Birding at Oldbury Power Station


2/12/23 – Freezing fog this morning (-2 deg C), and a 'redhead' Goosander on the shore of the Tidal Res., then flew upriver. (That is the 4th record of the species here this year, when they have only been seen in 5 out of the last 10 years.) Also a Ringed Plover with c200 Dunlin there.


      Plenty of Fieldfare and Redwing in the hedges.


      Lagoon 2 looking chilly.


1/12/23 – A female-type Black Redstart on SW side of SW-most building, 37 Lapwing on Lagoon 1, 2 Stonechat (lake/Lagoon 3) and increases to 64 Teal at Shepperdine and 20 Blackbird about. Lois Pryce reported: a Great White Egret at Oldbury village, c900 Dunlin, 3 Jay, c30 Redwing and c70 Fieldfare.


30/11/23 – A frosty morning (-2 degs C) and a cold NE wind. At high tide, a huge flock of 200+ Black-tailed Godwit flew low upriver, and one was left with the c1,000 Dunlin at the yacht club (photo below). Unusually, 4 Great Black-backed Gull sat on the seawall over Pill from yacht club (3ad, 1x3rd-winter) and the Coot is still on the lake. Also, a flock of c30 Stock Dove at Jobs Green Farm.


29/11/23 – A male Tawny Owl calling at NE end of Lagoon 3; a flock of 9 Siskin landed in an Alder tree by the entrance briefly; 2 Cormorants had a scrap over an Eel; 6 Snipe on Lagoon 3; and the Coot is back on the lake! (Last here in May.)


28/11/23 – After walking round the estuary for 3 hours, I was just approaching the car at Oldbury-on-Severn when a Great Northern Diver flew over to SW ! (I had to wait 28 years of birding OPS to get my first Diver in 2021 (amazingly on 29th Nov), and now have one every year since.) I Whatsapp'd the news and it was picked up flying past Aust (less than 4 mins. later) and New Passage. At dawn, 360 Jackdaw streamed out of roost (I presume) from Littleton to NE. 3 Mute Swan flew from SE (inland) and landed on the estuary. The HT roost at Pillhead Gout was good again: 247 Curlew, 9 Grey Plover, 20 Oystercatcher (good count for here), 121 Lapwing, 30 Turnstone and 600 Dunlin. Also 5 Snipe, 5 Skylark, a Kingfisher at Anchor Inn bridge, a Little Grebe on Oldbury Pill and 6 Bullfinch (3 over to NE and 3 eating Ash 'keys'.). Species #154 for me at OPS this year, and #157 for all-comers.


26/11/23 – Heather England reported: 1000+ Dunlin, 30+ Lapwing, 1 Grey Plover, 2 Stonechat (Lagoon 2) and many many Redwings and Fieldfares. Craig Lewis reported a Great White Egret to N.


25/11/23 – This afternoon, Barry Dursley found a female Brambling in tree by feeders, and Heather England reported 6 Greenfinch there and Redwings (photo by HE below) and Fieldfares in orchard.
The first heavy frost of the autumn (-4 degs) and some bird movement: 310 Woodpigeon to NE, 27 Lapwing high to SW, 4 Siskin and 29 Fieldfare. Also 2 Coal Tit and 3 Water Rail calling from lake/Lagoon 3.


23/11/23 – 90 Fieldfare, 70 Redwing, 60 Woodpigeon and 4 Siskin over this morning. A flock of 10 Woodpigeon flew from E (inland), into high W wind, out over the estuary, then had second thoughts and came back and dived for hedges ! A Treecreeper, 6 Goldcrest and a Chiffchaff with a tit flock. Another Chiffchaff by Lagoon 2 reedbed. (No sign of the Black Redstarts since the 17th.)


21/11/23 – A fem/juv Merlin low over estuary; a surprise Yellowhammer in a tree with Redwings, of which there were c150 in hedges; with 34 Fieldfare, 1 Mistle Thrush, 9 Blackbird and 12 Chaffinch. A flock of 10 Long-tailed Tit flew up from a Lagoon 1 hedge, hovered over my head above the seawall in the cold N wind for a couple of minutes, before diving into another hedge ! Video (hear them calling with sound up). A juv. Mute Swan flew to NE over entrance road and 8 Little Egret, inc. flock of 6 over Lagoon 3 heading inland.
Andy Middleton's WeBS count: 1 Knot, 7 Grey Plover, 15 Snipe, 32 Redshank, 74 Lapwing, 80 Turnstone, 650 Dunlin, 30 Teal, 67 Wigeon, 35 Mallard, 1 Little Grebe, 70 Common Gull, 250 Black-headed Gull, 2 Stonechat, 70 Fieldfare, 22 Blue Tit.

and 9 Great Tit.

17/11/23 – The adult male Black Redstart again (superb photo by Heather England).


16/11/23 – An adult male Black Redstart, vocal and mobile, between waterworks and Lagoon 2 (video); a fem/juv Merlin distantly on a post towards Littleton; a Great White Egret over Lagoon 3 and across estuary to NW in breeze (video); 4 Siskin over; 8 Fieldfare and c40 Redwing in hedges; and a female Tawny Owl calling from trees at NE end of Lagoon 3 early am.


14/11/23 – The first Black Redstart of the winter, a fem/juv, on the fence between the jetty and waterworks; a fem/juv Merlin buzzed the High Tide roost between Pillhead Gout and yacht club, which contained: 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Knot, 3 Grey Plover, 16 Oystercatcher and 210 Curlew (6 colour-rings read, and '04' on white 'headstart', which was ringed on its breeding site at Asham Meadow, Worcs in April this year, was then seen at Guscar Rocks from mid-June and has moved up and down the estuary from Slimbridge to the Yeo estuary! Thanks for info., John Sanders). There was a Roe Deer carcass on the saltmarsh at yacht club. Plus 3 Stonechat (2m, 1f) on Lagoon 3. Andy Middleton reported: a Great White Egret over fields at Oldbury village, 48 Wigeon, 63 Lapwing, 800 Dunlin and 450 Starling. Also a Kingfisher reported as perched at The Anchor bridge, over a very high Pill.



11/11/23 – Another cold morning (3 degs C), but with extreme visibility in the bright sun. At 8:05am 2 Whooper Swan flew down the middle of the estuary at medium height to SW - video. They continued over the Severn Bridge (and picked up from Portskewett, Gwent, by Matt Hobbs). A Marsh Harrier (imm. male) flew low downriver at 9:10am.. And a Common Sandpiper still at Oldbury Pill.


      Common Sandpiper (top) with Dunlin (below) and the West sky as sun rose in East.


9/11/23 – A cold morning, with short/sharp showers going up the estuary. At 8:13am 4 Egyptian Goose went upriver (S. Gloucs. record count ! Thanks Martyn), then half an hour later 2 Whooper Swan (ad + juv) flew high to NE along the ridge on the far side of the estuary (so in Gloucs. airspace). And 2 Mute Swan flew low upriver at 10:20am. On shore at yacht club were: a Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Grey Plover and c300 Dunlin. Species #153 for me at OPS this year, and #156 for all-comers.

      The Egyptian Geese and Mute Swans (Whoopers were too far to photo.)


8/11/23 – A Curlew Sandpiper at Shepperdine with c250 Dunlin at HT (video - the middle bird) and a Redpoll over to W.

      The righthand bird. Supercilium, long legs and attenuated rear. (Also saw white rump in flight.)


7/11/23 – My first 2 Brambling of the year over to NE. Plus other vismig: c20 Chaffinch, c20 Woodpigeon, 1 Redpoll, 2 Siskin, a Skylark and a male Bullfinch flew in and sat on the top pylon wire at dawn. A Water Rail was feeding in leaf litter and the odd puddle along the footpath at S end Lagoon 2! Video. 2 Mute Swan on the lake at dawn but later flew towards estuary. They, the Moorhens and 10 Teal on the lake were all keeping an eye on a Fox as it drank. Species #152 for me at OPS this year, and #156 for all-comers.


3/11/23 – Another Crossbill over, to SW, this afternoon. And the Mute Swan pair are back on the lake, having been absent yesterday.


2/11/23 – Vismig to NE (wind from N), early morning: 1 Crossbill, 6 Siskin and 2 Chaffinch. And 25 Redwing feeding on Lagoon 1. The afternoon was windy, wet and cold enough but no seabirds unsurprisingly in NW wind. A Merlin and a Peregrine were keeping the Dunlin honest at Shepperdine.


31/10/23 – 2 male Goldeneye downriver at 7am (a rare bird here; one was on the lake last year, but previous was in 2011) and 2 Little Grebe on the lake at dawn. Some migrant birds in the hedges and a rain shower brought more out of the sky: 40+ Redwing, 10+ Song Thrush, 1 Fieldfare, a flock of 10 Reed Bunting in shore hedge of Lagoon 1 (and another 8 around), 40+ Meadow Pipit, 50+ Chaffinch, 50+ Woodpigeon, 2 Blackcap (Lagoon 2), 5 Siskin (over to NE) and a singing Chiffchaff. Andy Middleton reported at yacht club (mainly): 68 Curlew, 41 Lapwing, 2000 Dunlin, a Wheatear, 6 Stonechat, 5 Little Egret and a House Sparrow. Species #151 for me at OPS this year, and #155 for all-comers.


30/10/23 – A 2nd-winter Mediterranean Gull at Pillhead Gout at HT and a Yellowhammer on the yacht club saltmarsh. The High Tide was good again, with c2,000 Dunlin swirling round (c1,000 of which stayed to roost), 2 Snipe and the Common Sandpiper still. A Greylag Goose went downriver at dawn, and 2 came upriver at HT. Vismig: 17 Skylark (mainly to SW) and 2 Redpoll.


29/10/23 – Mike Prior reported: 4 Little Egret, 2 Peregrine (with a kill), 5 Stonechat, 8 Reed Bunting, 1 Little Grebe, 2 Siskin (over), 3 Blackcap and 20+ Redwing.


28/10/23 – The HT roost was good between yacht club and Littleton Warth: c1,000 Dunlin, 7 Grey Plover, 270 Curlew, 49 Lapwing, 3 Ringed Plover, c50 Turnstone, 30+ Redshank and a Common Sandpiper. 11 Greylag Goose went downriver and a Wheatear is still at the yacht club.


27/10/23 – 2 Mute Swan on the lake and 37 Pheasant on Lagoon 1 (mainly).


26/10/23 – This morning, a Short-eared Owl was sat on a log near the yacht club and then quartered the saltmarsh there, going down a couple of times. That is species #150 for me at OPS this year, and #154 for all-comers. A Merlin flew across the maize field (where there are many Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit) and then over Lagoon 3 and stooped at a Peregrine sat on top of a pylon ! And a Treecreeper (last seen back in February) with 6 Goldcrest (4 in same small bush !) with a Long-tailed Tit flock.


