Diary – October to December 2013


31st December 2013 – I had another walk this afternoon when the morning rain had stopped around the Nagshead area.  On three occasions, a flock of Common Crossbills overflew and on one occasion I was able to see them, the other two times I only heard them.  Generally in the late afternoon it was quiet in the woodlands but at Cannop, I heard but did not see the Tawny Owl in the same area as yesterday.


30th December 2013 – I had a short tour of the Forest this afternoon.  In the large Lime Trees near the Memorial Hall in Parkend was a very ‘bulky’ bird.  I stopped the car and put the binoculars on it.  It was a Hawfinch.  Later while I was walking the Gloucestershire Way, 2 Fallow Deer ran across my path as the light was failing.  Shortly afterwards, a Tawny Owl was seen perched in a tree near the car park alongside the road between the two ponds at Cannop.


29th December 2013 – A very icy morning after overnight rain had frozen when the skies cleared before dawn.


28th December 2013 – I had another walk over Crabtree Hill and up as far as Serridge Ridge.  It was a fine but cold day and unusually it was very quiet.  No birds of note were seen, not even a small flock of Common Crossbills which is very unusual.  A single female Fallow Deer meandered across Crabtree Hill at dusk and by the time I had got back to the car it was nearly freezing and quite dark.  Thus, no Shike, Chaffinch flock, Bramblings, Common Crossbills or Two Barred Crossbills were noted today. 


27th December 2013 – I did the same walk as yesterday but by the time that I had got to Crabtree Hill, driving rain was sweeping across the heath and like yesterday I did not find the Shrike.  A small flock of Common Crossbills flew across Serridge Ridge and the same or another flock flew over the western end of the lower track.  Although the rain had stopped en route to Serridge Ridge, by the time I got back to Crabtree Hill it had started again and it continued to be driven by a stong wind, thus my second attempt of the day to find the Shrike was thwarted.  A flock of about 20 Siskin flew over the scrapes at the southern end of the hill late on. 


26th December 2013 – A small flock of Common Crossbills flew over near Woorgreens car park at 1110. A few Chaffinch and Siskin were near the Hemlock Spruce trees near Kensley Lodge. I continued on to Serridge Ridge and down to Brierley and back along the lower track and retraced to Woorgreens car park.  It was a very quiet day although it was cold and sunny. 


25th December 2013 - |It was another bright and sunny day if a little cool.  The temperature at 1010 was only 4 deg. C.  I walked the tarmac road at Crabtree Hill and found a single male Two Barred Crossbill in a pine tree at 1245 at the southern end of this path.  Probably the same bird was there at 1315 when I returned albeit in a different tree. 


24th December 2013 – It was a sunny day with a light breeze.  A Hawfinch was on the top of a tree near Kensley Lodge at 1310.  I walked up Crabtree Hill and the Great Grey Shrike was there but quite mobile at 1335 and was still there at 1515 when I returned.  3 Fallow Deer crossed the tarmac track near Drybrook Road Station and on the top of Serridge Ridge there were only a few Chaffinch and a few Common Crossbills flew over.


23rd December 2013 – Approximately 26mm of rain fell today and a bit of flooding as a consequence.


22nd December 2013 – I found the Great Grey Shrike perched in a tree along the centre path over Crabtree Hill.  On Serridge Ridge there was the largest flock of Chaffinch that I have seen this winter, numbering about 100 birds.  There were a few Brambling with them. A few Common Crossbills overflew the larch plantation on top of the ridge and when I was back at Drybrook Road Station, I found a Two Barred Crossbills with a few Common Crossbills.  A dead deer was nearby. 


21st December 2013 – I walked up to the Information Centre at RSPB Nagshead from the Stoneworks at Cannop.  Along the Gloucestershire Way, there was a mixed flock of birds including small numbers of Siskins and of Redwings.  Common Crossbills overflew in three places, the Meadow area near the Centre, when I was along the short trail and finally when I had returned to the Bixslade tramway. 


