Tuesday, August 29, 2006

WWT Slimbridge sightings 28 and 29 August 2006

29 August 2006 I spent the day tractor mowing juncus and goose/wigeon pasture on the Top New Piece from 1100-1620 and logged the following birds, 1 Whinchat, 5 Reed Warbler, 2 Sedge Warbler, 8 juvenile Little-ringed Plover, 4 Green Sandpiper, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Greenshank, 2 juvenile Ruff (male and female), 1 Pintail, 3 Skylark, 15 Meadow Pipit, 2 Little Grebe, 40 Sand Martin, 150 Swallow and 30 Teal. At least three Black-tailed Skimmer (pair in tandem), 20 Migrant Hawker, Common Darter and a Clouded Yellow also.

28 August 2006 On the reserve today a Stoat, Peregrine, 1 large falcon sp, 2 Little-ringed Plover, 1 Golden Plover, 9 Green Sandpiper, 4+ Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, 112 Black-tailed Godwit on South Lake with 12 new juveniles on the Rushy, 28 Redshank, Greater Scaup, 60 Ringed Plover, 40 Dunlin, 1 adult Sanderling, 3 Hobby, 11 Little Grebe, 1 Wigeon, 1 Pochard and the Wheatear pictured above.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

WWT Slimbridge sightings 25 to 27 August 2006

27 August 2006 It was clear that a clearout had happened with less of yesterdays birds around. Six Pintail on the Rushy were new in. The Top New Piece was quieter with 4 Green Sandpiper and 3 Little-ringed Plover flying over at 0800 (1 was present at 1435). Lesser Whitethroat,2 Common Whitethroat, 1 Cetti's Warbler, 3 Reed and Sedge Warbler were in the hedge at the SE corner of the marsh.

The safari's had 3 Hobby on each visit, 2 Little Egret, 2 Ringed Plover, 20 Dunlin, 3 Greenshank, 2 Wigeon, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 2 pairs of Common Tern and at least 8 Little Grebe.

I never really birded over the high tide period or went to South Lake. The highlight was when I went to lock up Middle Point with Bob Radford and I located 3 juvenile Shag (1610-1630)roosting nervously on the estuary, they eventually flew off downriver before stopping for a few minutes in the main channel and then continuing. The third species of seabird this month on very light winds, we normally only see them on strong gales.

26 August 2006 8 Wheatear, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Redstarts, 4 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 250 Curlew, 9 Greenshank, 7 Little-ringed Plover, 3 Spotted Redshank were all seen today.

25 August 2006 A Redstart was reported today along the Summer walkway.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

WWT Slimbridge sightings 24 August 2006

24 August 2006 The South Lake remained the same with the male Ruff, single Spotted Redshank, 23 Redshank and 123 Black-tailed Godwit, 150 Teal, 30 Shoveler and the Greater Scaup.
The Top New Piece had up to 7 juvenile Little-ringed Plover, 4 Green Sandpiper, 2 Ruff (a juvenile male and female), at least 4 Greenshank, a flock of 36 Redshank appeared mid morning and they may be a new flock, a Garganey with 30 Teal. 2 small waders that were probably Little Stints were seen briefly. In the South east corner where we were working I heard a Spotted Redshank flying over, 2 Kingfisher were present all day, 2 juvenile Whitethroat and 10 Reed and 1 Sedge Warbler. Yellow Wagtail also flew over. 30 Migrant Hawker were along the ditch extension project along with numerous Common Darter and a few Ruddy Darter. The hawkers and Common Darters were laying eggs and many were in tandem.

On the river/edge of theDumbles a flock of 274 Ringed Plover, 180+ Dunlin, 4 Sanderling, 1 Little Stint, 2 Knot, 1 juvenile Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Oystercatcher (very scarce now), 124 Shelduck and 300 Curlew were roosting over high tide. 2 Yellow Wagtail were among the cattle.

