Diary – July to September 2016

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30th September 2016 – I made a short visit to RSPB Nagshead this morning and walked around the short trail where there was a single Fallow Deer feeding. It took no notice of me other than a general look when I first saw it.  It continued to forage and eventually it was lost from sight. 

          In the afternoon at WWT Slimbridge, I noted several Red Admiral butterflies on the ivy near the binocular shop.  On the Tack Piece there were 13 Common Cranes all together.  On Rushy Pen there were 3 Little Grebe and along the Holden Walkway there was Chiffchaff singing. It was a day of sunshine and showers and the afternoon was crystal clear and the autumn colours are beginning to appear as they were in the Forest of Dean this morning.

 

29th September 2016 – From my window early this morning, I noted 14 Cormorants flying together over Ross-on-Wye town. 

 

21st September 2016 – At Wilton Bridge this morning there were three Grey Heron, two Cormorants and one female Goosander.

 

20th September 2016 – There were a good number of Teal at WWT Slimbridge this afternoon.  It is a sign of winter as the first of the winter migrants begin to appear. Along the Holden Walkway, there appeared to be at least 4 Chiffchaff singing.

 

14th September 2016 – A single Kingfisher was actually fishing opposite the public house where I had noted this species before on 7th and 11th of September.

 

13th September 2016 – Today was characterised by a very heavy and prolonged thunderstorm starting at about 1300 in Ross-on-Wye.  There was lots of standing water and I was descending from Penyard Hill.  Amazingly amid the noise of thunder there were birds singing in the trees on the hill.

 

12th September 2016 – I had a walk over Penyard Hill.  There were three Buzzards soaring over the north east portion of the hill and not far away there were Ravens also soaring but also ‘cronking’.  I believe that these are two territories for the respective species as I have seen them in these locations on several occasions.  I have also found two possible nests but this would need to be confirmed later in the winter when breeding displays start and the leaves have fallen from the trees to make visibility better.  All sighting will be sent to the various county raptor groups or rangers as I have always done. When I was descending the hill into Ross-on-Wye, I came across a swarm of small wasps all along a bare earth bank.  These turned out to be a species of Digger Wasp. Finally, there was a bizarre incident in the town itself.  I came across a group of people outside a local café looking at a dead male Pheasant.  It appeared to have ‘fallen out of the sky’!  It may have dropped from a tree but in any event it was unusual to see such a bird in the middle of the town.

 

11th September 2016 - There were two Kingfishers in the same area as on 7th September.

          Two small Wild Boar were foraging along the closed road on near Cannop Ponds in the Forest of Dean.

 

7th September 2016 – There were two Kingfishers flying about along the opposite bank on the River Wye opposite the Hope and Anchor public house in Ross-on-Wye.

 

6th September 2016 – I made an afternoon visit to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge.  3 Ruff were seen from the Halfway Hide and these birds were in close attendance to one another and were feeding all the time. Another of this species was very close to the hide on the South Lake.  There were possibly three different Chiffchaffs singing weakly along the Holden Tower walkway. 

 

31st August 2016 – At least 11 Wild Boar were on the Gloucestershire Way at RSPB Nagshead today.  There may well have been more but the vegetation is still high and they moved away steadily from me.

 

28th August 2016 – There appeared to be a small movement of House Martins over Ross-on-Wye this morning at 0745.  They were flying low over the garden and between the few trees and then they appeared to depart to the south.  Later when I was walking in the town centre, I noted the same species attending their nests.

 

24th August 2016 – I parked in the layby at the Stoneworks at Cannop.  As I drove into the layby, I disturbed a large Wild Boar and 6 young who were foraging in the grass between the layby and the road.  At the moment, the road is closed further to the north so it is very quiet here at the moment.  The initially ran away but I noted when I got out of the car that they had only moved about 20m. into the woodland and were contently digging for food and did not seem perturbed by my nearby presence.  I walked up to Nagshead Information Centre and when I returned about an hour later, there were Wild Boar near the Gloucestershire Way where it joins the Bixslade Tramway.  I suspect that these were the same animals. 

