15/6/21 – A Crossbill (heard) over to N this morning. And all the orhids are out in a spectacular display - 270 spikes of Bee Orchid counted ! And the Common Spotted and Southern Marsh Orchids are on Lagoon 2. See photos below to help id; Spotted on left, has a large lip at the bottom, in the middle, of the flower (and leaves are spotted). Marsh has a small lip (and leaves are unspotted). But watch out for many, many, hybrids showing intermediate characteristics. Also hundreds of Pyramidal Orchids. The BAD news is that the Wildflower Meadow next to the car park and the Orchard have been cut; a catastrophe for the flowers and insects.
13/6/21 – HE reported the Rock Pipit still on the jetty and the 2 Little Grebe juvs..
SE reported a Yellowhammer at Oldbury Naite (a mile inland of OPS).
Photo by HE.
11/6/21 AM's WeBS count: a male Gadwall (Oldbury Pill), 30 Mallard,
14 Shelduck (plus 2 broods; 9 + ?), 40 Canada Goose, 4 Moorhen, 4 Little Grebe (pair + 2 juvs),
Also, a Red Kite flying to NE from yacht club at 10:20am,
a Hobby over the lake and a Greenfinch.
A Rock Pipit with food on the jetty again. HE reported 2 Kingfisher on Oldbury Pill in evening.
Another Red Kite reported by JM near Oldbury Water Works (1 mile inland) at 1:40pm.
Photo by HE.
10/6/21 – The Barn Owl hunting fields and saltmarsh between Lagoon 3 and yacht club, this morning. 2 Rock Pipit on the jetty, with one singing. The creche of 9 Shelduck young again, at Shepperdine. And 45 Canada Goose + 1 Greylag Goose gathering to moult on the estuary.
8/6/21 – A Barn Owl looked superb hunting in the sun this morning (some video). The male Rock Pipit was singing its metallic trilling song from the jetty. And some freshly fledged juveniles with adults: Coal Tit, Bullfinch, Blackcap and Linnets. Two of the Shelduck broods have formed a single creche, with 5 larger and 4 smaller ones.
7/6/21 – A Kingfisher on Oldbury Pill by the Anchor pub, and 130+ Bee Orchid spikes on the site. Also, a Cuckoo reported on Lagoon 3.
6/6/21 – HE reported a Red Kite heading across the estuary. (Lagoon 1 has dried up - usually much earlier in the year than this,)
5/6/21 – A pair of Rock Pipit taking food to young (probable nest) on the jetty - a first breeding record for OPS ! And some other new broods: Shelduck - 5,4,4 and Moorhen - 2,2,2. Plus 2 Hares at different places.
4/6/21 – AM found an adult Rose-coloured Starling on the ground where the bridleway gets to the shore at 9:50am.
(A new species for OPS !) It flew into trees and then flew along the bridlepath and lost for 50 minutes. But refound by BO on the grass looking back down the bridleway from the shore.
Stayed feeding there on its own until dusk. It is an Eatern European species, which irrupts some years, and this is such a year, with flocks of hundreds in France and Spain currently.
Also, 3 Red Kite flew from the estuary, circled and then went to South at 11:40am (record count at OPS !). Plus 1+ Siskin flew around calling.
This morning a Grasshopper Warbler was reeling from the main reedbed at S end of Lagoon 2, and the first Bee Orchids are out. Also, a pair of Tufted Duck on Oldbury Pill (they failed to breed on the lake this year).
That is me on 140 species at OPS this year (my second-best year by end June), and 145 for all-comers (equal best year so far).
Photo of Rose-coloured Starling by PT. And Red Kite.
3/6/21 – 7 late Dunlin at Pillhead Gout (latest at OPS was 6/6/2017). Also a Painted Lady butterfly.
2/6/21 – HE reported a Cuckoo calling on Lagoon 2. 18 Ringed Plover on shore at Shepperdine at HT. (The cows are back on Lagoon 1.)
Reed Warbler and Broad-bodied Chaser (photos by HE).
1/6/21 – A count of the large gulls on the estuary as they floated upriver on the tide resulted in an estimated 600 Herring Gull and 200 Lesser Black-backed Gull (both equaling the OPS records).
27/5/21 – An Arctic Tern surface-fed on the Tidal Res. for over an hour and then went downriver as the tide came in. Some video. And a non-breeding Great White Egret upriver. Also, 2 juv. Moorhen being fed by parents on the lake, a Mistle Thrush there and a Greenfinch singing (Video).
25/5/21 – The 4 summer plumaged Sanderling again at Pillhead Gout over HT, with 28 Ringed Plover and 7 Dunlin.
Oldbury Pill flood meadow full of Buttercups.
24/5/21 – AM/MP reported: 1 Whimbrel, 23 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin, 25 Shelduck (including a brood of 5), 4 Little Grebe (including a brood of 2), the Coot is back on the lake (arrived 2 days ago), 12 Canada Goose (including a brood of 3) and a Cuckoo calling on Lagoon 2.
23/5/21 – MP reported: 4 summer plumaged Sanderling, 19 Ringed Plover, 7 Dunlin (inc. 4 'Arctica') and a Wheatear.
21/5/21 – A second day of high winds and almost continual rain; 3.5 hrs seawatch over High Tide at Shepperdine produced: 2 adult Gannet (1:36pm & 3:21pm) and an Arctic Tern (2:37pm) upriver. (Some video of the first Gannet, at distance.) Plus a Stoat that ran along the Severn Way for about 50 yards !