The 100 Acre had no migrant warblers during a lunchtime visit but 2 Whinchat and 2-3 adult Hobby were actively feeding. 50+ Migrant Hawker were busy mating and feeding.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

WWT Slimbridge sightings 20 to 23 August 2006

The gull sp on the estuary near Middle Point WWT Slimbridge. The gull, bottom right bird is next to Herring Gull (left) and both Lesser and Great Black-backed Gulls. Unfortunately no Yellow legged Gulls came into view although six were present. The mantle colour is a shade or two darker than Yellow-legged Gull. 22 August 2006 M.J.McGill.

Migrant Hawker at WWT Slimbridge 21 August 2006 M.JMcGill. On sunny or warm days many are on the wing. At least 40 were logged on 22 August.

Sedge Warbler 21 August 2006 M.J.McGill. Despite searching for 1.5 hours the Aquatic had gone. A night with a long clear spell and rain later had cleared out some birds and brought in more. A fall of Reed and Sedge Warbler had also occurred with at least 30 of the latter present. We spent a lot of time looking at this species over the weekend along with around 300 birders, thanks to their generosity we raised nearly £600.00, much needed money which will go toward the reserve management. It was hard work for staff and volunteers with very long days involved, thanks to all who helped out. I am glad to have met some good people with a great attitude when trying to locate this hard to see bird. Only a few problems arose and I was happy with this well behaved event where the vast majority worked with us and listened to our on-site requests.

23 August 2006 On the high tide 2 juvenile Knot, 4 Sanderling, 100 Dunlin and 100+Ringed Plover were joined by 28 Great Black-backed Gull, 3 Yellow-legged Gull and 13 Little Egret, a juvenile Wheatear was at Middle Point.

The Top New Piece had 4 Green Sandpiper plus at least 2 Little ringed Plover, there may have been more. Another brief search on a hunch quickly produced a very young short-billed juvenile Water Rail along the back edge of the marsh (actually along the ditch edge under the fence) which could possibly be the reported Spotted Crake. Without speaking to the observer it will be difficult to work out if it was this bird or there is a crake present as well. The Tack Piece had 3 Green Sandpiper and South Lake was reliable with 1 Spotted Redshank, 130 Black-tailed Godwit and 19 Redshank. The Greater Scaup, 30 Shovleler and 150 Teal swelled the numbers.

22 August 2006 The Top New Piece had 5 juvenile Little-ringed Plover, 5 Green Sandpiper and a Snipe but no sign of the Spotted Crake. Four Black-tailed Skimmer were on the wing here with Common and Ruddy Darter out and about again and the many Migrant Hawkers also on the wing.

21 August 2006 A Spotted Crake was reported from the Top New Piece, I understand that it was in the far left hand corner of the marsh near the fence but despite searching until dark we never managed to find it. Patient vigils from the Zeiss hide is needed from any visiting birders as this speceis is notorious for being elusive. 4 Little-ringed Plover, 12 Greenshank and a juvenile Ruff were present though.

No sign of the Aquatic Warbler but 2 Whinchat, 7 Yellow Wagtail, 30 Sedge and 20 Reed Warbler present. At least 3 Wheatear were seen along the foreshore.

3 Knot, 2 Turnstone, the Little Stint, 120 Ringed Plover, 150 Dunlin and a Sanderling were on the river.

20 August 2006 The Aquatic Warbler was observed from 0720 until early afternoon when the wind picked up and it did not show for the rest of the day. Hobby, Kingfisher, 6 Common Tern and 2 Whinchat were also around. At 0930 a juvenile Marsh Harrier flew over us after Neil Smart had initially picked it up over the 100 Acre, it headed off North. Nick Goatman had an Osprey over the canal area which headed off east at 0800.

Little Stint, 1 Turnstone, 2 Knot were on the river river with 2 juvenile Ruff and a Greenshank on the Top New Piece.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

WWT Slimbridge sightings 19 August 2006

19 August 2006 The juvenile Aquatic Warbler is still resent this morning, a guided walk at 1100 is arranged with a £2.00 charge to go to conservation funds. See the WWT website for details www.wwt.org.uk/visit/slimbridge/reserve.asp.