20th December 2013 – I walked over Serridge Ridge again today and in several places on the northern slopes and in the valley below were a number of small flocks of Chaffinch with one or two Brambling in amongst them.  A small flock of Common Crossbills overflew when I was down on the eastern end of the lower track.  There was no sign of the Two Barred Crossbills. 


19th December 2013 – I walked over Serridge Ridge and found a small flock of Common Crossbills overflying or possibly several small flocks were in the area.  There were a flock of approximately 50 Chaffinch with at least 4 Brambling on the northen side of the ridge in the beech trees and feeding on the ground on the beech mast which appears to be plentiful this year. 


17th December 2013 – I had another walk up Crabtree Hill today but it was generally quiet and I went on to Serridge Ridge where I found a flock of Common Crossbills which overflew three times.  On my way back to Crabtree Hill I found a Wild Boar which crossed the tarmac track behind me.  On Crabtree Hill, the Great Grey Shrike was present.  I noted it fly into a Hawthorn bush and, upon further investigation I found the remains of a Blue Tit impaled on a Hawthorn bush.  Wild Boar could be heard grunting nearby.  On the open area to the north of Woorgreens Lake, a Fallow Deer buck appeared in the long grass and there appeared to be three females with him.  Finally, two Goosanders were on Woorgreens Lake at dusk. 


16th December 2013 – I had an afternoon visit to WWT Slimbridge.  There were some Bewick’s Swans in a field near the road running into the Slimbridge reserve. On the Tack Piece, there was a huge flock of Golden Plover with some Lapwings and Dunlin.  From the Holden Tower, more Bewick’s Swans could be seen on the river and 4 Common Cranes were on the Dumbles.  There is certainly plenty of birds on the Slimbridge reserve at the moment.


15th December 2013 – I had a walk up Crabtree Hill and on to Serridge Ridge but the weather closed in quickly and rain started to fall and the wind picked up.  However, I still managed to find a flock of  Common Crossbills around the ridge.  Otherwise, it was a quiet day in poor conditions.


14th December 2013 – I had a walk at RSPB Nagshead this morning.  Around the meadow area there was quite a number of Blackbirds which was of note.  Along the long trail, a steady stream of winter thrushes moved through the larch plantation.  Some of these birds were Redwings.  Further along this trail there was a sizable Chaffinch flock feeding out of sight over the slope of the ground opposite the cave.  They kept coming up to perch in the trees.  Most of these birds were male. 


13th December 2013 – A Bullfinch was in my garden this morning which was an unusual occurrence.


12th December 2013 – I checked Walmore Common just before lunchtime for any swans but there was none of any of the three species.

          After some business in Chepstow, I crossed the Severn Bridge to try to see the reported Desert Wheatear at Severn Beach.  When I arrived it was on show near the ramp off the one way system.  It moved around the grass area, the concrete path, the concrete sea defence wall and on the beach itself.  Often it would come really close and gave very good views.  It was a male with a golden brown cap and a thick buff supercilium.  The black ‘face’ was tinged with white feather tips and the underparts were light buff with a fully black tail which was constantly ‘pumped’. It seemed to be an all action bird and was feeding most of the time.  Sometimes it made short flights but generally it ran around the flat areas and fed.  It was very beautiful bird to have the chance to see.


11th December 2013 – At Serridge Ridge at lunchtime, there was a small flock of Common Crossbills in the larch plantation.  As they flew, I heard the call of a Two-barred Crossbill which was with them but not seen.  At Woorgreens Lake at 1600 there were only 15 Coot but 7 Goosander of which 4 were male.


10th December 2013 – There were several small Chaffinch flocks along the shale track behind the Information Centre at RSPB Nagshead.  Down in the meadow there was a single Hawfinch on the top of one of the trees on the southern boundary.

          I moved on to Crabtree Hill and when I was walking back along the main track on the south side, I accidentally flushed an owl from an ivy covered tree.  I only saw it momentarily as it disappeared into the trees but I believe that it was a Tawny Owl.  22 Coot were on Woorgreens Lake at dusk. 


9th December 2013 – At RSPB Nagshead around lunchtime, there were some Siskins and a Bullfinch in the meadow area.  Along the short trail there were some Redwings. 


