Birdwatching at Oldbury Power Station

7/12/21 – MP reported: 48 Pied Wagtial and 20 Linnet in the old maize field by road; and an increase to 25 Blackbird (inc. some dark billed visitors from the continent).

 

6/12/21 – AM reported, on Lagoon 1: 48 Teal, 5 Curlew, 46 Lapwing and 1 Snipe. Also, 1500 Dunlin (700 at Pillhead Gout and 800 at Shepperdine), 212 Curlew, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 148 Wigeon, a Greylag Goose and 2 Kestrel (female investigating nest box on Lagoon 2). MP reported a Brambling calling from the Anchor pub car park.

 

5/12/21 – MP repored: 3 male Gadwall and 7 male Teal on the lake and a Kingfisher heard; also 3 Stonechat. And a Red Admiral in a Thornbury garden.

 

2/12/21 – A female-type Black Redstart on the fence by the entrance road this morning, a Mistle Thrush in the orchard, and a Peregrine chased one of the c100 Lapwing for several minutes, seen from yacht club. The Lapwing had an interesting tactic of flying AT the Peregrine, as it stooped and then gained height repeatedly - this increased the speed difference between the two, so when the Lapwing jinked away at the last minute, the Peregrine had even less time to react. It was very effective and the Peregrine gave up. Also c1000 Dunlin on the shore as the tide dropped, and c1000 Starling coming out of roost and heading inland at first light.

      This young male Sparrowhawk let me get closer than usual.

 

1/12/21 – A Bar-tailed Godwit with the 3 Black-tailed Godwit today.

 

30/11/21 – Yet another Brambling this morning; flying around Lagoon 1 with 2 other finches, calling, then high to NE. (My 20th this year.) Also 3 Black-tailed Godwit and a Chiffchaff. AM/MP reported: 400 Dunlin, 65 Turnstone, 1 Grey Plover, 115 Redwing and a very late Red Admiral.

 

29/11/21 – A Great Northen Diver was just being pushed off the Tidal Res. by the incoming tide when I found it at 12:55pm. It then flew downriver just after 1pm. Some video. One previous OPS record from Dec 2000, and just one other Diver record; a Red-throated in Jan 1960 at Shepperdine. My 155th bird species at OPS this year, making it my best year ! And the 159th species for all-comers, also the best.

      

 

28/11/21 – HE reported: large numbers of Redwing and Fieldfare on a frosty morning; 14 Teal on frozen lake, 2 Gadwall (1 on estuary) and 5 Stonechat. Lovely photos by HE below.

      

25/11/21 – AM reported: 1 Grey Plover, 300 Dunlin, 65 Turnstone, 3 Gadwall, 6 Grey Heron, and 73 Redwing (including 60 in the orchard). Also 8 Black-tailed Godwit.

 

24/11/21 – 2 Black Redstart reported by PC; a 1st-winter male joining the adult male. (Photos by PC below.)

      

23/11/21 – The male Black Redstart was reported, around the jetty, this afternoon by AD. 2 Little Grebe on the estuary is very unusual; by the jetty. A first for me, and I have seen them at OPS every year (except for 2007) going back to 2004. Some of the migrants were brought down to the ground by the mist: 3 Redpoll and a Siskin in trees by the lake, and 2 Brambling heard only, with small Chaffinch flocks (on Lagoons 1 & 3). Also an increase to 200+ Lapwing.

 

22/11/21 – 8 Bewick's Swan floated downriver at Shepperdine early afternoon. First seen at 12:30pm when they were about 2 miles upriver, off Woolaston (Gloucs.), and over the next 1.5 hours they drifted all the way downriver past the Tidal Res. (and finally into God's own country - S. Gloucs. !) There were two adults with 3 juvs, and another pair with 1 juv.. Unfortunately they were always distant, but here is some video. Last at OPS in November 2016. Also, flying into the first cold NE wind of the autumn: 80 Fieldfare, 1 Siskin, 1 Skylark, 2 Lapwing and 50+ Redwing.
HE reported: 9 Greenfinch (Lagoon 3), 2 Stonechat (waterworks and lake, and a 3rd at Shepperdine), 3 Green Woodpecker, 3 Gadwall on the lake and 2 Little Egret on the main rhine.

 

21/11/21 – The adult male Black Redstart again this morning, on S side of towers, in sun and later reported by BD on the jetty (BD photo on right below). As usual, the Black Redstart follows the sun around the towers from S in morning, then SW, and then to jetty side in late afternoon. Some distant video. And a Brambling heard near the lake.

      

20/11/21 – AM reported the adult male Black Redstart this morning on Lagoon 2, and the fem/juv Merlin again on the large log at Pillhead Gout. Plus, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 16 Oystercatcher, 135 Lapwing, 55 Redshank, 109 Curlew, 220 Dunlin, 37 Teal (inc. 14 on lake) and 82 Wigeon. Also 4 Stonechat reported.
Also, unusually, a Kingfisher by the yacht club - on a wooden post in the water at High Tide and a Redpoll over to NE.

 

19/11/21 – An adult male Black Redstart reported by RE this afternoon, on the jetty (photo by RE below).
A fem/juv Merlin sat on the large log at Pillhead Gout first thing this morning, then attacked an isolated Dunlin by the yacht club. Chased it for 3 minutes before the Dunlin dived into the saltmarsh ! There were c600 Dunlin on the shore at Shepperdine later; 14 Oystercatcher at Pillhead Gout; and a single flock of 73 Fieldfare over to NE. Also, 3 Water Rail heard - one seen running across the path on Lagoon 2 mid-week.

 

16/11/21 – AM reported: 1 Jack Snipe, 28 Snipe and 7 Black-tailed Godwit.
A very 'birdy' morning for this late in November, in low cloud (after fog yesterday). Within 10 minutes of arriving at 7:35am I had doubled the previous OPS record for Siskin ! Noisy, tight, flocks of 60 & 30 flew over to ENE, at the height of the overhead power lines, which forced them to circle round to navigate (giving ideal chance to count them). Later, another 4, 2, and then singles, gave a total of 102. (Previous high was 45 over to NE on 14/10/2010.) A near-record count of 18 Bullfinch in the hedges (inc. a flock of 8 on Lagoon 3). (OPS record is 20 from 2012.) Also 18 Blackbird, including 4 + 2 over. Other vismig, mainly to ENE: 220+ Woodpigeon (flocks to 90), 14 Stock Dove (6,1,7), 1 Brambling, 1 Redpoll, but only 15 Chaffinch and 7 Fieldfare (+ 7 in orchard).