Friday, August 18, 2006

WWT Slimbridge sightings 18 August 2006

Aquatic Warbler at WWT Slimbridge 18 August 2006 M.J.McGill.

18 August 2006 Another day of showers, at times torrential with thunderstorms. The highlight so far today was discovering the second reserve record of Aquatic Warbler following the first on 10 September 2004. At least 10 Sedge Warbler were also present but all went to ground in the heavy rain. It was not viewable from any hides, if we are able to arrange access to the area then it will be advertised on the pagers and WWT website and possibly here later. We have no other way of getting the news out. Many new waders were present with flocks of Greenshank flying around (12 over 100 Acre, 17 seen over the South Finger and many on the scrapes), 3 Green Sandpiper over the 100 Acre where 2 juvenile Little-ringed Plover, 2 Snipe were on muddy edges and aWhinchat was seen on the fences. A Common Sandpiper was on the river.

The Top New Piece attracted at least one Curlew Sandpiper and flocks of Dunlin and Ringed Plover.

The juvenile Aquatic Warbler showed on an off until 2015. It has been seen again on 19 August and a guided walk is organised for 1100 to see it. View the WWT website for details. www.wwt.org.uk. Whilst viewing it 2 Swift, a Kingfisher and a number of Yellow Wagtails were noted also.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

WWT Slimbridge sightings 17 August 2006

17 August 2006 The day began overcast with the rain arriving at 1030, the torrential downpour brought many new birds. On the river from Middle Point at 0700 a flock of 110 Ringed Plover and 80 Dunlin were feeding with 3 Greenshank flying downriver, a Spotted Redshank and Little-ringed Plover were heard. At least 10 Little Egret were about the creeks.

At 1320-1400 a flock of 100+ Ringed Plover, 140 Dunlin, 1 Sanderling, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Ruff, 1 Knot and what is probably the largest number of adult Curlew Sandpiper ever recorded on the reserve with at least 17 seen. Nearly all retained some form of breeding plumage. All were viewable near to the hide. A Golden Plover was heard, this was the third day in a row it has been present.

At the centre reedbed/car park hedge a male Redstart fed on berries along with 20+warblers. Around the hedges Willow Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and Common Whitethroat were all seen. Of the commoner species 20 Sedge Warbler and many Reed Warbler (still feeding young) joined Chiffchaff and Blackcap, more careful scrutiny would turn up much more.

The Tack Piece had 3 Green Sandpiper with 10 on the Rushy back pond. A juvenile Garganey was on the pool next to the Holden Tower, this bird was also seen yesterday.

South Lake had a male Ruff, leucistic Lapwing with 250 regular birds, 2 Green Sandpiper, 21 Redshank, 140 Black-tailed Godwit, Greater Scaup and the adult Spotted Redshank was joined by a juvenile. The Top New Piece had an amazing response to the flash flooding with 400 duck and a variety of waders feasting on the food bonanza. 2 juvenile Little-ringed Plover, 43 Ringed Plover, 40 Dunlin, 6 Green Sandpiper, a Greenshank, 5 Snipe and 2 Curlew were seen.

Although not near the hides the dam and ditch construction work on the Bottom New Piece during the day produced a tame Kingfisher and Cetti's Warbler as well as flyover Snipe and Greenshanks. Yesterday the same birds were seen here with 3 Common Tern over also.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

WWT Slimbridge sightings 15 and 16 August 2006

Little Stint (juvenile) near Middle Point WWT Slimbridge on 15 August 2006 M.J.McGill.

The Top New Piece has become quieter due to lower water levels, we are drying it to construct two islands, additional problems with pumps and a general lack of water due to the drought. The stint has been seen on this site with Dunlin on 14 August but appears to prefer the Middle Point area.

16 August 2006 The waders and duck around the scrapes showed little increase but a few new individuals have arrived. The South Lake had the usual suspects, 20 Redshank, 140 Black-tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank and a male and the first juvenile Ruff of the year.