8th December 2013 – There was a Siskin flock with Chaffinches in the Hemlock Spruce trees on the main track from Kensley Lodge to Crabtree Hill.  On Serridge Ridg, there was a small flock of Chaffinch feeding on Holly berries on the north side of the ridge.  I walked down past Trafalgar House and along the path on the south side of the ridge where a small flock of Common Crossbills overflew.  I flushed three Fallow Deer along the tarmac path back to Crabtree Hill where there was a small Siskin flock on the south side near Woorgreens Lake where there were 20 Coot at dusk. 


7th December 2013 – Approximately 20 Common Crossbills on the ridge at Serridge and there was a Chaffinch flock feeding on the beech mast.  21 Coot and a pair of Goosander were on Woorgreens Lake at dusk. 


6th December 2013 – This afternoon on Serridge Ridge, there was a flock of Siskins with some Chaffinch and Goldfinch with them.  On the north side of the ridge in the beech wood, there was a nice flock of Chaffinch and a few Brambling with them feeding on the mast.  22 Coot were on  Woorgreens Lake at dusk.


5th December 2013 – A windy and generally overcast day.  I had another walk in the Crabtree Hill area but again did not find the Shrike but as yesterday there were a few Redpolls at the southern end of the open area.  Conditions were not good in the open as the wind was quite strong so I walked through the woods to Woorgreens Lake where I found 22 Coot but again as yesterday there were no other water birds present.


4th December 2013 – At Nagshead RSPB today, there were several Bullfinch in The Meadows area and along the Gloucestershire Way as I walked back to the Stoneworks, I found a beautiful dark, buck Fallow Deer with magnificent antlers.  He had one doe with him and they eventually moved away. 

          I checked Russell’s Inclosure for the reported Shrike but did not find one. 

          At Crabtree Hill, I looked again for a Shrike but again I failed to find.  There was a small flock of Redpolls at the southern end and as it got dark, a Red Fox with a brilliant white tail tip appeared momentarily on the track.  It was an animal in top condition. 19 Coot were on Woorgreens Lake but otherwise this water was quiet.


3rd December 2013 – On an overcast and dull day, I went to WWT Slimbridge and managed to photograph some Bewick’s Swan bill patterns.  I also wanted to do some flock counts but initially had difficulty in finding the majority of them.  I checked The Moors and surrounding fields to the south east of Slimbridge but found no swans.  I had seen some at lunchtime flying to the north east and thought that they might be going to The Hurns fields.  After lunch I set off to walk up the canal to Cambridge Arms Bridge to look for them.  I found them early on in a field away from the road and also away from the canal towpath.  This field was surrounded by hedges and it was not possible to do an accurate count but a substantial number of birds were there. 


2nd December 2013 – I had an afternoon walk through Nagshead plantation again and then checked the open areas across the road for any sign of the Shike but again there was nothing to be seen.  A Dipper in the steam by the Stoneworks was the highlight and there was again 12 Tufted Duck on the pond at Cannop.


1st December 2013 – I walked up through Nagshead plantation and found in the flat calm conditions that there were plenty of midges about while I was sat in the woodland eating lunch. An interesting observation for December!  Another one was of a Grey Squirrel with a beer can!  It appeared to be trying to open it and was making progress with its teeth before it moved off out of sight taking the can with it.  I walked across to Russell’s Inclosure and Farmers Green to check to see if the Shrike was there but again I drew a blank.


30th November 2013 – I went again to Woorgreens on a sunny but cold day.  At the Hemlock Spruce trees there were only a few Siskins and also a few Chaffinches.  I walked up the tarmac road and then to Foxes Bridge colliery.  It was very quiet on the heath and in the woods to the north east.  When I returned to the heath, I found a ringed Redpoll.  Other than that it was quiet.  It was also quiet on Woorgreens Lake with only 13 Coot.  In summary, there were no Crossbills to be seen today and the Shrike was also absent. 


29th November 2013 – Today was breezy but with some sunny intervals and very occasional light drizzle.  In the Hemlock Spruce trees at Woorgreens there were still some Siskins but the flock appears to have dropped to around 50 birds.  On the heath it was very quiet in the increasing breeze and it was generally quiet and there was no sign of the Shrike. 