20/5/21 – 5 Little Grebe this morning - the pair with 2 juvs, plus another adult. 2 Greylag Goose on the maize field. Sat on the bench by Lagoon 1, a large buck Roe Deer chased a smaller one through the fields towards me. The front one used the dog-hole to get through the fence by the stile and ran up the slope and only saw me when it was 2 yards away - almost within touching distance ! They then ran all the way back to the Windbound along the Severn Way. The small one then went across the mud onto the Tidal Res. wall to get away from the other. Mystery solved as to what is chasing the Roe Deer onto the estuary at night - it is Roe Deer ! (PS. Roe Deer are the only UK deer species that don't rut in autumn.)
18/5/21 – A Great White Egret flew down and across the estuary,
a Greylag Goose flew from south then downriver honking, and the Cuckoo still calling.
The following sums up this spring . . .
Approaching HT at Pillhead Gout: 1 Whimbrel, 24 Dunlin, 26 Ringed Plover and a Wheatear.
But on the shore at the yacht club, the first brood of 6 Shelduck ducklings, being hassled by the non-breeders.
An early date, but not quite my earliest. Here's the first Shelduck brood dates each year at OPS:
17/5/21 – The Cuckoo calling by the lake again. And a very large count of c400 Herring Gull loafing about on the Tidal Res. as the tide covered the sandbanks. All juveniles of various ages.
16/5/21 – MP reported a Cuckoo calling by the lake. And LP found Dunnock and Pheasant eggshells (photo below).
14/5/21 – A Spotted Flycatcher flycatching, and mobile, along the track to Lagoon 3 from road. (Credit to the person who put me onto it, who's name escapes me ! Apologies.)
And an adult Little Grebe was feeding the 2 juvs. on the lake.
LP reported : a Cuckoo calling on Lagoon 3, 3 Swift, 1 Mistle Thrush and a Greenfinch.
Spotted Flycatcher and Little Grebes.
Salad Burnet on Lagoon 3 (photo by LP). And Whitethroat - look, blue sky ! (Briefly.)
11/5/21 – At High Tide this morning Pillhead Gout had: c25 Whimbrel, c160 Dunlin (including 2 of the 'Arctica' subspecies - video) and 40+ Ringed Plover. Earlier, at Shepperdine an odd-looking juvenile Cormorant flew downriver with an adult.
10/5/21 – 2 Cuckoo this morning (one disturbed from hedge by yacht club and AM had one singing at Pillhead Gout). Over High Tide at the yacht club there were: 36 Whimbrel, 1 Curlew (unringed) and 1 Bar-tailed Godwit. And AM also had 84 Dunlin, 19 Ringed Plover, a Willow Warbler and 2 Wheatear. It has been a remarkable spring for Whimbrel. 36 is my 3rd highest number at OPS, and I also had 45 (29/4/21). The number of bird-days for me this year is 203, which already makes it the best YEAR for the species ! Below are my Whimbrel bird-days for previous whole years at OPS:
Some of the Whimbrel flock.
9/5/21 – This morning, a Wood Warbler singing in the small wood in the West corner of Lagoon 3 (some video by MP), and a Spotted Flycatcher on the south side of the lagoon (both found by MP). And AM saw a Hobby over the lake. Plus 2 Whinchat found by AI and a Cuckoo found by CL, on the Lagoon in the afternoon.
Wood Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher - photos by MP.
7/5/21 – There are 2 Little Grebe young on the lake with the parents. And a beautiful image of Reed Bunting by MP.
6/5/21 – A Grey Seal on the Tidal Res., and Song Thrush eggshells on Lagoon 3.
5/5/21 – A Red-legged Partridge on the saltmarsh by the yacht club,
and great news that at least one Little Grebe chick has hatched on the lake (last successfully bred at OPS in 1996 !).
14 Whimbrel at yacht club, a Canada Goose pair with 4 goslings on Oldbury Pill and 21 Stock Dove in ploughed field.
A Great White Egret reported on Oldbury Pill, by the Anchor pub, at 7:45am and a Little Egret and Common Sandpiper reported.
4/5/21 – At HT, a 1st-winter Kittiwake (some video of it at distance) and an Arctic Tern went downriver into strong W wind.
Some seabirds on the estuary early morning, in the strong and very cold W wind. A Great Skua flew from inland, low across NE end of Lagoon 3 and went upriver along shore at 7:50am. Some video - I get focus eventually ! And earlier at 6:10am an adult Kittiwake was flying slowly around the estuary. Some video of it at great distance. (Yesterday, I spent nearly 6 hours in the cold and wet with zero return !) Also 5 Whimbrel.
2/5/21 – HE reported from Yacht Club: a Canada Goose pair with 4 goslings and 6 Common Sandpiper. And at HT: 4 Ringed Plover, Whimbrel and 2 Dunlin.
1/5/21 – 3 Garden Warbler around Lagoon 2 this morning.
One singing by the small triangle reedbed, with another (presumed female) nearby. And another singing by the pond.
Some video of the song (bird not visible).
MP reported 4+ Redpoll on Lagoon 2 and 4 Rock Pipit by the jetty. No sign of the Canada Goose goslings over the last 2 days.
HE reported 16 Whimbrel at the yacht club, flushed by dogs, and Canada Goose goslings there.
30/4/21 – A very late female Merlin flew from the maize field, over the lake and low across Lagoon 3. A pale phase Arctic Skua flew low upriver at 8:30am on the incoming tide. And 5+ Redpoll still around Lagoon 2.
A Jay - not an easy bird to photo.
29/4/21 – 5+ hours at the coal-face from dawn produced a good haul.
A definite Great White Egret flew upriver at 9:20am (also seen by AM).
Soon after a Kingfisher sparkled in the sun as
it flew from yacht club and low inland towards the lake.
Over HT: c45 Whimbrel (c40 at yacht club, 5 at Shepperdine), 60 Dunlin, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Ringed Plover, 2 Yellow Wagtail (with cows) and 4 Wheatear (yacht club).
The only other birds upriver were 45 Black-headed Gull.
