Birdwatching at Oldbury Power Station

18/1/19 – Excellent to find Otter tracks by the Lagoon 3 outfall pipe, on the shore. A 'Continental' Cormorant (sub-species 'Sinensis') on the Tidal Res., where I checked the whole gull roost as it drifted upriver on the incoming tide late afternoon. c2,000 Black-headed Gull, 500+ Common Gull, c10 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 10+ Herring Gull (only), 2 Great Black-backed Gull and nothing unusual.

      Otter tracks show 5 toes (4 on dog) and the arrow shows the webbing between toes (visible on the other footprints also).

       

      'Continental' Cormorants have the white head and neck feathers.

 

17/1/19 – The female-type Black Redstart on south side of main towers (in sun) this morning. And a Treecreeper by entrance. Up to 13 Little Egret reported in fields between Parkmill Farm and Thornbury Castle 'this year' (i.e. 2019).

 

16/1/19 – A Short-eared Owl hunting around the yacht club this afternoon. And c12 Yellowhammer on saltmarsh there.

      Short-eared Owl and Snowdrops out in the wood by the lake.

       

15/1/19 – This morning, the ad male Black Redstart was taking cover from drizzle on NE side of buildings. (Also, a POSSIBLE Hawfinch - flew from near lake to SW, only seen from behind and didn't appear to stop.)
Some late news. Yesterday at dawn, JS reported: 99 Curlew roosting at Pillhead Gout with another 87 feeding on Oldbury Sands. Also 250 Lapwing, 2 Oystercatcher and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit. 2 Peregrine flew over. Most of the Curlews and Lapwings flew to feed in fields, joined by about 2,000 Dunlin. All disturbed by a farmer and 2 dogs.

 

14/1/19 – A Black Redstart reported on Birdguides. AM's WeBS count, reported "pretty low counts. Few Curlew and NO Lapwing seen! Teal very low nos."
2,000 Dunlin, 12 Redshank, 19 Snipe, 45 Turnstone, 18 Curlew, 5 Grey Plover, 115 Wigeon, 14 Teal, 1 Short-eared Owl and c12 Yellowhammer in bushes just before Windbound, with Linnets and Reed Buntings (none seen at Yacht Club or fallow field).
4 Rock Pipit gave me the run-around by the yacht club.

 

11/1/19 – The 2 Black Redstart were by the jetty this afternoon. And a Siskin over the lake, calling. AM also reported in morning: 4+ Yellowhammer, 5 Grey Plover, 20 Redshank, 230 Dunlin and 45 Turnstone.

      fem/1st-w Black Redstart.

 

10/1/19 – A Black Redstart reported on Birdguides and 6+ Stonechat reported by @Lisegirl1. The Corn Bunting still with 9+ Yellowhammer in fallow field nearest yacht club. A Treecreeper in wood by lake, with Long-tailed Tit flock. (OPS year-list = 85 species.)

 

9/1/19 – The 2 Black Redstart were both in same places as yesterday (although a 1st-w was later on the jetty, before it flew to roofs again). Kestrel and Buzzard seen today, bringing OPS year-list to 84 species - 2nd best January, behind 90 species in Jan 2016.

      3 of 4 Roe Deer seen in a field.

 

 

8/1/19 – Both the fem/1st-w and the adult male Black Redstart were on the SW side of the power station buildings this morning in the bright winter sun. And 1+ Lesser Redpoll heard on Lagoon 2, "Did-it". (Also a probable Water Pipit by Waterworks outfall, just from flight-call.)

       


7/1/19 – At Pillhead Gout, at dawn (High Tide): 1 Brent Goose (Dark-bellied), 2 Bar-tailed Godwit with 100+ Curlew, c35 Canada Goose, 12 Oystercatcher, c1,000 Dunlin and c300 Lapwing. 8 Little Egret flew inland from fields by Littleton Brickpits. (80 species at OPS this year. Still missing Buzzard, Kestrel, House Sparrow !)

       

6/1/19 – CL reported the Short-eared Owl hunting fields between Lagoon 3 and yacht club again, 2:45-3:15pm.

 

5/1/19 – The Short-eared Owl was hunting between Lagoon 3 and yacht club again, and the first Green Woodpecker of the year heard 'yaffling'. (78 species at OPS.) MB reported 2+ Yellowhammer in hedge by yacht club still. The Mute Swan pair have left the lake (yesterday). There was a small murmuration of c300 Starling, with another c500 over to SW.

