Diary - July to September 2009

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30th September 2009Nagshead on a calm, mild morning with sunny periods.  Wild Boar tillage is apparently yet more extensive.  It was really calm and some of the brown falling leaves were dropping into branches with green leaves on them and their journey to the ground being interrupted at least temporarily.  Along the long trail, the number of Grey Squirrels seems to be at an all time high, sometimes they appeared three together.  On the west of the reserve, there was a Hawfinch feeding in a Beech tree.  Later in the day around lunchtime, there were at least 10 Pied Wagtails around Rushy Pen, some of these were probably passage birds.  At Middle Point in the early afternoon, there were 4 Wigeon, 1 Pintail and Shelduck, Curlew, Black-headed Gulls, Common Gulls, 4 Mute Swans and a Little Egret on the river.  A Cetti’s Warbler was near the butterfly garden and a Swallow was over Rushy Pen later.  The afternoon sun was quite golden at Ashleworth later in the day and into the early evening.  From the hide, there were a Grey Heron, the 2 injured Canada Geese, 17 Mallard, 1 Common Snipe and a Buzzard on one of the electricity pylons.  Stank Lane was very quiet as the sun went down. 

29th September 2009Ashleworth on a sunny and warm day with the temperature at midday at 20 deg. C..  Viewing from the hide, there was a Green Sandpiper on the scrape with 2 Common Snipe, a Grey Heron, 18 Mallard, 2 injured Canada Geese and overhead, there was a strong hirundine passage with a Kestrel on one of the electricity pylons.  Along Stank Lane, there was the sad sight of a dead Black Labrador dog in one of the ditches. 

28th September 2009Nagshead RSPB Reserve was quiet on a warm day but there were 3 Fallow Deer on the Long Trail including a small juvenile.

26th September 2009 – A beautiful autumnal day but quite warm with the temperature at 1300 being 17 deg. C.. Ashleworth was quiet at first sight but there was a general movement of small passerines to the south and some Swallows were on the move in that direction also.  From the hide at 1300, there were the two usual injured Canada Geese with 19 Mallard on the scrape with the first Teal and Wigeon of the autumn.  A Grey Heron was also present and this was probably the bird present two evenings ago.  A Snipe appeared on the mud on the far side of the scrape and much closer, a Chiffchaff was singing near the copse.  Along Dirty Lane, there was a Jay with two more seen from the hide later in the afternoon.  Along the footpath at the back of the reserve was a Small Copper Butterfly in pristine condition.  I walked up Stank Lane to the river and then north along the river bank where there was a party of Long-tailed Tits.  There was another flock of this species in the northern part of Ham Road later.  More Swallows were over the river and there seemed to be Buzzard activity in all directions, the day being good for soaring.  A falcon species was chasing, unsuccessfully, a small passerine when I was nearly back to the hide.  I only had a short glimpse of the raptor but by its behaviour it may well have been a Hobby.  Of note, a helicopter registration G-RYZZ was low over Hasfield Ham and down to just a few metres of altitude.

25th September 2009 – According to the Gloucester Weather Website, today is the 21st day without measurable rain.

24th September 2009Ashleworth at 1800 with the sun setting behind the hide.  The 2 injured Canada Geese were present as were 14 Mallard.  A Kingfisher was flying around the scrape and was seen to catch a small fish.  A Grey Heron was looking for fish, probably of a bigger dimension.

21st September 2009 – A day at Strumble Head in west Wales.  The wind was  south west force 3 to 4 when I did a sea watch from 1100 to 1525.  It was incredibly quiet in terms of birds.  In fact, it was one of the quietest sea watches that I have done.  20 Common Scoters passed but only 1 Manx Shearwater and 2 Kittiwake.  Although the shearwaters are departing for their winter quarters, I was expecting to see many more.  The easterly light winds of late have probably contributed to the lack of seabirds.  Along the coastal path to the east were 2 Chough.  I noted a number of Gannets circling just beyond Mackerel Rock.  Porpoises seemed to b3e there too.  On a walk to the east and overlooking the Rock at 1545, there were 2 or 3 Common Porpoises which were about 300m to the east of the Rock and not much further out than the tip of the Rock.  I have not seem them continuously close like this before.  At 1730, on my return walk, the cetaceans were still there.