      I quite like this Heron photo from this morning.


24/10/23 – Autumnal at first with mist and a chill in the air, then turned lovely and sunny. A Merlin chased two Skylark over the yacht club common, lost to view as they went up so high, but then it landed in a tree and I managed just the one photo (below) before dog-walkers scared it off. A Water Pipit flew up from the saltmarsh and (unusually) briefly landed on a reed stem, before going back to normal and flying 200 yards along the shore and diving down. Late summer migrants still at yacht club: 1 Common Sandpiper and 2 Wheatear, plus a pair of Stonechat. Vismig: 13 Skylark (11 to SW, 2 NE & 2 singing over fields !), 3 Redpoll, 1 Siskin, only 7 Chaffinch (NE) and 20+ Woodpigeon. Also 5+ Redwing in hedges and a male Migrant Hawker dragonfly by lake still.
(The Berkeley Hunt with 10 horses and 6+ hounds going round the footpath on Lagoon 2 was a nightmare !)



23/10/23 – Andy Middleton reported: 2 Tufted Duck and a Little Grebe on the lake, 12 Oystercatcher, 6 Grey Heron, 2 Fieldfare, a Stonechat and 2 Siskin.


22/10/23 – This afternoon: a Mute Swan on the estuary, 11 Oystercatcher and 4 Stonechat (1 x L3; Tony Krajeski had a pair at Shepperdine, and one on Lagoon 2). Vismig: 5 Siskin, 3 Redpoll and 9 Skylark. (I also had a probable Lapland Bunting that called 'prrrrt' softly, twice as it flew up from Lagoon 2 (power station side) - I got bins on it as it flew away, and it had whirring wings and quite a long tail - looked quite sparrow-like. Flew direct, without undulation. It circled the trees inside the security fence by the pond and then flew over the pond and lost. I looked for it, but no further sight or sound. I've just checked the sounds of Lapland/Snow Bunting on xeno-canto, and Lapland is more like it, and also I got no white flashes when it flew. In fact I got no colouring from flight as it went towards the sun. Annoying.)


21/10/23 – The 4 Avocet on the shore at yacht club, and 8 Little Gull circled and gained height as they went downriver at 8:30am. Vismig (birds to NE/ENE: 250 Chaffinch, 25 Siskin (inc. single flock of 19), 250 Starling, 3 Fieldfare and 2 Redwing. Also: 4 Grey Plover, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, c350 Dunlin, 10 Oystercatcher and an increase to 45 Wigeon. The 3 Wheatear still at the yacht club.


19/10/23 – At High Tide, 4 Avocet over the estuary around Littleton Warth, then flew to the yacht club and, circling, joined a flock of 6 Shelduck flying low downriver. When the ducks landed on the water, the Avocets did too! They sat on the water for 5 minutes, then flew off and lost. Plus 2 Grey Plover, 15 Oystercatcher, 21 Lapwing and 22 Wigeon at HT. A male Shoveler was at Shepperdine with some Wigeon. At dawn, a Peregrine was with a pair of Raven over the towers, then flew purposefully to the estuary and stooped at a flock of c20 Dunlin, and had a go at the last one in the flock, but missed. Also, 3 Wheatear at the yacht club, 5 Mistle Thrush in Anchor Inn car park and 10 Goldcrest around.




17/10/23 – Vismig (7:25-10:25), to NE (into wind): 50 Chaffinch, 70 Fieldfare (50 + 20), only 2 Redwing !, 4 Siskin, 3 Redpoll, c20 Goldfinch, 5 Linnet, 100+ Starling and a nice adult winter Little Gull upriver - video. The 2 Wheatear still and one caught a moth (photo).


16/10/23 – A Great White Egret flew past the yacht club, inland, and then to E, a Red Kite highish over to W, 2 Wheatear still at yacht club, the first 3 Rock Pipit of autumn, c200 Canada Goose feeding in the newly cut maize field and 7 Stonechat (2 x prs yacht club, 1 pr Lagoon 3 and 1 between). Also 11 Skylark and 4 Siskin over. And from Andy Middleton's WeBs count: 6 Snipe, 42 Redshank, 23 Dunlin, 25 Curlew, 75 Turnstone, 14 Lapwing, 10 Teal, 19 Wigeon and 66 Mallard.


15/10/23 – Mike Prior reported: 10+ Siskin over and 6 Stonechat.


14/10/23 – A Little Owl calling by paddocks at Oldbury village at dawn and 2 Wheatear still at yacht club. A few winter thrushes about: 10 Redwing, 3 Fieldfare, 3 Mistle Thrush and a Song Thrush (over). c300 Canada Goose feeding in newly cut maize field by Lagoon 3 and on estuary at yacht club, and 285 Curlew there at HT. 2 adult Mute Swan on lake and then (presume same) flew down estuary and landed in Pill by Oldbury sluice.


13/10/23 – A Swallow low to West and a 'grey' Goose species flew SW high and 1 mile inland (Greylag or Pink-footed).


12/10/23 – 6 Stonechat (2 prs at yacht club and 2 along hedge to S of Lagoon 2), 9 Little Egret and 2 Wheatear this morning.

      A juvenile Cormorant on the jetty.


10/10/23 – A 'redhead' Goosander flew along the shore downriver and an Avocet feeding on the Tidal Res. shore. 2.5 hours vismig on Lagoon 3 overlooking the lake (birds all heading WSW): 1685 Redwing, 68 Fieldfare, 120 Starling, 33 Chaffinch, 36 Siskin, 7 Pied Wagtail, 4 Greenfinch, 3 Bullfinch, 5 Jackdaw, 4 Skylark, 2 Redpoll, 1 Song Thrush and 1 Swallow. Also a juv. Hobby (the latest OPS record, beating 7/10/2012) and 10 Teal on the lake.


9/10/23 – Andy Middleton had the first c60 Redwing of the autumn this morning (2 landed in trees beside the lake, the rest over Lagoon 3 looking to land). This afternoon (in 20 degs C), 600+ Canada Goose and 44 Greylag Goose (inc. 2 white ones) were 'scoped on the far side of the estuary. And a Knot at Shepperdine.


8/10/23 – A Water Rail heard on the lake, and loads of butterflies on the wing: 5 Red Admiral, 3 Speckled Wood, Comma and Brimstone. Also dragonflies: Common Darters, including a pair egg-laying and a male Migrant Hawker still on the pond by Lagoon 2.


6/10/23 – A juv/fem Crossbill very vocal, calling "chik; chik, chik; chik ..." in trees at S end of Lagoon 2, and seen once flying into the top of tall Willow trees, before flying off. Also 3 Swallow, a Sand Martin and 2 Wheatear. OPS #153 this year, me #149


5/10/23 – The equal latest Lesser Whitethroat recorded at OPS was seen well at S end of Lagoon 2. (Latest date was 5/10/2019.) And an adult (presume female) and juv. Peregrine on a kill in the field just 30 yards from the main rhine - video. (Plus sad news of an adult Peregrine, probably male from photo, unable to fly, along the shore, found by dog-walker this week.) A juv. Mute Swan flew downriver.


3/10/23 – The latest Reed Warbler recorded at OPS was seen well in reeds of pond by Lagoon 2 at dawn. (Latest date was 29/9/2007.) Also 2 Swallow and 3 Wheatear still, and 7 Siskin over to NW.


2/10/23 – 2 Ruff with 40 Redshank at the yacht club over HT; also, 4 Wheatear, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Knot, 4 Lapwing and 100 Meadow Pipit on the saltmarsh. (That is the first multiple record of Ruff here since 2007 !)

      The photo shows the size difference between male ("Ruff") and female ("Reeve"). (The bird to the left of them is a Turnstone.)


30/9/23 – A 'Siberian' Chiffchaff (subspecies tristis) was at the NE end of Lagoon 3 this morning, giving its distinctive 'tee' calls (seemingly responding to a Reed Bunting calling 'tsee' nearby). A flock of 7 juvenile Mute Swan flew downriver, just before that at 8am. Also some vismig (mainly to SW): a flock of 81 Swallow & 28 House Martin to S, 11 Redpoll (7 to W, 3 & 1 SW), 6 Siskin, 1 Grey Wagtail, 5 Chaffinch came down from high at dawn and 10 Linnet.


29/9/23 – Lois Pryce reported a Great White Egret, landing on top of a pine tree by the lake briefly. A lovely sunny morning, with a West wind. Over the HT at the yacht club: 2 Mediterranean Gull (ad winter and 2nd-winter) at Pillhead Gout with c200 Black-headed Gull, a Red Kite drifted to E, 6 Wheatear, 2 Common Sandpiper, 3 Knot, 3 Lapwing, c150 Curlew (most of which went down or across river), a Whimbrel (which is lingering), a Snipe, 35 Dunlin and 6 Swallow. A Lesser Whitethroat was between Lagoon 3 and the lake.




26/9/23 – Andy Middleton reported a Great White Egret on rocks off Lagoon 3 at midday, and 6 Little Egret.


25/9/23 – 2 Curlew Sandpiper at Shepperdine, then by the seawall. And a Tall Ship went upriver.


23/9/23 – A full audit around the Lagoons recorded: 31 Chiffchaff (7 still singing), 6 Goldcrest, only 7 Blackcap, 29 Robin (one short of record), 1 Whitethroat and (unusually) a female House Sparrow on Lagoon 2 (photo below). The Mute Swan was back on the lake and a Little Grebe there all week. 8 Siskin (3 & 5) flew out over the estuary to NW, 4 Stonechat (pr at Shepperdine, males at L2 & 3) and a pair of Tawny Owl calling at dawn.


22/9/23 – Andy Middleton saw a Spotted Flycatcher in same place (the equal latest date at OPS, with 22/09/2007), and 3 Peregrine (one on each of the pylons surrounding the lake!), and 76 Turnstone on the seawall.


21/9/23 – 2 Spotted Flycatcher in dead elms along the main rhine. Also 240 House Martin & 170 Swallow feeding up before they head off to Africa, a Tree Pipit over (the latest for OPS, after 12/09/2010) and 34 Linnet. 2 Peregrine repeatedly attacked a 'feral' Pigeon and downed it onto the shore at Shepperdine, but it scrambled into the saltmarsh where they couldn't get it. Plus 'headstart Curlew '21' is back on the shore at Shepperdine and 85 Turnstone on the green buoy. The Mute Swan was back in the rhine by the road this morning.

      A Spotted Flycatcher caught and ate a dragonfly (Common Darter I presume).


20/9/23 – More Mute Swan news - it was in the rhine on the SE side of the lake (by farmer's track) today.

