Diary - October to December 2007

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31st December 2007 - A Happy New Year and good birding in 2008 to all of my readers.

22nd December 2007 - Ashleworth where it was a bright day but cold with ice on the water. 2 Buzzards and a Peregrine were the raptors present.

19th December 2007 - I went twitching today by deviating on route to Slimbridge to go to Frampton where I found the Cattle Egret on farmland near buildings with some Little Egrets. A fine bird.
I noted a Mute Swan on the Sharpness Canal south of Patch Bridge with a metal only ring, ZZ9028.

15th December 2007 - At Ashleworth there was a Buzzard, a Peregrine and a female Stonechat on a cold, calm and overcast day.

14th December 2007 - Ashleworth on a cold, grey and overcast day. From 1145 to 1220 the following were noted - 1 Peregrine, 200 Wigeon, 20 Pintail, 20 Shoveler, 20 Teal, 10 Mallard, 4 Canada Geese with some birds being on the ice. The numbers were estimated quickly as the birds were flushed by a horse being ridden along Stank Lane and along Ham Road. A Buzzard was the other raptor present.

December 2007 - A general note. There are not many entries for the month as I was out of the county for periods of time.

28th November 2007 - At Nagshead, one Buzzard and at Farmers Green, the Great Grey Shrike and a Hawfinch.

22nd November 2007 - Slimbridge. 21 Bewick's Swans in the field one back from the south middle field at 1435, 3(1) birds were one field further back but 2 unaccompanied dogs flushed the 21 birds at 1458.
At the centre, 83 White-fronted Geese were on the Dumbles along with about 500 Dunlin.

21st November 2007 - A Great Grey Shrike and 4 Hawfinch at Farmers Green, near Cannop Ponds, Forest of Dean.

20th November 2007 - Ashleworth. Overcast and damp and there is much more water after about one inch of rainfall on Sunday (18th). From the hide area, 4 Gadwall, a Moorhen, 2 Canada Geese, 20 Wigeon, 8 Collared Dove were unusual for the area and there were 5 Snipe. Along Stank Lane, 14 Stock Dove, 2 Mute Swans, 2 Jay, 4 Mallard, a Lapwing and 2 Meadwow Pipits, a Reed Bunting, 4 Teal, 1 Water Pipit and 1 Grey Wagtail.

19th November 2007 - 41(1) Bewick's Swans at 1445 in the southern road field on the approach to Slimbridge Centre.

17th November 2007 - Ashleworth at 0900 on a damp November morning with the leave falling. Peregrine and Buzzard were the raptors present. Also, 2 Mallard, 10 Wigeon, 2 Canada Geese, 1 Grey Wagtail, Meadow Pipit and 3 Water Pipits including one very pale individual.

16th November 2007 - Today was very cold with the temperature in Parkend at 0830 being minus 4 deg. C. in sun. I went to Slimbridge and there were 40 adult Bewick's Swans in the southern road field at 1010. 81 White-fronted Geese were on the Dumbles including the bird with the neck collar.

13th November 2007 - At Ashleworth today there was hedge cutting near the hide which made for some, but necessary disturbance. Birds included Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipit, Jay, Great Grey Shrike and Little Egret, the latter a rare bird for the reserve.

12th November 2007 - Slimbridge. A Black-headed Gull with a Belgian ring was noted - 7T638862.

10th November 2007 - Still breezy but with sunny periods at Ashleworth. Male Kestrel, 6 Mute Swans, 2 Canada Geese, 4 Wigeon and 15 Snipe.

8th November 2007 - Ashleworth was breezy for once and it was overcast. 13 Snipe, 2 Canada Geese, 1 Wigeon and Shoveler, 3 Teal, a Peregrine and Water Pipit and the Great Grey Shrike.

7th November 2007 - There were plenty of Fiedfare with the Starling and there appeared to be a passage of Chaffinch. Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Canada Geese, 3 Wigeon, 2 Stonechat, 1 Reed Bunting, 2 Water Pipit, a Little Grebe, Long-tailed Tit and Goldcrest both my the hide, Sparrowhawk, 17 Snipe, 2 Mute Swans, 9 Teal and a Buzzard was the list of birds seen and the Great Grey Shrike was again present. This bird and from other experiences of this species, tends to go missing for days on end and this is partly because they are wide ranging. This is probably a foraging requirement.

6th November 2007 - A sunny and cool Ashleworth. Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Peregrine were the representatives of the raptors present. 4 Mallard, 2 Canada Geese, 3 Wigeon, 8 Mute Swans, 2 Stock Dove, a Raven, Goldfinch, 35 Snipe in the field in the southern corner of Stank Lane with Ham Road. 2 Water Pipits were in front of the hide and there were very many Fieldfare with the Redwings and Starling.