      One of 3 Bullfinch on the power lines.

 

15/11/21 – An evening visit to count the overnight roosts: c1100 Starling gathered on a pylon and power lines, then flew down to the reedbed on Lagoon 3 in 100's. And 100+ Pied Wagtail flew in to the roofs of the buildings by the jetty. Also, 7 Black-tailed Godwit on the shore.

 

14/11/21 – HE reported: 6 Stonechat (photos by HE below), 20+ Redshank and lots of Redwing in hedges.

      

11/11/21 – A female Ring Ouzel at the North end of Lagoon 2 at 9:10am. The only brief view I got of it, initialt, was as per the photo on left below. It was with 6+ Blackbird, and all of them disappeared. So I walked all the way round the Lagoon trying to refind it, only to get back to exactly the same place I started 40 minutes earlier, when it reappeared out of the scrub and perched in full view for a couple of minutes! And I managed to get some video. (Now seen at OPS in 7 out of the last 10 years.) This is the latest record for S. Gloucs., by one day !
The only other thing of note was a Chiffchaff still singing.

      

10/11/21 – 27 Black-tailed Godwit (18 + 9) on the Tidal Res. shore this afternoon. And 8 Snipe flushed from Lagoon 1 by cow.

 

9/11/21 – 5 Black-tailed Godwit on shore by Lagoon 1, 2 more Brambling and 2 Siskin over.

It has been my best year for flyover Brambling. Below are details of the records since 2012 (when I started vismig'ing). It has become a rare bird on the ground, though. The last decent flock was 20 in 2005, but there were 80 in 1984 !

Year

No. over

No. on ground

2021

13

 

2020

2

1

2019

3

1 (briefly)

2018

6

1

2017

5

1&1(briefly)

2016

1

 

2015

1

 

2014

 

 

2013

8

1&1

2012

1

2&1&1

      The 3 male Gadwall on the lake again this morning - 2 in breeding plumage, and one still coming into it.

      

8/11/21 – 3 Yellowhammer (nice male + 2 fems.) in the hedge between Lagoon 3 and small wood, 5 Greylag Goose with 4 Canada Goose on the estuary off Lagoon 3 (then downriver). Lagoon 1 at HT had : 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 18 Curlew (inc. headstart '23' and colour-ring BYW), 20 Lapwing and 2 Snipe. 100+ Fieldfare & 100+ Redwing in hedges. Also, 1 Siskin, 1 Redpoll, 15 Skylark and 75 Lapwing at yacht club. And now 3 male Gadwall on the lake (2 in fine breeding plumage and one in eclipse). 67 bird species - 2nd best day total this year. (Updated - also a Water Rail calling from Lagoon 3 reeds.)
AM's WeBS count included: 630 Dunlin (flew from Littleton as tide dropped, though 15 roosting on Ledges buoy with 55 Turnstone), 14 Snipe and 34 Redshank.

 

      

6/11/21 – Visual migration from Lagoon 3, 8:00 to 10:00am: 1040 Fieldfare (big flocks up to 140), 360 Redwing, 230 Woodpigeon (a flock of 110 over high), a Hawfinch at 9:50am, only 40 Chaffinch, 1 Brambling, 3 Siskin, 6 Bullfinch, 4 Greenfinch, 1 Skylark, 115 Starling, 8 Lapwing and 5 Snipe. Most of the birds were moving ENE, and were seen ahead of a large bank of dark clouds moving up the estuary (presumably on a weather front).

 

5/11/21 – A Tawny Owl hooting at 2pm - they reassert territory and pair-bonds at this time of year, ready for very eary nesting in the new year. 60 Fieldfare, 100 Redwing and 25 Woodpigeon in the hedges of Lagoons 1 & 2 this afternoon, but very flighty. Also 41 Stock Dove in small groups, and 165+ Pied Wagtail in the maize field at dusk.

 

4/11/21 – A Great White Egret with 2 Little Egret over lake to ENE at dawn. 17 Knot and 2 Black-tailed Godwit upriver with c25 Dunlin at HT. Other vismig, mainly to ENE, in small groups: 1 Brambling, c150 Redwing, c50 Chaffinch, 7 Stock Dove (but no noticeable increase in Woodpigeons seen elsewhere) and c100 Starling heading in the opposite direction to SW. Also a Chiffchaff singing in the sun.

 

2/11/21 – The first frosty morning (zero degrees). A Yellowhammer heard between Lagoon 3 and small wood (either in hedge or over), and 16 Skylark (14 in fields inland of yacht club and 2 over). Other vismig, mainly to SW: 3+ Brambling, 4 Siskin, 2 Redpoll (to NE,and to W), 2 Fieldfare, c15 Redwing, 25+ Chaffinch and c70 Starling. Also 10 Little Egret (inc. 8 together at Shepperdine; OPS record is 11 from 2017), c265 Dunlin at Shepperdine, the first Blackcap seen since 9th October (although I had one 'tac'ing yesterday) and now 2 drake Gadwall on the lake.

 

30/10/21 – A Barn Owl hunting the saltmarsh by the yacht club at dawn (after rain all night), hassled by crow and flew inland. (Last seen in July.) A flock of 45 grey goose species picked up high over far side of estuary, and flew upriver in V-formation. 4 Snipe on flooded Lagoon 1, c90 Common Gull on shore and feeding in maize field, 3 Rock Pipit with c10 Meadow Pipit on seawall and 4 Stonechat (pair at Shepperdine, male on Lagoon 3 and female on Lagoon 2).

 

29/10/21 – A Treecreeper with 11+ Long-tailed Tit by the entrance and a flock of 10 Siskin over to NE. The wet maize stubble field by the road had: c80 Linnet, c30 Pied Wagtail and c10 Chaffinch. 15 Curlew (inc. headstart '23') and 12 Lapwing on muddy Lagoon 1.