And then a Barn Owl sat in an old oak tree.
A survey of singing warblers at dawn: 20 Reed Warbler (11 x Lag 3, 9 x Lag 2), 13 Sedge Warbler (8 x Lag 3, 3x Lag 2, 2 x other),
24 Whitethroat (5 x Lag 3, 14 x Lag 2, 5 x other), 5 Lesser Whitethroat and 10 Cetti's Warbler (the OPS record before this year was 5 !).
68 species today - best at OPS this year. And that is me on 129 species at OPS this year, and 133 for all-comers (both second-best by end April).
Also reported: 31 Wren and 18 Chiffchaff.
28/4/21 – This afternoon, over Lagoon 1: my first Swift of the year, 25 House Martin and 25+ Swallow. And 14 Redpoll flying around Lagoon 2.
27/4/21 – TS reported the first Cuckoo of the year, which flew in to Lagoon 2 around 12:45pm. (Photo by TS below.)
PB reported: 15+ Redpoll feeding in tall Willows over double gates on Lagoon 1 and Tree Pipit there.
No movement on this morning's High Tide. But at yacht club: a probable Great White Egret flew from Littleton to Aust, 10 Whimbrel, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Greylag Goose, 26 Black-headed Gull and 14 Common Gull (juvs.). And at dawn, these two Roe Deer were on the Tidal Res. wall. They must have been flushed there by dogs overnight - odd. As the tide came in, they swam back to shore.
Roe Deer on the reservoir wall being flooded by the tide and Whimbrel (photo by TS).
26/4/21 – This morning on the High Tide: 16 Bar-tailed Godwit, 16 Wimbrel and 110 Swallow. AM reported a Red Kite between Stock Hill and Cow Hill.
25/4/21 – Over the evening High Tide at Shepperdine (going upriver to NE): 54 Bar-tailed Godwit (45,5,4), 19 Wimbrel (1,1,10,3,4 - last 7 landed), 17 Grey Plover (15,2), 2 Knot, 100 Swallow (in 2.75hrs), 3 House Martin and 2 Sand Martin. A male Yellow Wagtail was on Lagoon 1. The flock of 45 Godwits was attacked by 2 Peregrines which caught one.
23/4/21 – Watching the High Tide from 2:30 - 5:30pm by Lagoon 1, produced nothing upriver,
but at 3:25pm a lovely male Hen Harrier caught me by surprise flying low, down the middle of the river.
It flew all the way down past the jetty, and then flew towards the near shore (but lost behind jetty).
(I desperately tried to get a video, but the camera would not focus with the sun glitting off the estuary.)
At the same time a bloke walked across Lagoon 1 and flushed a Green Sandpiper, which flew around alarm-calling overhead.
A Yellow Wagtail on Lagoon 1 earlier.
Seven Canada Goose goslings have hatched on the lake, after 31 days incubation (28-30 is normal, but freezing overnight temps must have delayed them).
Marsh Marigold and Bogbean in the small pond by visitor's centre (found by LP yesterday)
22/4/21 – At dusk, a Red-legged Partridge calling between Lagoon 1 and Jobsgreen Farm, and the male Tawny Owl calling.
At dawn, another Tree Pipit; disturbed from the fence along the bridleway to shore and flew off to NE. Also, a Lesser Whitethroat 'rattling' at the lake and a Mistle Thrush singing by the horse paddocks to S of Lagoon 2. And 2 Brown Hare. AM reported a Tawny Owl (called twice, Jays giving it a hard time, along the bridleway to shore), yet another Tree Pipit (flew from pond onto Lagoon 2 and perched in a couple of trees) and a Whimbrel. 6 Wheatear today (TS reported 1 at Shepperdine and 1 on shore by Lagoon 3, and also 4 at Pillhead Gout) and TS reported 9 Reed Warbler.
Reed Warbler and Wheatear. (Photos by TS.)
21/4/21 – Quite good vismig to NE, 12:40 - 2:30pm: 14 Swallow, 9 Sand Martin, 2 House Martin, 1 Tree Pipit (low over Lagoon 1, called once, 'fizz'), 30+ Meadow Pipit, 1 Redpoll, 1 Siskin and 15+ Linnet.
20/4/21 – This morning, a Common Sandpiper on the Tidal Res. shore, and the summer soundtrack has nearly fully returned now with 11 Sedge Warbler, 10 Reed Warbler, 8 Whitethroat and 7 Cetti's Warbler (OPS record count of latter) all singing on Lagoons 2 & 3. Also, the Brown Hare in the maize stubble field again. LP reported a Stonechat at S end of Lagoon 3 and Marsh Marigold (aka 'Kingcups'), Bogbean and Ragged Robin in the small pond by Visitor's Centre.
Reed Warbler and Cowslips in the meadow.
19/4/21 – This morning, 2 Tree Pipit on Lagoon 3; they flew up from edge of reeds along SE side and landed in a small tree, where they preened for 5 minutes and I got some video (can hear it doing short 'zeep' call), and then they flew high to NE. The first Lesser Whitethroat of the year singing along bridleway to shore. 2 Whimbrel on shore at Shepperdine at HT, also 18 Black-headed Gull and 30 Common Gull (mainly juvs.) on estuary. Plus, 4 Whitethroat, 4 Reed Warbler and 2 Sedge Warbler all singing. AM also reported: 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 3 Wheatear.
Tree Pipit and Whimbrel.
18/4/21 – At 9:40am MJ reported a White Stork from upriver, that was tracked (by MH) for 20 minutes flying down past Aust, where it gained height and continued SW.
(New species for OPS ! It is probably the same bird that was at Slimbridge earlier; ring 'GB1B' from the Knepp (W.Sussex) reintroduction project.)
