Diary – October to December 2016



29th December 2016 – There were three Little Grebes on the southern pond at Cannop this afternoon. This species can be found daily on the northern pond but it is unusual to see them on this pond and very unusual to see them near to the Stoneworks end.  There were at least 4 Robins together feeding near the Stoneworks.


28th December 2016 – There was a pair of Great-spotted Woodpeckers and a Sparrowhawk in a friend’s garden at Coleford this afternoon.  The woodpeckers were feeding on fatballs and the Sparrowhawk came later but only perched in a tree for a minute or so and then departed.


18th December 2106 – The numbers of the fish in the stream at Greytree Road seem to have increased recently and not far downstream a Little Egret was fishing.  It must be easy.  I have not seen this species on this stream before.


17th December 2016 – It was a generally grey, damp and misty day.  There was some movement of winter thrushes around the fields at Weston-under-Penyard and in the orchard near the church there were Redwings and Fieldfare feeding on apples still in the trees having been left uncropped. On Penyard Hill there appeared to be plenty of activity including two different Goldcrest foraging intently and a flyover Nuthatch being the highlights. 


14th December 2016 – There was a Robin singing in the middle of Ross-on-Wye today before dawn at 0400.  I could only find 4 Goosander on the river at Ross-on-Wye today but there could have been more in the mist which was low over the fields and over the water just after dawn.  The fish in the stream at Greytree Road continue their presence. 

          Later in the day on a short visit to RSPB Nagshead, I found a number of Bullfinch around the Nursery Pond.


9th December 2016 – There were a minimum of 14 Goosander on the River Wye at Ross-on-Wye today and the number of fish in the stream at Greytree Road is remaining very high.


8th December 2016 – I made a short visit to WWT Slimbridge this afternoon.  Highlight of the day was of a single Bean Goose on the Tack Piece with the Greylag and Canada Geese.


7th December 2016 – The fish noted yesterday were still there in numbers today.


6th December 2016 – There were at least 24 Goosander on the River Wye at Ross-on-Wye today.

In the brook which runs parallel to Greytree Road in Ross-on-Wye, there are thousands of fish.  The numbers make the stream bed look black.  The majority of them are Grayling with some Rudd. 


5th December 2016 – I repeated the bus journey of 3rd December and the gull sightings were the same.  It had been a frosty night. I also took another bus to Dursley and along the A38 just to the south of Claypits Hill there were a good number of Lapwing in the roadside fields. 


3rd December 2016 – I took the bus from Ross-on-Wye to Gloucester and back today.  On many of the roadside fields there were small flocks of gulls.  Most were Black-headed Gulls but some were Common Gulls. 


2nd December 2016 – There was a good number of Goosander on the River Wye at Ross-on-Wye during my walk from the town to Wilton Bridge.


28th November 2016 – The number of Bewick’s Swans at WWT Slimbridge continue to build with the past few days being of good weather for migration from the east.


22nd November 2016 – There were a number of Bewick’s Swans at the afternoon feed at WWT Slimbridge.


20th November 2016 – The number of birds coming to the feeders in a friends garden in Coleford has been increasing over the past few weeks as the colder weather makes itself known. The Bullfinches are back with several birds visiting and the Goldfinch flock is increasing in numbers . 


18th November 2016 – I have noted over the last two weeks that the numbers of Goosander on the River Wye was increasing as it does for the winter.  Early this morning just after first light, I walked down to Wilton Bridge and on the way from the town centre, I made a count of 25 birds which was my highest count of the year. 


17th November 2016 – There was a very violent storm while I was in Gloucester at 1100.  There was torrential rain accompanied by significant hail and the wind picked up quite dramatically for five or ten minutes.  The severity of the rain was such that the guttering in many building overflowed and became waterfalls.  The whole thing lasted for perhaps ten minutes and then over the next hour the rain cleared away and blue sky interval remained for the rest of the day.  It was the same in Coleford in terms of the storm and in Ross-on-Wye as well where a supermarket had to temporarily close because of the water.


14th November 2016 – There were Goosanders on the River Wye this morning which were noted on my walk from the town to Wilton Bridge.