      Photo by Jackie Miles (thanks!).


19/9/23 – A Manx Shearwater 'sheared' upriver in high wind and lashing rain at 8:50am. I only saw it because I was following a Great Black-backed Gull flying in a big hurry just behind it. OPS #152 this year, me #148 - the best all-comers total by end-Sept, and one behind my best.


18/9/23 – 2 adult and a juvenile Common Tern were blown upriver at 3:45pm.


17/9/23 – A female Tawny Owl calling at dawn (and a probable male calling later). A Mistle Thrush over to E, calling. Heather England had 4 Wheatear at Shepperdine.

      A chance to compare Muntjac with Roe Deer (female & well-grown fawn).


15/9/23 – The first Little Owl to be seen at the site for 11 years was sat in a hole in an Oak tree near West End Farm. (Although they have been heard for last 2 years at Shepperdine.) Several pairs used to be around continuously up to 2012. OPS #151 this year, me #147


14/9/23 – Conditions looked good for some movement - overcast with slight SW wind, but only: 3 Siskin & 2 Swallow to SW, and a Tree Pipit that flew in from E, saw the estuary, did a 180 and went back E ! The only sign of migration on the estuary was a 1.5-2ft Sea Trout, which jumped 3 times close to the bank in front of me. At the yacht club: a Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit (flushed from Littleton with c60 Curlew by dog), 15 Oystercatcher (ditto) and 3 Snipe. One Mute Swan on the lake (none yesterday). Andy Middleton also had 5 Wheatear. Lois Pryce reported: 12 Canada Goose and 5 Little Egret.


12/9/23 – At sunrise, a Barnacle Goose was at Pillhead Gout (then flew downriver), and 3 Golden Plover flew in to feed on the saltmarsh (letting me walk to 25 yards of them unfazed). A Kingfisher flew low across the yacht club common to Oldbury sluice. Up the other end: on the seawall were 2 juv. Curlew Sandpiper (later at Shepperdine), a Grey Plover and the Whimbrel. Back to 2 Mute Swan on the lake. Also 3 Snipe.

      Barnacle Goose and Golden Plover (phone-scoped).


11/9/23 – The first SW wind for weeks brought a nice variety of waders at Shepperdine up to High tide: juv. Curlew Sandpiper, adult Sanderling (both in flock at seawall), 23 Knot (a good number for OPS), 1 Whimbrel, c25 Ringed Plover and 22 Dunlin. (Also a dead juv. Herring Gull, probably a Bird Flu victim - in Sanderling photo below.) Now there are 4 Mute Swan on the lake !



10/9/23 – Matt Plenty had a Grey Seal go upriver at High Tide at Shepperdine, and 70 Ringed Plover. Heather England reported at yacht club: 3 Stonechat (fem & 2 juv) and 2 Yellow Wagtail. And a Snipe on the saltmarsh there this morning.

      The sky was ominous with an approaching storm.


9/9/23 – Visibility only 100yds this morning. A Spotted Flycatcher on NE side of Lagoon 2. Also 12 Chiffchaff, 9 Blackcap and 2 Whitethroat counted around.


7/9/23 – At HT, the Little Stint was on the seawall and a Stonechat was at Shepperdine. Saharan dust over the car this morning, and an E wind (veering SE/NE). The only bird of note was a Corn Bunting in the hedges by cut-grass fields just before yacht club. This is the 6th year in a row I have had one here. Also 3 Greylag Goose flew upriver at dawn. OPS #150 this year, me #146.


6/9/23 – 2 Whimbrel at the yacht club this afternoon. The only other excitement was caused by a large fish attacking smaller ones (Mullet ?) by Oldbury sluice - video (fish causes big splash on surface at 35 seconds). This morning Heather England photo'd a Kingfisher in Oldbury village (and one reported by yacht club).


5/9/23 – Andy Middleton reported the juv. Little Stint again on the seawall by Lagoon 2 at HT, plus : a Coal Tit, 4 Greenfinch, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Reed Warbler (Lagoon 2), 100 Swallow, 1 House Martin and 2 Sand Martin. This morning, an adult winter Mediterranean Gull flew from the estuary in land to S, and a Great Black-backed Gull was pecking a big (c1.5m) Eel on a sandbank. Video.


4/9/23 – A lovely sunny morning, and a juv. Ruff was with 18 Redshank at Olbury Pill sluice at HT. (There was also one in the Spring, but the last before that was in 2019.) Vismig up to HT, to NE (into light wind): 260 Swallow, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Siskin and 3 Meadow Pipit. And remarkably, 7 Red Admiral heading fast along shore to SW. Craig Lewis had 2 Whinchat at the yacht club (photo by CL below).



3/9/23 – This afternoon, a Hobby over the lake, attracted by c70 Swallow (and 1 House Martin & 1 Sand Martin). Video. And the Mute Swan was in the rhine by the lake. Craig Lewis photo'd the juv. Little Stint on the seawall by Lagoon 1 at HT. And 2 Yellow Wagtail over. Mike Prior had a Clouded-yellow butterfly.



2/9/23 – A misty morning. The juv. Little Stint again on the seawall by Lagoon 1 at HT, with c50 Ringed Plover and 9 Dunlin. Also a Whimbrel again at Shepperdine, 11 Black-tailed Godwit on the shore at dawn, and 12 Oystercatcher, 5 Common Sandpiper and a Lapwing at the yacht club at HT. A single flock of 95 House Martin & 80 Swallow and a single Yellow Wagtail went to NE (into NNE breeze). And another c25 House Martin, 20+ Swallow around, and 3 Yellow Wagtail at yacht club. Heather England reported 3 Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Whitethroat.


1/9/23 – This afternoon, a Greenshank flew upriver, calling, and a Yellow Wagtail perched in a dead tree on Lagoon 3. And Louise Bailey photographed a Clifden Nonpareil moth on the kissing-gate to Lagoon 2. This morning, Andy Middleton reported: the juv. Little Stint on the seawall by Lagoon 1 (on a big High Tide), with 37 Ringed Plover and 4 Dunlin. And the OPS record count of 15 Common Sandpiper. Plus 3 Wheatear and 2 Grey Wagtail. OPS #149 this year, me #145.


31/8/23 – A male Tawny Owl calling at dawn, and 114 Canada Goose roosting on the Tidal res. (then flew upriver). The juv. Little Stint on the seawall by Lagoon 1 at HT, with 65 Ringed Plover and 5 Dunlin. And a Whimbrel at Shepperdine. Lots of warblers on Lagoon 2, in the rain: 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 15 Blackcap, 10 Chiffchaff, 3 Reed Warbler (but no whitethroats!) with 15 Long-tailed Tit & 10 Blue Tit (all in 2 flocks, one at each end of the lagoon). OPS #148 this year, me #144.
Matt Plenty reported a Bar-tailed Godwit at Shepperdine in the evening.


30/8/23 – Heather England photographed the juv. Little Stint on the seawall by Lagoon 1 this morning, with 90 Ringed Plover, 12 Dunlin and 25 Turnstone.


29/8/23 – A Hobby hunting Swallows over fields between Lagoon 3 and Oldbury village; a Yellow Wagtail by Oldbury Pill and another one over.


28/8/23 – The juv. Little Stint again at Shepperdine this afternoon, with 103 Ringed Plover, 12 Dunlin and c55 Turnstone. (Photo by Heather England.) OPS #147 this year, me #142.


27/8/23 – Matt Plenty reported (Shepperdine): juv. Little Stint (photos by MP), 76 Ringed Plover, 14 Dunlin and c45 Turnstone. OPS #147 this year, me #141.


26/8/23 – A female Tawny Owl calling 'kerwick' from wood by lake at dawn. OPS #146 this year, me #141. Also a Whimbrel calling.


25/8/23 – The Stonechat family still at the yacht club with 4+ present.


24/8/23 – At dawn there were 140+ Canada Goose and 21 Greylag on the estuary, where I assume they roosted overnight as they then flew off in flocks to feed. The Greylags flew to the lake, but flew again when I got there. Three Goosander flew fast downriver at 7:25am (all 'redheads') - video. A Whimbrel was heard on the estuary, and another flew to SW inland of OPS. Also, a pair of Gadwall on the lake, a Willow Warbler singing and a Wheatear on Lagoon 1.
Heather England reported (OPS to yacht club): 4 Wheatear, 4 Little Egret, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Whitethroat, 1 Black-tailed Godwit. Also Southern Migrant Hawker, 2 Southern Hawker and 1 Migrant Hawker still on Lagoon 2 pond.



23/8/23 – I got to see the male Southern Migrant Hawker dragonfly this afternoon, plus Southern Hawker; and 2 Migrant Hawker around Lagoon 2 (photo on left). 5+ Small Red-eyed Damselfly on the lake (photo on right). Darren Pearce reported a Hobby.


22/8/23 – Heather England had the male Southern Migrant Hawker dragonfly again this afternoon, plus Southern Hawker and Migrant Hawker.


21/8/23 – Andy Middleton reported: 50 Ringed Plover, 4 Dunlin, 3 Common Sandpiper, 85 Mallard, 1 Gadwall, 1 Teal, 14 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Sand Martin and a juv. Peregrine harassing a Little Egret several times as it flew across the reservoir forcing it to take evasive action by plunging into the water ! Heather England photo'd a Brown Argos.


20/8/23 – The male Southern Migrant Hawker dragonfly was reported again, briefly, this afternoon, and a Migrant Hawker. Also a probable Spotted Flycatcher on Lagoon 2.


19/8/23 – This morning, between 6:20 & 7:35am 20 Common Tern and 2 Black Tern flew low downriver after overnight rain (Storm Betty). (Flocks of 1, 6 & 13 C. Tern, and a summer plumaged and another Black Tern with the last flock at 7:30am). The last Black Terns here were in 2016. Video of the 6 Common Tern. At HT on the Shepperdine shore: a summer plumaged (moulting) Curlew Sandpiper (Video.), 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 35 Ringed Plover, 35 Turnstone and 5 Dunlin. Also a male Gadwall and a Teal on the lake (+ 2 other Teal at Shepperdine), and a juv. Peregrine attacked the Black-headed Gull flock and singled out the odd one - a Curlew ! - which had to ditch in the Tidal Res. to escape. It just about made it back to shore, after the Peregrine gave up diving at it to take it out of the water. OPS #146 this year, me #140


18/8/23 – Watching at Shepperdine for 1.5 hrs up to the High Tide produced literally nothing. But 16 Ringed Plover on the seawall by Lagoon 1, and Matt Plenty had a Golden Plover at the yacht club. Walking the Lagoons in a bit of a mood (!) I was just finishing walking round the N end of Lagoon 3, when a dove flew from the estuary low and fast across the Lagoon to SE. Raising bins' I was expecting Collared Dove, but it was a smaller, darker on top and lighter below, Turtle Dove ! It continued on at pace. (Last OPS record was in Sept 2013. Before that in Apr 2012 and my only other record in Apr 2006. Last record for Avon area was in Oct 2017 !)
In the evnening, a Whimbrel and a summer plumaged Grey Plover at Shepperdine. OPS #144 this year, me #138


17/8/23 – At the yacht club, a Whinchat in hedge by 'squeaky' kissing-gate and 8 Yellow Wagtail with sheep over Pill, along with c15 Pied Wagtail and c20 Meadow Pipit. Also, a Tree Pipit over to SW and to NE (into E/SE breeze): 50+ Swallow, 5 House Martin, 3 Sand Martin. 6 Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin in HT roost at Pillhead Gout, 24 Redshank in Pill and 3 Common Sandpiper about. On the lake, a Little Grebe but now only 1 Mute Swan. 61 bird species today.