 

18th August 2016 – A Kingfisher was doing what they do best at Wilton Bridge.  It was perched on an overhanging small branch and was plunge fishing and was successful.  It flew off downstream after having its breakfast.  The Sand Martins are still present around the nests under the bridge.

 

17th August 2016 – I surprising found a small flock of Siskins around the short trail at RSPB Nagshead.  I have not seen this species here for some time.

 

14th August 2016 - On the long trail at RSPB Nagshead, the highlight of the day was a group of Fallow Deer including a buck. There were at least 6 individuals.  Otherwise it was very quiet in the woods.

 

13th August 2016 – This morning I managed to read the darvic ring on the Lesser Black-backed Gull that I saw on the 2nd August.  I am making the assumption that this is the same bird.  The dark blue ring had the orange letters ‘AVH’.

 

12th August 2016 – A single Fallow Deer was just off the Gloucestershire Way at RSPB Nagshead today.

 

11th August 2016 – The Sand Martins are still at Wilton Bridge and the Mute Swan with a cygnet which I often see at this location was there again today.  The cygnet is growing well and most of the adult Mute Swans are in full wing moult and look very short in the wings.

 

9th August 2016 – I walked from Ross-on-Wye to Kerne Bridge today.  A Painted Lady butterfly and several Banded Demoiselle damselflies were the highlight.

 

8th August 2016 – Sand Martins still busy at their nests at Wilton Bridge.

 

7th August 2016 – It was very quiet around the RSPB reserve at Nagshead today but a Goldcrest singing on the Gloucestershire Way was a highlight and slightly unusual.  In the same area on my return a very thin looking Red Fox crossed my path.

 

6th August 2016 – I walked around the eastern side of Penyard Hill this morning and then back to Ross-on-Wye along the north side.  There were raptors and Ravens calling from those two sides.  It may be profitable in the winter and into next year to survey this site for nesting attempts.

 

4th August 2016 – As yesterday.

 

3rd August 2016 – The Sand Martins are still at Wilton Bridge.

 

2nd August 2016 – A Lesser Black-backed Gull with a dark blue darvic and orange letters perched briefly on a roof near to where I live but it was fleetingly and I was unable to read the ring.

 

1st August 2016 – I passed Wilton Bridge this morning and noted Sand Martins still going to their nests on the bridge.

 

30th July 2016 – At Symonds Yat, one of the resident Peregrines gave a few masterly flying displays before perching up quite close to the viewpoint.  The other highlight of the trip was of a fine buck Fallow Deer running along the field opposite and then running back again.

 

29th July 2016 – At Wilton Bridge there was still Sand Martins visiting nesting holes in the bridge.  However, there seem to be fewer Swifts gracing the skies today.  There are still House Martins present and a few Swallows although the latter have not been seen in great numbers this year in the Ross-on-Wye area. 

          Swifts were still screaming around the tower of Garway Church at lunchtime.  They are known to nest in this tower.  A Buzzard was soaring just to the south east of Garway village.

 

27th July 2016 – At RSPB Nagshead, I found at least 5 Wild Boar on my walk up the Gloucestershire Way from the Stoneworks.  They moved off to the east.  Later, on the long stretch of the Long Trail, I found a similar number of boar to the east.  They were probably the same animals that I had seen earlier.  Further round my walk on the landrover track leading back to the information centre, I found at least 10 boar and these were different animals to the first two sightings.  Also along this track there were 6 different Red Admiral butterflies all in pristine condition.  I have seen them along this trail in previous years.  I believe they are on the ground to get minerals from the gravel base.  Finally, on my return along the Gloucestershire Way to the Stoneworks, I found 6 boar which were probably the same animals as the first two sightings today.  While I was watching them, a Red Fox came out onto the trail nearby and then trotted off to the north along it. 

 

25th July 2016 – I called in at Ashleworth.  There was still plenty of water in the scrape and the birds present were 11 Mallard, 1 Wigeon, 2 Coot, 3 Moorhen, 1 Mute Swan and 3 Lapwing.  A tractor turning hay in front of the hide caused a bit of unavoidable disturbance so I left to go to WWT Slimbridge today as was my plan.