13th November 2016 – This morning was wall to wall blue sky.  I drove out to Cannop Ponds to take some photographs for a project.  The autumn colours which I have mentioned in this diary a couple of weeks or so ago seem to be even better now.  The growing conditions in the summer has produced an abundance of leaves and kept them in good condition into the autumn.  Now that they have turned to a massive variety of reds, oranges, yellows, browns and greens and all colours in between, many are still on the trees because there has been no significant wind over the past month or so.  The net result of all of this is a spectacular and, more importantly, long-lasting display of these beautiful colours. 


12th November 2016 - I had a short walk along the River Wye to Wilton Bridge and noted a number of Goosanders, their numbers now starting to increase in the area for the winter season.


6th November 2016 – A significant event occurred this morning in that I had to de-ice the car before I went out.  There was quite a bit of ice on the windscreen and it did refreeze once after I had cleared it.  This was the first really good frost of the late autumn.


4th November 2016 – Today, I saw my first Bewick’s Swans of the season at WWT Slimbridge.  There were three birds, a pair with one cygnet.  The arrival date of yesterday was a little bit later than average but by only a few days but it was very nice to see a young bird here bearing in mind the decline in the numbers of this species over the last 20 years or so.  Whether it has been a good breeding season in the arctic remains to be seen as the birds migrate to their winter quarters and a coordinated count will be made in the middle of the winter.


29th October 2016 – I took the bus from Ross-on-Wye to Gloucester and was able to have a good look around en route.  The most notable thing is the fantastic variation of the colours on the leaves which are about to fall.  It is certainly a good year for colour in that not only has the conditions been good from growing and making the leaves last on the trees but high pressure has dominated the weather in this area for well over a week now and thus there has been little wind to blow the leaves from the trees.  A beautiful time of the year!


28th October 2016 – There was at least one Cattle Egret in a field opposite Slimbridge school when I drove by just before lunchtime.  Later at 1625, six of them flew over Patch Bridge and looked like they were heading to the lakes at WWT Slimbridge. Of note at WWT was a Green Sandpiper in front of the Halfway hide.


26th October 2016 – After yesterday’s sighting of the Goosander, today I found three more together on the river near the Hope and Anchor public house.


25th October 2016 – A lone female Goosander was downstream of Wilton Bridge, Ross-on-Wye today.


24th October 2016 – At WWT Slimbridge, there were about 30 White-fronted Geese, a Little Egret and a Common Crane on the Dumbles.  There were a good number of birds on the Rushy Pen including at least 25 Pochard and many Black-headed Gulls.  There were four juvenile large gulls including one with a very white head, dark eye, small parallel bill and poorly marked tertials.  It suggested a Caspian Gull but upon reflection it was a second winter Herring Gull possibly in a retarded plumage state. 


23rd October 2016 – On the Gloucestershire Way at RSPB Nagshead, I found 8 medium sized Wild Boar. I suspect that they are young from earlier this year.  They were very approachable and only ran off when I was within 10m. A single Fallow Deer was on the temporarily closed Cannop Valley road.


21st October 2016 – I have not been out lately because I have had a bad head cold and thus there is not much to report.


11th October 2016 – At Wilton Bridge, there was a Kingfisher fishing by dropping from a dead tree branch close to the water and I noted it succeed with a juicy meal of fish.


10th October 2016 – At WWT Slimbridge there were 13 Common Crane on the Dumbles and walking back along the Holden walkway produced at least one singing Chiffchaff.  On South Lake there were many Black-tailed Godwits, a few Redshank and a lot of gulls. 


9th October 2016 – At least 2 Chiffchaff were along the river at Ross-on-Wye again with a Long-tailed Tit flock. 

          Later in the day I went to RSPB Nagshead where there were many birds.  I don’t think I have seen so many thrushes in one day.  There were a great number of Song Thrushes, a good number of Redwing and at least one Mistle Thrush.  Many of these birds were feeding voraciously on Rowan berries.  This was a suggestion that there has been a big movement of these birds in terms of numbers and that they were feeding up after a migration.


5th October 2016 – I walked along the river at Ross-on-Wye and found a large number of Long-tailed Tits.  Bearing in mind that there has been a large invasion of smaller passerines on the easterly winds that have been blowing for a week or so recently, I was thinking that there may be some more scarce birds being carried with this tit flock but the best that I could do was hear a Chiffchaff doing some half-hearted singing and a few calls. 


2nd October 2016 – At RSPB Nagshead there were several Red Admiral, Speckled Wood and a single Small Copper butterflies on the wing which was a good October record.  A Red Fox and some Fallow Deer were around the long trail.



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