 

28/10/21 – A high count of 7+ Rock Pipit on shore/saltmarsh at Shepperdine, and an unwanted record count of 34 Pheasant at Jobsgreen Farm (twice previous record from 2020, and presumed released for shooting). Some vismig to SW again: 36 Redwing, 1+ Brambling, 40 Chaffinch and 4 Siskin (2 heading NE).

 

26/10/21 – Some vismig to SW, between drizzle this morning: 57 Redwing, 4 Fieldfare, 1 Jay, 3 Brambling, 15 Chaffinch, 2 Siskin and 330 Starling. Also 2 Mistle Thrush in trees at Shepperdine and the 'headstart' Curlew '21' & '23' on Lagoon 1 at HT.

 

25/10/21 – A probable Goshawk flew across Lagoon 1, being hassled by a Carrion Crow. On the lake: 3 Little Grebe (ad. + 2 juv.) and 10 Teal.
AM also reported: 3 Redwing in the Orchard and the first Fieldfare (heard), 18 Curlew and 11 Lapwing on Lagoon 1, and 100+ Turnstone (flushed from buoy by yacht into 2 flocks of 50+ each).

 

23/10/21 – PC reported a Wheatear.

 

21/10/21 – Yacht club to Pillhead Gout at HT: 64 Lapwing, c90 Redshank, c250 Curlew (3 colour-rings read) but just 1 Dunlin ! No Cattle Egrets, and as the cows are not in the fields, not expecting them back. But they stayed for 13 days.
AM reported: 47 Wigeon, the Gadwall pair on the lake, a Little Grebe at Oldbury Sluice (and another one on the lake), 118 Redshank, 73 Dunlin, 76 Lapwing, 75 Turnstone, 8 Little Egret, 7 Chiffchaff and 5 Goldcrest.

 

20/10/21 – Never a dull day at OPS. This afternoon, a female Rhode Island Red chicken flushed from the main rhine path, and just about flew over the rhine and into the trees ! And a naked runner at Shepperdine !
Lagoon 1 has water in it, attracting: 1 Snipe, 9 Lapwing, 6 Grey Heron, 1 Little Egret and colour-ringed Curlew 'BYW'.

 

19/10/21 – A Little Stint was with c130 Dunlin at Pillhead Gout this grey morning. A very short Video. Little Stint has become a real rarity at OPS; this is the first one since 2016, and before that in 2012. When the Lagoons were being used, it was a guaranteed annual (with max. count a whopping 22 in 1993 !). A juvenile Merlin was flushed from the hedge behind Pillhead Gout, and went into full hunting flight over the fields towards Oldbury village - superb ! And a Brambling was heard at first light. The 4 Cattle Egret were with the cows by the sluice (as the other cows have gone).

      The photo on the right below is taken from the video.

      

18/10/21 – A Great Crested Grebe, mid-estuary off Pillhead Gout, is my 150th bird species at OPS for the year. (154 species for all-comers.) The 4 Cattle Egret still with the cows. A small amount of vismig (into warm SW breeze): 4 Siskin, 18 Chaffinch, 23 Redwing. Also 4 Song Thrush flushed from a hedge and 7 Stonechat (2 x Lagoon 3, rest around yacht club area).
(GC Grebe has been seen in each of the last 5 years, but only one of the previous eight years.)

 

16/10/21 – A flock of 4 Siskin over to East and what I think is a melanistic buck Fallow Deer in the next field to 4 Roe Deer. HE reported the 4 Cattle Egret still in the weedy field.

 

15/10/21 – A Brambling (my first of year) and a Siskin over this afternoon. And the 4 (3 ad, 1 juv) Cattle Egret still with the cows, in the weedy field on corner near yacht club today. And a probable Painted Lady butterfly flying along the shore to SW (likely migrating).

 

14/10/21 – 127 Redwing over this morning, inc. two flocks of 50.

 

13/10/21 – Only 3 (2 ad, 1 juv) Cattle Egret with 3 Little Egret in cow field at midday.

Video of juvenile Cattle Egret with Little Egret. Also a flock of 5 Jay headed high over to SW.
JS reported: 13 Curlew flew from Pillhead Gout to Littleton at HT, and with them was a headstart '56', a bird which was on the Berkeley shore in August and November 2020, and across the river in the roost at Aylburton Warth, also in November, but there have been no more sightings since.

 

12/10/21 – 190 Canada Goose flew in to the maize stubble field at dawn to feed. A pair of Gadwall have been on the lake recently.

      The main rhine has been dredged to within an inch of its life ! Shame as I found Water-cress for first time in it last week.

 

11/10/21 – AM reported 7 Cattle Egret in the fields to N of sluice. Also, 178 Canada Goose in the newly harvested maize field over road from lake (with a presumed Barnacle x Greylag) and 6 Stonechat about. AM also reported (WeBS count): 8 Little Egret, 7 Grey Heron, 38 Lapwing, 39 Dunlin, 80 Turnstone, 6 Ringed Plover, 60 Mallard, 2 Blackcap and 5 Greater Spotted Woodpecker.

      Four of the Cattle Egrets were briefly in field to S of sluice.

 

10/10/21 – CL reported the 4 Cattle Egret still, and 3 Little Egret with them. MP reported 4 Great White Egret (OPS record number!) flying South (inland) over Pillhead Gout at 08:50am. HE reported 2 Wheatear.

      2 of the GW Egrets (photo by MP) and a Stonechat + Chiffchaff (photo by HE)

      

9/10/21 – 4 (3 ad, 1 juv) Cattle Egret again feeding with cattle in 3rd field to N of sluice. 8+ Little Egret around, inc. 3 in same cow field (and earlier, 6 together on shore).
Vismig at Shepperdine (8:30-9:45am - none outside these times), to SW unless stated: 3 Jay to S, 25 Redwing (single flock, 8:30am), 7 Mistle Thrush (6 together), 6 Song Thrush, 15 Skylark, 100+ Meadow Pipit (& 100+ on ground), 100+ Linnet, 1 Redpoll, 2 Siskin, 3 House Martin to N (!), 4 Raven (high to NE), 5 Snipe (2,1,1,1), 30+ Goldfinch and 10+ Chaffinch.
Also, 3 Black-tailed Godwit at Shepperdine, 4 Stonechat around and 200+ Canada Goose.
66 bird species seen today (2nd highest this year).
HE/PB also reported: a Whinchat (upriver of yacht club), a Kingfisher and a Wheatear.