          At Cannop Ponds, the Tufted Duck numbers were up to 23 and at Russell’s Inclosure there was no sign of the Shrike. 


28th November 2013 – It was an overcast but mild day.  I had some business in the Cotswold Water Park West and I took the opportunity to look over a couple of the lakes.  On Pit 57, there were at least 2 Goldeneye.  However, the viewing opportunities from the public footpath at Lower Moor is now almost gone as the vegetation has grown up quite a lot over the years.  On the opposite side of the drive there were at least 2 Goosander and at Neighbridge lake there were another 3 Goosander including 2 males.


27th November 2013 – I walked up through Nagshead Reserve this morning but it was generally quiet in the woods.  There were 12 Tufted Duck on the southern pond at Cannop which is a good number for this pond.  I checked Farmers Green for any sign of a Great Grey Shrike which had been reported in the area but there was no sign.

          I moved over to Woorgreens where there was a pair of Common Crossbills in the Hemlock Spruce trees near the dragonfly pond at Kensley Lodge.  Again I could not find any sign of a Shrike on the open heath of Crabtree Hill.


26th November 2013 – On another cold day with the temperature not much above freezing, I made another visit to the Woorgreens area.  I could not find any Two-barred Crossbills or the Shrike before lunch.  The Siskin flock which was around the Western Hemlock trees near Kensley Lodge was quite small today.  After lunch I found a single, dark and young male Fallow Deer with single point antlers near here and on the heath, along the tarmac road I found initially 6 Two-barred Crossbills, these being 4 male and 2 female.  They moved to another tree and the numbers became 5 male and 3 female and then when they flew there were 9 birds.  One of the females was streaked on the underside suggesting a first winter bird.  This was at 1445. A few minutes later further  up the heath, I found the Great Grey Shrike at 1505.


25th November 2013 – I made a visit to WWT Slimbridge on an overcast day which gradually became brighter.  I found a flock of 41(2) Bewick’s Swans in a roadside/canalside field on the approach to Slimbridge Centre and 7(2) flew over and appeared to descend and land in the area of The Moors.  A further 3(1) were on the Dumbles where there were a good number of White-fronted Geese and a Common Crane. The roadside fields have some standing water and there were Lapwing and Dunlin present in these fields.  On the Tack Piece there was a good flock of Lapwing and Golden Plover with some Dunlin with them.  Another Common Crane was there for a short while before departing to the north.  The day was rounded off in obtaining some more bill pattern photographs.


24th November 2013 – It was a cold day with the temperature at 0900 only 2 deg. C.  I went to Woorgreens again and found some Common Crossbills in the Western Hemlock trees not far from Kensley Lodge.  The Siskin flock in that area only seemed to hold about 30 birds with 3 Chaffinch also present.  I walked the heath and found the Great Grey Shrike in the tree belt to the north of the open area.  Woorgreens Lake was 50 per cent covered in ice but there were still 10 Coot and 1 Little Grebe there. 

          At Nagshead there were some mixed tit flocks roaming the area and a Redwing was bathing in one of the runnels along the short trail.  A flock of Crossbills could be heard calling over the outward short trail. A Grey Squirrel was an unusual find along the Gloucestershire Way.  I have not seen one for a number of weeks in this area.  Finally, there were more Crossbills calling from the Larch plantation to the west of the Cannop Road near the Stoneworks. 


23rd November 2013 – It was a colder day than yesterday but with no wind and wall to wall sunshine.  I went to Woorgreens in the morning this time but again I failed to find any Crossbills and the Shrike again proved elusive to me although both had been reported as being present today. 

          At Woogreens Lake there were at least 21 Coot, a Little Grebe and a pair of Mute Swans. 


22nd November 2013 – It was a bright, sunny and very cold day.  I went to Woorgreens again in the afternoon but could not find either the Two-barred Crossbills or the Great Grey Shrike.  I noted some feeding behaviour with 3 Common Crossbills (See the Identification and Other Notes page).