15/8/23 – A flock of 5 Goosander flew fast downriver at 6:45am (all 'redheads'). Only 75 yards out from near bank, but I lost them to view behind the jetty. Andy Middleton and I had a total of 8 Wheatear between yacht club and Pillhead Gout. There is still a pair of Stonechat with 3 juvs. at the yacht club. A couple of Little Egret have taken to roosting in 'the plantation' (small wood between Lagoon 3 and yacht club). Also to SW: a flock of 17 Shelduck, 15 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 5 Sand Martin and 30+ Swallow. 3 Yellow Wagtail reported. Heather England refound the pair of Southern Migrant Hawker dragonfly again. OPS #143 this year, me #137


13/8/23 – At HT this morning: 1 Whimbrel (Shepperdine), 55 Curlew, 6 Dunlin, 1 Common Sandpiper and 14 Redshank. Thomas Weston photo'd a 2nd-summer Mediterranean Gull flying downriver and also had a Redstart between Lagoon 2 and orchard.


12/8/23 – The Stonechat pair at the yacht club have fledged 3 young ! Plus, 9 Little Egret (5 x Shepperdine, 4 x coming out of roost at Littleton to shore) and 2 Tree Pipit over, this morning. And a Hummingbird Hawkmoth in the meadow (next to car park), by kissing-gate entrance. (No dragonflies at pond by Lagoon 2 this morning in non-flying weather.).



11/8/23 – Andy Middleton reported: 2 Redstart (south corner of Lagoon 2) and 7 Little Egret. Heather England reported: 9 Wheatear (yacht club/Pillhead Gout), 3 Common Sandpiper and 9 Redshank. Plus a rare Southern Migrant Hawker dragonfly, a male, on the pond by Lagoon 2 (first OPS record). (Photo below by Heather.) Mark Coller then found a pair mating and another female ! (Photo below of female by Mark.) Last recorded in S. Gloucs. in 2014 ! He also found there: Southern Hawker, Emperor, Broad-bodied Chaser, Common and Ruddy Darters.


10/8/23 – At 6:30am, 5 Common Tern with a tight flock of 25 Black-headed Gull migrating downriver, gained height to go over Severn Bridge. Then a Tree Pipit over to SW calling, and a juv/fem Mandarin duck flew onto the Tidal Res. from downriver with 2 Mallard, then stood on the shore at Shepperdine with Black-headed Gulls. A juv. Sparrowhawk sat in a dead tree calling, and the juv. Peregrine responded with its own begging call ! It was like Spring on Lagoon 3, with 4 Willow Warbler singing !


9/8/23 – Pillhead Gout (to yacht club) at HT: 5 Wheatear, 8 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin and a Common Sandpiper (photo by Tony Krajewski below). And an adult Peregrine was eating a kill on a pylon, with a juv. calling by it. Then the adult flew to the estuary with the kill, followed by the juv..


7/8/23 – A nice sunny morning (but cold at 11 degs C). 3 Sedge Warbler and a singing Willow Warbler on Lagoon 3, plus the first Cetti's Warbler since 4th May singing by the lake. (And a catch-up below of what I have missed when on hols..)


6/8/23 – Mike Prior reported: 1 Redstart (Lagoon 2), 1 Hobby and 2 Peregrine (prob. juveniles). And butterflies - Brown Argus, Common Blue, Speckled Wood, Smll Heath, Peacock, Red Admiral, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Large White and Holly Blue.

      Excellent photos by Mike, of Redshank (using long exposure) and Brown Argus.


1/8/23 – Andy Middleton/Matt Plenty reported at the Yacht Club: 2 Wheatear, 2 Stonechat, 3 Common Sandpiper and 6 Redshank.


31/7/23 – Heather England reported at the Yacht Club: 1 Lapwing, 4 Redshank and a pair of Stonechat.


25/7/23 – Had the juvenile Goshawk again, briefly (about 4 seconds), at Shepperdine this morning. Alerted to it by all the birds on the shore and corvids inland giving alarm calls, and flying up. The Black-headed Gulls split into two tight flocks (half upriver, half down). Scanning along the shore, I was expecting a juv. Peregrine, as they like practising on the BH Gulls, but saw a large brown bird of prey flying away from me, hedge-hopping and keeping low. It then flew up into a large Ash tree, about half-mile away, and I thought I would finally get a good view, but it was completely hidden by foliage. It stayed a couple of minutes and when it flew (away again) it caused the same commotion, and flushed a Whimbrel, which called and landed right near me. Also, 4 Willow Warbler along the main rhine - 3 lovely yellow juvs. and one half-heartedly singing. (May have nested here this year - sang up to mid-June.)


22/7/23 – A Grasshopper Warbler reeling from the middle of Lagoon 3 this morning (easily the latest at OPS - prev was 04/07/2003), and a juvenile Goshawk flew from trees on Lagoon 1. Also, a Yellow Wagtail low over to SW. And late news of a Barn Owl reported in the orchard on Wednesday (19th) evening.
(The meadow next to the car park has been cut too early once again, as the lovely purple knapweed was still flowering. Another two weeks (at least, i.e. into August, and preferably September) would have allowed it to set seed. The grass in the orchard has also been cut, but at least it was allowed to grow and the wildflowers given a chance this year, as it has been mown several times a year in the past, so is nowhere near as diverse as the meadow.)


21/7/23 – Over high tide, this morning, at yacht club: 1 'Commic' Tern (distant, downriver, then went high inland, S over Littleton), 7 Sand Martin, 8 House Martin, 2 Swift, 4 Swallow, all to SW. And on the saltmarsh: a Yellow Wagtail, 1 Wheatear, 6 Skylark, 8 Meadow Pipit and 10 Pied Wagtail.


20/7/23 – 3 Peregrine around the towers this morning; an adult with 2 juvs. (don't know where from). The HT at the yacht club produced: 3 Redshank, 1 Dunlin, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Common Sandpiper. And 4 Muntjac deer on Lagoon 2 (inc. 2 juvs.).

      Dunlin/Redshank and the Barnacle x Greylag Goose.


      This juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker is learning about trees the hard way !


19/7/23 – Tony Krajewski photo'd two of the young Kestrel.


18/7/23 – Some migrants filtering through. At High tide this morning: 9 Common Sandpiper (6 & 3) and 11 Oystercatcher (inc. 9 downriver). Juveniles of Redstart and Sedge Warbler in NW corner of Lagoon 3 (by wooden gate to shore). At the yacht club, a juvenile Wheatear, seemingly not long out a nest, an adult male Stonechat, 8 Reed Bunting (inc. 5+ juvs.) and c30 Linnet (many juvs.). OPS #142 this year, me #136



13/7/23 – On falling tide, 3 Oystercatcher and 37 juv. Shelduck still in the large 'creche' at Shepperdine. Around Lagoon 2, a Sedge Warbler was still singing and a family group of Goldcrest with 3+ recently fledged young. Also two families of 7 & 5 Whitethroat and a Lesser Whitethroat still singing. Lastly, there were 6 Kestrel in the air together around the towers, and 5 of them being juveniles, with more rounded wings and flappy, unsure, flight. Three of them were giving begging calls and chasing the 6th one, which I presumed was the adult female.


10/7/23 – Andy Middleton reported: 58 Mallard, 200 Black-headed Gull (inc. 6 juvs.), the first returning Common Gull, 4 House Martin and 4 Oystercatcher (but no juvs.).


9/7/23 – 60 juvenile Shelduck today (groups of 38, 18 and 4). That makes this year the most productive in the last 20 years. Matt Plenty reported: 5 Sand Martin, 30 Swallow and the Barnacle x Greylag hybrid with 54 Canada Goose. Also 6 new OPS insect species, including Banded General (a Soldierfly), which makes 400 insect species identified at OPS now !


No. of broods

No. hatched

No. survived

First brood

Last juvs noted





17th May

12th Jul+





12th May

14th Aug





18th May

6th Jul





29th May

18th Jul





10th Jun

24th Aug





16th May

6th Aug (3)





24th May

30th Jul





3rd Jun

6th Aug





2nd Jun

29th Jul





21st Jun

22nd Jul





12th Jun

27th Jul





7th Jun

19th Jul





12th Jun

29th Aug





3rd Jun

24th Jul





23rd May

12th Jul





20th Jun

18th Jul





13th May

29th Jul





27th May

25th Aug





10th Jul





18th Jul


8/7/23 – Two Sandwich Tern flew down the middle of the estuary at 6:35am. (I took a video, but they were too distant to id in it - best screenshots below.) And 4 juv. Kestrel with parents around the towers. OPS #141 this year, me #135



7/7/23 – TK photographed the Barn Owl at the yacht club. It was out at the early time of 8:15pm, suggesting it has young to feed. And a male Sparrowhawk took a bath in the lake.


6/7/23 – Two Common Tern on the Tidal Res. as the tide came in this morning, and briefly on the shore with Black-headed Gulls, before heading upriver. And 2 juv. Kestrel around the towers (one begging), from the pair that nested in a vent hole. Reported on Avonbirds: 23 Ringed Plover and 3 Dunlin.

      They sat on the water briefly, and look at those dark wing 'wedges'!


June-July 23 – A pair of Oystercatcher have nested in the field to SW of Lagoon 3 ! They have been sat on a nest, first seen on 3rd June and last seen on 3rd July. The incubation is 24-27 days, so not sure if the eggs hatched. But no sign of them anywhere today at HT. There have been attempts to nest here before. One appeared to sit on a nest in the same field in last week of May 2016. Apart from that I have seen them mating on the shore most years, but don't think they have nested at OPS since they "attempted to nest . . . in 1984 and 1986" according to the 'Birds of Oldbury'.