The edge of the Dumbles and the spartina island on the river had 3 Turnstone, 10 Greenshank (number 11 roosted on the Top New Piece over high tide), a juvenile Ruff, an adult Golden Plover and 150 Curlew. A flock of 51 Ringed Plover and 40 Dunlin were just south of Middle Point (they feed north off the hide at low tide) and further flocks were seen upriver on the safari.

The scrapes had 11+ Green Sandpiper with 2 juvenile Little-ringed Plover and Snipe scattered on all scrapes. Migrant warblers were seen around the hedges. 10+ Migrant Hawkers seen around the southern end of the reserve.

15 August 2006 A Spotted Flycatcher was at the South Finger with many migrant warblers and tits. It was seen hovering and collecting elderberries. A Yellow Wagtail flew over heading south. The waders remained much the same. A Manx Shearwater was present off Middle Point at 0915 before floating upriver on the tide.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

WWT Slimbridge sightings 13 and 14 August 2006

14 August 2006 A flock of 25 Dunlin and 25 Ringed Plover were off Middle Point at low tide. Up to 13 Little Egret, 1 Common Sandpiper, 150 Curlew, the Black-tailed Godwit flock and a Knot were on the estuary also. The Top New Piece attracted 8 Greenshank, a Little Stint, 1 juvenile Little-ringed Plover, 1 Snipe and 5 Green Sandpiper. Around the 100 Acre 32 Shoveler, 5 Wigeon, 5 Snipe, 2 juvenile Little-ringed Plover and a Ringed Plover were noted. On the safari a Clouded Yellow, 20+ Migrant Hawker (some copulating), Common and Ruddy Darter added the insect interest. The male Ruff was on the Tack Piece with two Snipe at the Holden Tower. South Lake had the Scaup, 138 Black-tailed Godwit and 20 Redshank as well as plenty of duck.

13 August 2006 A WeBS (Wetland Bird Surveys) count day with a Birdwatch morning event with the aim of seeing waders between 1030 to 1230. The weather put paid to any warbler or dragonfly activity. The strong winds drove many birds away from the estuary or caused them to find shelter. A total of 17 species of wader were noted around the reserve today with 16 seen on the walk alone. Four Greenshank, 1 juvenile Bar-tailed Godwit, 180 Curlew, 50 Lapwing and single Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper were present on the edge of the Dumbles over high tide. A flock of 13 Raven enjoyed a dead sheep nearby with 10 Little Egret roosting.

The South Lake had nearly all of the usual waders present. The Tack Piece had 53 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover, 1 juvenile Little-ringed Plover, 5 Green Sandpiper, 1 Snipe and an adult Grey Plover.

At the 100 Acre 2 Dunlin, 1 Snipe and a juvenile Little-ringed Plover were noted. On the this afternoon river scattered groups of 2 and 5 Sanderling, 1, 3, 7 and c10 Ringed Plover with 50 Dunlin. A flock of 10 Swift fed over the Turkey Oaks/Tack Piece at 1615 with 3 seen over the A38 at 1645 near the Frampton turning.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

WWT Slimbridge sightings 9 and 10 August 2006

10 August 2006 The third summer ? gull much reminiscent of Caspian remained off Middle Point this morning but the strong winds caused many waders to seek shelter away from the estuary. 8 Yellow-legged Gull, 2 Common Sandpiper, 400 Curlew, a juvenile Wheatear and 84 Barnacle Geese were on the Dumbles/Middle Point area.

The Top New Piece had 6 Greenshank, 113 Dunlin, 2 juvenile Little-ringed Plover, 3 Ringed Plover, 8 Green Sandpiper and 30 Teal.

The Tack Piece hosted 8 Green Sandpiper with the Rushy having 130 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper. South Lake had 1 Spotted Redshank, 26 Redshank, 9 Black-tailed Godwit, 20 Shoveler, 1 Greater Scaup, 6 Common Tern and 2 Ruff.

The afternoon safari produced 1 Sanderling, 4 and 5 Dunlin, 1 Snipe, 1 Little-ringed Plover, 4 Kestrel, 1 Wheatear a Little Egret and Ruddy Darters.