21st November 2013 – At Woorgreens this afternoon, I had better views of one of two Two-barrd Crossbills which were lit up by the brilliant sunshine.  The call of this species is like a child’s toy trumpet and very different to that of the Common Crossbill, two of which had been in the same tree earlier.  There were also about 50 Siskins present and some Chaffinch.  I could not locate the Great Grey Shrike.


20th November 2013 – I made another trip in the afternoon as before to Woorgreens and this time I managed to find one Two-barred Crossbill with three other birds in the same group which may well have been of that species too.  I walked up to the Heath near Crabtree Hill and found the Great Grey Shrike as well.  It was a profitable afternoon. 


19th November 2013 – I went again to Woorgreens with the same aim as yesterday but again failed to find the target birds.  There were, however, in excess of 100 Siskins with a few Redpoll and some Common Crossbills. 


18th November 2013 – I went to Woorgreens in the Forest of Dean to look for the reported Two-barred Crossbills and Great Grey Shrike but found neither on a damp and dull day.  The highlight of the afternoon was a single Hawfinch.  The skies cleared and the rain stopped at 1530 and a glorious golden afternoon ensued among the autumnal trees in the forest.


14th November 2013 – This morning at home in Longhope there was a very late Red Admiral butterfly passing through my garden.  I went down again to WWT Slimbridge in the afternoon which was in sun but with a cool breeze.  No Bewick’s Swans were on the Rushy Pen when I arrived but 3(0) flew from the Tack Piece and eventually landed on Rushy Pen after several circuits and attempts.  The strong breeze made the approach and landing more difficult than usual.  I moved on to the Halfway Hide where there was a single Common Crane with colour rings Red/Blue/White reading up the leg.  There were a good number of birds here too including a large number of Curlew, Lapwing and Dunlin.  There were also Black-tailed Godwits and a single Snipe and Golden Plover.  There were 8 Redwings in the hedge feeding on berries at the Knot Hide.  On the Rushy Pen at the feed there was a Ruddy Shelduck type bird which was fully winged but did not fly at the start of the feed.  The maximum number of Bewick’s Swans noted today was 11(1).  The Purple Sandpiper was also present on Rushy Pen.  Later at 1625 2 Glossy Ibis arrived on South Lake.


13th November 2013 – I went down to WWT Slimbridge on a sunny day which gradually clouded over.  From the Holden Tower at 1450 there were 7(0) Bewick’s Swans on the Dumbles but they left at 1505.  There were 23 White-fronted Geese there too and a Cetti’s Warbler nearby.  At 1530 there were 2(0) Bewick’s Swans on the Tack Piece where there had been none earlier in the afternoon.  At South Lake at 1605, a lone Bewick’s Swan flew over from the south and in the dark at 1700 there were 10(1) Bewick’s Swan on the Rushy Pen.


12th November 2013 – Today was bright and sunny with a cool breeze.  I went to Slimbridge where there were 5 Bewick’s Swans at the afternoon feed.  The reported Purple Sandpiper was still on the Rushy Pen and from the Holden Tower, there were at least 18 White-fronted Geese, a Peregrine and a Brent Goose on the Dumbles.  At dusk, 2 Glossy Ibis came to roost on South Lake again at 1640. 


7th November 2013 – While making a very short visit to RSPB Nagshead, I came across a small party of Crossbills around the tall trees near the meadow not far from the Inforamtion Centre.


5th November 2013 – I made another trip to WWT Slimbridge and the birds present were similar to yesterday, however, at dusk I found 2 Glossy Ibis on South Lake after being tipped off that they had flown in that direction after circling the Rushy Pen.


4th November 2013 – I went to WWT Slimbridge in the afternoon.  A Black-headed Gull with white darvic ‘2P37’ was on the Rushy Pen.  A Siberian Chiffchaff was in the Rain Garden behind the container with glass windows.  It showed well in the sunshine on several occasions and seemed to return to the hedgerow quite often.  It is a very light coloured bird on the underparts and the upperparts have a tiny tinge of yellow about it.  It was a very clean looking bird.  There were 6 Bewick’s Swans on the Rushy Pen for the afternoon feed.