20th September 2009 – A beautiful day with the temperature reaching 21 deg. C..  Nagshead RSPB Reserve was very quiet this morning and in the afternoon but I have noticed of late a great many Grey Squirrels.  There is plenty of Robin song and of note was a Swallow passing through Milkwall. 

19th September 2009 – A warm and generally sunny day at Ashleworth where the temperature rose to 23 deg. C..  2 Chiffchaffs were singing near Dirty Lane and I could hear a Hobby calling in the same area.  From the hide in the early afternoon, there were the 2 injured Canada Geese, 2 Mallard and 2 Mute Swan.  There has been a distinct lack of the latter species around the reserve area all summer.  A Great Spotted Woodpecker was in a large dead tree on the Ham in front of Colways Farm.  At least one, possibly more Chiffchaff were singing in Stank Lane.  2 juvenile Hobby were also flying around the lane area, one of them harassing a corvid.  A Kestrel was in front of Colways Farm on my return and back at the hide, a Peregrine flew purposefully across the southern part of the reserve. 

16th September 2009Nagshead on an overcast afternoon was very quiet. 

15th September 2009Ashleworth.  Quiet really, but 2 Hobby near Dirty Lane and from the hide, the usual 2 Canada Geese, with 4 Mallard and a Grey Heron.  Another 36 Canada Geese overflew, as were some Swallows passing.  There were no apparent House Martins around their nesting sites at Stonebow Farm.  Several Chiffchaff were singing at various points around the reserve and 2 Jay were in Stank Lane. 

14th September 2009Swallows and House Martins were in numbers around the tops of some of the big trees in Longhope at 0800 this morning.  At Slimbridge, it was the celebration of 100 years since the birth of Sir Peter Scott.  House Martins are still visiting the nests around Rushy Pen.  Along the canal, House Martins were also in evidence around Patch Bridge whereas to the south, Swallows were passing through in numbers.  A Mute Swan with orange darvic ‘H97’ was present and quite a number of Speckled Wood Butterflies were of note along the towpath.  Back at the Centre, the Robbie Garnett Hide yielded 2 Black-tailed Godwits, whereas a Green Sandpiper, Common Snipe and female Kestrel were observed from the Holden Tower.  On South Lake there was another Black-tailed Godwit and an Egyptian Goose. 

13th September 2009Hirundines over Longhope this morning.

12th September 2009Ashleworth.  A Wheatear was on the hay bales opposite Colways Farm and later a female Kestrel was in the same location and the Wheatear was still present.  Along Stank Lane, there were two singing Chiffchaffs and possibly one other.  I watched a Peregrine arrive on the first pylon north of Stank Lane and it immediately began calling continuously.  Several Swallows were passing through.  From the hide, the 2 injured Canada Geese were still there with 16 Mallard. 

10th September 2009 – Today there was a Silver Y moth in my verandah.

5th September 2009Ashleworth in the morning, which started with sunny periods but which became overcast.  It was noted the the hay in many of the fields have been extensively cut and the willow trees on the island on the scrape have been cut down and opened up the area.  It will be interesting to see if there are any waders using this open and muddy area in the near future. On the edge of the scrape were 4 juvenile Pied Wagtails looking very washed out.  The two injured Canada Geese were still there as was a Grey Heron.  A Kestrel was overhead and being harried by a corvid and 2 Ravens were in the distance.  Along Stank Lane, there were at least 3 Bullfinch and overhead there were ‘clouds’ of Swallows with an odd one or two House Martins with them.

4th September 2009 – A day seawatching at Strumble Head, near Fishguard between 0945 and 1530.  It was generally sunny but breezy.  Wind was NW backing W, force 6.  Among the birds noted were the following – 16 Arctic Skua, 13 Whimbrel, 103 Sandwich Tern, 13 Common Scoter, 5 Great Skua, 2 adult Sabine Gulls in breeding plumage, 2 Black Tern, 10 unidentified small terns, 2 Balearic Shearwaters, 2 Pomarine Skua, 11 Arctic Tern, 1 juvenile Common Tern and a Sunfish.  Along the coastal path to the east, there were at least 6 Grey Seal in one of the bays, a number of Swallows in off the sea and a Speckled Wood butterfly was in a sheltered spot on the path with not a tree in sight. 