9 August 2006 A flock of 18 Little Egret were in the Top New Piece with 8 Greenshank, 9 Green Sandpiper, 57 Dunlin, 1 Ringed and 1 Little-ringed Plover.

At Middle Point a freshly plumaged scaly Wheatear was at Middle Point.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

WWT Slimbridge sightings 8 August 2006

8 August 2006
The Top New Piece was busy this morning with 9 Green Sandpiper, 6 juvenile Greenshank, 6 Ringed Plover, c25 Dunlin, 40 Lapwing, 12 Little Egret ( 4 juvenile), 11 Snipe, 30 Teal all on the scrapes. The Small Red-eyed Damselfly was still present and a walk out at 1600 was arranged to try to see it. Another walk will be offered tommorow, perhaps at an earlier time. See the WWT website/phone WWT for details.

At Middle Point 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Little Egret, 60 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover, 4 Sanderling, Little-ringed Plover heard, 2 adult Knot upriver, 1 adult Grey Plover upriver, 10 Yellow-legged Gull and the dark mantled, pink legged (Caspian) gull again on the morning tide (0730).

South Lake held all the same waders as yesterday.

In the 100 Acre whilst mowing the thistles 1100 to 1600, I noted 2 juvenile Little-ringed Plover, 3 Green Sandpiper, 5 Snipe, 3 Buzzard, 1 Sparrowhawk and an adult Hobby.

On this evening's Gulls with McGill event at least 8 Yellow-legged Gull, 1 Sandwich Tern, 5 Sanderling, 5 juvenile Greenshank, 40 Dunlin, 10 Ringed Plover, up to 5 juvenile Common Gull, 40 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 adult Grey Plover, 1 Common Sandpiper, 150 Curlew and about five thousand gulls in the roost (six species).

Monday, August 07, 2006

WWT Slimbridge sightings 6 and 7 August 2006

The trio of gulls show the usual example of how adult Yellow-legged Gulls look compared to Herring from the Holden Tower/Middle Point. They are facing into a north wind which flattens them a little but the tones, structure and head shape can all be seen. Yellow-legged on the left and Herring on the right. The single gull (third summer ?) was even darker than the nearby adult Yellow-legged but not as dark as the Lesser Black-backed Gulls, it shows a long sloping face, dark eye but has pink legs. Click on the images to enlarge.
7 August 2006 A good day around the reserve where the Small Red-eyed Damselfly was the highlight of an excellent day for me, see the previous diary entry for images. A juvenile Marsh Harrier flew downriver to Middle Point and then rapidly across the river to Awre between 0724-0730. Plenty of warblers around with 50+ Reed Warbler and 50+ Chiffchaff noted about the site and 2+ Lesser Whitethroat among them. A Goldcrest was also in one roaming flock. A flock of 120+ Dunlin were on the river off Middle Point with the juvenile Avocet, 4 Sanderling, 4 Ringed Plover , 10 Oystercatcher and 2 Yellow-legged Gull.

The Top New Piece had 3 Snipe, 9 Green Sandpiper, 2 juvenile Greenshank and 35 Teal.

South Lake had a Pochard, 2 Snipe, 2 Ruff, 1 Spotted Redshank, 27 Redshank, 147 Black-tailed Godwit (1 juvenile), 250 Lapwing, 30 Teal, 15 Shoveler.

The Tack Piece scrape held a juvenile Little-ringed Plover, 14 Green Sandpiper, 4 Black-tailed Godwits and 12 Teal. A single Snipe was flushed near the now dry Holden Tower/Dumbles scrape.

On this afternoon's safari a Greenshank was flying around the 100 Acre and a Clouded Yellow was seen, another was at the South Finger and another near the entrance ramp. Duck numbers are increasing rapidly.

6 August 2006 The Avocet and a Mediterranean Gull were seen on the safari. A flock of 120 Dunlin had 8 Ringed Plover (11 in the morning) and 6 Sanderling among them. 14 of the latter were seen yesterday. A Wheatear was also seen.
The Top New Piece had 3 juvenile Greenshank, 7 Snipe and 10 Green Sandpiper with a Common Sandpiper and 9 Green Sandpiper on the Tack Piece.