 

4/1/19 – The adult male Black Redstart again, briefly, on building by Jetty, the Short-eared Owl was hunting fields and shore between Lagoon 3 and yacht club from 3:45pm to dusk, and c3,000 gulls in the roost on the Tidal Res., inc. c2,000 Black-headed Gull and 500+ Common Gull. Also 2 Roe Deer. (Strangely no Starlings seen up to 4:15pm when I left. But it was a light sunset, so may be came in later?)

 

3/1/19 – AM/MP reported, in afternoon: fem/juv Black Redstart on Jetty (2:10pm). So there are still TWO different ones here. 1 Bar-tailed Godwit (Oldbury Pill), c3,000 Starling, c2,000 Black-headed Gull, c250 Common Gull, c3,000 Dunlin, c500 Lapwing, 2 Stonechat, Sparrowhawk (hunting in the Orchard), 2 Peregrine (pylons by entrance), 2 Ringed Plover (Shepperdine) and 67 Teal.
This morning, 42 Golden Plover circling around high, with c300 Lapwing upriver of The Windbound (viewed distantly from Shepperdine). 6 Grey Plover still at Shepperdine. 25 Skylark and a Pheasant in fallow field. c3 Yellowhammer still in hedge near yacht club. A pair of Raven calling and displaying and now 4 Coot on lake. 77 species at OPS this year.

      Catkins, Lagoon 3.

 

2/1/19 – At 3pm the largest ever flock (45) of Greylag Goose at OPS flew low upriver, honking. And a female Pochard on the lake is the first since Nov 2015. About 1,000 Starling performed again over Lagoon 3, with another 1,000 going straight into roost. The male Black Redstart was reported again on the jetty, by KB.
That's 71 species now at OPS, and I am yet to see : Buzzard, Kestrel, Pheasant, House Sparrow, Green Woodpecker, Little Egret, Raven, Ringed Plover or Sparrowhawk !
At The Windbound were 5 Yellowhammer and a Stonechat.

       

1/1/19 – Wow, what a start to the year !! 65 species already. Late afternoon, I found a Merlin flying from Lagoon 3 out over the estuary. It started diving and chasing several of the c150 Pied Wagtails coming into roost on the jetty. A spectacular end to a special day was created by a murmuration of c2,000 Starling over Lagoon 3 from 4-4:15pm, when a Tawny Owl started hooting. (Some video of the murmuration.) The Corn Bunting is still in the hedge by the yacht club, with 12 Yellowhammer, as reported by MP/BO. Also 4 Stonechat, a Grey Wagtail and the 5 Grey Plover. The adult male Black Redstart was mobile around the buildings looking from the jetty, and at 4pm was on stony ground looking through blue gate from jetty. (A short video in poor light.) The Short-eared Owl was hunting the fallow field between Lagoon 3 and yacht club for 15+ minutes at 11:30am. Also, a Chiffchaff in the wood by the lake, a Mistle Thrush in the horse paddock to south of Lagoon 2 and 18 Bullfinch seen (inc. flock of 8 at south end Lagoon 2).

      Corn Bunting photo by Ben Ofield and Yellowhammer by Matt Plenty - thanks guys !.

       

       

A total of 152 species recorded at the site from all-comers in 2018 (3rd best year, behind 158 in 2017 and 153 in 2015). (See 2018 Species for details.) With my personal total for the site in 2018 at 147 species (also 3rd best, behind 153 in 2018 and 150 in 2015). The result of 263 visits (12 short of the 275 in 2015). Average number of species per visit = 43. Highest number of species on a visit was 66 on 19th Apr.. (Highest ever was 74 on 23/4/2015).

I added Ring-necked Parakeet to my OPS list (the 197th species for me at OPS), and Nightjar was added to the OPS list (the 227th species recorded at the site).

The same relatively common birds not seen at the site this year, as last year : Little Owl (not seen for 5 years now), Barn Owl, Pochard and no Little Stint recorded at the site for past 2 years. Also no Harrier species seen this year, and no Little Ringed Plover (as no open water on Lagoons). The year started excellently with record numbers of species seen by end of April (127 for me and 129 all-comers), and that continued through to Sept. with more records (144 for me and 149 all-comers), but ended with a whimper and no species added to year-list in Nov/Dec.!