3rd September 2009Nagshead RSPB Reserve was sunny with the odd shower.  On the Gloucestershire Way, towards Cannop. There was a tit flock comprising Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit and Marsh Tit.  A Siskin was on the feeders at the stone works and surprisingly there was a Pintail on the southern pond.  Many House Martins were wheeling around the northern pond.

2nd September 2009 – Slight rain this morning and in the woods around the Nagshead RSPB Reserve it was quiet. 

1st September 2009 – A day of showers and sunny periods.  It was quiet in the woods at Nagshead RSPB Reserve with a Chaffinch flock of note.  At Cannop there were at least 10 Siskins on the feeders at the stone works and on the outfall, a Dipper and a Grey Wagtail. One of the wagtails that I have seen at this location has pure white tail feathers.  It seems to have been a particularly good year for Speckled Wood butterflies with many on the wing again today.  On a general note, there is more wild boar tillage on many of the paths and it seems that there in evidence of such within 50m to 100m of any location. 

31st August 2009Nagshead RSPB Reserve was under drizzle again.  5 Siskins were on the feeders at the Stoneworks at Cannop and on the outfall at the back of the works, there were at least 2 Grey Wagtails.  A Spotted Flycatcher was the highlight of the walk over Crabtree Hill where the pink heather and yellow gorse were of stark contrast with each other.  A Bank Vole seemed unperturbed by my presence on the lower part of the short trail back at Nagshead.  At Crabtree Hill and at Cannop Ponds there were many Swallows hawking the many insects on the wing on this damp and humid day.  A passage methinks. 

30th August 2009 – There were some what appeared to be passage House Martins over Longhope but in the drizzle at Nagshead RSPB Reserve, the woodlands were quiet as expected and a Long-tailed Tit flock was the only thing of note on this short visit.

29th August 2009Nagshead RSPB Reserve was under sun and pleasantly cool.  There was more evidence of Chaffinch flocks and the Wild Boar have developed the mud wallow along the Gloucestershire Way towards Cannop.

28th August 2009 – At Nagshead RSPB Reserve, again in the late afternoon it was quiet again as expected but I did find another flock of Chaffinch with some Song Thrush along the lower part of the short trail.

27th August 2009 – At Nagshead RSPB Reserve in the very late afternoon, the woods were quiet but there was more and recent evidence of Wild Boar tillage including some in the car park. 

26th August 2009 – A notable amount of rain today.

23rd August 2009 – British Birdwatching Fair at Rutland Water.  A warm day with a maximum temperature of 25 deg. C. and a strong breeze.  On lagoon one, there were, Green Sandpiper, Ruff, Greenshank, Common Tern, Black-headed Gull, Cormorant, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal and  Little Egret.  These species were noted from the hides that I visited which were, Tern, Harrier, Fieldfare and Gadwall Hides.  There were many ‘blue’ damselflies around the tracks between the hides.  At Eyebrook Reservoir on the way home, I was lucky enough to see an Osprey catch a fish.  There were also Greenshank, Dunlin and Hobby among the resident species. 

22nd August 2009 – At Nagshead RSPB Reserve, it was a sunny day with the temperature at 22 deg.C. as recorded on the Gloucester Birder Website.  Around the short trail between 0815 and 0845 there was a Chaffinch flock which was the first congregation of this species that I have noted after the breeding season this year.

19th August 2009 – At Cannop Ponds between 0940 and 1040 on a very warm and sunny day with a strong breeze, 4 Siskins were on the feeder at the stone works and a Grey Wagtail was near the outfall of the southern lake.  3 Buzzards were together over the clearing at Russell’s Inclosure.  At Nagshead at lunchtime, it was fairly quiet but noteworthy were a party of Long-tailed Tits which crossed the forestry track near Cleave Hill.