      Cattle Egrets and Kingfisher (photos by HE)

      

8/10/21 – 4 Cattle Egret in the cow field nearest to, and N of, the sluice; 3 adults and a juvenile (photos by MP below). (Highest ever count for S. Gloucs.!) A Kingfisher was sat on the sluice gate; a Rock Pipit on the jetty; and increases to 40 Wigeon and 109 Canada Goose.

      

7/10/21 – 3 Cattle Egret (a long-awaited first for OPS). First one seen in grass field to S of Oldbury Pill Sluice. It then perched in a tree over other side of Pill. And 2 more feeding with cattle in 2nd field to N of sluice. Some video. That is the 900th species (all families) identified at OPS ! Full lists here.
Pillhead Gout at HT: 11 Bar-tailed Godwit, 7 Black-tailed Godwit, 150 Curlew, 76 Redshank (AM's count), but just 5 Dunlin and 1 Ringed Plover ! One definite migrating Jay this morning; it flew NE all the way over Lagoon 1 to beyond Shepperdine, and out of sight with bins.. At medium sort of height. Also 6 others around, with some of these very much acting like new in (i.e. flying around Lagoons 1 & 2. Residents are very wary and not easily seen). Also 4 Grey Wagtail over and 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker flew to SW over yacht club. Plus 3 Stonechat and 2 Wheatear around yacht club area. And 2 Mute Swan - a juv. flew upriver, then back down and an adult sat on estuary.
AM also reported: 7 Little Egret, 12 Lapwing, 70 Turnstone, 16 Wigeon and 75 Canada Goose.

      

      

5/10/21 – A Little Grebe on Oldbury Pill and a Mistle Thrush in the paddocks; still 6 Wheatear between yacht club and Pillhead Gout, and 40+ Meadow Pipit; also 2 Swallow. LP reported 4 fresh Red Admiral all together on brambles.

 

4/10/21 – A bit of vismig this morning: 8 Meadow Pipit, 3 Chaffinch and c15 Linnet. An adult Stonechat in corner of Lagoon 3 by bridleway to shore and 2 Swallow at S end of Lagoon 2. A lovely male Sparrowhawk took a bath in a puddle.
I am homing in on the 900th species identified at OPS - Kentish Snail (photo below) is number 899 !

      

      

2/10/21 – 7 House Martin, 11 Swallow and 7 Meadow Pipit low over to SW in the light rain. The 3 Bar-tailed Godwit still at Shepperdine, and a Stonechat in field hedge inland of yacht club. (All the Wheatears seemed to have gone from between the yacht club and Pillhead Gout.)

 

29/9/21 – 10 Wheatear still between yacht club and Pillhead Gout and a Swallow. Single butterflies of: Red Admiral, Comma and Speckled Wood.

 

28/9/21 – 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Stonechat at Shepperdine, 8+ Wheatear still mainly at yacht club/Pillhead Gout and 5 Swallow.

 

27/9/21 – At Shepperdine: 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Black-tailed Godwit (inc. 2 juvs.), 2 Common Sandpiper and just 4 Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin. (There are very few small waders here so far this autumn. Max. count is 80. Also, no High Tide roost at the moment.) Headstart Curlew, '21' & '23' were on the Tidal Res. shore. A Mute Swan was unsettled around the estuary, sitting on the mud at Shepperdine for a while.

 

25/9/21 – 3 dark-morph Arctic Skua slowly downriver past Shepperdine at 8:25am, as tide coming in. Landng on river a couple of times (unusually). In overcast conditions with light SW breeze. Video showing 2 of them (with 3rd just caught at end of video). The drake Common Scoter still, feeding towards Littleton at HT, between orange/pink buoy and shore (10th day !). A Siskin calling going over, 10 Lapwing (1 at Shepperdine and 9 in air towards yacht club) and 2 Stonechat (Shepperdine). (A possible Tree Pipit over to NE, called twice. But 2 weeks after latest ever for OPS and not seen.)
HE reported: a Kingfisher on Oldbury Pill, another 2 Stonechat by yacht club 5 Wheatear and 7 Ringed Plover.

 

24/9/21 – The drake Common Scoter still, feeding towards Littleton at HT, between orange/pink buoy and shore (9th day !). (AM saw it eating small crabs a couple of days ago.) The Golden Plover was heard flying at Pillhead Gout at HT, but not seen. At Shepperdine: 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Common Sandpiper. Also, a Kingfisher flew over the sluice up Oldbury Pill, a Little Grebe is back on the lake, 4 Stonechat (2 x Shepperdine, 2 x yacht club), 8 Swallow, 4+ Wheatear and c65 Pied Wagtail (flew from jetty at dawn, mainly went inland to S). Aswell as above, AM also had: 80 Turnstone (green 'Ledges' buoy), 9 Lapwing, 5 Little Egret, 7 Grey Heron, 22 Teal, 8 Wigeon and 50 Meadow Pipit (increased in last few days).

      The 4 Common Sandpipers

 

23/9/21 – The drake Common Scoter flew downriver over the Tidal Res. as the tide came in (7:45am) and was reported on the estuary towards Littleton at HT. (Here for its 8th day !) The Golden Plover was on the shore at Pillhead Gout at HT. At Shepperdine: 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Common Sandpiper. 2 Stonechat in the hedge by Oldbury Pill. c10 Swallow and 2+ House Martin still by yacht club and 5+ Wheatear.

      Bar-tailed Godwit and Black-tailed Godwits

      

 

21/9/21 – The drake Common Scoter was still feeding off Pillhead Gout at HT, for its 6th day ! And 2 Golden Plover there at HT. Video showing the Scoter preening close in, and the Golden Plover on the shore, with another one you can hear calling over the estuary. Today, 2 Whinchat and a Stonechat on the same field hedge upriver of yacht club. 15 Swallow, 5 House Martin and a Sand Martin feeding up around the yacht club and 8 Wheatear. Another Grey Wagtail headed upriver. Also 10 Lapwing (9 x yacht club, 1 x Shepperdine). The Mute Swan flew downriver.