The highlights through the year, were :
Jan - A Fulmar during storm Eleanor (only 3 previous records, all in Sept 2011), an Egyptian Goose (3rd record), record 32 Pintail, a Hawfinch, a Corn Bunting and ad m & 1st-w Black Redstarts (!).
Feb - a 1st-w Little Gull roosting on the estuary and Jack Snipe.
Mar - The 'Beast from the East' brought Woodcock and Golden Plovers, a Sandwich Tern down river (on 16th; earliest for S. Gloucs.), a Ruff and 2 Ring-necked Parakeet.
Apr - 3 Avocet, a Common Scoter, Ring Ouzel, Water Pipit, Pied Flycatcher, 4 Brent Goose, Goshawk, 2 Osprey, Great White Egret and a Grey Seal.
May - Arctic Skua, 2 Cuckoo, Bar-headed Goose, 2 Red Kite, Nightjar (new OPS species), record count of 43 Wren(!) and a Muntjac Deer.
Jun - Tawny Owl, 40 Tufted Ducklings, 12 Purple Hairstreak butterfly and dead Polecat.
Jul - A Yellowhammer, 8 Common Scoter, Greenshank and Grey-banded Mining Bee.
Aug - High count of 320 Ringed Plover (inc. one ringed in Norway), Kingfisher, Great Skua, juv. Arctic Tern (stayed into Sept.), Curlew Sandpiper and 2 Brown Argus butterfly (first at OPS).
Sep - Auk sp. (probable Guillemot), 23 Greylag Goose, Grey Phalarope and Nuthatch.
Oct - A Black-headed Gull ringed in Poland, record counts of: 5 Great Spotted Woodpecker and 29 Moorhen, 2 Great White Egret records, Water Pipit, Merlin (regular to year-end), 2 Short-eared Owl, Crossbill and 5 Grey Plover (becoming 6 by end of year).
Nov - Brambling, ad male & 1st-w/fem Black Redstart, Short-eared Owl, 2 DB Brent Geese, Kittiwake, Great Skua, Arctic Skua, Corn Bunting with 5+ Yellowhammer.
Dec - Corn Bunting again with 6+ Yellowhammer, ad male & 1st-w/fem Black Redstart and a Short-eared Owl all to year-end. 6 Mute Swans in 'battle of the lake'!

 

31/12/18 – The Corn Bunting again with 5 Yellowhammer in the hedge at the corner of the 'set-aside' field, near the yacht club. The Starling roost on Lagoon 3 had c2,000 birds, but they flew in in flocks of hundreds, only offering small murmurations. And a Tawny Owl hooting from the wood by the lake at dusk. At High Tide, c1,000 Dunlin pursued by probable Merlin towards Littleton.

 

30/12/18 – The 1st-w/fem Black Redstart reported (on Birdguides) late afternoon. MP reported, in evening: c2,000 Starling roosting on Lagoon 3 drew the attention of a Merlin, a Short-eared Owl and a Sparrowhawk. Another c5,000 Starling in trees near Oldbury village. (The Short-eared Owl also reported by @BirderGinger on Lagoon 3, carrying a mouse/vole at 3:50pm. And 27 Snipe.) At afternoon HT, 2 Brent Goose (Dark-bellied) feeding on grass just upriver of The Windbound at Shepperdine, 6 Grey Plover still there, 4 Stonechat (pairs by jetty and lake) and 3 Redpoll feeding in trees on Lagoon 2.

      The Brent Geese seen at distance from Lagoon 1.

 

29/12/18 – @gardenbirder1 reported: the 1st-w male Black Redstart again today near the jetty/waterworks, 1 Stonechat, 47 Mallard, 4 Wigeon (3m) on Lake, 3 Grey Wagtail and 30+ Pied Wagtail.

 

28/12/18 – MP reported this afternoon: a pair of Gadwall, c500 Lapwing, 3000 Dunlin and a roost of c2000 Starling on lagoon 3 with a bit of murmeration at 4pm.

 

27/12/18 – MP reported this afternoon: a Short-eared Owl hunting over lagoon 3, the 1st-w male Black Redstart, 3 Stonechat and a Grey Wagtail near the jetty.

 

26/12/18 – 3 male Tufted Duck on the lake and the pair of Mute Swan there (and one of the juvs. on the Tidal Res.). A mixed flock of c30 Fieldfare and c70 Redwing in trees, Lagoon 3. (No sign of the Black Redstarts this afternoon.) AM later reported some roosts, late afternoon: c1,000 Starling all settled on Lagoon 3 (lots of murmuring, but no flying display), c110 Pied Wagtail on Power Station buildings and c120 Jackdaw in trees to south of Lagoon 3 (with Rooks and Carrion Crows).

      A juv. Mute Swan on the Tidal Res., having been pushed off the lake by a pair there.

 

24/12/18 – A 1st-w/fem Black Redstart was around the jetty this afternoon, then the adult male appeared on a roof nearby. The fem-type went up on another roof, and they got closer to each other until they had a mid-air tussle and parted ! (The ad male has been here since 7th Nov !) (2nd photo below by MP - thanks !)

       

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