Diary - July to September 2008

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30th September 2008 - I have been away from the county in early July and at other times during this quarter which is why there are fewer entries here.

30th September 2008 - Ashleworth. A strong breeze and overcast. 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Snipe, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Raven, 1 Jay, 1 pale Buzzard, 1 Bullfinch and hirundines south of Stonebow Farm. House Martins were tracking south over the hide.
At Slimbridge, a Wheatear was noted from the Holden Tower.
At Nagshead, a Fox was again seen at the same spot on the short walk as seen recently (18th September). Boar were grunting in the area of the Campbell hide between 1745 and 1830.

23rd September 2008 - Ashleworth on an overcast, cool with a light breeze. 11 deg. C. at 0800. The water has gone from Hasfield Ham and there is little to the north of Stank Lane. Rhines and standing water at the end of the tarmac on Stank Lane are very 'oily' but this is not from a leaky tractor as it is everywhere. This is the product of anaerobic degradation of vegetation. It will not last long. I walked to the very end of the lane and had to climb past hay bales which are blocking the route. 29 bales are on this rough part of the lane alone and over the reserve as a whole I have noted 132 bales although I may have missed one or two which may be in various rhines. Green Oak leaves are falling in the lane was unusual. This may be an effect of the flood. Small fish about 2cm. long are in some of the puddles in Dirty Lane. These have become stranded now that the floods have receded. Birds include 1 Little Grebe, 1 Tufted Duck, 7 Coot, 125 Mallard, 6 Wigeon, 14 Canada Geese, a Black-headed Gull, 7 Mute Swans and a Shoveler. Along Stank Lane, a female Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Jay, a Peregrine on a pylon and a Grey Squirrel. Around Ham Road, 2 Buzzard, 2 Bullfinch, 10 Black-tailed Godwits flew north, 112 Teal and 1 Grey Heron. No House Martins could be seen at Stonebow Farm, it seems that they have left for the winter. More Badger activity noted along Ham Road.
Nagshead woods were quiet in the afternoon but there is more Boar tillage apparent on the short trail and the Gloucestershire Way (north). At the stone works, 14 Mallard, 1 Tufted Duck and a Grey Wagtail.

20th September 2008 - Ashleworth. The flood is now off the road. There is much dead vegetation and the stench of rotting plant material. Many dead worms are in the remaining puddles and the scene is very like the aftermath of the big flood almost a year ago. The water was not as deep this time but it must be said that this was another serious flood. Because of the timing of this flood, there is a lot of hay all over the reserve. Some bales have floated from the fields and there are wrapped and unwrapped bales everywhere along with hay which has clogged many of the hedges. Some bales have come unwrapped and thus light green and black plastic has festooned many hedges and it is a bit like christmas with the hedges 'decorated' but it is no joke as it is a great mess. About 1800 Gulls were on Hasfield Ham. Other species seen include 6 Snipe, 146 Canada Geese and a Cormorant on a pylon.

19th September 2008 - May Hill. 4 Buzzard, 2 Raven, 1 Kestrel and hirundine passage and 2 Wheatear on the ground.

18th September 2008 - Nagshead on a warm and sunny day. There is much evidence of Boar tillage around the short trail and along the Cannop Road between Parkend and the stoneworks. There are many Dor Beetles on the paths around the woods. Browner leaves are just beginning to come to the fore in the trees and notably some Holly trees are shedding green leaves. 1 Fox noted and 1 unidentified large mammal.

13th September to 16th September 2008 - I was out of the county on the Pride of Bilbao, the ferry between Portmouth and Bilbao. The highlights of this trip were over 30 Fin Whale, the second biggest animal in the world along with 7 other species of cetacean, over 20 Griffon Vultures in the foothills along with some fascinating insects in Spain.

12th September 2008 - Symond Yat on a day when it was mild, overcast and with little wind. 10 Buzzard at one time, 2 Peregrine as expected and at least 200 hirundines passing through at one time and a constant stream all day from 1140 to 1415. 9 Mute Swan were on the River Wye and a Great Spotted Woodpecker and Goshawk were of note while in the fields below there were a maximum of 42 Fallow Deer.

11th September 2008 - Nagshead where it was sunny periods and a breezy day. List of birds seen around the reserve included Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Swallow, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Nuthatch and a Fox was also noted. A small flock of Swallows had been noted in the morning migrating south over Longhope.

10th September 2008 - At the Lower Hide at Nagshead RSPB Reserve, there was a Kingfisher fishing at 1715 and two fish were seen to be caught.

7th September 2008 - The River Severn has come over its banks and the fields are flooded this morning at Ashleworth.
At Slimbridge, 3 Grey Wagtail and a Kingfisher noted from the Swan Observtory. The House Martins still have young in the nest. At Middle Point, 9 Sanderling were of note along with the Dunlin and Ringed Plover. Small numbers of Swallows were moving down river and a Peregrine passed me at about 30m. An 11-spot Ladybird was on the gate post at Middle Point on my return. I have not seem many ladybirds over the past year or so. I believe that their numbers are decreasing rapidly. From the Holden Tower, Peregrine, Hobby, Buzzard and Kestrel were the raptors.

6th September 2008 - There was a passage of Swallows over Longhope this morning. When I went to Ashleworth I noted the the River Leadon was almost over its banks and the River Severn is high. At Ashleworth on this overcast morning with slight drizzle, 19 Canada Geese, 1 Mute Swan, 1 Moorhen, 82 Mallard, 15 Snipe, Swallow and House Martin, the latter petrel like over the grass, 1 Bullfinch and 1 Little Grebe. 89 Lapwing were opposite Colways Farm and there was a dead Badger in front of the hide.

22nd August 2008 - Coombe Hill Canal at 0945. 3 Green Sandpipers, 4 Little Egrets, a Wood Sandpiper and a Little Ringed Plover with a Curlew all seen from the Grundon Hide.

2nd August 2008 - Overcast with slight rain clearing at Ashleworth at 1015. A Grey Heron was in the same position as yesterday, that is, at the left hand end of the island on the scrape. The 2 Canada Geese were there and 4 Mallard, 85 Rook and one female Kestrel. A Buzzard was near Dirty Lane and I found a Hobby nest.

1st August 2008 - Ashleworth. Breezy day with sunny periods. 2 Canada Geese as usual, 2 Mute Swans, 1 Mallard, 2 Grey Heron. A small Swallow passage was ongoing. During a walk along Stank Lane, the following butterfly species were noted, Comma, Peacock, Red Admiral and Large White.

22nd July 2008 - Flaxley. Yellowhammer, 2 Raven, 4 Common Buzzard, 1 Hobby and a Grey Heron.

21st July 2008 - Ashleworth. Sunny periods today with a temperature of 17 deg. C. at 1210. The two, injured, resident Canada Geese were present along with 1 Mallard, a Stock Dove, a Kingfisher along the first rhine opposite the hide. This bird did a lot of hovering. Many hirudines and Swifts were around but they were generally very high. They were feeding possibly on insects that had been disturbed by the hay cutting and baling. Large fish were again noted in the scrapes as the water recedes. This phenomenon is seen most years as the winter water or floods recede during the drier summers when the sluice is open to release the water. These fish get to the scrapes from the overflowing river which is appearing to do some more regularly in recent years.

20th July 2008 - May Hill where 3 Buzzards were soaring today.

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