Small Red-eyed Damselfly at WWT Slimbridge 7 August 2006

The first record of Small Red-eyed Damselfly for WWT Slimbridge and apparently the second record for Gloucestershire M.J.McGill.

After a couple of weeks of searching I finally discovered one on the Top New Piece at 1615. I will be looking into access arrangements tommorow to view it for those who are interested. Details will be advertised here tommorow evening, on the WWT website www.wwt.org.uk/visit/slimbridge/reserve.asp by late afternoon and the on-site diaries. Other species noted on site today include 2 Emperor, 1 Brown Hawker, 15+ Migrant Hawker, 10 Black-tailed Skimmers, 3 Common and 20 Ruddy Darters, Red-eyed, Blue-tailed and Common Blue Damselfies.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Gloucestershire sightings 4 August 2006

4 August 2006 Frampton Townfield (Sailing Lake) had 250+ Coot, 6 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Green Sandpiper and a Greenshank. Around the pools Southern Hawker, Black-tailed Skimmer, 5 Migrant Hawker, Ruddy and Common Darters. Thousands of Red-eyed Damselflies are also present.

At Coombe Hill Canal from the hide 1 juvenile Spotted Redshank, 3 Greenshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and a Curlew. The 'shanks' were also seen on the small scrape on the right before the left turn to the hide. Emperor, Common and Ruddy Darter, Black tailed Skimmer, Emerald, Blue-tailed, Common Blue Damselfies were all present. 3 Red-eyed Damselflies were by the wharf.

WWT Slimbridge sightings 3 August 2006

Moulting adult Whinchat WWT, 100 Acre 3 August 2006 M.J.McGill.

3 August 2006 Three moulting adult Whinchat were on the 100 Acre fences and seen well on the safari and viewable from the platform. The juvenile Avocet was on the river off Middle Point where at least 3 Dunlin were also seen. The South Lake had the same birds as yesterday but the female Ruff seems to have departed (it was not seen yesterday either).

The Top New Piece held 7 Snipe, 10 Green Sandpiper and 30 Teal. Two Wigeon on the Rushy were the first returning birds with one on South Lake and the long-staying female and injured male still on site.

A single Hobby was seen in the 100 Acre with c10 Clouded Yellow on site today.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

WWT Slimbridge sightings 1 and 2 August 2006

Fox cub at the Holden Tower 2 August 2006 M.J.McGill.

From the Holden Tower the Fox family (three cubs) has been very active. The vixen? had brought a Moorhen to the three full grown cubs at 0800. The individual pictured was playing with a clod of earth and play-pouncing. Two members of the family were seen lying on the mounds of thistle/grass cuttings on the Dumbles.

The Top New Piece had 13 Green Sandpiper, 8 Snipe, 5+ Little-ringed Plover, 1 Redshank, 1 Dunlin and 30 Teal.

South Lake had 1 Common Sandpiper, 35+ Redshank, 150+ Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Spotted Redshank, 2 Ruff, 2 Green Sandpiper, 3 Dunlin, 1 Greater Scaup and up to 9 Common Tern.

The Tack Piece had a Common Sandpiper and 1 Green Sandpiper, a juvenile Lesser Whitethroat and the regular showy, photogenic family of Reed Warblers. On the river the juvenile Avocet was still near Middle Point hide, juvenile Greenshank, three Sanderling joined 20 Dunlin. On the 1400 Safari the birds plus a Clouded Yellow, 2 Grass Snake and more fresh signs of Otter were noted. A Migrant Hawker was around the South Finger viewing screen.

At Frampton Townfield Lake 11 Common Sandpiper, 8 Common Tern and 2 Swift were seen.

1 August 2006 A similar line up of species to today but a partially breeding plumaged Grey Plover was on the river from Holden Tower, the Avocet from Middle Point and 2 Common Sandpiper on the Tack Piece and 1 on South Lake. Six Little-ringed Plover were on the Top New Piece. A Swift flew over Whitminster.