Diary – October to December 2018  


31st December 2018 – Two Bullfinches were near Wilton Bridge this morning.  This made 60 species noted within the confines of the Ross-on-Wye town boundary this year.


29th December 2018 – A Kingfisher was off the Rope Walk bank this afternoon on the River Wye at Ross-on-Wye.


22nd December 2018 – I noted a Common Buzzard which appeared to fly out of the same tree near the skateboard park which I had seen one appear to go into on December 9th.  I need to monitor this next year for a possible nest and breeding.


21st December 2018 – 2 Little Egret were foraging in Rudhall Brook today.


20th December 2018 – A large female Sparrowhawk caused panic among the town pigeons at the bus station in Hereford this afternoon.


16th December 2018 – Little Egrets and Goosander were noted again along the river between the rowing club and Wilton Bridge. 


14th December 2018 – There were still 9 Little Egrets on the river bank by Wilton Bridge again today and at least 20 Goosander nearby.


13th December 2018 – There were 9 Little Egret in one flock near Wilton Bridge today with a total of 10 birds seen.  Further, there were at least 20 Goosander on the river nearby.


11th December 2018 – I visited Ashleworth Ham today.  There is more water there than last time and it is nicely flooded and ideal for waterfowl.  There is a little open water on Hasfield Ham too.  There were no sign of winter swans even though conditions are excellent.  However, there was a large flock of Canada Geese.

          At WWT Slimbridge, there was approximately 47 Bewick’s Swan on the Top New Piece as viewed from the Holden Tower with a further 5 on the river. On the Tack Piece was a good sized flock of Golden |Plover and a Common Snipe could be seen from the Martin Smith hide.


9th December 2018 – A Little Egret and a Grey Heron were foraging in Rudhall Brook near to the rowing club at Ross-on-Wye.  There were more of these species on the fields on the opposite side of the river.  Of note, a Common Buzzard appeared to go into the canopy of a large tree near the car park entrance to the skateboard park.


1st December 2018 – Today there were 4 Little Egrets on the fields opposite the Rope Walk.


30th November 2018 – There were at least 8 Goosander on the River Wye and 4 Little Egrets on the open fields opposite the Rope Walk at Ross-on-Wye.


27th November 2018 – I called in at Ashleworth this morning but it was fairly quiet with some open water.  I moved on to WWT Slimbridge.  Here there were a few Bewick’s Swans on the Rushy Pen in wet and windy conditions. 


23rd November 2018 – Today on or near the River Wye there were at least 12 Goosander,  3 Little Egret and 3 Grey Heron.


22nd November 2018 – I heard Redwing overflying the Rope Walk as I walked to Wilton Bridge in the dark this evening.


21st November 2018 – I had an interesting observation today.  There were two Blue Tits foraging in the conifer tree where I live.  I am on the second floor and can look into the top of this tree.  I thought that the birds were searching out insects but with close watching, I noted that they were getting seeds and breaking them down by holding the seed under one foot  just like they do with a peanut from a feeder.  Some conifer trees do benefit birds. Blackbirds were finishing off rowan berries from a neighbours tree.

          On the river later in the day, I found at least 12 Goosander with 3 Grey Heron and 10 Little Egret on the banks near Wilton Bridge.


16th November 2018 – There were 3 Little Egrets on the River Wye near Wilton Bridge.


14th November 2018 – There was a Little Egret on the River Wye at Wilton Bridge and along Wilton Lane there was a small flock of winter thrushes.


5th November 2018 – I went to see if I could see any of the two Beavers which have been released recently in an enclosure near Brierley, Gloucestershire today.  There is a public path alongside the enclosure which is about 1 kilometre long.  I looked carefully but there was no sign apart from some recently gnawed trees.  However on the way back, I could hear them chewing quite close but there is too much vegetation at the moment for good views.  I will have to return in a few weeks time when the viewing should be better and put in a longer session.  Today was really only a recce.


1st November 2018 – There was a Red Kite soaring over the River Wye just upstream from Lower Lydbrook today.  I checked the meadows over the river at Ross-on-Wye at dusk for the chance of seeing a Short-eared Owl.  The habitat and season and time looked right but none were seen.


30th October 2018 – A winter thrush flock flew over my home early this morning at 0715.


29th October 2018 – There was a report of the first Bewick’s Swan to arrive at WWT Slimbridge for the winter today.

          I walked up the river from Ross-on-Wye and noted some winter thrushes moving up river near Backney Bridge where there was also a Kingfisher on the wing and a Little Egret fishing in the river off the far bank.  Just upstream from the A40 bridge, there were 3 Goosander on the river.


25th October 2018 – A Goldcrest was in the conifer in the garden today which was a first for where I live.

          At Wilton Bridge, I noted a Kingfisher again.  It could have been the same bird that I saw on the 22nd October.  I noted the 4 cygnet Mute Swan family which I have been watching over the last few months along the river downstream from Ross-on-Wye.  Today all 6 birds were airborne and coming from far downstream near Goodrich.  They flew over the bridge and upstream but when they were near to the A40 bridge, the 2 adults landed on the river and the 4 cygnets came back and were lost to sight downstream towards Goodrich from where they all appeared to come from.


23rd October 2018 – I made another short visit to WWT Slimbridge.  At the Halfway Hide, I found the reported 3 White-fronted Geese, the first arrivals of the winter.  It appeared that there was only one adult but two juveniles.  Another nice sighting was of 3 Common Snipe at close range from the Martin Smith hide.

          More Sparrowhawk activity over my home today.


22nd October 2018 – There was a frost overnight. After lunch, I walked to Wilton Bridge.  A Kingfisher was on the wing and a Sparrowhawk was over the bridge.  I had seen one earlier near the bandstand and this may have been the same bird.  I also noted a Sparrowhawk over the town heading towards Chase Hill.  There seems to be a lot of action with this species lately.  Also of note for late October were several red darter dragonflies on the wing around the vegetation near the bridge.  It was a warm, autumnal day.


19th October 2018 – It was a foggy start to the day but it had cleared by midday.  I walked over Penyard Hill.  Raven soaring over the north edge of the hill and Coal Tit and Treecreeper along the track with the barriers for the firing range were the only birds of note.


18th October 2018 – I walked up the river from Ross-on-Wye town and noted 2 Little Grebe on the river near Backney Bridge.


14th October 2018 – The River Wye is very high today after the large amount of recent rain.  In the late afternoon at about 4pm, I walked to Wilton Bridge and noted that there was a steady stream of apples floating downstream.  I did some approximate counts and took some photographs to back up my counts and my average was 100 apples per minute floating by.  Later in the day I got news from a friend who had been at a bridge at Monmouth earlier in the morning at about 9am and he had an average count of 150 apples per minute.  Thus if we take a conservative flow rate of apples of 100 per minute over the 7 hours then approximately 42000 apples went by!  In reality, with the higher counts there could have been up to 63000 passing.


4th October 2018 – I walked up the River Wye from Ross-on-Wye on a beautiful warm autumnal day.  I was not surprised to see quite a number of red damselflies on the wing on such a glorious day.


2nd October 2018 – I made a short visit to WWT Slimbridge this lunchtime.  At the Halfway Hide there was the sight of three waders to make a really good comparison.  They were Common Redshank, Spotted Redshank and Ruff all together.  Also present were 3 Common Cranes which included 1 juvenile.


1st October 2018 – A cold start to this October with frost on the roof tops at dawn. Two Buzzards were circling the skate park near Wilton at 3pm.





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