Tuesday, May 22, 2007

WWT Slimbridge sightings 22 May 2007

Four-spotted Chaser in the 100 Acre on 20 May 2007 when many were on the wing. M.J.McGill
Male Beautiful Demoiselle in the Stall House Ground, WWT Slimbridge 22 May 2007 M.J.McGill

22 May 2007 A flock of 13 Black-tailed Godwit were on the South Lake, the Grasshopper Warbler was reeling and showing at Middle Point, 2 Sanderling, 15 Ringed Plover and 30 Dunlin were on the estuary. I am looking into wether we have ever recorded Beautiful Demoiselle on the reserve before, I have never seen one in my 20 years but they may have been seen previously, it may be a reserve first. If you can click on the image to increase the size, it shows an electric blue line along the edge of the wing.

Monday, May 21, 2007

WWT Slimbridge sightings 17-21 May 2007

Reed Bunting at Middle Point
Whilst logging up a 94 year old windfallen Turkish Oak I discovered a ducks' footprint!
Even WWT Slimbridge trees have wildfowl features.

21 May 2007 A Grasshopper Warbler was still reeling at Middle Point at 1600, a Cuckoo flew over the fields heading for the centre this afternoon. At keast 11 Black-tailed Godwit were on South Lake. A flock of 40 Dunlin, 8 Ringed Plover and 1 breeding plumage Sanderling were on the river.
20 May 2007 A flock of 40 Curlew, 3 Whimbrel and small numbers of Dunlin (30) and Ringed Plover were on the Dumbles. A female Wheatear was along the foreshore, 2 Hobby were displaying over the 100 Acre with a Cuckoo also on show and many Four-spotted Chasers, Hairy Dragonfly, Large Red, Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselfly were around the 100 Acre. A blue drag that was probably Broad-bodied Chaser was also on the wing.
17-19 May 2007 Too busy and quiet for much birding.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

WWT Slimbridge sightings 15 and 16 May 2007

Great Skua panicking the waders on the edge of the Dumbles image M.J.McGill

Whimbrel on the seawall image M.J.McGill

16 May 2007 The Great Skua was scaring 20 Curlew, 250 Dunlin, 1 Sanderling and 8+ Ringed Plover on the Dumbles, a Whimbrel fed on the seawall and Common Whitethroat was holding territory in the car park field hedge. A pair of Oystercatcher have laid 2 eggs in the Big Pen (adjacent to building) and can be viewed on the WWT website camera. A pair of Common Tern were on the South Lake.
15 May 2007 Highlight of the day for me was escorting and birding with Sir David Attenborough and a BBC crew, the Grasshopper Warbler was reeling until Midday at least and was showing in the open giving great views to our guest and all birders present. At least 3 Sand Martin, a male Wheatear and Common Whitethroat were on site with large numbers of Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Sanderling and a Whimbrel and Bar-tailed Godwit on the estuary. Adult and immature Peregrine were on the Dumbles.

Monday, May 14, 2007

WWT Slimbridge sightings 14 May 2007

14 May 2007 From Holden Tower/Dumbles edge/Middle Point still 550 Dunlin, breeding plumaged Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint, 2 Turnstone, 40 Ringed Plover and 10+ Sanderling. A Little Tern fed along the tideline and 3 Common Tern were also seen. The Great Skua was around the estuary and 2 dark phase Arctic Skua headed North between 0843-0846 past Middle Point, they were struggling into the headwind. A passage of LesserBlack-backed Gull was visible with a few Great Black-backed and Herring also. At 1350 two small, black mantled Lesser-B-B Gulls were resting on the sands, although distant they were the same tone if not darker than the G.B.B.Gulls present but the Bonxie flushed them off and they went downriver. It is possible that they were Baltic Gulls as they did also look short-legged and long winged. A real surprise was a pair of Wheatear at Middle Point, only the second record this May proving what a poor month for some passerines it has been.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

WWT Slimbridge sightings 13 May 2007

Arctic Skua dark phase North upriver at 0749
Downed and drowned migrant hirundines having a sort out, Swallow and Sand Martin

13 May 2007 The heavy, sometimes torrential rain made birding very difficult today. Pick of the birds for me was the dark phase Arctic Skua that went upriver and inland at 0749. Other birds noted today included 3 or 4 drake Garganey, 5:3 Shoveler, pair of Teal, a female Pintail, 350 Dunlin, 6 Sanderling, 20 Ringed Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Grey Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 13 Curlew, imm Peregrine and Great Skua on the estuary, territorial Yellow Wagtail pairs on the 100 Acre and Middle Point, large numbers of hirundines and Swift, reeling Grasshopper Warbler at Middle Point (showing/singing well at 0620 and 0820 at least). 13 pairs of Black-headed Gull are on eggs, a pair of Common Tern are also now territorial. The South Lake had 5 Black-tailed Godwit, a Little-ringed Plover was on the Holden Tower scrape and the small waders including the Sanderling were again using the Bottom New Piece at times.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