      The pair were first seen just after the field was ploughed, and corvids and gulls were feeding all around them (first photo 3rd Jun). On 5th June, the second photo is just before a change-over at the nest.


      These photos on 7th June show where the nest was - in the middle of a barren field. By the 14th June, the first shoots of maize were showing, and a fox patrolled the field edge.


      On 30th June, after 27 days sat on nest, the bird was off the nest feeding, then mobbed a Kestrel to get it away from the field and then returned to sit on the nest. It also feigned broken-wing and gave warning call, so I was thinking the eggs had hatched, but no young seen. In this photo on 3rd July, it was sat on the nest again, in cool weather.


5/7/23 – A Grasshopper Warbler reeling on Lagoon 3, a Red Kite low to NE, 3 Common Sandpiper, a pair of Tufted Duck and 6 Raven. Lois Pryce also reported: 2 Peregrine and a flock of 8 juv Great Tit.


3/7/23 – 2 Mistle Thrush over, and a mega-flock of juveniles along the main rhine: 20+ Blue Tit, 10+ Blackcap, 10+ Chiffchaff, 2+ Great Tit, 2+ Long-tailed Tit and a Coal Tit. And loads of butterflies about yesterday: 6+ Ringlet along the main rhine, 8 Red Admiral, 6 Comma and 20+ Meadow Brown.


1/7/23 – A Barn Owl around the southern end of Lagoon 2 at 8am, and a 'scarce' moth added to OPS list - Small Eggar caterpillars (photo below) in 'tent' on Lagoon 3. "Thank you" to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority staff for extending 'no mo May' to June, and creating wonderful grassland around the site. Look at the lovely Knapweed that is flowering in the meadow (photo below).



29/6/23 – Tony Krajewski reported a good June record of 25 Black-tailed Godwit on the Tidal Res. shore over the evening HT. And Heather England photographed Essex Skipper and Gatekeeper butterflies (below) and also Ringlet.



27/6/23 – Andy Middleton reported: the Pink-footed Goose with 104 Canada Goose, 1 Little Grebe, 3 Mistle Thrush, 17 Chiffchaff, 8 Curlew and 14 Moorhen.


22/6/23 – Ian Armour got some lovely photos of the Barn Owl, a Reed Warbler and Marbled White butterflies.



20/6/23 – A breeding plumage Dunlin at Pillhead Gout is probably the first returning failed/non-breeder (just 11 days after last one left to breed - probably further to north) and a non-breeding plumage Grey Plover there which may have over-summered. Also broods/creches of Shelduck: 31, 8, 7, 4, 4; and 7 juv. Moorhen with 4 adults on the lake.


19/6/23 – The Pink-footed Goose still with 47 Canada Goose and the small Barnacle x Greylag Goose on the estuary by Lagoon 3 at HT.


18/6/23 – Heather England reported, along Oldbury Pill: the first Small Skipper butterfly of the year, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Marbled White and Scarce Chaser dragonfly.


17/6/23 – The Pink-footed Goose again with 43 Canada Goose and the small Barnacle x Greylag Goose.


15/6/23 – Lots of fleshly fledged juveniles about: 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Coal Tit, 20 (15 & 5) Long-tailed Tit, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Bunting. Also 4 Lapwing have returned (non-breeders or failed breeders), and now broods/creches of 31,7,4 & 4 Shelduck (making it a very good year).


14/6/23 – Eclipse drake Gadwall on lake, 50+ Meadow Brown butterflies and 500+ Pyramidal Orchid.


13/6/23 – Andy Middleton reported a Red Kite and the first Marbled White butterflies.


9/6/23 – Andy Middleton reported new OPS latest dates for Sanderling and Dunlin (5); also 25 Ringed Plover and a Cuckoo.


8/6/23 – Waders still at Shepperdine at HT: 6 Sanderling (latest OPS date by over a week), 50 Ringed Plover and 10 Dunlin (latest OPS date).


7/6/23 – A creche of 30(!) juv. Shelduck at Shepperdine. Also 3 Sanderling, 23 Ringed Plover, 3 Dunlin and 2 returning Curlew. Loads of orchids about this year, including Bee and Pyramidal (photos by Craig Lewis below). And a beautiful young Slow-worm. Heather England reported dragonflies at the lake: several Black-tailed Skimmer (M&F), Four Spotted Chaser, Emperor, numerous Common Blue Damsel and Common Darter, plus the superb photo of Brown Argus on Grass Vetchling below. And Tony Krajewski photo'd the Barn Owl.




6/6/23 – No waders this morning. A Willow Warbler continues to sing on Lagoon 2 - checking my records, I last heard one singing in June at OPS in 2009 ! And a couple of videos: the 24 Shelduck ducklings and a sad video of a Skylark singing over the last two grass fields to be cut between Lagoon 3 and the yacht club. ALL of the grass fields have been cut this year, meaning that no Skylark nests can have survived.


5/6/23 – This evening the lovely Barn Owl was hunting the fields between Lagoon 3 and yacht club at 9pm.
This morning, 2 Great White Egret flew upriver, a creche of 24 juv. Shelduck at Shepperdine (a brood of 9 joined by a brood of 15) and waders still: 3 Sanderling, 60 Ringed Plover and 4 Dunlin. OPS #140 this year, me #134



4/6/23 – Heather England photographed this brood of 15 (!) Shelduck.


3/6/23 – Late report of a Barn Owl photographed by Morris Benson at 9:15pm last night on the shore by Lagoon 3, then headed towards yacht club.
While counting the 46 Canada Goose (inc. 7 juvs) at the yacht club I found 2 moulting drake Mandarin Duck. And then 2 Avocet on the shore. The Greylag x Barnacle Goose was also with the Canadas and 6 Barnacle Goose flew downriver and inland along Oldbury Pill. On the seawall were still 3 Sanderling, 120 Ringed Plover and 10 Dunlin. Also 2 Brown Hare and the Bee Orchids are starting to flower. OPS #140 this year, me #133



2/6/23 – An OPS record 28 Sanderling counted by Matt Plenty on the shore by Lagoon 2, with 88 Ringed Plover and 8 Dunlin. Also a Hobby over Lagoon 2, and a fresh Large Skipper butterfly. OPS #138 this year, me #131


1/6/23 – With 4 Dunlin and 25 Ringed Plover on the shore by Lagoon 1, were the latest OPS records of: 3 Sanderling (my 130th bird species this year), 1 Turnstone and 1 Grey Plover (latter at Shepperdine). Previous latest dates, respectively, were: 31/05/2008, 30/05/2016 and 27/05/2018. OPS #138 this year, me #130

      Sanderling and Turnstone.


30/5/23 – Early morning, 6 Barnacle Goose and 10 Swift flew upriver. Andy Midlleton had an OPS record 4 Red Kite over the grass cutting this afternoon. Morris Benson found 70+ Southern Marsh Orchid on Lagoon 3 - not had anywhere near that number here before. And some late news of a Barn Owl along the shore by Lagoon 3 after sunset on Sunday (28th).


29/5/23 – A Red Kite following tractors cutting grass. And some lateish waders: 2 Redshank and 5 Ringed Plover. Heather England found several Brown Argus butterflies in the Orchard & Meadow. And this is what NoMoMay looks like on Lagoon 3.


26/5/23 – A lateish Whimbrel calling out over the estuary, and several of these Fig Galls on Wych Elms at the Lagoon end of the tarmac'd path from the car park - caused by an aphid called Tetraneura ulmi.


25/5/23 – Singles of Southern Marsh Orchid and Common Spotted Orchid in the meadow by the car park. Martin Preedy reported a Moorhen pair with 2 chicks on the pond by Lagoon 2 last night. A bird calling just inland of the yacht club had me stumped. It sounded like a distant Gull, "gowk", but was from the hedge/field. I took some video, when it was making a less harsh call . . . Video - it starts after 15 seconds. Just after recording this a Cuckoo flew silently past towards where this sound was, so I think it is the call of a rival male.

      Reed Warbler and Southern Marsh Orchid (photo Jackie Miles - thanks).


24/5/23 – A Moorhen pair with 6 young on the lake and a Peregrine with pigeon kill on the shore, then attacked a Carrion Crow, just missing it twice.


23/5/23 – The first 2 Moorhen young on the lake yesterday and 2 Muntjac.


22/5/23 – The immature Goshawk again this afternoon, soaring briefly over the orchard, mobbed by Carrion Crow and Raven. It flushed c300 corvids from newly cut grass fields: c150 Carrion Crow, c100 Jackdaw and c50 Rook, which all wheeled around in a flock. Also a Red Kite inland, the Peregrine pair around the towers (not seen since March) and a Small Heath butterfly. Andy Middleton's WeBS: 3 Tufted Duck, 6 Little Grebe (pair & 4 juvs), 6 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover and 18 Canada Goose (inc. the 7 juvs).
This morning, Jackie & Mark Miles had 2 Cuckoo and a probable Barn Owl on Lagoon 2, by the pond. OPS #137 this year, me #129


20/5/23 – An immature Goshawk flushed from trees at S end of Lagoon 1 and flew across the lagoon; it immediately caused panic in all the Crows and pigeons in the next field as they flew into the air. Also a Cuckoo calling on Lagoon 3. The Canada Goose family still have 7 goslings (photo by Chris Jennings - thanks), but only 4 Shelduck juvs. seen (and they look like they have been kidnapped by other adults as split into 3 & 1, as usually happens with first brood out). Plus a young Hare ran down the tarmac'd road to the yacht club. Tony Krajewski photographed a Red Kite over the orchard.



19/5/23 – This morning, Rob Emery had 2 Cuckoo calling and chasing around Lagoon 3. This afternoon, a Red Kite over and newly fledged young emerging: Long-tailed Tit family, a juv. Pied Wagtail by jetty and 2 Raven young with adult on a pylon. And 2 Mistle Thrush on Lagoon 2, a Toad on the shore path by Lagoon 2 and a Painted Lady butterfly.


17/5/23 – The first family of 8 Shelduck ducklings on the shore at the yacht club.


16/5/23 – This morning, a Cuckoo calling on Lagoon 3, a Red Kite over highish to NE, 5 Mute Swan flew SW (+ 2 on lake), 2 juv. Raven with an adult and 2 Greylag at yacht club (+ the 7 Canada Goose goslings with just the one adult). Also a Roe Deer female with well-grown fawn, and some Caper Spurge (new for OPS).

      The photo shows the dfference between the large Little Grebe juv. and the other three.



15/5/23 – This morning, Andy Middleton reported: OPS record 7 Little Grebe (3 adult and 4 juv. ), 3 Mute Swan and 4 juv. Mallard on the lake; a Cuckoo seen (not heard) on Lagoon 2, 3 Whimbrel + 1 Curlew, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Willow Warbler plus common warblers.
In the afternoon: 2 Red Admiral and a Painted Lady butterflies.