1st November 2013 – On an overcast day with intermittent drizzle I had a short walk around RSPB Nagshead.  It was quiet in the woodlands but a Redwing was of note in the Meadow where there is a small exhibition of natural history sculptures. 


31st October 2013 – Another dull and overcast day and another visit was made to WWT Slimbridge.  Again, I was looking for Bewick’s Swans and again as the afternoon wore on there were none to be seen.  From the Holden Tower, there were 8 Common Crane and 20 White-fronted Geese. A Chiffchaff was at the Willow Hide.  Just before I was about to depart I was looking for Snipe from the Martin Smith hide when I heard Bewick’s Swans calling.  The collection birds have been very vocal of late but this sound appeared to be coming from up in the air somewhere.  Indeed, 6 adults came over the hide from the south and appeared to land over the hedge on the Dumbles.  I made my way to Rushy Pen to see the feed and was surprised to see 6 Bewick’s Swans feeding there.  They could not have got from the Dumbles to land in the Rushy and then swim into the bay to be feeding in less than a minute and I suspected there were two different flock of 6.  This proved to be the case as in a short while, 6 came overhead with the 6 on the Pen still feeding thus at least 12 were on site today.  At the beginning of the afternoon grain feed, only 2 swans were present as 4 flew and the second 6 did not land. 


30th October 2013 – I made another visit to WWT Slimbridge.  It was another cooler day with the temperature at 1100 only 10 deg. C.  I was looking for Bewick’s Swans to monitor but found none initially.  On the Dumbles there were 18(3) White-fronted Geese and 1 Peregrine.  On the Rushy Pen in the late afternoon, there was a Black-headed Gull with a white darvic ‘21J5’ which I have seen and reported before.  There was also another one with a metal Lithuanian ring but I could not read all of the characters.  At the feed, 6 Bewick’s Swans turned up and 5 landed.  Finally, in the car park as I was leaving a Cetti’s Warbler burst into song.


28th October 2013 – It was an overcast and cool day with the temperature at 1200 only 11 deg. C.  I called in at Ashleworth and noted that the Ham in front of the hide is nicely flooded and that there is some standing water on Hasfield Ham in the distance.  There were 120 Mallard, 25 Wigeon, 18 Canada Geese, 2(1) Mute Swan, 14 Teal and 2 Shoveler.  There was a hirundine very high and distant.  I think that it was a Swallow but in any event it is a late date for this.  7 Black-headed Gulls moved south and also in that direction were some Starlings with Fieldfares which momentarily perched in one of the bare branched trees.

          I went on to WWT Slimbridge where, from the Zeiss Hide, there were 25 Black-tailed Godwits.  On South Lake there were a bigger number of Herring Gulls than usual with 26 individuals there. Other gulls included a small flock of Black-headed Gulls with 5 Common Gull alongside them. 2 Bewick’s Swans landed in the Big Pen for a short while before relocating to the Rushy Pen.  From the Holden Tower, 7 White-fronted Geese were near the Barnacle Goose flock which numbered 135 birds.


27th October 2013 – I went to WWT Slimbridge after receiving a report that the first of the winter visiting Bewick’s Swans had arrived.  I got there at lunchtime and went to the Holden Tower where I could just view the swans through some vegetation on the Long Ground Pool.  At 1445, they flew onto the Rushy Pen and I was able to photograph the bill patterns of the 5 adults and the yearling.  It was pleasing to see that there was also a cygnet present and that the Bewick’s Swan family and another pair were dominant over the resident Mute Swan female and her cygnet.  It was a very blustery day with a lot of heavy rain showers.


