly passed through a garden in Milkwall, Forest of Dean this afternoon.  I was treated to a second fly by not long after.  This was a rare record and a first for the garden in this location.


17th July 2015 – I made a short walk up May Hill from my home over the top and down through Bearfoot Wood where a Spotted Flycatcher was present in the conifer woodland.  I returned over the hill again and retraced my path.


16th July 2015 – A Chiffchaff was singing in the car park at Cannop Ponds opposite the causeway between the two lakes. 


15th July 2015 – At Garway Church there were still a few Swifts present and some still visiting nests in the tower.  There appeared to be a passage of House Martins and Swallows. 

          On May Hill there were at least 2 Redstarts in among the trees on top of the hill and another bird in the long grass to the west of the summit.  By now the day was sunny and warm after a dull and humid morning. 


10th July 2015 – I found my first sighting of the year of a Gatekeeper Butterfly on the A40 at Longhope.  I went to Wilton Bridge and the Sand Martins were still evident on this quite warm day. 


9th July 2015 – I made the same observations as on the 6th July.


6th July 2015 – The Sand Martins at Wilton Bridge, Ross-on-Wye are still very active at their nests.


5th July 2015 – My first sighting of the year of a Painted Lady near the working mine on Bixslade Tramway.  It was a busy day in the Forest of Dean but there was a single Fallow Deer on the Gloucestershire Way at RSPB Nagshead. 


4th July 2015 – I made a short walk in the late afternoon at RSPB Nagshead where I found 13 Wild Boar on the short trail.  It was a beautiful and still afternoon in dappled sunshine and pleasantly warm. 


3rd July 2105 – I was back in the area of Cannop Ponds and today I found some White Admiral butterflies. I noted at least 3 different individuals.  Silver-washed Fritillaries were on the wing as were Red-eyed Damselflies on the southern pond.  Swallows were alighting briefly on the ground and gathering short pieces of dead grass.  This was presumably to make or repair nests for a second brood.  A Golden-ringed Dragonfly sighting near the Stoneworks was a first for the year as was a Large Skipper butterfly along Bixslade Tramway.


2nd July 2015 – What a difference twenty four hours make.  Today, it was about 15 deg C. and light drizzle all day until about 1630 when the sun came out and it was a pleasant late afternoon in the Forest of Dean.  RSPB Nagshead reserve was very quiet and serene in the dappled shade of the lateness of the day.


 1st July 2015 – It was a very odd day today.  The temperature was in excess of 32 deg. C. but it was generally overcast and humid with the very occasional large drops of rain which really came to nothing.  I spent some time at the Nursery Pond at RSPB Nagshead trying to take some photographs of odonatan in flight.  I eventually got some reasonable pictures.  Afterwards, I went to look for White Admiral butterflies at Cannop but in the overcast conditions, I failed to find any.  However, I did see a Silver-washed Fritillary.



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