14/5/23 – Heather England reported a pair of Stonechat and a Hobby (first of year at OPS - photo by HE). OPS #136 this year, me #129
Also, a rare Yellow-haired Click Beetle yesterday, on logs on the saltmarsh at Shepperdine. (You can see the yellow-brown hairs all over it in original photo.) It has only been recorded in 6 small areas in the UK (map - inc. Forest of Dean area) and is an indicator of ancient woodland (or in this case, old logs !). It is a first for S. Gloucs..


13/5/23 – A Pink-footed Goose flew in off the estuary and inland to south, at 7:10am. (One has been at Pilning Wetland recently, and was seen to return there 25 minutes later.) Video. This is a new species for OPS !
Some vismig to NE into cold wind (am + pm): 37 + 88 Swallow, 20 + 8 House Martin, 2 + 3 Sand Martin and 13 + 14 Black-headed Gull. Also 640 Racing Pigeon flew low NE in 2 hours this afternoon. OPS #135 this year, me #129


11/5/23 – Afternoon update: The pair of Little Grebe have FOUR juvs., one large which must be from a previous brood and 3 tiny. Good numbers of warblers this morning: 20 Reed Warbler, 5 Sedge Warbler, 21 Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warbler still on Lagoon 2, 16 Blackcap and 14 Chiffchaff. 3 Mute Swan still on the lake.


9/5/23 – Andy Middleton reported: 7 Whimbrel, 1 Wheatear, 5 Tufted Duck and Little Grebe pair feeding 2 young (one much smaller than other).


8/5/23 – A Cuckoo calling and mobile around Lagoons 2 & 3. And a Mistle Thrush singing on Lagoon 1. Waders at Shepperdine: 37 Dunlin and 28 Ringed Plover. Three Mute Swan still on the lake, with 3rd hiding in reeds, and 6 Tufted Duck (4 male).


6/5/23 – At 6am 7 Barnacle Goose and a dark small-type Canada Goose flew in from downriver and settled on the estuary, drifting upriver on incoming tide. One of the Barnacles had a white neck collar 'B40', ringed at Frampton Court in July 2022, and last reported there on 28/4/23 (having been at Slimbridge in between). 3 hours sat in the rain produced: the first Common Tern upriver, 2 Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a summer Grey Plover and c25 Dunlin. OPS #134 this year, me #128


5/5/23 – Andy Middleton reported, at yacht club: an excellent count of 74 Whimbrel, 5 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Grey Plover and 1 Common Sandpiper. And the third Mute Swan was sat on the path, but when it tried to go onto the lake but the other two wouldn't allow it on, so it waddled along the path. (In the evening it was at the back of the reeds on the lake, looking rather bedraggled.)


4/5/23 – Some vismig over this morning's High Tide, to NE: 16 Bar-tailed Godwit with 4 Grey Plover (in smart breeding plumage), 30 Black-headed Gull, 70 Swallow, 25 House Martin, 2 Sand Martin, 6 Swift, 2 Yellow Wagtail and a Red Kite at 9:10am. And on the yacht club shore: 60+ Whimbrel, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Grey Plover, 10 Ringed Plover, 5 Dunlin and 4 Wheatear. Also this week, a Stonechat has been singing around the yacht club common ! A Common Sandpiper by jetty. The Little Grebe pair still have 2 juvs., a Mallard with 5 juvs. (photo by Tony Krajewski), and the Coot still.

      Grey Plovers (left non-breeding, right coming into breeding plumage) and Stonechat.



3/5/23 – The Little Grebe pair still have 1+ juv. and the Coot is back ! (Last here on 16th March, only.) Also, the Cuckoo heard briefly.


2/5/23 – Some waders this morning. 48 Whimbrel feeding at yacht club, and at Shepperdine: 1 Knot (first of year), 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Grey Plover, 14 Oystercatcher, 14 Ringed Plover and 45 Dunlin. And warbler count of whole patch: 26 Reed Warbler, 11 Sedge Warbler, 21 Whitethroat, 5 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warbler and 1 Cetti's Warbler. A report from BOC walker Jane Parker of a Grey Partridge in the car park - not recorded at OPS since 2004. Alan Daniels reported a Red Kite this afternoon. The BOC walkers also had: the first Garden Warbler of the year (SW corner, Lagoon 3), 6 Grey Heron, 12 Chiffchaff, 12 Blackcap and 5 Reed Bunting. Andy Middleton reported the Cuckoo calling from Lagoon 2, 3 Mute Swan on the lake and the pair of Little Grebe with 1+ juv.. 70 species seen by all-comers today ! OPS #133 this year, me #127


1/5/23 – The Canada Goose pair and 7 goslings disappeared from the lake on Saturday (one day after fledging), and today reappeared at the yacht club ! Exactly as they have done for the last two years. The parents walked the young the 1.7 miles, when they were just a day old. The Little Grebe pair have 2+ fledglings on the lake. And 2 Redpoll flying around over Lagoon 2. Carp spawning on lake.

      Photo by Heather England below, of 6 goslings and the 7th was with the other parent.


30/4/23 – A Cuckoo calling near the car park then Lagoon 2. And 1+ 2nd-year Yellow-legged Gull with 100 Herring Gull and 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull on the estuary. OPS #130 this year, me #126


28/4/23 – As predicted, the Canada Goose pair have 7 goslings on the lake (photo by Tony Krajewski) and there were 5 Tufted Duck.


27/4/23 – An increase to 6 Sedge Warbler singing and a pair of Canada Goose on the lake, causing the female to get up from the nest to keep an eye on them. Male from the pair not around. The Canada Goose young should be hatching in the next 3 days (after 28-30 days incubation), as the female started sitting on (or before) 1st April this year. Will the parents walk them all the way to Oldbury village this year, like last 2 years ?! Also, the Little Grebe young should be hatching in next few days, as she started resitting (after first nest flooded) on 5th April, and incubation is 19-25 days.

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 pair)                          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

23/03/2021                         23/04/2021                                   31            7

21/03/2022                         21/04/2022                                   31            8


26/4/23 – 3 Whinchat along shore to yacht club and 6 Whimbrel upriver. The Cowslips in the meadow are looking great. Another male Tufted Duck has joined the pair on the lake, but the swans have gone. Also a male Gadwall at yacht club.


      Whimbrel and Wheatear by Tony Krajewski.


25/4/23 – A Common Sandpiper on the shore by the jetty. 4 Barnacle Goose upriver with a Canada Goose at dawn. And 46 Black-headed Gull went fast upriver, then circled over the Tidal Res. and gained height, but later all sat on the reservoir. Also 31 Whimbrel feeding on the saltmarsh between yacht club and Littleton. OPS #129 this year, me #125



24/4/23 – A Grasshopper Warbler reeling by the lake, video. A male Yellow Wagtail low to NE over the yacht club; a male 'White' Wagtail & 2 Wheatear on the saltmarsh there. Plus 35 Whimbrel flew from Littleton to near Pillhead Gout. There is a pair of Tufted Duck on the lake, and a Weasel ran across the path at the end of the bridleway to shore. OPS #128 this year, me #124


23/4/23 – A Cuckoo calling by Oldbury Pill sluice, and Matt Plenty saw another on Lagoon 3. And Heather England found 2 Whinchat near the yacht club (photo below by HE). Also 10 Whitethroat and 10 Lesser Whitethroat singing around the whole patch. And 7+ Mallard ducklings still left on the lake plus a Moorhen sat on a nest on the pond in Oldbury village. Matt Plenty had 35 Whimbrel at Littleton this morning. OPS #127 this year, me #122

      Cuckoo and Lesser Whitethroat.


      Whinchats (photos by Heather England)


22/4/23 – Whiteout this morning, but singing warblers: 8 Reed Warbler, 3 Sedge Warbler, 6 Whitethroat, 3 Willow Warbler and 4 Lesser Whitethroat. Also a female Mallard with 11 new ducklings on the lake, where the 2 Mute Swan and the Canada Goose have a truce again.


21/4/23 – This afternoon, the first Swift of the year and a flock of c50 Bar-tailed Godwit flew upriver. Also, 7 Reed Warbler, 5 Whitethroat, 3 Willow Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat (in the orchard). This morning, a Red Kite, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Barnacle Goose upriver and a Great White Egret upriver at 8:30am, reported by Louise Bailey. OPS #125 this year, me #120


20/4/23 – Over this morning's high tide, an OPS record 90 Little Gull - good video. Flocks of: 12,11,23,15,11,18 - virtually all in summer plumage. But only 3 Bar-tailed Godwit today, 14 Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin, 40 House Martin, 100 Swallow, 5 Sand Martin, 20 Black-headed Gull, 100+ Linnet and 100+ Goldfinch. A report that two pairs of Canada Goose and the Mute Swan pair were all fighting on the lake this morning !

      Look at those lovely black under-wings ! And Whitethroat by Craig Lewis.


19/4/23 – Over this evening's tide, an OPS record 236 Bar-tailed Godwit and 4 Little Gull went upriver.
This morning was a second morning of perfect vismig conditions, and the biggest flock of Little Gull (18) recorded at OPS (beating 9 in 1979 !) - video. Also: 65 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Whimbrel, 18 Black-headed Gull, 65 Linnet, 45 Goldfinch, a Red Kite, 2 Redpoll and a Sparrow sp.. Also, 3 Lesser Whitethroat (one singing on each Lagoon). Plus, the Mute Swan pair are back on the lake, and the Canada Goose pair are being aggressive - round two ! OPS #124 this year, me #119.



18/4/23 – Perfect conditions for vismig upriver; murky with a breeze from NE and HT at 7:10am. 4hrs vismig (6-10am): 115 Bar-tailed Godwit (70, 21, 25), 7 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Whimbrel (10 at Pillhead then upriver), 6 Grey Plover, 1 Merlin (fem. low upriver), 35 Black-headed Gull, 150+ Linnet, 100+ Goldfinch, 50+ Meadow Pipit, 5 House Martin, 35 Sand Martin, 70 Swallow & 3 Tufted Duck (m on lake, pair on estuary). OPS #123 this year, me #118.

      Bar-tailed Godwits + a Grey Plover (top left) - video of same flock (hear Grey Plover at 20secs.).


17/4/23 – A Tree Pipit flushed from S end of Lagoon 2 and flew to middle and went down in scrub, but not refound. 3 Greylag flew to SW. Andy Middleton reported 9 Whimbrel upriver and 21 Chiffchaff. OPS #122 this year, me #117.


16/4/23 – 2 Yellow Wagtail over, reported by Craig Lewis and a pair of Kestrel mating (photo by Heather England).