      

20/9/21 – This morning, the drake Common Scoter was still feeding off Pillhead Gout, for its 5th day, remarkably ! Also 2 Bar-tailed Godwit there. And the 3 Whinchat were still on a field hedge upriver of yacht club. A Mute Swan flew up the estuary and landed off Lagoon 1, before continuing upriver, and 4 Common Sandpiper there; a juv. Little Grebe on Oldbury Pill; a Stonechat on yacht club common; a probable adult Yellow-legged Gull sat on the estuary; and 16 Teal on the lake is a very good number. The only vismig was 1 Swallow and a Grey Wagtail heading upriver. AM also had 5 Wheatear and 8 Lapwing. 64 species today.
Butterflies still aplenty: 3 Red Admiral, 1 Comma, and LP had: many Small Copper, and dragonflies: many Ruddy Darter, Southern Hawkers, Migrant Hawkers (one lilac-brown juvenile) and Emperor.

      

19/9/21 – This afternoon, the drake Common Scoter flew from upstream and landed at Pillhead Gout where it fed just offshore - video. Also 22 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Knot feeding on the shore there.
PB reported, this morning: 3 Whinchat in brambley hedge 150 yds upriver of yacht club, 4 Little Egret and the first Curlew Sandpiper of the year at Pillhead Gout. BD reported: 50+ Pied Wagtail, 2 Wheatear (including the very approachable one at water works) and a Stonechat on Lagoon 2.

 

18/9/21 – HE reported, from the yacht club: the 2 Whinchat still (photo by HE below), 17+ Wheatear (inc. 2 at other end of site), 1 Kingfisher and 100+ Starling.
2 Common Sandpiper and c80 Dunlin were at Shepperdine this afternoon.

      

17/9/21 – The 2 Whinchat are still there. And 10 Black-tailed Godwit at Pillhead Gout.

 

16/9/21 – A drake Common Scoter sat, mainly asleep, on the estuary near Littleton at 9am after overnight fog. (3rd this year ! After ones in Aug + Mar. But only the 2nd I have seen sat on the estuary away from the Tidal Res.. The 27th I have seen at OPS in 18 years.) 2 Whinchat on field hedge between Lagoon 3 and yacht club. An adult Stonechat by the tents at the yacht club and 11+ Wheatear around that area (mainly towards Pillhead Gout).

      Whinchat and the Scoter on 'Oldbury Lake' taken (using x60 optical zoom!) from where I found it, a mile away at yacht club. It's that dot on the left !

      

14/9/21 – A dismal drizzly morning produced some good birds. A Tree Pipit called three times at dawn, from trees in hedge between road and lake (but not seen). 15 Common Tern were heard calling 'kee-arrr' out on the estuary from the yacht club at 9am, but they flew off up high. A Whinchat in the hedge by tents/caravans there and 2 Wheatear. c110 House Martin and c35 Swallow were feeding over the fields nearby. A Spotted Flycatcher was with 10+ Chiffchaff and 5+ Blackcap in the shrubby corner of the lake, seen from Lagoon 3. A Greylag Goose was with 10 Canada Goose in a field to SW of Lagoon 3.

 

13/9/21 – AM's WeBS count: 11 Moorhen & 7 Teal on lake, 72 Mallard, 10 Canada Goose, 75 Turnstone (61 on buoy, 14 upriver), 32 Dunlin, 31 Ringed Plover, 5 Lapwing, 3 Oystercatcher, 8 Grey Heron, 7 Little Egret, 9 Common Gull, 450 Black-headed Gull, 8 Wheatear, a Tawny Owl calling, 14+ Chiffchaff and 6+ Willow Warbler. Also c30 Swallow passing through.

 

8/9/21 – At dawn this morning, the earliest returning Water Rail on the lake (beating 15/9/2018) and a pair of Tawny Owl calling to each other nearby. A Kingfisher at Oldbury Sluice, plus a Common Sandpiper at yacht club. Just one Whitethroat seen on Lagoon 2. Also 2 Sand Martin with 3+ House Martin and c50 Swallow.

 

7/9/21 – KH videod a Spotted Flycatcher.

 

4/9/21 – A Garden Warbler was in a large elderberry bush with 3+ Blackcap at N end of Lagoon 2. The Whinchat was still on the hedge by the horse paddock next to Oldbury Pill (but I couldn't see the one on Lagoon 3 this morning). And 23 Wheatear between Oldbury Sluice and Pillhead Gout ! All juvs (or females). Plus another on Lagoon 1 fence. Not quite the OPS record count - that is 30+, inc. 26 along the fence at Shepperdine, remarkably, on the same date 10 years ago !

      This excellent photo by HE of the Whinchat, taken yesterday evening.

 

3/9/21 – A Whinchat on Lagoon 3 this afternoon (my first of the year). 2 Knot and a Black-tailed Godwit at Shepperdine (photo by TK, below), 3 Little Egret with 4 Grey Heron roosting on Lagoon 1. An eclipse male Shoveler on the lake. Also on Lagoon 3, a Whitethroat with colour aberration, showing white primaries and light gingery brown upper plumage.
LP reported the Redstart, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Little Egret and 13 Chiffchaff.
This evening, HE reported 14+ Wheatear at Oldbury Sluice (+ a 15th was on the fence at Shepperdine) and the Whinchat again in the paddock nearby.

      

      

2/9/21 – The 1st-w male Redstart still on shore side of Lagoon 3. A male Gadwall and 5 Teal on the lake. Also a pair of Muntjac deer and a Weasel.

 

31/8/21 – At dawn this morning c100 Canada Goose were roosting on the shore off Lagoon 3. They all flew inland in groups. And 5 Little Egret flew from Littleton (where they probably roosted), and 18 Teal on the shore. A Muntjac deer on Lagoon 3 path and the Redstart still on shore side of Lagoon 3, but elusive.

 

30/8/21 – The Redstart still on shore side of Lagoon 3, but elusive. 5 Yellow Wagtail with cattle between yacht club and Pillhead Gout, and AM reported 12+ Wheatear here, plus another 3 reported by DP towards Shepperdine. And headstart Curlew '21' was with '23' on the shore at Shepperdine. (They spent much of last winter together.) Also, 1 Sand Martin upriver. AM also reported 6 Teal on the lake.