4th NOvember 2007 - Nagshead. 2 Buzzards.

3rd November 2007 - Ashleworth. 0850, the fog was clearing to become sunny. 4 Snipe, a pair of Stonechat were at Colways Farm, 4 Long-tailed Tits were along Ham Road. Other birds around the reserve were small flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare, 7 Mute Swans, a Canada Goose which appeared to be injured, a Buzzard and Sparrowhawk and among the 460 Starling there appeared to be a leucistic one. Another Buzzard to the north of Stank Lane and 5 Magpies in total.
At Walmore Common at 1330, there were no swans.

2nd November 2007 - Slimbridge. Sunny, clear and mild for the time of year. I was finally able to read the red darvic ring on a Barnacle Goose that had been reported recently. There were white letters 'BP' on the red ring with a white mark separating the letters. This bird had been ringed in the east of England and so the thought that it was from the far north of Europe was dashed.

1st November 2007 - Ashleworth at 0920 on a sunny, mild day with slight mist patches. 6 Mallard, a Buzzard, Stonechat, Shoveler, Little Grebe, 2 Moorhen and 3 Teal. Around the reserve, I noted 10 Pied Wagtails, 7(6) Mute Swans, a Peregrine on a pylon as usual, 72 Starling and 2 Snipe.
From the hide, I noted a pipit species. It was very light brown and was generally plain looking. The upper back was plain light brown an the supercilium was whitish and the throat was plain. A white moustachial stripe extended like a 'handlebar moustache'. The legs were almost black and there were 2 wing bars. The breast had diffuse streaks which were not very prominent and the tail had white sides. The wings and tail were longish with light underparts and the bird exhibited secretive behaviour. The bill was thin and this was a Water Pipit.
A check at Walmore Common at 1510 produced no swans.

31st October 2007 - A tour of the Bewick's Swans sites today. No swans at Berkeley Bypass at 1310 and none at The Moors at 1320. A farmer at The Moors stated that he has not seen any swans there this autumn. 4 swans on the southern road field at Slimbridge at 1325.

30th October 2007 - Ashleworth. A sunny day and 2 Canada Geese, 1 Buzzard, a female Stonechat, 8 Mute Swans, 5 Wigeon and the Great Grey Shrike were present.

28th October 2007 - 12 Bewick's Swans were on the southern road field at Slimbridge at 1427.

27th October 2007 - Ashleworth at 0955. 14 deg. C., 82% humidity, wing SSW averaging 7 mph. At the top of Stank Lane, 5 Mute Swans which included 4 juveniles of the year, a Buzzard and Kestrel and 15 Long-tailed Tits. About 70 Fieldfare flew east and the Great Grey Shrike was still present and back to the south of the lane. From the hide, a Little Grebe, 4 Canada Geese, and a Peregrine on the one of the pylon. A maximum of 8 Mallard appeared from Hasfield Ham and there seemed to be a movement of Chaffinch to the south. 60 Wigeon landed at 1200 and a Grey Wagtail was present.

26th October 2007 - Ashleworth, where at 0940 it was overcast, calm, cold and damp. 28 Teal, 3 Mallard, 2 Shoveler, 2 Canada Geese, a Little Grebe and a Moorhen from the hide. Elsewhere, a female Stonechat, 20 Long-tailed Tits, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, the Great Grey Shrike for its 10th day and a big passage of Fieldfare and Chaffinch.
At Cannop Ponds, 15 Mallard, 6 Tufted Duck and 15 Mandarin Duck.

25th October 2007 - No swans on The Moors at at 0950 but there were 7 Bewick's Swan in the southern road field at 1005 and 21 on Rushy Pen, Slimbridge at 1020. 34 White-fronted Geese were on the southern Dumbles and I was able to read the black collar with the white letters of 'ZPC'.

24th October 2007 - I checked Walmore Common this afternoon at 1320 but no swans were present. Before that, I went to Ashleworth which at 0925 was overcast, cold and calm at 4 deg. C.. 2 Fieldfare, a Redwing, Grey Heron, 2 Moorhen, 15 Teal, 5 Chaffinch, Little Grebe, 3 Mallard, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 73 Starling, 4 House Sparrow (good to see that this species is still thriving in some areas), and along Stank Lane, 11 Mute Swans, 2 Buzzard, a female Stonechat, 6 Snipe flying over Hasfield Ham and the Great Grey Shrike was still present but today was to the north of the lane near the footpath to the south.
At Cannop Ponds, 22 Mallard, 5 Tufted Duck, 18 Mandarin Duck and 2 Moorhen.