15/4/23 – This morning, 5 Whimbrel on the shore (4 on Tidal Res.), a Marsh Harrier flew down river and seemed to go to Lagoon 3 and a surprise male Yellowhammer at the yacht club, but only 5 Wheatear. Also: 3 Reed Warbler, 2 Sedge Warbler, 2 Whitethroat and 1 Lesser Whitethroat. And a male Orange-tip butterfly. OPS #120 this year, me #116.



14/4/23 – Matt Plenty reported 14 Wheatear (all male except one) on saltmarsh at yacht club. 30 Swallow, 25 Sand Martin, 10 House Martin over the lake.


13/4/23 – 3 Whitethroat singing (2 x L2, 1 x L3/lake), the Lesser Whitethroat was singing by Lagoon 1 outfall (short video of 'rattle' from yesterday - here), 3 Willow Warbler singing, 2 Wheatear at Pillhead Gout and 2 Grey Plover still.


12/4/23 – An Arctic Skua flew high upriver at 11:25am in a storm. The first 7 House Martin (6 over lake) with 21 Swallow and 18 Sand Martin. A Lesser Whitethroat was singing in N corner of Lagoon 2. OPS #119 this year, me #115


11/4/23 – The first 2 Whitethroat (Lagoon 2 & bridleway to shore) and Lesser Whitethroat (Lagoon 1), all singing. Plus a Great White Egret flew NE just inland of Lagoon 2. OPS #117 this year, me #113.


10/4/23 – A Sedge Warbler singing intermittently near the lake. Barry Dursley reported the first Orange-tip butterfly of the year.

      Not at OPS, but these Fallow Deer bucks were viewable from the A38, by the lorry layby between Alveston and Thornbury.


9/4/23 – Morris Benson reported 2 Lesser Redpoll on Lagoon 2 (shore end), feeding on Blackthorn flowers.


8/4/23 – Late addition - a Little Ringed Plover heard only, going overhead upriver at 7:45am, giving clear, quite loud, "eeoo" call repeatedly. (Had to check call on Xeno-canto.)
-1 deg at dawn rising to 7 deg at 10am, and some new birds for the year. The first Reed Warbler (pond by Lagoon 2) and Sedge Warbler (Lagoon 3), both singing, and a male Tufted Duck on the lake is first this year. A flock of c70 Black-headed Gull downriver and 1 Swallow + 8 Sand Martin to N. OPS #115 this year, me #111
Reported on Avonbirds: 51 Chiffchaff and 12 Blackcap.


7/4/23 – 83 Shelduck (inc. 71 in Shepperdine bay) is a good number, and 6 species of butterfly in the afternoon sun: Comma, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone, Speckled Wood, Peacock and Small White. Also a few Dark-edged Bee-fly.


6/4/23 – At HT: 11 Ringed Plover, 3 Grey Plover, 5 Dunlin, 130 Curlew and 46 Redshank. Also, 11 Swallow low to N and 6 Wheatear (seen by Heather England - photo below).


5/4/23 – 8 Swallow feeding low over the estuary in drizzle, 2 Wheatear at yacht club and 2 Willow Warbler singing (Lagoon 3 and plantation). Heather England had another 2 singing Willow Warbler in meadow by carpark, and 4 Lesser Redpoll by small pond next to Lagoon 2.


4/4/23 – A leucistic Common Gull upriver at 9:20am - video. 4 Willow Warbler singing (3 at N end of Lagoon 2) and 5 Blackcap singing. A Wheatear on fence at Shepperdine. The Little Grebe pair were busy adding more material to their nest today (photo by Heather England below).



3/4/23 – Lovely sunny day, with frosty start. A Great White Egret downriver at 7:30am, a Black-tailed Godwit upriver, and also upriver in small flocks: 93 Black-headed Gull and 24 Common Gull. Also 4 Blackcap singing. Andy Middleton reported (Mostly at Yacht Club): 130 Curlew, 3 Dunlin, 2 Grey Plover, 7 Little Egret (up river at 7:30am), 48 Shelduck, 1 Stonechat, 3 Greenfinch, 26 Chiffchaff and 22 Wren. OPS #111 this year, me #107


2/4/23 – Heather England reported at Pillhead Gout: 4 Stonechat, 1 Wheatear, 4 Little Egret, 6 Teal, 8 Skylark and 2 Grey Wagtail at Anchor Inn.


1/4/23 – Wet. 8 Little Egret on shore by Lagoon 3.


30/3/23 – Amazingly, another Alpine Swift flew low (just above tree height) right over my head at S end of Lagoon 2, to SW (into wind), at 8:40am. Viewed for 15 seconds before it disappeared behind trees. Same drizzly weather as when last one arrived. I searched, but this one didn't linger. Apart from that, very little to report on a properly miserable morning . . . but then you never know! The female Canada Goose was on the island; the Mute Swan pair have left, but one flew upriver this morning. Rob Jenner reported a Red Kite.


29/3/23 – 6 Little Egret in a horse paddock by Oldbury village cricket pitch, and c20 Fieldfare on Lagoon 1 (and a Redwing still yesterday).


28/3/23 – This morning, the first Willow Warbler was singing tentatively in hedge near yacht club, and 4 Blackcap singing. The imm. male Marsh Harrier flew from SW to Lagoon 3, and a summer plumaged Mediterranean Gull at Pillhead Gout. The rain brought 2 Swallow and 4 Sand Martin to the lake (but no swifts over the car park). OPS #110 this year, me #106


27/3/23 – A lovely warm, sunny, spring day. Scanning the ridge on far side of estuary (i.e. in Gloucs.) for 2 hrs to midday produced: a pair of Goshawk, 2 Red Kite, 2 Raven, 10+ Buzzard, a pair of Sparrowhawk and c100 Golden Plover (which were circling over the ridge in a tight flock, then went down in fields/lake near Lydney). Also 2 Mistle Thrush singing and a Seal on the estuary. Andy Middleton had a Nuthatch in a pine tree at end of tarmac drive, by Lagoon 2, and 20 Linnet at Shepperdine. OPS #109 this year, me #105


25/3/23 – The first Swallow of the year flew low over the estuary to NW. But no seabirds despite high wind and rain overnight and a high HT. A Peregrine was hanging in the wind and then stooped to the estuary - video. OPS #107 this year, me #104


24/3/23 – 5 Mistle Thrush at Jobsgreen Farm, inc. one singing.


23/3/23 – Very quiet again on the estuary, with totals at HT of: 2 Grey Plover, just 5 Curlew, (no Dunlin !), c25 Turnstone, 6 Oystercatcher, 5 Teal, 32 Wigeon, but 62 Redshank. However, the high HT (12.6m), flushed out lots of rodents from the yacht club saltmarsh: 3 Short-tailed Field Vole (Video), 2 Common Shrew (Video), 1 Pygmy Shrew and 2 Water Shrew (Video). (Not seen this many here before at HT, so suspect they have been displaced by the scrub being removed from the seawall.) And the Little Grebe pair have a nest on the lake. The first 2 Blackcap singing.



22/3/23 – Still c30 Chiffchaff around and the first butterflies: 3 Small Tortoiseshell and 2 Brimstone.


21/3/23 – Andy Middleton reported 6 Wheatear at Pillhead Gout and 30 Chiffchaff at lake and along main rhine.


18/3/23 – My first Sand Martin of the year. A total of 58 Chiffchaff around the whole site (only c15 singing), mainly along shore and feeding up. The Water Pipit on the scrapes over Pill from yacht club. Also, 7 Bullfinch and 7 Skylark (2 singing in fields by yacht club and 1 singing at Knight's Farm, S of Lagoon 2). 61 species today - best this year, even though no Dunlin, Turnstone or Stonechat. OPS #106 this year, me #103



17/3/23 – The Alpine Swift roosted on the W side of the towers until 08:45am and then flew around the car park area until it disappeared around 09:40am. A couple of my videos from 15th, for the record: Video1, at 12:51pm just after first seeing it, and Video2 showing the characteristic slow wingbeats.
A Golden Plover on the shore by Lagoon 3, and a Grey Plover there. 13 Chiffchaff around (8 singing). (Max. 2 yesterday.)
4 Wheatear between yacht club and Pillhead Gout this morning (Heather England). The pairs of Mute Swan and Canada Goose are still fighting it out on the lake.

      A couple of photos from Twitter. Roosting this morning (JeremyH@Hozbob3652) and feeding yesterday (Vic Savery).


16/3/23 – The Coot is back on the lake ! (Last here on 21st May 2022.) In other news, the Alpine Swift roosted overnight, from just after 5pm to about 9:50am this morning. Then it ended up flying around over the same car park/meadow/trees area as yesterday, for the day, in similar light rain. It went from the car park at 4:30pm and went to roost in roughly the same place (or a bit lower) at 5:40pm. 4 Sand Martin and ad male and female Black Redstart reported (fem reported by Mark Coller by the jetty). OPS #106 this year, me #102

      Photos of the Alpine Swift from late last night. 1. By Jonathan Bull. 2. Trying out a roosting spot (Matthew Scott). 3. Where it was from dawn this morning, just above where it was in MS's photo. (Cliff Smith).



15/3/23 – 2 male Wheatear at the yacht club were my first new species for the year at OPS since 13th February ! A terribly long drought of over a month. But then the dam burst ! I had a Water Rail on the island in the lake, seen from Lagoon 3 (and another ran across the path). I got back to my car and was just about to drive off when a guy walks past with binoculars; one of a group of visitors from Cirencester U3A group who I had met earlier and helped them see a pair of Stonechat and c50 Turnstone. I debated whether to ask if they had seen anything interesting, but just as he was about to pass the car I wound down the window. "Well, as you ask, we saw an Alpine Swift flying around over the car park and I am just looking for it again !" Boy, was I pleased I had asked, Richard (sorry didn't get surname). It had been found at 12:15 by Tony Natt and the group. It was now 12:40, and after a couple of minutes it flew back over some trees, and then flew around over the car park/meadow/trees at a height of only about 15 yards for the afternoon. Just before this, it had started to rain lightly and I had noted flocks of 66 Woodpigeon and 29 Redwing brought down low by it. No doubt, it did the same to the swift. It was seen going to roost on the N side of towers just after 5pm. My 204th bird species at OPS. OPS #104 this year, me #101

      A couple of unusual flight photos, and the third is by Mark Coller.



14/3/23 – 2 summer plumaged Mediterranean Gull (video) with 1,000+ Black-headed Gull and 100+ Common Gull. 700 of the BH Gulls were flying upriver in 3 waves: the first highish, then 2 waves low into NE wind. The Med. Gulls were sat on the estuary with 300+ BH Gulls and c60 Common Gulls by the yacht club. Also 37 Lesser Black-backed Gull upriver, including a flock of 30.