 

29/8/21 – HE reported a Whinchat and 7 Wheatear between Oldbury Pill and Pillhead Gout. And MP reported 2 juv. Stonechat there in evening. (Photos by finders below.)

      

 

28/8/21 – 4 Wigeon flew upriver (earlier return than recent years). A Redstart, a Lesser Whitethroat and 3 Whitethroat all together on shore side of Lagoon 3 (but difficult to see in scrub). And a mega-flock of c20 Long-tailed Tit & c15 Blue Tit on Lagoon 2, with hangers-on of: 2 Bullfinch, 2+ Blackcap and Chiffchaffs. Also this Loosestrife Sawfly caterpillar feeding on Yellow Loosestrife.

 

      Nice photos by TK of Redshank and Kestrel.

      

27/8/21 – 2 Black-tailed Godwit reported by RE, 5 Wheatear (4 x Pillhead Gout, 1 x seawall by Lagoon 1) and 5 Kestrel at Pillhead Gout.

 

26/8/21 – TAn adult Yellow-legged Gull at Shepperdine this morning, and an increase to 43 Dunlin.
HE reported a Red Kite (photo by HE below) and 3 Wheatear at Oldbury sluice.

 

24/8/21 – The Nuthatch was calling "droit, droit, droit" from the trees at S end of Lagoon 2 this morning, but not seen. 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Wheatear and 6 Meadow Pipit by Oldbury Pill. c45 House Martin (25 upriver & 20 over Oldbury village). Flocks of 12 & 10 Canada Goose flying downriver, are the first here for a month since the moulting flock on the estuary dispersed. They are probably returning from moulting at inland lakes. (The only ring I have read on this species came from Lake Windermere in 2015 !)

 

23/8/21 – An adult winter Mediterranean Gull on the water at HT, by Lagoon 3, and a Gadwall there. A bit of movement to NE today: 1 Yellow Wagtail, c95 House Martin (65 + 30) and c135 Swallow (65 + 70). Also a Willow Warbler on Lagoon 3.
AM's WeBS count: 99 Ringed Plover and 28 Dunlin on seawall by Lagoon 1, c35 Turnstone on green 'Ledges' buoy (which is now the old one back, after it got tangled with a large orange float and rope, and was removed and a temporary one put in), 17 Redshank (Oldbury Pill), 1 Teal (Shepperdine), 119 Mallard, 3 Little Egret, 6 Grey Heron (5 on Lagoon 1) and 350 Black-headed Gull.

 

21/8/21 – The Otter was in the lake again, briefly, at 7:20am. It rolled on the surface a couple of times, then disappeared. MP had 5 Migrant Hawker dragonfly at the lake, inc. a mating pair.

 

20/8/21 – A Nuthatch in trees at South end of Lagoon 2 this morning. (Still an uncommon species, but getting more frequent - seen in 5 of the last 10 years, but only 3 years of the previous 30 before that !)
That is 150 species recorded at OPS this year by all-comers, with my total on 146.
Some late news of a possible juvenile Kittiwake flying down to the water of the Tidal Res. on 10th July - "black W-shaped stripes on its back".

 

19/8/21 – A Redstart photo'd by TK on Lagoon 2 path. (Seems to be a 1st-w male with adult plumage starting to come through on face.) TK also saw it here yesterday. And Ringed Plovers and Dunlin on the shore by the seawall.

      

18/8/21 – A Sanderling with c70 Ringed Plover, c30 Turnstone and 12 Dunlin at Shepperdine and then on the seawall.

 

17/8/21 – Nice to see 4 Kestrel hovering in a row along the seawall by Lagoon 3, where the grass has been freshly cut by the Env. Agency (at the right time of year !). Suggests to me that the resident pair fledged two young this year - good news.

 

16/8/21 – 2 Whimbrel today - on the shore at Shepperdine this morning (and at Pillhead Gout at HT). (I had a possible Grasshopper Warbler flushed from the long grass on the seawall between Lagoon 3 and yacht club, but not refound.) The adult Mediterranean Gull was still in the HT roost at the yacht club with c700 Black-headed Gull, and 4 Wheatear there. An increase to 4 Goldcrest today.
AM reported, at HT: 20 Turnstone, 35 Ringed Plover, 12 Dunlin and 2 Little Egret.

 

14/8/21 – BD reported: a juv./fem. Redstart, a Knot, 20 Ringed Plover, a Black-tailed Godwit and a Willow Warbler.

 

13/8/21 – RE photographed a Migrant Hawker dragonfly.

 

12/8/21 – HE reported a Mandarin on Oldbury Pill this morning and still 150 yards downstream from Anchor pub at 3:25pm this afternoon, but flighty. (Photo by HE below, looks like a male in eclipse - with red bill.) Also Red Kite. An adult male Common Scoter on the Tidal Res. from dawn until 7am. Video. A Whimbrel heard, 4 Black-tailed Godwit at Pillhead Gout and 10 Whitethroat (inc. 7 together with a Lesser Whitethroat in hedge by yacht club). AM/MP reported: Waders at HT, between Lagoons 1 & 2 on seawall; 1 Common Sandpiper, 8 Turnstone, 21 Ringed Plover and 15 Dunlin. A Teal on the lake and a Willow Warbler on Lagoon 2.

      

11/8/21 – 2+ Common Sandpiper on puddles in the mudflat in the Tidal Res. and 5+ Oak Eggar moths - brown and orange, as big as large butterflies but faster and more erratic flight. Reported on Avonbirds: a Green Sandpiper and a Sedge Warbler.

 

10/8/21 – Juveniles of Lesser Whitethroat and Willow Warbler in with a large tit flock at S end of Lagoon 2 this morning. Also, a Black-tailed Godwit and 16 Ringed Plover at Shepperdine. KP reported 5 Wheatear at the yacht club and HE reported a Kingfisher at Oldbury Pill.

 

9/8/21 – An adult and a 2nd-year Mediterranean Gull in the HT roost at the yacht club with c400 Black-headed Gull this morning. Also 4 Wheatear. In the afternoon, HE reported 7 Oystercatcher, and a Muntjac deer along the main rhine path.