WWT Slimbridge and local sightings 9 to 12 May 2007

Male Yellow Wagtail
Golddust...Lapwing chicks on the 50 Acre

12 May 2007 I did a bit of birding with Neil Smart, Paul Taylor and Rich Baatsen this afternoon but we had nothing of any note.
11 May 2007 A Whinchat at Middle Point, single Dunlin on the Top New Piece and South Lake and a c500 on the estuary. A breeding plumaged Curlew Sandpiper was also present with 40 Ringed Plover and 25+ Sanderling. A male Garganey, pair of Teal and pair of Shoveler were on the Top New Piece and Teal was on the Tack Piece. A Whimbrel flew upriver at dusk with a female Pintail on the estuary. The Great Skua and a Common Tern were also on the estuary.
10 May 2007 The Top/Bottom New Piece had 3 male Garganey, 1 Whimbrel and a male Shoveler as well as lots of wildfowl, gulls and Lapwing. I watched a Temminck's Stint fly in and land on the edge of a ditch on the reserve but it soon dissapeared into the vegetation and cannot be seen from any hides. A Little Tern was fishing off Middle Point before and after the tide and the river finally got going with 500 Dunlin, 6 Sanderling, 20 Ringed Plover and a Turnstone off Middle Point. The Great Skua was also still present. At least 200 Swift, 1 Sand Martin, 30 House Martin and 150 Swallow were around the reserve. Locally I also saw 3 Little Stint and 25 Dunlin.
9 May 2007 I did see 3 Little Stint and a male Ruff locally.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

WWT Slimbridge sightings 8 May 2007

Drake Garganey on the new Botton New Piece floods image by M.J.McGill.
Wood Sandpiper also on the Bottom New Piece, the first in Gloucestershire this year all images M.J.McGill

8 May 2007 I had a nice start to the day during my rounds with close encounters with Garganey (male), a Wood Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper and a number of common species all on the Bottom New Piece. A male Garganey was also seen on the Lathbury scrape and may explain the two drakes at the far end of the reserve from yesterday. On the river only 1 Whimbrel and 3 Dunlin were noted although Sandwich Tern and Manx Shearwater were seen in the estuary. A few new Sedge Warblers were also seen around the reserve but not much else was seen by myself and I did not speak to any trust birders today.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Apparent second-summer Caspian Gull at WWT Slimbridge

Apparent Second-summer Caspian Gull on the Top New Piece. Note that the mantle looks slightly darker due to it being soaked and possibly greasy.

Very long pink legs, long sloping forehead, long bill and long winged, small dark eye.

WWT Slimbridge sightings 7 May 2007

Grasshopper Warbler at Middle Point images by M.J.McGill

Little Tern at Middle Point

7 May 2007 A strong SW wind and overnight rain mixed things up a little, the scrapes were quiet but the new floods at the Bottom New Piece and the established Top New Piece marsh held a number of common species. I picked up what appears to be a second-summer Caspian Gull (see additional diary post) was with the other immature larids on the latter site and it remained to early afternoon at least. From Middle Point in overcast conditions at 0830 there were 3 Whimbrel and two reeling Grasshopper Warblers performing dueling banjos, one was very showy until the wind picked up. Over the tide a flock of c25 Dunlin, a few Ringed Plover and a single Curlew fed with 2 Curlew North, 2 Whimbrel South and two more feeding on the mud shelf just north of the point, they were joined by a Bar-tailed Godwit and a lingering Little Tern. Mike King reported 2 more out over the river. A dark phase Arctic Skua went through after a glut of them and other sea-birds at Severn Beach. Even Paul Marshall and Neil Smart defected to get some seabird action, I may cave in and join the Beach Boys yet!
The 100/50 Acre held 3 drake Garganey and I am delighted to say the first brood of Lapwing has hatched at the latter site, I hope there will be plenty more. I heard my first Common Whitethroat of the year on the reserve otherwise the passerine interest was poor.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

WWT Slimbridge and local sightings 6 May 2007

6 May 2007 Around the reserve today I noted a Whimbrel on the Bottom New Piece 0700, 1 flying downriver at 0730, one flying south over fields at 0800 and 2 flying downriver at 2.15pm. A single Curlew was off the Dumbles with c8 at the north end of the estuary. On the Birdwatch morning we recorded a male Hairy Hawker, Brown Hare, 2 first-summer Mediterannean Gull over with c10 B.H.Gulls, Little Tern 1 South at 1023, Peregrine, the Great Skua, 6 Little Egret, a Yellow Wagtail, 2 Common Tern, Hobby and 2 Sand Martin and 30 Swift. The afternoon safari highlight were very close views of Hairy Hawker and two male Blue-tailed Damselfly. A male Yellow Wagtail was in the 100 Acre at 4.30pm.