      Photos of one of the Med. Gulls (and same in video).


13/3/23 – Andy Middleton reported: 6 Yellowhammer at Shepperdine and the female Black Redstart by the jetty. (No seabirds in 1.5hrs over HT.)


11/3/23 – The immature male Marsh Harrier again quartering Lagoon 3 at 8am. (Note the Snipe in the photo below !) A 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit at the yacht club over HT, and 2 other Rock Pipit. And the 'battle for the lake' is hotting up, with the Mute Swan pair still on top of the Canada Goose pair, so far.


A new trip report on my recent visit to Gran Canaria is here.


9/3/23 – A Harbour Porpoise only 75 yards out on Tidal Res., moving upriver as tide came in - Video (it surfaces at 16s & 36s). HT at Pillhead Gout: 5 Grey Plover, c50 Turnstone (a high count for here), c160 Curlew and 1,100+ Dunlin. Also an increase to c45 Meadow Pipit and 2 Rock Pipit (+ a probable Water Pipit flew long to Littleton from scrapes that are over Pill from yacht club). And 13 Lesser Black-backed Gull upriver in ones/twos.


7/3/23 – The annual 'battle of the lake' has begun between the pairs of Mute Swan and Canada Goose. The Canada Goose pair were nest-prospecting the island, but the Mute Swan pair seem more aggressive this year, so it will be interesting to see if they lose out in the end as in recent years.


6/3/23 – Still rather quiet. A group of 6 Great Black-backed Gull flew downriver, watched by the resident pair. Lagoon 1 had: 2 Mistle Thrush, c25 Redwing and c15 Fieldfare. On the lake were 2 Mute Swan, 2 Little Grebe and a Water Rail (heard). Over HT: 83 Wigeon, 31 Teal, 155 Curlew, 25 Shelduck, just 8 Dunlin and 1 Oystercatcher. The Damsons/Blackthorns are flowering, but the scrub all along the seawall at the yacht club has been trashed.


5/3/23 – Heather England photo'd the male Black Redstart again in same place as yesterday.


4/3/23 – Male Black Redstart reported by Morris Benson from Lagoon 2, by blue skips, in morning.


26/2/23 – AM reported: 26 Snipe, 10 Lapwing, 50 Turnstone, 11 Oystercatcher, 2 Grey Plover, 29 Canada Goose (one pair has taken possession of the island, in dispute with another pair), 41 Teal, 6 Wigeon and 4 Stonechat. Heather England reported the Peregrine pair on a kill this morning (photo below); mobbed and eventually robbed by a Carrion Crow.


25/2/23 – OPS record count of 14 Raven (beating 13 in 2005) flew NE at 8am (having passed Dan at Aust at about 7:30am). Video showing 13 of them + another corvid. And c200 Black-tailed Godwit went NE about a mile inland and very high, in a bunch at front with a long line behind. (Most probably this species from flight pattern, but too distant to see wing flashes, even with 'scope.) Also a Chiffchaff at S end of Lagoon 3. Heather England photo'd the female Black Redstart by the jetty.


24/2/23 – Two Black Redstart today - the female in the demolition area near the jetty, and the ad male reported by Alan Gilbert (via Avonbirds). Jon Angell reported, a Peregrine on the foreshore towards Littleton and 20+ Pied Wagtail on the foreshore.


23/2/23 – A surprisingly cold feeling morning in NE wind. The adult male Black Redstart again on the security fence parallel with the tarmac'd track from car park to Lagoon 2. A high HT (12.4m), produced (at the yacht club): c3,000 Dunlin (distantly in flight at Littleton), 4 Grey Plover, 2 Ringed Plover, just 1 lone Lapwing, 31 Redshank, 100 Curlew, 90 Wigeon, but only 20 Teal. Also a Chiffchaff in Lagoon 2 reedbed, and a Coal Tit at the feeders by the orchard.


22/2/23 – A Water Rail sunbathing in reeds on the island in the lake this afternoon, and 2 Little Grebe there. Chris Newton reported 2 pairs of Stonechat at Shepperdine. Also added Holly to the OPS Plant list - the only one on site, in the shore hedge of Lagoon 3.


21/2/23 – Andy Middleton reported: a female Merlin at Shepperdine and the female Black Redstart at the jetty.


17/2/23 – An adult Mediterranean Gull flying to evening roost with 50 Black-headed Gull, and a Treecreeper with Long-tailed Tit flock by the meadow. Also, c3,000 Dunlin at Lttleton Warth (seen from yacht club).


15/2/23 – Like being at the zoo today ! A female Muscovy Duck is new for the OPS exotics list, and a Greylag x Canada Goose with 41 Canada Goose.


14/2/23 – Craig Lewis got some great photos of the adult male Black Redstart (again on the security fence parallel with the tarmac'd track from car park to Lagoon 2). Also a male Blackcap on Lagoon 3 is new-in. And Heather England photo'd the immature male Marsh Harrier again, over Lagoons 2 & 1.


13/2/23 – This afternoon at 3:50pm a Woodcock was flushed by a particularly noisy family + dog, from the field to SW of Lagoon 3; I got on it as it flew across the reedbed in the corner of the lagoon, towards the S end. Excellent light with sun behind me showed the cryptic reddish-brown plumage on its back and wings. And a male Pintail flew upriver over Tidal Res.. Andy Middleton reported an adult male Black Redstart on the security fence parallel with the tarmac'd track from car park to Lagoon 2 (S side of buildings). AM also had: 142 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 19 Oystercatcher and 4 Grey Plover. OPS #102, me #99


12/2/23 – This morning, Heather England reported an immature male Marsh Harrier on Lagoon 3, and a fem-type Black Redstart. (Photos by HE below.)


11/2/23 – Nine unidentified small Goose species flew down the middle of the river at 8:05am. I only got on them as they went past me in the gloom. Thankfully, when I got to the yacht club they had landed on the water as the tide came in, and I could see they were Dark-bellied Brent Goose. They departed downriver at 9:10am. Nine is the largest flock at OPS since 61 flew upriver on 14/3/2009. OPS #101, me #98


9/2/23 – A nice windless, sunny, morning. Two Water Pipit on the scrapes over the Pill from the yacht club, and then one of them flew to the rubber tyre wall on the yacht club side where it preened, giving a good 'scope view - Video. The 2 Mute Swan were absent from the lake, then flew from Littleton onto the estuary at the yacht club, and back on the lake later. I'm doing quite well in this year's Patchwork Challenge, in the Estuarine league (table below for end-January). 4th behind leader Paul Bowerman at Severnside, but ahead of people at RSPB reserves !
That is the 100th species at OPS so far this year (and the 97th for me).


8/2/23 – Now 2 Little Grebe on the lake, and a Mistle Thrush in a tree on Lagoon 3.


7/2/23 – This morning in freezing fog (-2degs) with 50 yards visibility, 3 Skylark on the saltmarsh and a pair of Raven. Also the first Muntjac of the year (photo by Rob Emery below).



6/2/23 – A pair of Pintail on the shore just to SW of Tidal Res.; and the fem-type Black Redstart with a pair of Stonechat on the fence just to SW of jetty. Andy Middleton reported: an OPS record count of 28 Oystercatcher (beating 26 from last year) - 23 at Pillhead Gout and 5 on Tidal Res., 5 Stonechat, 2000 Dunlin, 55 Lapwing, 233 Curlew, 37 Shelduck and 98 Wigeon.


5/2/23 – Heather England reported 20 Reed Bunting still on Lagoon 3 (photo by HE below).


4/2/23 – A Kingfisher on Oldbury Pill sluice this morning. OPS #99, me #96 And an immature Peregrine flushed the HT roost and singled-out the one Black-tailed Godwit, which was forced to ditch in the estuary and then was repeatedly dive-bombed. But after about 10 minutes of this, the Peregrine realised that it couldn't pick up the sodden Black'wit and sat on the bank. The Black'wit was unable to get in the air and was last seen floating downriver. Video. A Redwing let me get very close to it - looked like it had something wrong with it.


3/2/23 – The Mute Swan pair are back on the lake, and a Little Grebe coming into breeding plumage there.


2/2/23 – 2 Egyptian Goose flew upriver at 8:35am - video. Previously at OPS in 2002, 2006 and 2018 to 2021, all singles. (OPS #98, me #95)


1/2/23 – The first Feral Pigeon of the year ! (OPS #97, me #94)


31/1/23 – Andy Middleton reported: a Jack Snipe, 51 Snipe and 850 Dunlin. (OPS #96, me #93)


30/1/23 – A Red Kite over the escarpment on far side of estuary (i.e. Gloucs.), a fem-type Black Redstart by the jetty and I added Black-tailed Godwit to my OPS year-list..

      This plastic decoy duck looking like something unusual !


29/1/23 – A Water Rail flew to island in the lake and 7+ Yellowhammer still (photo by Heather England below).
John Sanders reported 5 Bewick's Swan (3 adult, 2 juvs.) at Aylburton Warth this morning - his first site record in over 60 years!


28/1/23 – The juv. Bewick's Swan flew NE with 2 Canada Goose at 8:20am, then flew back downriver at 9:55am. Also, 7 Grey Plover, 6 Snipe, c500 Dunlin and c250 Lapwing.


27/1/23 – A pair of Pintail on the Tidal Res. at Shepperdine, and a Redpoll over. The Snowdrops are opening (11 days later than last year). Also a Black Redstart by the jetty.


26/1/23 – A juv. Bewick's Swan flew from the estuary as the tide came in, at 8:40am, and went to S. (This bird has been on the estuary for 5 days now.) Also a Mute Swan at the yacht club, and 15 Yellowhammer still.
And Steve Heaven from Slimbridge tells me that the adult Bewick's in the photo from 24th, below, are Trotsky with mate Bronstein. (Identified by unique bill paterns.) Trotsky was the first Bewick’s swan to arrive at Slimbridge in the winter of 2017 (on the 8th Nov) when a yearling; he has been paired with Bronstein since the winter of 2021.


      There are 14 Yellowhammers in this bush !


25/1/23 – A juv. Bewick's Swan flew SW along shore past yacht club this afternoon - an astounding 4th day for this species at OPS. Andy Middleton's WeBS: 34 Barnacle Goose flying around at Shepperdine, a Snow/Ross's Goose in field with 133 Canada Goose in poor visibility, 294 Teal, 256 Wigeon, 84 Mallard, 1 Gadwall, 6 Snipe, 55 Turnstone, 58 Lapwing, 85 Curlew, 70 Dunlin and 4 Stonechat.


24/1/23 – A very heavy frost and -5C. