Diary – July to September 2017



22nd September 2017 – I checked the area around Wilton Bridge today but there was no sign of any hirundines there.  They have all left on migration.


21st September 2017 – There was a small passage of Swallows through Milkwall today.  It is always a pleasure to see them but a little bit of sadness in that there will be none gracing the skies of the Forest of Dean or Herefordshire until next spring.


18th September 2017 – At Wilton Bridge this morning a Cormorant was the only bird actually on the river which is maintaining its slightly higher level than recent weeks.  There were still numbers of House Martins wheeling around just on the downstream side of the bridge.


17th September 2017 – As I was driving east along the M50 motorway, I noted a steady stream of hirundines heading north! There were a few raptors over the motorway too including a possible Peregrine Falcon near the M5/M50 junction. 

          In Ross-on-Wye the river has risen a little after the many heavy rain showers of the past week or so.  There is also a notable presence of small flocks of Canada Geese flying over the town in various directions at all times of the day.


4th September 2017 – Another much lighter Chiffchaff was outside of my kitchen window foraging in a large bush.  See 1st September.


3rd September 2017 – There are still plenty of House Martins and Swallow around Wilton Bridge area and Ross-on-Wye town in general.


1st September 2017 – A very dark Chiffchaff was foraging outside of my kitchen window here in Ross-on-Wye later this morning.  A little later, I heard the same bird or a different one singing.

          At Wilton Bridge just before lunchtime, there were at least 150 Canada Geese and at least 1 Goosander just downstream of the bridge. This gave me an impression of the winter gatherings of this goose species.


31st August 2017 – The first morning mists dropped down below Penyard Hill not long after dawn this morning.  This is a sign of autumn. 

          Later in the morning, a Southern Hawker dragonfly was flying around the swimming pools at Ross-ono-Wye and it eventually landed on the wall to be positively identified.


16th August 2017 – Swallows were still hawking food very low over the grass along the Rope Walk at Ross-on-Wye town today.


15th August 2017 – At Symonds Yat Rock, the two adult resident Peregrines were on show and there was still at least one juvenile still present.  Around the viewpoint, there seemed to be quite a number of Holly Blue butterflies.


13th August 2017 – 2 Black-headed Gulls were on the river at Ross-ono-Wye today.  These were the first of the autumn.


12th August 2017 – I had a walk up from the Stoneworks at Cannop Ponds to the Information Centre at Nagshead.  It was fairly quiet in the woods post breeding and during moulting.  Many summer migrants may have left and winter migrants have not yet arrived.  Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Coal Tit were prominent around the short trail.

          At Cannop Ponds, I found a flock of at least 30 House Martins which were probably on passage.


4th August 2017 – I made a short visit to Symonds Yat Rock.  When I arrived, a short but heavy shower hit the area.  Directly after that, one of the Peregrines appeared in ‘The Shed’ perch but it quickly dropped onto the top of a lower tree which was bathed in sunshine and it remained there drying out in the warmth.  It was the closest perch that I can recall and gave excellent views.  Otherwise, it was fairly quiet. 


2nd August 2017 – It rained most of the day but I did check Cannop Ponds as I was passing.  There are now 6 Tufted Ducks present.  The numbers are very gradually building up for the winter!  All of the resident Mandarin Ducks that I could see are now in eclipse plumage.


1st August 2017 – I noted a number of butterfies around the church at Garway including a few Red Admirals.  There was no sign of the breeding Swifts there.  They must have left on their migration. There were, however, still House Martins sweeping the rolling countryside here.  However, there were some Swifts over Ross-on-Wye this morning and a large number in the evening over the town.

          Sand Martins and Swallows were still present at Wilton Bridge and several Red Admiral butterflies were on the wing around this area too. I have been seeing a number of this species over the past few days and it seems to be a good year for them with what appears to be a recent emergence.


27th July 2017 – There were 2 Red Admiral butterflies on the new fence along the alleyway near Greytree Road this morning. 


24th July 2017 – I returned to the Cannop Valley for another search for the White Admiral butterflies.  If anything, the conditions were better than on July 17th.  It was sunny but a little bit cooler and pleasant.  But, again there was no sign and again the Purple Hairstreak butterflies were on the wing.  I am now thinking that the Admirals have gone extinct in this spot and only a good search next year will confirm my thoughts. Large White, Small White, Red Admiral, Ringlet, Meadow Brown and Purple Hairstreak were the species noted.  A Hornet and a Brown Hawker dragonfly were of note along the road. 

          A Muntjac Deer was browsing on the grass verge near Lydbrook crossroads.  This was an unexpected sighting.


22nd July 2017 – I made a short trip to Cannop Ponds to look again for the White Admirals.  The conditions were not the best in cool conditions and a bit blustery.  There were some spots sheltered from the wind and the sun did shine some of the time but no target species were seen.


17th July 2017 – I went to the Cannop Valley on a warm day to look for White Admiral butterflies but found none.  The conditions seemed to be good but I was wondering if they have emerged early and the season is over or have they gone extinct from this area?  I did not check here last year and do not know if any were seen then.  I need to try again in a few days time.  Unexpectedly, I saw several Purple Hairstreak butterflies in the canopy of the oak trees along the road. 


5th July 2017 – I went to Strumble Head in Pembrokeshire for the day.  It was hot in Ross-on-Wye and I expected it to be cooler on the coast.  This it turned out to be but it was quite foggy with a sea mist all day which just about obscured the lighthouse.  The visibility was very poor but I did see a Razorbill which was in the beach bay along the coastal path.  A Gannet was on the sea and very close at the Head and a Chough flew past me when I was walking the coastal path.  Finally, a flock of Guillemots loomed out of the fog and flew very close to the shore near the observatory.


1st July 2017 – There were several Chiffchaff still singing along the river at Ross-on-Wye this morning and there seems to have been an emergence of Comma butterflies with several seen on bramble along the causeway near Wilton Bridge.  The Sand Martins are very busy at their nests on Wilton Bridge. 



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