25th October 2013 – Another visit to WWT Slimbridge and my first port of call was the Zeiss Hide after checking on Rushy Pen that no Bewick’s Swans were there.  At the Zeiss Hide, there were 8 Common Cranes on the Dumbles with two more joining them.  One of the latter was the one which flies with the dangling leg.  Of the ones on the ground, only the following rings could be read in the long vegetation – Reading up the leg, White/Blue/Red, Red/Yellow/Black and Red/Green/Red.  On South Lake there was an adult Herring Gull with a red/orange darvic with the code ‘WJ4.T’.  This information has been emailed to the ringer.  From the Holden Tower, the 10 Common Cranes were still on the Dumbles along with 2 Buzzards, at least 12 White-fronted Geese and a Peregrine on what may have been a kill.  The geese were well dispersed and in long vegetation and there may have been more than 12.  Also of note was a Cetti’s Warbler which was singing. On the Rushy Pen there were two Black-headed Gulls with white darvics, ‘2P33’ and ‘21J5’.


24th October 2013 – A few winter thrushes passing over Westonbirt Arboretum this morning and a Chaffinch flock was of note.


23rd October 2013 – It was a day of sunshine and showers which gradually gave way to a breezy but dry and sunny afternoon.  I went to Ashleworth before lunch and found the scrapes to be full of water which is not surprising because of the amount of rain in the past few days.  There were 155 Mallard, 30 Teal, 15 Wigeon, 2 Canada Geese, 4 Greylag Geese, 1 Pintail and 2 Mute Swans including a cygnet.  There has been a lot of scrub clearance in the copse near the hide.

          At WWT Slimbridge, I moved to the Zeiss Hide first.  There were a number of duck, mostly Teal but many birds were tucked away in the vegetation, sheltering from the brisk wind.  There were 8 Common Crane including the unringed young bird.  All the others were from the reintroduction scheme.  The ring combinations were as follows, reading up the leg – White/Blue/Red, Red/Green/Red, Red/White/Red, Red/Blue/White, White/Blue/Yellow, Red/Green/Blue and Red/Yellow/Black. Also there was a Spotted Redshank and some Black-tailed Godwits.  Later in the afternoon at the Holden Tower there was a Wheatear again on the scrape edge with 2 Skylark and 10(2) White-fronted Geese. 


22nd October 2013 – Although there was heavy rain this morning, it cleared to showers and some sunshine in the afternoon.  I went to WWT Slimbridge again.  The hybrid Pochard was still on the Rushy Pen.  From the Zeiss Hide, Spotted Redshank, Redshank, Greenshank, Lapwing and Golden Plover were the waders present as well as many Teal.  A Peregrine, quite large, probably a female was perched on a fence post on the Dumbles.  From the Holden Tower later, a good sized flock of Lapwing, Golden Plover and Dunlin was on the edge of the Dumbles where there were also many Curlew present.  Many of the latter were sheltering from the blustery southerly wind blowing up the estuary.  I could only see 9 White-fronted Geese because they were a long way away and in long vegetation but I expect that all 15 or more were there.  At lunchtime a small flock of winter thrushes passed through to the south and all afternoon, small flocks of Starlings were also heading in that direction.  This has not been apparent in the last few days and seems to be a feature of today.


20th October 2013 – I spent an hour or so in the Holden Tower at WWT Slimbridge.  There had been a report of 7 Bewick’s Swans down the river near the Severn Bridges.  I thought that they might come up river to roost at Slimbridge but this turned out not to be the case.  However, the highlight of the afternoon was that of a Hen Harrier which flew out of the vegetation on the Spartina island and gradually flew down river before being lost to view near the sluice gate to the south of the Dumbles.  This bird seemed to be quite large and broad winged but the most noticeable features were large almost white patches on the upper wings.  There were 15 White-fronted Geese present on the Dumbles today and finally there was a hybrid male Pochard on the Rushy Pen which may have Pochard and Ferruginous Duck parentage.


15th October 2013 – A white butterfly was on the wing near my garden this morning which was a good mid-October record.

          I went to Slimbridge later in the morning.  From the Zeiss Hide, a Cetti’s Warbler was singing often.  A Common Crane was present and a Little Grebe disappeared into the reed bed.  Waders present included, Redshank, Lapwing, Ruff, Golden Plover and Greenshank.  On South Lake, there was the usual large flock of Black-headed Gulls with a single Lesser Black-backed Gull and a few Herring Gulls.  Passerines in the hedgerow from the Knott Hide included several Goldfinch and Chaffinch.  From the Holden Tower, I noted 8 White-fronted Geese.  Returning to the Halfway Hide, 7 Common Cranes flew over.  Also of note for mid-October was the sight of a Hawker dragonfly on the wing at the Zeiss Hide.