13th August 2009 – Fine, sunny and warm at Symonds Yat between 1130 and 1445.  There were many House Martins and other hirundines around the tops of the trees hawking insects and the passage of these continued on a large scale.  A Goshawk was seen but it was distant.  The highlight of the day was a White Letter Hairstreak Butterfly on the Ivy on top of the stone wall at the observation point at The Rock.  Later a Peregrine flew in from the north carrying prey with a large white feather trailing the unfortunate animal.  Later in the day at Nagshead, a walk down the Gloucestershire Way towards Cannop resulted in a flushed Woodcock. 

12th August 2009 – An overcast start to the day.  A flyover Grey Heron at Longhope was the opening species for the day and not long after there were several tit species flying around the tops of the large trees and the cause of this was clouds of insects high in the air around the same trees.  At Nagshead RSPB Reserve, it was overcast but humid and not at all cold.  The temperature ranged between 17 deg. C. at 0930 and 22 deg. C. at 1700 although I was not at the reserve at the latter hour.  When I arrived, there were approximately 50 Crossbills in the tall trees near the car park.  Near the site of the old information centre, a young, male, very dark Fallow Deer with single points on his antlers appeared to be very tame.  It is probably the same animal that I noted in the car park on 5th August.  Today it approached to within 10m and continued to browse.  There was more activity in the woods than of late but I was on site somewhat earlier.  Spotted Flycatcher and Bullfinch were in the heavily laden Rowan Trees near where the short trail turns back up the bank.  Along the Gloucestershire Way towards Cannop, there was much recent evidence of Wild Boar digging.  Surprisingly, the trail was very wet with running water even though it has not rained for 6 days.  Some Sand Martins were over the southern pool at Cannop and the one-footed Greylag Goose was present.  I last saw this individual at the pool by the information centre at Nagshead.  6 Siskins were on the feeder at the stone works and at the run off behind the works there was a Dipper, 3 Grey Wagtails and a Goldfinch.  At the Lower Hide, there was a Kingfisher which caught 3 fish in the hour that I was there and also present in a dead tree were 3 Stock Doves and a male Great Spotted Woodpecker. The highest temperature recorded on the Gloucester Weather Website today was 23.9 deg. C.. 

10th August 2009 – Slight drizzle on and off all day.  There was more evidence of Wild Boar at Nagshead since yesterday with more tillage being noted.

9th August 2009   A fine and dry day.  Again it was quiet in the woods at Nagshead but Swallow were passing overhead on migration.

8th August 2009   Highnam Woods.  A short visit revealed that the hide has been demolished as expected to make way for a different and new model.  A Chiffchaff, possibly more than one, was foraging in the newly cut brash.  At Ashleworth, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff were in the hedge opposite the hide and there appeared to be at least 4 individuals.  A short visit to Nagshead later in the day was a quiet one again. 

7th August 2009 – A fine, sunny and warm day.  A short visit to Nagshead RSPB Reserve resulted as expected in not much movement in the woods.

6th August 2009Strumble Head, Pembrokeshire.  I seawatched  between 1150 and 1530.  A total of 79 Common Scoters passed, the groups being made up of 12, 8, 10, 12, 6, 7 and 24.  The appeared to be a considerable White Butterfly passage, the majority of them being Large White.  There were many Painted Lady Butterflies along the coastal path to the east of the Head later in the day.  A Curlew passed.  A  fine day.

5th August 2009 – Overnight rain amounted to another 6mm, as recorded on the Gloucester Weather Website, leading to a fine but humid day.  At Nagshead at 0900 there was a very dark Fallow Deer in the car park which jumped the fence with ease from a standing start.  I checked for more Helleborines in the area that I found the one on 3rd August but found none.  A quiet day in the woods.

4th August 2009 – Rain nearly all day with 10mm of rain recorded on the Gloucester Weather Website.

3rd August 2009Nagshead was quiet in the woods just after lunch and rain came on during the afternoon.  I found a Broad-leaved Helleborine in the Forest. This was quite a dark red individual which some books consider quite rare.

2nd August 2009 – A flyover Grey Heron was of note at Longhope and there was an August Swift.