On a cold (-3 deg C), still, and sunny morning, a Little Ringed Plover on the fast-drying Lagoon 1. (At last, after 40 dawn visits to this lagoon since start of February !) A video of the lovely song of a Mistle Thrush in Lagoon 1/2 hedge. And 21 Black-headed Gull dropped into the Tidal Res. for a rest. A Muntjac Deer crossed the path on Lagoon 2. Lots of Cuckoo Flowers along the rhine by bridleway to SE of Lagoon 3. CL reported a Tawny Owl calling at 11:30am.
Photo of the White Stork taken from Aust by Paul Bowerman.
Little Ringed Plover and Cuckoo Flowers.
16/4/21 – A light phase Arctic/Pomarine Skua low upriver at 9:48am.
But that was the only movement on river in 3 hours to HT. 2 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Redpoll over to NE along shore.
And a Brown Hare was a surprise in the maize field. A flock of 11 Bar-tailed Godwit with 12 Curlew at Pillhead Gout, then flushed upriver by walkers.
Also, singers: 4 Sedge Warbler (Lagoon 3), 4 Reed Warbler (Lagoon 2) and 4 Whitethroat (2 on each Lagoon).
65 species today - best at OPS this year.
15/4/21 – 4 Whitethroat, 4 Willow Warbler and 3 Sedge Warbler all singing on both Lagoons 2 & 3. 1 Grey Plover, a pair of Wigeon and 15 Teal still at Shepperdine.
14/4/21 – A female Redstart by Lagoon 1 outfall and a male Wheatear on Lagoon 1 (probably same that TS reported earlier at Shepperdine - photo by TS below).
13/4/21 – The amazing sight of a Little Bunting at 6:45am in a small Sallow tree by the reedbed in SW corner of Lagoon 3.
A continuous, harsh, 'kvitt' call got my attention. It basically had a fully chestnut coloured face, with black edging, chestnut crown-stripe and white eye-ring. (Looked like a Tree Pipit below.)
Frustratingly, the bird flew after 2 mins., just as I pointed the camera at it. It flew high and long, out of sight, to south. Probably a male in breeding plumage.
The full story here.
My 200th species at OPS !!
(Although 3 dodgy species - Pom Skua record not accepted (but the bird was also seen upriver), and introduced Great Bustard and Crane.)
Also, the first Yellow Wagtail (over), 2 Sedge Warbler and a Whitethroat singing on Lagoon 3, and at Pillhead Gout: 1 Knot, 1 Grey Plover and a Whimbrel (heard).
AM reported: the first Common Sandpiper of the year, 20 Teal, 2 Little Grebe, 5 Wheatear and 27 Redshank.
Grey Plover and Knot, and Whitethroat (photo by TS).
12/4/21 – The first Whitethroat (singing, N corner Lagoon 3), Reed Warbler (singing, lake) and
Whimbrel (yacht club with Curlews) of the year.
Also, a Sedge Warbler singing on Lagoon 3, and at yacht club: 1 Knot, 18 Ringed Plover, 17 Dunlin and 18 Curlews (inc. a 'Headstarter' and colour-ringed, Red (x2?) on L and Orange on R).
61 species today - best at OPS this year.
Whimbrel (front) with larger and lighter coloured Curlews.
11/4/21 – MP reported: 5 'White' Wagtail and 23 Pied Wagtail on Lagoon 1. HE reported: 4 Wheatear and 2 Grey Wagtail.
'White' Wagtails and Curlew on Lagoon 1 (photos by MP).
10/4/21 – A Tree Pipit calling over Lagoon 3 first thing, a Sedge Warbler heard singing, from the lake, and a late Water Rail 'squealing' in the small triangle reedbed in SE corner of Lagoon 2.
9/4/21 – A male Little Owl calling from inland at Shepperdine this evening - the first record at OPS for 9 years ! Also c20 Ringed Plover and c20 Dunlin. (A Muntjac Deer on Lagoon 2 yesterday morning.) MP reported, in morning: a Sedge Warbler on Lagoon 3, 5 Willow Warbler, 1 Wheatear, 7 Swallow and 13 Oystercatcher.
Female Wheatear near the jetty (photo by HE).
7/4/21 – A Red Kite flew across the estuary at 4:30pm, from Littleton. A Mediterranean Gull that had nearly finished moulting into summer adult was at the yacht club, 4 Ringed Plover and a Dunlin at Pillhead Gout, and 35 Pied Wagtail on the mud on Lagoon 1. HE reported a male Redstart on Lagoon 2 this morning. (Photo by HE below, right.) AM reported a House Martin yesterday.
5/4/21 – A Sedge Warbler singing in reeds in SW corner of Lagoon 3 this morning. (One day later than the earliest OPS record.)
3/4/21 – A Marsh Harrier circling high over towers, and then went inland (east) at midday. AM reported: 19 Chiffchaff, 6 Blackcap, 4 Swallow, 100 Linnet (in maize stubble), 3 Cetti's Warbler, 18 Wren, 78 Common Gull, 3 Wigeon, a pair of Sparrowhawk and 2 Grey Plover.
2/4/21 – A Stonechat reported by RE. (Photo by RE below.)
1/4/21 – Some movement to NE into cold wind this morning: 150 Meadow Pipit, 50 Goldfinch, 40 Linnet, 2 House Martin (equal earliest ever at OPS), 2 Swallow, 5 Greenfinch, 1 Siskin and 1 Redpoll. Also 4 Willow Warbler singing and a Greylag Goose low over to NE. TS reported 2 Little Ringed Plover at the yacht club at HT and 30 Swallow over.
Nice photo of one of the Little Ringed Plover by TS - thanks !
31/3/21 – A Barnacle Goose on the estuary at Pillhead Gout.
AM reported a Willow Warbler singing by the lake.
That is 107 species I have seen at OPS this year - equal to my record for end of March.