 It was a fine day and I walked out to Middle Point.  The tide was high and had just begun to fall.  At first there were no birds to be seen but gradually as the tide receded, Black-headed Gulls returned.  They would alight on the water and drift downstream until they encountered rough water and then they would fly back upstream, alight once more and repeat the process until some sand was revealed by the falling tide.  Shelduck also started to appears as this process unwound. 

 

21st July 2016 – A Spotted Flycatcher was still present at RSPB Nagshead today as seen from the return short trail.

 

20th July 2016 – On the Gloucestershire Way at RSPB Nagshead, I noted a single Fallow Deer near the path but otherwise the woods were predictably quiet on this late July afternoon.

 

19th July 2016 – I went to Symonds Yat and at first I went to the alternative viewpoint where I could hear the local Peregrines calling.  A nest of bees in a hole in a nearby oak tree were spilling out.  It was a very hot day and they may have been trying to keep cool. 

 

18th July 2016 – At WWT Slimbridge, I found 11 Green Sandpipers, 1 Common Sandpiper and 3 beautiful Ruff on the Rushy Pen.  Later in the day a White Stork was found on the chimney of the old cottage near the car park.  It had a green darvic ring on it.  This bird was hatched in the wild in Poland last year but collided with power cables on its migration south.  It was taken in to care and transported to eastern England from which it has flown and has been seen in various locations in the east and is now touring the West Country.

 

15th July 2016 – There were two Kestrels near Wilton Bridge today.  One which appeared to be a female with prey, was perched up and calling.  The prey could have been a slowworm or a lizard.  A second bird appeared in apparent response to the call, whereupon the first bird flew and the other followed and were lost from sight behind some trees.

          On Penyard Hill, there was a Buzzard soaring to the north of the hill and later I found one perched over the landrover track on the northern slopes of the hill.  This could have been the same bird.

 

14th July 2016 – Sadly there was another dead Mute Swan on the river today.  This was a different bird and was on the bank just downstream from Wilton Bridge and could not have been the bird that I saw yesterday.  It was before the position of the last sighting of yesterday’s bird and was somewhat decomposed.

 

13th July 2016 – There was a Buzzard yet again soaring over the town as I walked to Wilton Bridge this morning.  Sadly, there was a dead Mute Swan floating down the river.  It looked like it was asleep with its head over its back and tucked under its wings.  It stayed like that and floated away.

 

12th July 2016 – Swifts and Sand Martins were still on the wing at various locations in and around Ross-on-Wye today.  There has been some fantastic flying displays by the former over the past week or so. 

 

11th July 2016 – A Buzzard was soaring over the town when I was walking to Wilton Bridge and another was perched in a small copse to the south of the bridge at the end of the first big field beyond the last houses.

 

9th July 2016 – Sand Martins are still present at Wilton Bridge and the local Mute Swan which I have been watching for a week or so still has 2 cygnets. 

 

6th July 2016 – The Black-headed Gull that I noted on the 4th July was again present and I was able to read the ring.  It is a red darvic with the characters ‘2AFJ’.  I have seen this bird before.  Last November it was near the bandstand which is only about 150m away and it was ringed in Nottinghamshire. 

 

5th July 2016 – Three Buzzards were soaring together over the bandstand down by the river at Ross-on-Wye this morning. One drifted off to the northwest and the others were lost in the glare of the sun.

 

4th July 2016 – Today the first Black-headed Gull of the autumn/winter was present on the river near the Hope and Anchor public house.  It appeared to have a darvic ring on but it was too far away to read it.

 

3rd July 2016 – A Green Sandpiper was of particular note as it flew down river and under Wilton Bridge this morning.

 

2nd July 2016 – While watching the Sand Martins at their nests on Wilton Bridge today, I noted some Goldfinches clinging to the sandstone stonework of the bridge.  They appeared to be getting grit from the crumbling stone. 

 

 1st July 2016 – I noted Blackbirds being fed in the garden today.  This must be at least a second brood.

 

 


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