1st August 2009   Rain just after dawn but clearing through during the afternoon.  A juvenile Green Woodpecker was on the lawn in Longhope and a similar at Gorsty Knoll later in the day.  Possibly three different Lesser Black-backed Gulls with darvic rings were near the Gloucester Royal Hospital.  A long dead one in a side street did not have any rings on. 

31th July 2009 – A dry day until the evening and then fairly wet. 

30th July 2009 – A generally dry day with a Dun-bar moth in the veranda in the daylight.

29th July 2009 – A day of heavy rain with 30mm recorded on the Gloucester Weather Website.

27th July 2009National Garden Centre of Wales. It was quiet on the wildlife front but there was much evidence of Swifts overhead and in the large glasshouse there is a colony of House Sparrows which was nice to see as this is a declining species.                             Nagshead RSPB Reserve in the evening was quiet as expected.

26th July 2009 – Damp day with some rain and 3mm of rain was recorded on the Gloucester Weather Website.

25th July 2009 – A fine and sunny day.  At Foxes Bridge general area in the Forest of Dean, I went looking for butterflies.  15 species were noted.  They were Large White, Green-veined White, Peacock, Painted Lady, Comma, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Silver-washed Fritillary, Ringlet, Small Skipper, Small White, Gatekeeper and Red Admiral.  The highlight was of a Painted Lady caterpillar on Ragwort.  There were many pristine Painted Lady butterflies on the wing today. Odonata included, Emperor Dragonfly, Emerald Damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Common Darter and Golden-ringed Dragonfly.  A Green Sandpiper was flushed from on of the pools.  Evidence of nearby breeding included a juvenile Tree Pipit which could only just fly but with an adult in attendance and a juvenile Green Woodpecker.                                                                         Near Boys Grave there was a Fallow Deer, Slow Worm and a Spotted Flycatcher.

24th July 2009 – At Nagshead, it was very quiet in the woods in the late afternoon/early evening.

23rd July 2009 – Some showers again today at Nagshead where it was very quiet in the woods and very wet underfoot.  Highlight of the day was of a Poplar Hawk Moth on the gatepost by the information centre.

22nd July 2009 – Some showers today at Nagshead and Crossbills were heard overflying several times during the day.                                                                                                                     

21st July 2009 - Very heavy rain for most of the day with 15mm of rain noted on the Gloucester Weather Website. I did some scrub clearance at Highnam in readiness for the new bird hide and noted more than 50 Swifts overhead at one time and throughout the day from 1045 and 1645 there were more of this species passing through. A Southern Hawker Dragonfly seemed very torpid near the pond in the heavy rain.

20th July 2009 - Nagshead this morning and the third butterfly life tick was notched up when I saw a White Admiral Butterfly fly along the scrub at the back of the layby opposite the stone works. There were a large number, probably the largest in any one day, of Silver-washed Fritillaries along the cycle track to the east of the two Cannop Ponds. At least 3 Grey Wagtails were near Cannop Marsh. I received a report today that one of the four Pied Flycatchers fledged from box 96. It is not the best weather with all of this rain for a newly fledged bird. Let us hope that it survives and returns next year when its ring will show whether this bird makes it.

19th July 2009 - Nagshead RSPB Reserve was very wet underfoot between 1810 and 1915. It was quiet in the woods which refects both the time of the day and the season.

18th July 2009 - 9mm of rain today bringing the total amount over the past 3 days to 39mm as logged on the Gloucester Weather Website. The woods at Nagshead RSPB Reserve were quiet as expected in the afternoon. Westonbirt in the evening was similarly quiet.

17th JUly 2009 - Very heavy rain again this morning with 13mm of rain logged on the Gloucester Weather Website. A Red Kite drifted over Longhope at 0950. At least 40 Swifts over Cannop Ponds this evening at 2020. I had noted various hirundines, Swallows and House Martins wheeling around and calling in several locations including Parkend Village at 1830. The only bird present on the feeders at the stone works was a male Siskin and a Grey Wagtail was as usual on Cannop Marsh. 3 Glow-worms were present around the information centre this evening but they were very intermittent with their light and extinguished themselves readily. Two satellites passed over Nagshead with the Milky Way being easily viewed as was Jupiter which was very bright on the southern horizon and the 4 moons were easily visible in the binoculars. A superb crescent moon rose over the Cotswolds at about 0130.

