Diary – June to September 2018



30th September 2018 – A very quiet day around the trails at RSPB Nagshead today as expected at this time of year.  At home, a couple of House Martins passed through.  Will I get to see an October hirundine?


29th September 2018 – It was quite foggy in the river valley this morning but it cleared quite quickly and a Chiffchaff was in the bushes outside my kitchen window.  There were again two very small passage flocks of House Martins, one in the morning and another at lunchtime.  Of note, a Goshawk flew over my home having apparently come from the direction of Penyard Hill or Chase Hill.


28th September 2018.  A lone House Martin passed my home this morning and a Little Egret flew over at about the same time.  At Wilton Bridge, the 4 Mute Swan cygnets are still going strong.  A dead Jay in the road near the bridge was an unusual species for this area.


27th September 2018 – The past few days have had a real autumn feel to them.  There has been a lot of sunshine but not with any heat and there has been a cooling breeze.  Some nights have been quite cold, almost giving a frost.  The trees are just beginning to turn to their autumn colours although many Horse Chestnuts have already gone very red-brown.


22nd September 2018 – There were two small, passing flocks of hirundines today.  One was seen just after breakfast and the other moved through in the late afternoon.


19th September 2018 – The steady trickle of hirudines passing Ross-on-Wye continued today.  A visit to Wilton Bridge gave the sight of the 4 Mute Swan cygnets still progressing well and now as big as their parents.


18th September 2018 – There were still hirundines passing as yesterday.


17th September 2018 – There were still some House Martins passing this morning over Ross-on- Wye.


16th September 2018 – There was a steady passage of House Martins over my area later this afternoon between some heavy rain showers.


15th September 2108 – I moved on the Strumble Head today.  The wind was quite light and from the south west and the visibility improved during the morning from good to excellent as a light rain shower passed by.  There were no rare passage birds noted but the usual sighting of Herring Gull, Lesser and Great Black-backed Gulls, Kittiwake, Gannet, Manx Shearwater, Cormorant, Shag, Razorbill, Guillemot and Oystercatcher.  A Rock Pipit spent a long time foraging in the short grass near the observatory and I had a first for the location in the form of a Red Kite.  Although they are a common occurrence in inland Wales, to see one over the sea is a little bit more unusual.   I walked to the nearby beach and had sighting of a Peregrine perched up on a known spot and Stonechats were on the gorse along the coastal path.  Also slightly unusual here was the small passage of Black-headed Gulls.  More usual was some late passage Swallows coming in off the sea and these may well have some from Ireland.  Back in Goodwick in the dark of the evening, I could hear the sounds of seals and wader near the inner breakwater and these included the distinctive call of the Oystercatcher.


14th September 2018 – I was in the Fishguard area today and walked the inner breakwater.  There were two seals in the harbour which were both Atlantic Grey Seals but one was very much bigger than the other.  They must have been a male and female and he was nuzzling her to get her attention.


12th September 2018 – There were a presence of hirundines down river from Wilton Bridge at 1500 today.  I don’t think that they were the breeding bird from around the bridge area as they were several hundred metres to the south and did not seem to go near the bridge.  I suspect that they were passage birds that had found a food source in that area.


9th September 2018 – For the last 3 days there has been a constant passage of hirundines.  This is reflected on the internet as fairly widespread across the country.


5th September 2018 – There is still a lot of hirundine activity near Wilton Bridge.  They are probably raising some late broods but they will all be leaving any day now.


4th September 2018 – Yet more passage of birds this evening and they were mostly House Martins.


1st September 2018 – While travelling to Hereford on the bus from Ross-on-Wye, I noted a steady passage of hirundines.


31st August 2018 – There were yet more hirundines passing today and they were all House Martins as far as I could see.  There was still some Swallow activity around the buildings near Wilton Bridge later in the day. Of note from my kitchen window were 5 Buzzards soaring together to the north east of the town.


29th August 2018 – There were more hirundines passing Ross-on-Wye today.


24th August 2018 – It was a showery day but there were still some hirundines passing where I live today between the showers.


23rd August 2018 – There was a Little Egret foraging and wading in the shallows of the River Wye just downstream of Wilton Bridge today which was probably the bird that I had noted on the 20th August.  This time I had a definite identification.


22nd August 2018 – There were a number of Ravens calling and flying around a ridge to the south east of Garway church today.


