31st December 2017 – I had a short walk at RSPB Nagshead this morning.
There were a lot of Grey Squirrels about and probably more here than I
have ever seen before. A male
Bullfinch was along the Bixlade Tramway and around
the woods there were roving mixed parties of various tits.
30th December 2017 – There were 2 Great White Egrets
and 4 Little Egrets near the rowing club early this afternoon. The 4 were on the other side of the river
to the club and the larger birds were around the brook that runs past the club
and into the river. This is a first
for me for Ross-on-Wye and is the 54 species for the year for my Ross town
boundary year list.
21st December 2017 – A Little Egret was in the brook
near the rowing club. The river has
been high and there is a lot of debris lodged against the uprights of Wilton
Bridge. Understandably, the
Environment Agency has to wait for the river level to go down before this can
20th December 2017 – I went to Westonbirt
Arboretum again today and there were many more people walking around and
consequently there were fewer birds than on 15th December. However, the highlight was of two Goldcrests foraging in a large shrub on my return walk. A Buzzard was perched up nearby.
19th December 2017 – I made a short visit to WWT Slimbridge today.
There are now 18 Bewick’s Swans
present. This is a very low number
for the time of year but the weather on the continent is reported to be mild
and there must be plenty of food for the swans and thus they are taking their
time in moving further south-west.
Buzzard and Peregrine were the raptors present. Also, Teal, Wigeon,
White-fronted Geese, Lapwings, Curlew, Godwits, three Common Cranes and other
geese were present on the Tack Piece. Back at Ross-on-Wye, there were a lot of Blackbirds foraging along the river to Wilton Bridge.
15th December 2017 – At Westonbirt
Arboretum, there were a number of passerines including many Chaffinch and
Blackbirds foraging in the leaf litter under some of the maple trees in the
collection area of that species of tree.
The highlight was of one Hawfinch which was with them.
14th December 2017 – Another day with a number of
Blackbirds foraging around the town.
Little Egrets were notable flying around by the brooks and the
river. The latter is high after the
heavy snow and the subsequent thawing.
10th December 2017 – There was heavy snow overnight
and, just after dawn there were a number of small flocks of thrushes flying
purposefully south-east. Around the
shrubs and bushes of the garden there were many passerines foraging in the poor
9th December 2017 – At least 2 Grey Herons and a
Little Egret were either on the roof of Ross swimming pool or perched in trees
nearby. There are eying the
multitude of fish in the local brook which runs behind the pool.
8th December 2017 – A Kingfisher was along Rudhall Brook next to the building where I live today.
7th December 2017 – There seemed to be a bit of bird
movement today. Again, there were numerous Blackbirds around Ross-on-Wye today
and there were gulls and smaller passerines passing over quite high up. There were many thrush species around
the shrubs near the sandstone cliffs near the bandstand just outside of the
4th December 2017 – During my walk around Monmouth
today, there seemed to be Blackbirds everywhere. Indeed, while waiting for the bus in Canteloup Road in Ross-on-Wye, there were a number busily
foraging for berries around the library buildings. In Monmouth, most seem to be around the
grounds of Chippenham Park.
21st November 2017 – There are a lot of fish present
in Rudhall Brook, near Greytree
Road in Ross-on-Wye again. They
were here at about this time last year.
The numbers must be in four figures. They were first noted last year on
6th December 2016.
20th November 2017 – At Garway
church there were a lot of corvids flying around including Ravens during the
morning. In the afternoon, I made a
short visit to WWT Slimbridge. The highlights were of
10 Common Crane and the first 4 Bewick’s Swans
present. A Little Stint was on the Rushy Pen for much
of the afternoon.
13th November 2017 – I went to WWT Slimbridge
with the thinking that with a very cold and still night behind me, there may be
more Bewick’s Swans that may have arrived
overnight. I was right in the fact
that the total now stands at four birds, two adults and two yearlings. One of the adults has been wintering
here for about 17 years.
12th November 2017 – I had a short walk at RSPB Nagshead today.
The highlight was of a Goldcrest foraging in
holly along the short trail. I
heard a Treecreeper near the dip in the outward short
trail. I often hear or see them in
this small area most of the year. I
will continue to monitor their presence or absence this winter in this
10th November 2017 – There were several female
Goosander hauled out on the far river bank near the bandstand at Ross-on-Wye
today. I have never seen them out
of the water this close to the town before. There has been a lot of coppicing,
pollarding and pleaching of the trees along the river
bank at the Rope Walk, Ross-on-Wye.