16th July 2009 - Heavy rain from mid-afternoon with 17mm of rain logged on the Gloucester Weather Website.

14th July 2009 - Nagshead RSPB Reserve in showery weather. Southern Hawker Dragonfly along the Gloucestershire Way fighting with another for territory. 2 dead Moles also. Did these succomb to the wet weather?

13th July 2009 - Nagshead RSPB Reserve at 1130 in heavy showers. At box 96, the female Pied Flycatcher was still at box 96, going in and out occasionally. At one point, she removed a faecal sac which proves two things, firstly that the young are alive and that they are being fed. The Rowan trees are showing colour in their berries and it looks like they will have a 'bumper' crop this year.

12th July 2009 - A dry day generally. At Nagshead RSPB Reserve in the afternoon, the male and female Pied Flycatcher were in attendance at box 96. The female was perched close by the box at one point and giving a single note alarm call. Another, unidentified bird nearby was also giving an alarm call. The reason was a Grey Squirrel which climbed the back of the tree holding the box. The female Pied Flycatcher 'chased' it up the tree and out of sight. The Pied Flycatcher chicks must be 13 days old today and thus they should fledge within the next three days.

11th July 2009 - Heavy rain in the afternoon and particularly into the evening resulted in 9mm of rain being recorded according to the Gloucester Weather Website.

10th July 2009 - A dry day with sunny periods until early evening when there was a sprinkling of very light rain. Another day at Daneway Banks and Siccaridge Wood. The butterfly list today was the same as last Friday with the exception of Painted Lady, White-letter Hairstreak and Common Blue but there were in addition, Small Skipper and Essex Skipper and thus there were 15 species of butterfly noted today. A Chiffchaff was also singing strongly.

9th July 2009 - Nagshead on a dry but overcast day. There were many butterflies around the reserve where we were putting in 4 more benches.

8th July 2009 - An overcast but dry day at Highnam Woods RSPB Reserve. There were many butterflies along the rides including a number of Large Whites and Ringlets. A Chiffchaff was singing.

7th July 2009 - Very heavy showers today with 6mm of rain noted on the Gloucester Weather Website and a total of 14mm from the same source over the last 3 days.

4th July 2009 - Symonds Yat and the Peregrines were perched up in sight of the viewpoint for most of the morning. A sunny and fresher day than of late.

3rd July 2009 - I went to Daneway Banks and Siccaridge Wood in the Cotswolds today. It was overcast at first but then sunny periods developed but it was breezy. I failed to find a Large Blue Butterfly but nevertheless, 16 species were noted. They were, Silver-washed Fritillary, Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Comma, Ringlet, Small Heath, Large Skipper, Painted Lady, Gatekeeper, Large White and Common Blue, and then in the woods and canal area, Speckled Wood, Green-veined White, Small White, Red Admiral and White-letter Hairstreak. Orchids on Daneway Banks included, Pyramidal, Bee and Common Spotted. A cooler and fresher day with the temperature on the Gloucester Weather Website having a maximum of 25.4 deg. C..

2nd July 2009 - It was very hot again today with the temperature at 0930 being 21 deg. C.. 31.5 deg. C. was the highest temperature for the day recorded on the Gloucester Weather Website. I went to the area of Cannop Ponds to look for White-legged Damselflies near the stoneworks but I did not find any. Golden-ringed Dragonfly, Large Red and Beautiful Demoiselle Damselflies were present as was a pair of Grey Wagtails.

1st July 2009 - It was very hot today, in fact it was the hottest day of the year so far. The temperature on the Gloucester Weather Website reached 31.6 deg. C.. I was working at Nagshead RSPB Reserve helping to install a bike rack. There were two Red Admiral Butterflies around the information centre for most of the morning. Other sightings included Red Fox and Fallow Deer along the forestry tracks near where I was helping to put in a bench. A general note for the past few days is of parties of Swifts screaming around several locations including Longhope village.
I was informed today that the
Pied Flycatchers in box 96 have hatched their four eggs yesterday.



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