20th August 2018 – I had a possible sighting of a Little Egret just downriver from Wilton Bridge today but it was far away and I could not be certain of the identification.  I have not seen this species in the town area recently.


12th August 2018 – It started to rain not long after dark last night and seemed to continue through the night and into the morning.  I went to RSPB Nagshead after lunch and the rain was very slight and often stopped but it was humid and dull.  Around the short trail I found two Treecreepers on one tree and a Nuthatch hanging from a very small twig trying to get something from the twig below it.  This was unusual behaviour in that it was not present on either the trunk or a substantial branch.  Halfway around the walk, I found three boarlets but I could not see the parents.  The small ones trotted off to the north after I had been watching them for about five minutes.  A juvenile Spotted Flycatcher was also present along the trail. 

          At home there were a lot of House Martins and a few Swallows passing in front of heavy clouds as a front came in from the west.  Also of note from my lounge window was the overflight of a Peregrine Falcon.  I suspect this was one of the local ones which frequent the hills to the south.


11th August 2018 – There were Swallows still present at Wilton Bridge today and later in the day, there were some passing where I live. 


9th August 2018 – There were some hirundines over the Rope Walk here in Ross-on-Wye today.  They could well be passage birds.


6th August 2018 – Over the past 16 nights, I have driven through the Forest of Dean around the Parkend and Cannop Ponds area at about 2200 to 2300.  On every night except one I have seen large mammals.  There have been foxes.  I have seen three different ones on one night separate by several hundred metres.  I have seen a Fallow Deer stag and several hinds.  I have also seen a single Muntjac Deer and on many occasions I have seen Wild Boar.  At the moment it seems that if I were to drive around the block there a couple of times, I would see mammals almost as a matter of course.


3rd August 2018 – This general spell of hot weather, which started in late June, is still going on with very little respite.  Tonight at 2300, it was 20 deg. C..


2nd August 2018 – There were hirundines at Wilton Bridge again as 31st July.


31st July 2018 – There are still hirundines flying around the area of Wilton Bridge and some Swallows are appearing to still be attening nest in the buildings on the west side of the bridge.


28th July 2018 – There was another thunderstorm during the middle of the afternoon.  The rain is very welcome.


26th July 2018 – There were a pair of Mute Swans on the River Wye at Wilton Bridge today.  I thought that all of the nests along the river near the town and probably further afield were washed out with the spring floods.  I know that the nesting attempt opposite the Hope and Anchor public house succumbed to this inundation.  This pair of swans, however, have 4 cygnets.  They could have nested along one of the smaller water courses nearby and avoided the river flood.  In any event it was nice to see these youngsters today. Some Swifts are still present in the vicinity of the bridge.


25th July 2018 – The River Wye is now very low and the bottom of it can be seen all the way across it from Wilton Bridge.  This is the lowest that I have seen it.  The Swifts are still very vocal around the Man of Ross public house. 


24th July 2018 – A Muntjac Deer was the highlight of the day after dark near Ellwood cross roads in the Forest of Dean when I was driving back from Milkwall.


18th July 2018 – Again, the Swifts are vocal over the town as the past few days.


17th July 2018 – Swifts are still doing their aerial displays over Ross-on-Wye town.


16th July 2018 – At Wilton Bridge today, there was a Buzzard lazily circling just to the south of the bridge and on the river just downstream of the bridge where it is quite shallow, there were 50 Canada Geese.  The river is very low which is reflecting the hot and dry weather of late. 


14th July 2018 – There was some fog at midnight last night and it lingered into the morning.  The Swifts are still present in the town as reported yesterday.

          At Cannop Ponds, there is a small flock of 20 Tufted Duck which has built up from just one or two birds and this is the beginning of the ‘winter’ flock.


13th July 2018 – There was a thunderstorm during the afternoon but the Swifts are still screaming around the rooftops of Ross-on-Wye.


12th July 2018 – So far this month it was been very hot with a slightly cooler spell over the past two days and at dawn today there was some rain.  The lawns in the vicinity of where I live are very brown which is a combinations of the heat and the lack of water. Today, the rain was especially welcome.


7th July 2018 – 7 Black-headed Gulls were on the field at the Rope Walk today just a few days after the first one of this species returned for the winter season.


4th July 2018 – It remains very warm.  At Wilton Bridge today, there were all of the hirundines and some Swifts.  The numbers of Sand Martins present in this area seems to be on the low side.


1st July 2018 – General Note.  Today was another very hot day, continuing the same theme as the past 10 days or so.



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