9th November 2017
– I went to WWT Slimbridge and found the
reported first Bewick’s Swan of the
season. It was a yearling and I was
able to photograph the bill pattern on both sides and the front to add to the
database. This would be a new piece
of data since it was a cygnet last winter and would not have developed its
black and yellow bill pattern at that time. Other highlights at that location
included 5 Common Cranes on the Dumbles. The lone Bewick’s Swan was being harassed at the feed by the
resident pair of Mute Swans on the Rushy Pen. This will change as those swans get
outnumbers by the migrants over the next few weeks.
2017 – I had a message to say that the first Bewick’s
Swan of the winter season had arrived at WWT Slimbridge. This is a late date but can be explained
that it has been a very mild autumn over most of Europe and there is plenty of
food for them. Also, there has been
a steady stream of low pressure systems coming over the Atlantic Ocean and
therefore giving head winds for any bird migrating to the south west. Birds don’t migrate in strong
adverse wind conditions.
2nd November 2017 – There
were 8 Goosanders on the River Wye at Ross-on-Wye today, this being the highest
count of this autumn. While I
was standing on Wilton Bridge, a Black-headed Gull suddenly started alarm
calling and flying around in tight circles over the river just downstream from
the bridge. I could see something
in the water and as it came nearer, I was able to identify it. It was an Otter, the first that I have
seen on the river ever.
28th October 2017 – A Sparrowhawk was high over where I live at 1130 this
26th October 2017 – There
were possibly three Kingfishers around the brook by the side of the building
where I live and near the rowing club and the river. It may have been the same bird! The
River Wye was a little bit higher than of late.
16th October 2017 – Ex-hurricane
Ophelia was over Ireland today and this morning the sun was very pink in the
sky and the clouds were very yellow giving an eerie light. This was apparently caused by sand
particles from the Sahara being sucked up into the upper atmosphere by this
14th October 2017 – Today, I
went on a rare twitch for me. I
went to the Blorenge area of the mountain not far
from Abergavenny to view a Rock Thrush.
When I arrived in the early afternoon at about 2pm, it was perched up on
one of the ridges. It was a
beautifully marked bird and I was able to watch it through the scope for about
2 minutes when it flew. Despite
constant searching over a wide range and many rock faces, I could not relocate
it and I left at 5pm. It was an
13th October 2017 – Two
Buzzards of different sizes and therefore probably a pair, were soaring for
quite some time over Garway Church while I was there
in the early afternoon.
12th October 2017 – I had a
walk over Crabtree Hill today to see if there was a returning Great Grey Shrike
but I did not find one. There were two, possibly three Stonechat actually on
the tarmac road and nearby was a Green Woodpecker. A Fallow Deer buck was roaring near the
southern end of the tarmac road. On
the pond scrape area there were a number of odonata. There were lots of red-type darter, a
single Southern Hawker and a blue damselfly. It was indeed a bumper day for these
creatures nearly half way through October.
There were lots of Coot on Woorgreens Lake and
a juvenile Peregrine was wheeling around over the water before it flew off to
10th October 2017 – I was at
RSPB Nagshead this lunchtime. It was a beautiful, autumnal day with a
gusty breeze which is causing the coloured leaves to fall adding to the carpet
of acorns on the paths along the Gloucestershire Way. Off that track, I found 4 Fallow Deer
moving relatively quickly to the north.
A Coal Tit was foraging very close to me along the short trail and
seemed oblivious of me standing there and watching this bird move methodically
along the various twigs of one of the oak trees.
9th October 2017 – I made a
visit to WWT Slimbridge this morning. There were a good number and variety of
waders present including Ruff, Redshank, Little Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Black-tailed
Godwit, Avocet, Dunlin and Little Stint.
There were about 10 Little Stint which was the biggest number that I
have seen together for several years.
A Common Gull was present in the Black-headed Gull flock on South
Lake. There was one of the latter
species with a white darvic with the characters
8th October 2017 – There were
a number of ladybirds around the windows at home on a pleasant and warm
Garway church there was a pristine Red Admiral
butterfly in the churchyard.
Overhead and down the Monnow Valley there were many Ravens wheeling
around in the updrafts produced by the breeze and the warmth of the day.
2nd October 2017 – There was
an October Red Admiral butterfly in the garden today. There have been reports nationally of
good numbers of this species of late.
1st October 2017 – I went to
RSPB Nagshead and walked up as usual from the Stoneworks at Cannop. The woods were quiet but there was a
mixed tit flock around the Gloucestershire Way which included some Coal
Tits. There has been a very good
yield of acorns judging by the number lying on the paths. It is also very muddy on the trails for
the time of year.