 

8/8/21 – AM reported: 2 Sanderling, 12 Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin at Shepperdine, 12 Redshank and 1 Willow Warbler.

      One of two Common Sandpiper at the yacht club this afternoon (photo by HE).

 

7/8/21 – BD reported 3 Sanderling and 10 Ringed Plover. 6 fem/juv Wheatear at the yacht club. Over HT: 2 Common Sandpiper, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Dunlin, 11 Redshank and 11 Turnstone. Also this female Southern Hawker dragonfly along the main rhine.

 

2/8/21 – HE photo'd this Scarce Chaser dragonfly along Oldbury Pill.

 

31/7/21 – A Hobby and a Spotted Flycatcher reported.

 

29/7/21 – HE reported the first Lesser Emperor for OPS ! Also a Southern Hawker and several Small Red-eyed Damselflies, all by the lake.
This morning a Doe + fawn Muntjac deer were on Lagoon 2 path. And on 27th, MP spotted 5 Black-tailed Godwit flying downriver.

 

26/7/21 – Some early autumn migration. 2 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Siskin and 2 Sand Martin all over to NE. 2 Willow Warbler on Lagoon 2, inc. one singing. In HT roost at the yacht club were: 3 Common Sandpiper, 1 juv. Dunlin and 3 Oystercatcher. And the moulting adult Mediterranean Gull on the shore by Lagoon 3. And congratulations to MP for finding what is probably the first Long-horned Bee for S. Gloucs. ! It was along the shore by Lagoon 1 on Friday - a female.

 

24/7/21 – An Otter in the lake at 8:45am ! All the birds on the lake were on high alert. It disappeared when some noisy dog-walkers came past. A short video. 2 adult Common Tern were in the HT roost of 600+ Black-headed Gull at the yacht club until flushed by two people taking selfies (and another c600 Black-headed Gull distantly at Littleton Wharf). And headstart Curlew '23' again on the shore by Lagoon 1.

      

      

23/7/21 – MP set-up a moth light-trap in the orchard overnight. It attracted over 100 moths of at least 40 species ! Plus a Caddis Fly, 3+ species of Water Beetle, a Lesser Stag Beetle, and a few Robber Flies.

      The biggest moth was this Privet Hawkmoth - very impressive !

      

      Other interesting looking ones were Bufftip and Pale Prominent.

      

22/7/21 – Juveniles of : Wheatear (yacht club), Redstart (path, S end Lag 2) and Lesser Whitethroat. A moulting adult Mediterranean Gull (with metal ring on L leg) in HT roost with c250 Black-headed Gull. Also 4 Lapwing, 3 Redshank, 15 Curlew and c10 Dunlin. An adult Yellow-legged Gull at Shepperdine is my 144th species at OPS this year - equal record by end-July. With all-comers on 148 species - a record. Plus a Clouded Yellow butterfly at Shepperdine. And a Lesser Black-backed Gull had white ring 'M = Y' - it was with a mate and this year's young one on Oldbury cricket pitch.

      

      Classic adult YLGull: Squared-off black wing-tips, with small white primary tips, and grey under-wing on secondaries and outer primaries. Bright yelllow bill with bright red spot. (Also red orbital ring on eye, not able to see in photos.)

      

21/7/21 – 2 Roe Deer fawns with a Doe this evening.

 

Ringing details of adult BH Gull 'T33W': Ringed as an adult (2+ yrs) on 17/3/2012 at Kolobrzeg, Poland (near Polish/German border of Baltic Sea). 770 miles from OPS ! Ring read there in May of 2014, 2016 & 2017, & 13/3/2019. Then on 24/3/2021 it was near Amsterdam, and on 12/6/2021 it had moved 370 miles to Riether Werder, Germany (back on the Polish/German border of Baltic Sea, just 60 miles from place of ringing). So, it had flown 700 miles in 5 weeks to get to OPS, and is atleast 11 years old. Migration really is brilliant !

 

20/7/21 – 6 Mistle Thrush and a Yellow Wagtail on Lagoon 1 this morning, the first returning 2 Turnstone on the green 'ledges' buoy, and the adult Black-headed Gull with ring 'T33W' (confirmed) was on the shore again by Lagoon 1.

      

19/7/21 – The Barn Owl quartering the weedy field by the yacht club at 7:15 - 7:30am, at least. And 6 Raven over (inc. a family party of 5).

 

17/7/21 – c15 Mistle Thrush on Lagoon 1 this morning (plus 2 Song Thrush) - the equal highest OPS count, with same number, same place, a week later last year ! A Yellow Wagtail went over to NE calling, and a Black-headed Gull with ring 'T33W' (or maybe 'T33N') was ringed in Poland.

 

16/7/21 – Two adult Common Tern flying around the Tidal Res. as tide came in, and 2 Common Sandpiper still at Shepperdine. c200 Black-headed Gull in the HT roost at the yacht club until people put up a tent right where the birds were sat!

 

13/7/21 – The Curlew with ring '23', a 'headstarter' raised at Slimbridge, was on the foreshore by Lagoon 1 this morning. Amazingly, it was seen just yesterday in the hayfield where it has been raising its young one (which has a yellow leg flag '00') near Gloucester. (Thanks to MS for info..) MS had a look in the hayfield to check today and no Curlews there. The chick was about a month old, which is close to fledging age (32-38 days). We can only hope, as there are probably less than 10 chicks being raised in Gloucestershire this year. The only other news is of 2 Common Sandpiper and c500 Black-headed Gull.

 

10/7/21 – The first returning Dunlin (an adult) at Shepperdine. A flock of 75+ Swift early morning, going NE over the estuary in showers. Also a Muntjac deer.

 

9/7/21 A Kingfisher on the lake, attracted by Rudd spawning. A Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Common Sandpiper at Shepperdine, and 3 Lapwing at the yacht club. AM reported: 4 Black-tailed Godwit (Pillhead Gout), 200+ Black-headed Gull and 80+ Curlew distantly at Littleton Warth.

 

6/7/21 – The first Lapwing has returned to the yacht club, and the first adult Common Gull (although a 2nd year was here on 1st July). With c220 Black-headed Gull. Also, three different broods of Cetti's Warbler around now.