30/3/21 – An excellent morning, started with mist,
but a pair of Goosander on the Tidal Res. until going upriver at 7:30am.
And a Willow Warbler singing on Lagoon 2.
From 8-9am I sat and watched the tide come in at Shepperdine, but all that went upriver were 4 Black-headed Gull.
So I started walking to the yacht club, when at 9:20am a flock of 15 Sandwich Tern went very fast and low upriver.
I managed to get some video. (Highest count at OPS, beating 6 from last year. That is the 7th spring in a row I have seen this species at OPS.)
Also 2 Wheatear, 7 Blackcap singing, a Ringed Plover and a Lapwing on Lagoon 1, 3 Siskin over and a Lesser Redpoll on alders on Lagoon 3. MP reported 9 Grey Plover.
PB reported: a male Redstart (earliest ever, by a day), a Red-legged Partridge calling at dusk from edge of Lagoons 1/2, a Tawny Owl calling and a Green-veined White butterfly.
I saw 57 species today. That is 106 species I have seen at OPS this year, with all-comers on 113 (the most ever by end of March).
29/3/21 – A Greenshank "tu,tu,tu"ing and the first Swallow of the year, at the yacht club.
Also, 3 Sand Martin to SW into wind, and 2 Blackcap singing.
AM reported: a Partridge sp. flushed from Lagoon 2, 141 Curlew, 114 Redshank, 30 Chiffchaff, another Swallow and a Sand Martin to NW and 4 Green Woodpecker.
HE reported 6 Wheatear in the evening, between yacht club and Littleton.
That is 103 species I have seen at OPS this year, with all-comers on 108.
Big news at the lake, as the Coot is back today (last here 25th Dec), and the female Canada Goose started sitting on a nest on the island on 23rd (same date as last year !).
Below are the previous Canada Goose nest records:
1st on nest 1st fledged juvs. Incubation (days) No.of juvs.
05/04/2005 07/05/2005 37 3 (first breeding at OPS)
14/04/2006 06/05/2006 22 6
27/04/2008 30/05/2008 33 1+
29/03/2009 02/05/2009 34 5
27/03/2010 01/05/2010 35 6
26/03/2011 01/05/2011 36 3
24/03/2012 21/04/2012 28 3
31/03/2013 failed (successful 2nd clutch) 3
04/04/2014 02/05/2014 28 3
31/03/2015 04/05/2015 34 4
02/04/2016 04/05/2016 32 1
23/03/2017 21/04/2017 29 6
21/03/2019 20/04/2019 30 7
23/03/2020 22/04/2020 30 7
----- Coronavirus Lockdown Ends-----
26/3/21 – A probable juvenile Goshawk this afternoon, flying along the rhine between lake and road - I was on Lagoon 3, with bright sun behind me to light it up. It was carrying a bloody kill. Would have had a cracking view of it, but it kept going out-of-sight, low in the rhine ditch. Just saw size and colour, no other detail.
24/3/21 – A Red Kite quite low over Lagoon 2 at about 7am, then drifted inland to East. (Recorded at OPS every year for the last 10 years.) An 'Iceland' Black-tailed Godwit in summer plumage on Lagoon 1. 6 Coal Tit is an OPS record count (2 pairs x Lagoon 2, 1 pair x Lagoon 3). Before 6 years ago, they were seen in less than half of years. And 3 Little Egret on the maize field. HE reported the first Wheatear from the yacht club (photo on right, below, by HE).
23/3/21 – 3+ Greylag Goose flying around, and the female Canada Goose is sat on a nest. Also 11+ Chichaff, a Blackcap singing and a flock of c50 Linnet over the maize field. AM reported a pair of Peregrine mating on the rocks by the Tidal Res.!
22/3/21 – The first Blackcap of the year, seen and heard singing (1 day later than OPS earliest) along footpath to shore. A summer plumaged Mediterranean Gull on shore at Pillhead Gout, and 2 Greylag Goose with 6 Canada Goose in the field on way to yacht club. Also 2 juvenile Peregrine chasing each other over Lagoon 3 and towers (females from size). Presumably last year's. Some video.
20/3/21 – A drake Common Scoter on the Tidal Res. at dawn. And also a pair of Pintail. HE reported a 1st-w male Black Redstart (which looks different to the previous one). (Photo below right by HE.)
19/3/21 – The Otter again, on the SW wall of the Tidal Res. for 15 minutes at 7:30am. Some video. Also a Sand Martin and c20 Meadow Pipit to NE. AM later reported a Merlin, 2 Sand Martin on Lagoon 1, 130 Curlew, 2 Grey Plover and 39 Redshank.
18/3/21 – An Avocet at Shepperdine, and a Seal (probably Grey Seal) going downriver (and reported later at the yacht club). Checking previous years on the website, a Grey Seal has been seen every year for the last 10 years (except 2014). But only 2006 and 2007 before that. And Common Seal has been seen every year for last 5, except 2018. LP reported 5 Chiffchaff.
17/3/21 – An excellent spring morning. A 'redhead' Goosander flew downriver at HT (9:40am), and landed on the estuary by Lagoon 3. But only stayed a couple of minutes and then flew back upriver. (The last one at OPS was on 10/10/2017.) Also 2 Black-tailed Godwit upriver are new for the year. A fem/juv Merlin was in a spectacular chase of an isolated Dunlin, out over the estuary at Shepperdine. The Dunlin started gaining height, managing to stay just above the Merlin, very close behind, until they were way above and beyond the towers, then they both started diving down, and lost to view. (I saw a very similar battle in December.) A Greylag Goose on the lake, was being chased by the male of the Canada Goose pair. The 2 male Shoveler again on Lagoon 1. And, the first visible migration of the year overhead: 14 Chaffinch and 2 Siskin to NE, and 2 Skylark to West. Also, 2 Coal Tit flew from the Lagoon 1 hedge, high to NE, but they came back down in trees 400m away.