At Saul/Frampton marshes a pair of Garganey, 14+ Glossy Ibis, 1 Whimbrel and the Marbled Duck were still present.

5 May 2007 I noted 1 Common Sandpiper, a Yellow Wagtail (crops east of canal) 8 Bar-tailed Godwit, a pair of Garganey, the Marbled Duck, a Greenshank, a Whimbrel, a Little-ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin and the Glossy Ibis flock at Saul/Frampton marshes. A pair of mating Common Tern were at Townfield Lake. At WWT Slimbridge an adult Baltic Gull was on the river and 3 male and 1 female Common Scoter, 1 Arctic Skua and 2 D.B Brent Geese were highlights.

Friday, May 04, 2007

WWT Slimbridge and Gloucestershire sightings 3 and 4 May 2007

The WWT Great Skua image by James Lees

4 May 2007 The Saul Warth/Frampton marshes were as usual productive with 20 Bar-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Little-ringed Plover, Marbled Duck, a pair of Garganey and the flock of Glossy Ibis. All birds were viewable from the bank through the hedge, accessed from the canal towpath. A Wheatear, 8 Shoveler including a female and a drake Wigeon also on show. From WWT I heard of a Goshawk along the Holden Tower path this morning, it was seen eating a Rabbit per Nigel Warren. Maybe more news later.
3 May 2007 At WWT Slimbridge the Great Skua was still present, an Arctic Skua went through with other reports of 3 skua sp and possibly another Great Skua. Some passage of Swallow 35 in groups and Swift 15 in small groups were noted.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

WWT Slimbridge and Gloucestershire sightings 1 and 2 May 2007

The Great Skua that has been present since December last year is still in the estuary into May.
Painted Lady in the Ox Piece image by M.J.McGill
2 May 2007 I checked Saul Warth in the morning where water levels are dropping fast and saw 100 Bar-tailed Godwit and 3 Knot which were in breeding plumage plus 12+ Glossy Ibis, 4 Wigeon, a male Shoveler and pairs of Lapwing and Redshank. There was also Greenshank and Spotted Redshank here. Signs have gone up around the marshes pointing out the fact that it is an important breeding area for waders and ground nesting birds. Access here is only possible on the public footpaths from Fretherne Bridge to the foreshore at the sluice (walk south from the bridge and turn left into a lane) and along the canal towpath (walk left from bridge, south and view from the bank in the hedge). All of the marsh can be viewed from these areas without disturbing the birds.
Please can all local/regular birders politely challenge any irresponsible behaviour and help to point out the correct viewing areas to visiting birders. It is also extremely helpful to educate all that use this area, we can all be ambassadors for conservation by pointing out the wildlife and how lucky we are to have such a magnificent marsh on our doorstep. In this serious drought spring we are suffering it is vital that the waders are given the best chance to hatch and rear young and migrant birds need to rest. It is in our own best interest from a birding point of view as well as conservation that all are pro-active in helping this situation. I have received a number of e-mails, phone calls and had conversations with Gloucestershire birders/a few locals who are concerned about what they are seeing here on a daily basis.
A singing Lesser Whitethroat competed with a Common Whitethroat along the towpath.
At WWT Slimbridge I only noted 4 Sanderling heading up river and a flock of 74 Bar-tailed Godwit that were feeding on the mudflats, these were in addition to the 100 at Saul. A male Lesser Whitethroat contues to sing around the car park field. I did not do much birding today but an Arctic Skua was seen on the estuary. Two Hairy Hawkers were around the 100 Acre viewing platform with another male in a nearby ditch. The Painted Lady was the first of the year for me. Excellent news came in the form of a pair of territorial Redshank on the new Bottom New Piece floods.
1 May 2007 Three Greenshank and a drake Garganey joined the 12 Glossy Ibis at Saul Warth, I also recorded 16 Whimbrel migrating North. I watchedthe tide from Middle Point and saw 1 and 6 Swift heading N, the undoubted highlight was watching a pair of Garganey migrating N upriver , they flew in at 0723 and headed toward the marshes, 19 Arctic Tern also went N before I go there along with small parties of Dunlin, a few Ringed Plover and a flock of Sanderling.
In the evening I guided a Dursley Birdwatching and Preservation Society group around the reserve where highlights were the Great Skua, 2 Arctic Skua (dark and pale phase) that flew in and harrassed the gulls, a male Yellow Wagtail, 6 Arctic Terns, 1 and 3 Whimbrel N and Common Sandpiper and displaying Black-tailed Godwit on South Lake. A party of 6 Swift headed N. I saw my first Whitminster Swift today. Additional note: Paul Marshall saw the skuas fly over Severn Bridge an hour earlier and Nick Goatman saw an Arctic Skua in the estuary on 30 April.