23rd October 2007 - A Redwing and Fieldfare flock in Parkend near the cricket pitch. A Buzzard was perched by the information centre at Nagshead RSPB Reserve.
At Slimbridge, 8 Bewick's Swans in the southern road field as I approached the centre with 2 more on Rushy Pen. 32 White-fronted Geese were on the Dumbles with 7 more on the Tack Piece. One of the geese has a black neck collar.

21st October 2007 - Cannop Ponds, Near the north pond, 2 Buzzards and a Siskin flock.

20th October 2007 - Ashleworth was foggy at 0900 but it cleared to a sunny and calm day. 8 Canada Geese, 5 Teal, 2 Moorhen from the hide. Near Colways Farm, Grey Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, and a Buzzard. Of particular note were 7 Bewick's Swans flying south at 0936 in the mist. A call to alert staff at Slimbridge was return at 1030 to say that 7 of this species had landed!
On to Stank Lane, 14 Long-tailed Tits, about 120 winter thrushes, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, Grey Heron and 2 Stonechat.

19th October 2007 - I checked The Moors at 1120 and no swans present. At Slimbridge, one extra White-fronted Goose. At 1425, I checked Walmore Common and again I drew a blank.
At Cannop Ponds, 7 Mallard, 11 Mandarin Duck, 3 Tufted Duck and a Grey Wagtail and a Dipper was at Parkend.

18th October2007 - Ashleworth at 0930 was sunny, calm and cold. From the hide, a Goldcrest, 16 Snipe flying, 2 Buzzard, 2 Canada Geese and a Moorhen. The Great Grey Shrike was seen from the hide perched on top of a bush about 1230 from the hide.
At Slimbridge, unusually, there were 2 Whooper Swans on the river at 1450 and still 6 White-fronted Geese on the Dumbles and a pair of Stonechat

17th October 2007 - Ashleworth at 0915 on a sunny day with a cool but light wind. This turned out to be an interesting day and a first for the reserve. Firstly, however, the list for the visit included 28 Mallard, 2 Teal, a Grey Heron, some geese flying in the distance, species unknown, a Blackcap, 80 Starlings near Colways Farm with 2 more Buzzards there. 11 Pied Wagtails and 3 Reed Buntings were in the field by the road below the farm and also this this area were a Stonechat, 2 Greenfinch and 2 Meadow Pipits. Along Stank Lane, 4 Stock Dove, another 3 Buzzards and 2 Stonechat were on Hasfield Ham in the afternoon.
At 1030 near the top of Stank Lane I was walking east when I saw a bird perched on top of a big bush by the rhine. It had a black eye-stipe with a grey crown. There was no white above the eye. White wing bars stood out and there was a white patch on the black of the left wing when folded but not on the right wing. It had a white tipped tail which was seen when the tail was fanned on landing. Light buff underparts which were almost white with no hint of pink. It perched predominantly on the tops of small bushes and was often seen flying up like a flycatcher, catching insects of which there were many flying. It had a grey back with large black patches in the wings. There was a white line above the black patch in the wing. It was a bounding, undulating flight. I was unable to see the leg colour and the range of the bird when first seen was about 10m. Weather was sunny at 14 deg. C. and wind was light in the north west. This was a Great Grey Shrike and subsequently was found to be a first for the reserve.

16th October 2007 - Overcast and mild at Slimbridge where 46 Wigeon, 10 Little Egret, a Sparrowhawk and 2 Buzzard were noted.

14th October 2007 - A walk around the Nagshead area where Ravens were noted at three different places.

13th October 2007 - Ashleworth at 0840 where it was mild, overcast, misty and calm. 3 Moorhen, 4 Mallard, 2 Canada Geese, 3 Redwing and one each of Teal, Grey Heron, Wigeon and Cormorant. 30 Wigeon flew over as did a Buzzard. 11 Long-tailed Tits and 2 Stonechat were at Stank Land and Ham Road respectively.

12th October 2007 - Mild, calm and overcast at Slimbridge. 6 White-fronted Geese still on the Dumbles. 2 Spotted Redshank were on South Lake. Jackdaw with metal ring EG04236 was noted.

9th October 2007 - Slimbridge. Again it was cloudy and some rain. 9 Brent Geese, 6 White-fronted Geese, 2 Buzzard, a Kestrel and Sparrowhawk, all noted from the Holden Tower.

1st October 2007 - Berkeley Bypass. A quick habitat check in the rain. No standing water, some flattened vegetation and much rush/reeds and generally unsuitable for winter swans.
A short visit to Slimbridge for administrative purposes, but no sightings of note in continuous rain.

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