16/3/21 – The first Otter seen at OPS, this morning! Watched for 20 minutes on the estuary, by the navigation signs towards the yacht club. I got some pretty good video. Apart from that, the 2 Shoveler again on Lagoon 1, 4 Cetti's Warbler singing (2 each on Lagoons 2 & 3) and c25 Redwing still.
15/3/21 – AM's WeBS count: 2 male Shoveler (Lagoon 1), 67 Teal (63 on Lagoon 1), 122 Wigeon, 38 Curlew, 1 Jack Snipe, 22 Snipe, 2 Little Grebe, 2 male Stonechat, 5 Redwing. (NB. All birds had been flushed from Lagoon 1 to Tidal Res. in afternoon.)
Toads mating and calling around the pond by Lagoon 2.
13/3/21 – An Arctic Skua chasing a Black-headed Gull high over the estuary, from Shepperdine. It then came down low and over to the near shore, heading downriver towards me, but it flew inland to S. Probably an Intermediate phase (or juv). But that was the only seabird in continuing strong W/SW wind.
12/3/21 – A Greylag Goose on Lagoon 1, but flushed by dog-walker.
11/3/21 – No seabirds from dawn until 9am (although lots at Seven Beach, and a Gannet seen further upriver at 9am). 4 Pintail (2m, 2f) went down river, and a male Shoveler on Lagoon 1. Also 4 Chiffchaff (2 singing).
10/3/21 – Not much bird news, but these Scarlet Elf Caps along the footpath to the shore, and my bench is one year old ! (Nearly lost it when it was thrown back in the estuary, early on.) And the green 'Ledges' buoy has been replaced by a different one, presumably to remove the pink buoy that got entangled with the old one.
8/3/21 – AM reported: a 1st-w male Black Redstart on the fence between Lagoon 2 and the buildings, a Greylag Goose on the river, 180 Redwing, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Stonechat, 2 Peregrine (pair on a pylon), 189 Wigeon, 65 Teal, a male Tufted Duck, 1 Grey Plover, 29 Dunlin, 69 Curlew, 36 Redshank, 2 Little Grebe and 5 Green Woodpecker. 3 Chiffchaff this afternoon.
4/3/21 – A Sand Martin feeding over Lagoon 1 is the earliest ever for S. Gloucs., beating 7/3/2014 (and the earliest for OPS, beating 11/3/2017) ! The 'headstarted' Curlew '21' and '23' are still together on Lagoon 1. And the pen Mute Swan was back on the lake briefly. A worrying report from a dog-walker that the cob Mute Swan may have hit the power line over the lake and come down in the brambles. As flapping could be heard, with the remaining swan obviously distressed and crying.
3/3/21 – 8 Shoveler (6 male, 2 female), 3 Gadwall and 72 Teal on flooded Lagoon 1. The female Black Redstart at the Waterworks, and a juv. Merlin by 'squeaky gate.' It seems that the 'battle for the lake' is already over as the Canada Goose pair chased the Mute Swan pair off the lake this morning.
2/3/21 – 6 Shoveler (5 male, 1 female) on Lagoon 1 this (cold) morning; the female Black Redstart on the jetty; a male Stonechat SINGING on top of the hedge by the yacht club (only 2nd one singing for me at OPS, with first in March last year); and the annual 'battle for the lake' is hotting up, with the Canada Goose pair nest-prospecting on the island and the Mute Swan pair in courtship. The Little Grebe pair are also still 'trilling'.
Four of the male Shovelers.
1/3/21 – MP/AM reported a male Marsh Harrier upriver past the yacht club at 9:40am. Also this morning, a Greylag Goose with 5 Canada Goose, flew from inland and then went upriver. AM also reported: 4 Green Woodpecker, 111 Wigeon, 239 Curlew, 58 Redshank, 47 Dunlin, 1 Grey Plover and 1 Snipe.
A Shelduck up a tree, presumably nest prospecting. And the Marsh Harrier (photo by MP).
28/2/21 – An Avocet was reported by JH-P.
27/2/21 – Freezing fog this morning (-2 degs) concentrated the mind to close birding, and I found a Treecreeper in the trees by the entrance. That is 90 species for me at OPS in 2021 (93 for all-comers), making it an average start to the year.
26/2/21 – The Merlin on a log at Pillhead Gout again, 2 Chiffchaff singing, the pair of Little Grebe on the Lake (trilling call heard and one caught a small fish) and 2 male Tufted Duck (1 on lake and one, unusually, on estuary at yacht club).
25/2/21 – A flock of 7 Mute Swan upriver (3 adult + 4 juvs.). And an hour later a pair flew downriver and landed on the lake. And 3 male Tufted Duck there. A Merlin on a log at Pillhead Gout and the female Black Redstart still. Also, a Chiffchaff singing.
Lots of Blackthorn and Damsons already in flower.
23/2/21 – It felt VERY 'migrationy' this morning for first time this year. A Corn Bunting flew from the corner hedge by the yacht club, went high downriver, before giving up battling the wind and came back up river overhead, calling 'tic' once, then lost as it went back down around weedy field. The third winter in a row that one has been at this spot ! 2 Siskin landed, calling, in trees on SW side of Lagoon 3, a Lesser Redpoll over (calling), and 3 large flocks of mixed thrushes, estimated c400 Redwing and c300 Fieldfare. Also, some flocks of 10 Woodpigeon going W, with 1 Stock Dove and a pair of Collared Dove in trees on Lagoon 3 (unusual here). Plus, several flocks of Black-headed Gull (c250) looked like they were migrating downriver. (Not a single Stonechat or Chiffchaff this morning.)
Over HT, a 1st-w Mediterranean Gull (with a Common Gull), and a Bar-tailed Godwit (photo by MP).
22/2/21 – 2 Chiffchaff singing (new species for year), 2 Little Grebe and the male Tufted Duck on the lake. AM reported: 2 Lesser Redpoll in Alders on Lagoon 3, 13 Stonechat, 18 Oystercatcher, 84 Teal and 55 Wigeon.
21/2/21 – NS reported a 1st-w Glaucous Gull at Shepperdine in afternoon (3:30-4pm). MS reported a pair of Canada Goose back on the lake.
20/2/21 – MP reported: 2 Black Redstart (1st-w male and female on jetty fence), 8 Stonechat (shore by Lagoon 3), pair of Peregrine (male with prey); 2 Knot, 12 Redshank on Lagoon 1 with 2 'headstarted' Curlew ('21' and '23'), which are 2 years old now and should be going to breed this year. Also, colour-ringed Curlew 'BRR', which MS informs is one that breeds in Gloucestershire (of which there are very few left).
'Headstart' Curlew '21' (photo by MP).
19/2/21 – This afternoon, 254 Curlew (colour-rings: BYO, BYN) feeding in field with 41 Canada Goose.
MP reported, over High Tide, Lagoon 1: 2 Knot, 20 Dunlin, 21 Lapwing, 10 Redshank, 19 Curlew (incl x2 Headstart birds, and colour-ringed BYW and BGL), 49 Teal, 59 Wigeon, 7 Common Gull. Also, on Shepperdine shore: 89 Turnstone and 15 Oystercatcher.
2 Knot and Curlew/Teal/Wigeon on very flooded Lagoon 1 (photos by MP).
17/2/21 – The drake Tufted Duck back on the lake, and 2 Mistle Thrush with c25 Fieldfare on Lagoon 1..
16/2/21 – A Kingfisher from the bridge by the Anchor pub, and a juv/fem Merlin on the large log by Pillhead Gout. MP reported 9 Grey Plover at Pillhead Gout.
15/2/21 – AM's WeBS count: 1 Jack Snipe (small reedbed by Lag 3), 63 Snipe, 74 Teal, 124 Wigeon, 340 Lapwing, 85 Dunlin, 24 Redshank, 231 Curlew, 4 Grey Heron, 70 Turnstone and 2 Rock Pipit.
13/2/21 – Even colder this morning (-4 degs). 2 Black Redstart again, together on the jetty (a 1st-w male and a female). And c20 Golden Plover with c100 Lapwing and 42 Canada Goose in field between Lagoon 3 and yacht club. No Moorhens on the thick ice on the lake.
12/2/21 – Some new waders at HT this morning, in freezing conditions (-2 degs): 15 Golden Plover at the yacht club, 3 Knot at Shepperdine with 2 Grey Plover, and 3 Ringed Plover on the sea wall. Also a Water Rail on the thick ice on the lake.
11/2/21 – TWO Black Redstart today; a 1st-winter male on the jetty this afternoon, and a female reported by AG on Avonbirds. (Photo, below left, by AG.)
10/2/21 – A Knot with 5 Grey Plover and Dunlin flock feeding on the mud of the Tidal Res. this afternoon. And the female Black Redstart still on the jetty.
9/2/21 – AM reported a male Black Redstart on path/fence between jetty and Lagoon 3. Also, 123 Curlew and 2 Stonechat.
7/2/21 – MS reported the female Black Redstart again.
6/2/21 – A drake Pintail displaying to a female Mallard on the Tidal Res.; lifting its head right up and shaking it, then putting it down to water level and pointing its tail straight up. I was impressed, even if the Mallard wasn't !!
4/2/21 – The Mute Swan pair flew upriver at 8:20am.
1st-winter Great Black-backed Gull and flooded Lagoon 1.
3/2/21 – A male Tufted Duck on the lake. (None have been present since 11th June !!)
2/2/21 – The female Black Redstart was on the jetty this morning. And at HT: 223 Curlew in field (9 colour-rings read) and 6 Grey Plover plus 3 Ringed Plover were at Pillhead Gout. And 2 Feral Pigeon around the towers were new for year ! AM reported a Jack Snipe flushed on Lagoon 3. Also 86 Wigeon and 62 Teal.
1/2/21 – An adult winter Mediterranean Gull flew in to the estuary roost this evening.
29/1/21 – A flock of 8 Mistle Thrush flew into Lagoon 2, giving lots of rattling calls, then dispersed around the lagoon trees. And 2 Coal Tit are the first of the year.
28/1/21 – The Dark-bellied Brent Goose returned to same field with 61 Canada Goose. (It visited Slimbridge and the wetlands at Severn Beach in the week it was missing !) And a Grey Plover with a Ringed Plover on the seawall by Lagoon 1 at HT this morning. Plus a Little Grebe in a flooded Oldbury Pill. MS reported the female Black Redstart.
27/1/21 – A juv. Merlin sat on the fence at Shepperdine in mist. 4 Mute Swan reported by LJ. The resident male being very aggresive to a new pair, which eventually departed.
26/1/21 – The Golden Plover settled in the field with the Canada Goose flock this morning, after flying around a couple of times, calling. (A short video, of flight with a couple of calls at end.) A Greenfinch was starting song and bat-like display flight on Lagoon 3. That is my 80th species at OPS in 2021 (82 species for all-comers). Which is an ok start to the year; 82 species is my average for last 5 Januaries (85 for all-comers). No Feral Pigeon yet !
25/1/21 – On a frosty morning (-2 degs), a Golden Plover flew, calling, from the saltmarsh by the yacht club. It flew off high to south. And a Lapwing with a colour aberration making its back very light (photo below). Also, 7 Stonechat (3 x weedy field, pair x jetty, fem x Lag 2, 1 x Lag 3 area).
24/1/21 – MP reported: The female Black Redstart by the jetty, 3 Stonechat, a drake Pintail (off Shepperdine) and the drake Gadwall (lake).
Male Stonechat and Robin (photo by MP).
22/1/21 – 1+ Yellowhammer in hedge by weedy field near yacht club (with 1+ Reed Bunting),
6 Stonechat about (3 x weedy field, pair x waterworks, 1 x Shepperdine), 2 Mistle Thrush by small wood (and mistletoe) on way to yacht club and c60 Wigeon on Lagoon 1.
(The Brent Goose was not with the 53 Canada Goose in the field this morning.)
21/1/21 – The Dark-bellied Brent Goose still with Canada Geese in field between Lagoon 3 and yacht club.
20/1/21 – The Dark-bellied Brent Goose is still with 35 Canada Goose in the field between Lagoon 3 and yacht club. And 41 Teal on Lagoon 1
Snowdrops in wood by lake (photo taken 3 days later than last year).
19/1/21 – The Dark-bellied Brent Goose was still feeding with 62 Canada Goose in a field between Lagoon 3 and yacht club. Also c230 Curlew feeding there at HT, and another c50 about.
18/1/21 – AM's WeBS count in morning: A Dark-bellied Brent Goose with 62 Canada Goose feeding in field between Lagoon 3 and yacht club, c575 Lapwing, c250 Curlew, c850 Dunlin,
95 Snipe (25 at Shepperdine, 50+ on saltmarsh of shore, 20 on Lagoon 3),
2 Grey Plover, 20 Redshank, 174 Wigeon, 55 Teal, 45 Turnstone, a Merlin (playing havoc with the Dunlin and Lapwing flock at Oldbury Pill) and a Mistle Thrush.
The Brent Goose was still there this evening (some video) and the Mute Swan pair have returned to the lake.
16/1/21 – At High Tide this morning: 325 Lapwing, 220 Curlew and 95 Snipe (25 at Shepperdine, 50+ saltmarsh on shore, 20 on Lagoon 3).
MP reported this afternoon: 64 Snipe and 2 Rock Pipit along shore by Lagoon 3, the female Black Redstart by the jetty, 3 Stonechat, and male Gadwall on the lake.
NB. No Chiffchaff seen since early December - this would be the first January without one for 3 years.
Redwing and Lapwings on Lagoon 1.
Rock Pipit (photo by MP).
13/1/21 – I flushed a Short-eared Owl from Lagoon 3 this morning.
It flew 50 yards and then dropped into the reeds. And the female Black Redstart again by the jetty.
Plus 5 Stonechat (pairs at jetty and in ploughed field towards Oldbury village, and a female on Lagoon 2).
Sadly, a freshly dead Buzzard found with no obvious signs of trauma. But, just 50 yards from the Buzzard's nest that was in an oak tree on south side of Lagoon 3,
which seems to have been completely dismantled, since last year. (Body being sent to Predatory Birds Monitoring Scheme.)
55 species seen today - highest of year.
12/1/21 – 4 Lesser Redpoll feeding on seedheads by lake.
11/1/21 – AM reported: a Jack Snipe and a Snipe on Lagoon 3, 2 Water Rail (one seen well on the lake), 15 Moorhen (lake), 17 Curlew (Lagoon 1), 1 Gadwall, 1 Buzzard and 4 Stonechat.
10/1/21 – A Merlin caused all the Lapwing in field inland of yacht club to take to the air. It landed in a tree briefly. c120 Redwing feeding in fields here. And 4 Lesser Redpoll in hedge by paddocks. MP reported a female Black Redstart and a pair of Stonechat between jetty and Lagoon 3. Plus 4 Roe Deer and lots of Redwing near entrance.
7/1/21 – A couple of nice photos from yesterday of Bullfinch and Redwing, by MP.
6/1/21 – At 8:45am, a 1st-w Glaucous Gull flew lazily upriver along the near bank at Shepperdine. (37 years after the last,and only, record at OPS ! On 22nd Jan 1984.) Some video (where Carrion Crow flies across, showing size). Some more video, where it banks after 20 secs, showing upper and lower translucent wings. The 199th species I have recorded at the site !! (PS. It was also seen to fly past Saul Warth at about 10.55am.) Also 2 Black Redstart between jetty and Lagoon 3. A female was on the jetty, then flew along seawall, and disappeared. While searching for it, I heard one alarm-calling from the buildings at far SW side of site, and saw an adult male, briefly, before it too disappeared.
The first photo below is by GH further upriver. In second, a Carrion Crow for size comparison.
----- Coronavirus Lockdown -----
4/1/21 – 9 Pintail on the estuary, a Rock Pipit at the yacht club, c300 Lapwing and the pair of Mute Swan have returned to the thawed lake.
3/1/21 – The 3 Ringed Plover on the seawall again and 3 Grey Plover flew downriver from Shepperdine.
2/1/21 – At dawn, on a frosty morning (-2 degs), a huge flock of 3,000+ Starling flew low to NE; they may have just come from roost, or might be moving due to frozen fields; amazing sight and sound. A Little Grebe on Oldbury Pill, 18 Skylark flying between yacht club saltmarsh and weedy field nearby, and 4 Stonechat between yacht club and Lagoon 3. Also, c50 Redwing and 10+ Fieldfare looking a bit desperate trying to feed on frosted grass. HE reported: a Gadwall on the estuary, a pair of Stonechat at the jetty and a Grey Wagtail.
A first for OPS - January swimmers at the Yacht Club ! And male Gadwall on the estuary (photo by HE).
1/1/21 – 4 Shoveler on the Tidal Res. wall at Shepperdine (3 drakes, 1 fem.), and a male Stonechat by Lagoon 1 outfall.
(since Jan 2004)