14th October 2013 – In a short afternoon visit to WWT Slimbridge on a day of heavy showers, I noted a Spotted Redshank and an unringed Common Crane from the Zeiss Hide.  Around the South Finger area there were at least 2 different very vocal Cetti’s Warblers.  On South Lake, there was again a large flock of Black-headed Gulls with a single Common Gull with them.  On Rushy Pen there was at least 2 Pochard and with more of this species at South Finger and a number of Pintail showing it is a sure sign of winter around the corner. 


12th October 2013 – I made another visit to WWT Slimbridge today.  From the Zeiss Hide there were Little Grebe, 4 Common Crane, Snipe, 2 Greenshank and a very vocal Cetti’s Warbler.  2 Ruff, 10 Redshank and a small flock of Black-tailed Godwits and Lapwing were also on the scrape.  On South Lake, there was quite a large flock of Black-headed Gulls but I could not find any other species of small gull with them.  A Snipe was present as was another small flock of Black-tailed Godwits.  On Rushy Pen, it was unusual to see a number of Wigeon.  From the Holden Tower, I noted a dark bellied Brent Goose on the estuary mud.  It appeared to be injured with its right wing dragging.  Finally, a Water Rail put in a brief appearance from the Martin Smith hide.


11th October 2013 – This morning at home, I was scanning the sky when I noted a few House Martins high in the air.  While watching them, a flock of winter thrushes flew through my binocular view.  The latter species were noted many times during the day and suggested quite a big movement of these migrants through Gloucestershire today.

In a short visit to WWT Slimbridge, there were Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwits, Redshanks, Snipe, Green Sandpipers, Lapwing and Ruff from the Zeiss Hide.  Later, Curlew were noted from the Holden Tower, making a total of 8 wader species for the day.

10th October 2013 – There were at least 203 Canada Geese and 1 Kingfisher near to Ross-on-Wye town today.


9th October 2013 – At Nagshead on a day of dropping temperatures, 11 Siskin flew over the Nursery Pond area giving a sign of winter!


8th October 2013 – At WWT Slimbridge, I went to the Zeiss Hide were there was a good selection of waders including, Spotted Redshank, Redshank, Greenshank, Lapwing, Ruff and Black-tailed Godwit. On the South Lake there were 2 Green Sandpipers and from the Holden Tower, Curlew and Dunlin were on the river, the former having a white darvic leg ring.  Thus, today there were 9 species of wader on show.  6 Common Crane were also present including the unringed juvenile. 


6th October 2013 – At Nagshead today, the butterfly records included Speckled Wood, Red Admiral and Comma.  A Red Fox walked through the middle of the short trail area while I was sat having some coffee.  It ambled past me within 20metres and didn’t appear to notice me. 


5th October 2013 – I walked down the River Wye again and found a Chiffchaff in the same spot as on October 2nd and also seen were a Kingfisher and a Peregrine flew north.  A Small Tortoiseshell was a good October record. 


3rd October 2013 – At WWT Slimbridge, there was a Wheatear on the northern cross fence from the Holden Tower where also there were at least 7 White-fronted Geese thus winter visitors met summer migrants.  From the Knot Hide, there were at least 2 Chiffchaffs in the hedge and there was a little bit of song from them.


2nd October 2013 – I walked down river on the west bank of the River Wye from Ross-on-Wye.  There was a mixed tit flock including Long-tailed Tits and a Chiffchaff.  There were a good number of Canada Geese and Mute Swans on the river but otherwise the area was fairly quiet although a Comma butterfly was a good October record.


1st October 2013 – A good number of hirundines, both Swallows and Martins were tracking purposefully south east over Longhope at breakfast time. 

          Later in the day I walked up the Gloucestershire Way at Nagshead and found a single Fallow Deer and later 4 different animals along the short trail in overcast conditions with a damp feel to the air but it was not actually raining.




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