      

5/7/21 – The Little Grebe pair only have 2 juvs. from the second brood on the lake. The Greylag Goose is still with the moulting flock of 40+ Canada Goose, inc. the brood of 3 juvs. which are now in adult plumage, but a bit smaller. I think that these are from the brood on the lake, which disappeared, but a brood appeared the next day on Oldbury Pill. And the same happened last year. That must have been SOME journey for the young ones ! Also, a juvenile Peregrine on a pylon..

 

2/7/21 – 3+ juv. Cetti's Warbler with 1+ adult on Lagoon 3 - calling 'chet' continuously.

 

1/7/21 – The Little Grebe pair with only 3 juvs. on the lake. And a brood of 2 Moorhen juvs still on the pond by Lagoon 2. Two broods of 2+ Coal Tit juveniles on Lagoons 2 & 3. Also, 5 Black-tailed Godwit feeding on sandbanks. TK reported the Barn Owl again in the evening - catching a Rat.

      Photo below by TK (from 25th June).

 

31/6/21 – The Barn Owl photo'd by TK again.

 

29/6/21 – 4 Lesser Whitethroat have started singing again - must be starting second broods. At least 6 Moorhen juvs still on the lake (3 broods: 2 well-grown, 3 medium and 1 small). Also newly fledged: 1 Coal Tit and 2 Blackcap.

      TK sent the following nice photos of the Barn Owl, and juveniles of Rock Pipit & Lesser Whitethroat (latter from last year).

      

      

26/6/21 – The Little Grebe pair with 4 new juvs. again on the lake.

 

25/6/21 – A Barn Owl hunting on yacht club common at 7:45am (it catches prey in this video). Also at yacht club, an adult summer & 2nd-summer Mediterranean Gull and a Hobby. At Shepperdine: 3 Black-tailed Godwit and a juvenile Stonechat (had same here on 29th June last year!). AM reported that the Little Grebe pair have 4 new juvs. on the lake, and 28 Curlew in fields at Pillhead Gout. And an excellent year for Shelduck broods. Still around: 9,8,8,7 & 3. (The last 3 are almost full-grown at yacht club.)

      

      

23/6/21 – The Rock Pipit is feeding a juv. on the seawall by Lagoons 1/2. Also the first Marbled White butterfly of the year and a male Black-tailed Skimmer dragonfly with 2 male Broad-bodied Chasers on the pond by Lagoon2.
News from JS: The headstart Curlew with ring number '23', that over-wintered on Lagoon 1, has bred in Gloucestershire ! Good news indeed.

      Stinking Iris in flower near the meadow.

      

19/6/21 – JS reported 43 Curlew feeding on Sheperdine Sands at Low Tide. And headstart '21' in the roost at Guscar Rocks (far side of est.).

 

17/6/21 – A couple of nice photos from yesterday, by MS. Bee Orchid and Muntjac.

      


6 broods of Shelduck now: the creche of 9 (5 + 4) older ones at Shepperdine and 9,8, 3 younger ones & 3 old ones. Here are details of the broods for the last 17 years:

Year

No. of broods

No. hatched

No. survived

First brood

Last juvs noted

2021

6

41

18th May

2020

4

28

17

29th May

18th Jul

2019

c5

38

21

10th Jun

24th Aug

2018

5+

40

16

16th May

6th Aug (3)

2017

c3

31+

16

24th May

30th Jul

2016

4

24

3+

3rd Jun

6th Aug

2015

3

13

6

2nd Jun

29th Jul

2014

4

29

19

21st Jun

22nd Jul

2013

4+

22+

9

12th Jun

27th Jul

2012

2+

16+

4

7th Jun

19th Jul

2011

2+

10+

2

12th Jun

29th Aug

2010

3+

32

10+

3rd Jun

24th Jul

2009

2+

18+

16+

23rd May

12th Jul

2008

c5

48

9+

20th Jun

18th Jul

2007

4+

33

27

13th May

29th Jul

2006

3+

30

13+

27th May

25th Aug

2005

3+

27+

18

10th Jul

2004

2+

10+

9+

18th Jul

 

16/6/21 – A new brood of 8 Shelduck juvs by the jetty, where the Rock Pipit is still feeding young. Also the first brood of 10 Mallard on the lake. 5 spikes of Southern Marsh Orchid on Lagoon 3 - might be first ones here. A Scarlet Tiger moth flying around by the pond next to Lagoon 2, showing its bright red underwings. And more poor grass cutting regime - the path around Lagoon 3 has been cut, when the grass height was not a problem and it was full of flowers.

      Pyramidal Orchids and Scarlet Tiger moth.

      

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 Eastern European species, which irrupts some years, and this is such a year, with flocks of hundreds in France and Spain currently. (Some video.)
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.

      

      Bee Orchids.

 

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:
29/5/20
10/6/19
16/5/18
24/5/17
3/6/16
2/6/15
15/6/14
12/6/13
7/6/12
12/6/11
3/6/10
23/5/09
20/6/08
13/5/07
27/5/06
4/6/05
19/6/04.

 

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:

year bird-days

2020 154

2019 73

2018 37

2017 110

2016 160

2015 71

2014 109

2013 132

2012 92

2011 87

2010 51

2009 51

2008 76

2007 48

      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.

      


MB reported a Harbour Porpoise going down river, less than 100m from shore at High Tide this morning.
Also this morning, TS reported a Swift over Lagoon 3, 30 Swallow and a flock of 9 Grey Plover and 7 Knot (photo by TS below - thanks !).

 

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).

 


The morning was another frosty one (0 degs), and High Tide brought 2 Common Sandpiper (one flew low around the lake and landed, and another on Lagoon 1) and 8 Bar-tailed Godwit. And 3 Redpoll on Lagoon 2; a video of them together, with a lovely male 'buzzing' at the females while feeding on Sallow. Also 2 Lesser Whitethroat 'rattling', and loads of other warblers singing ! KP reported a Whinchat upriver of the 'Windbound' yesterday.

      

      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

25/03/2018                         failed                                                      

21/03/2019                         20/04/2019                                   30            7

23/03/2020                         22/04/2020                                   30            7

      Greenshank.

 

 ----- 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.

 

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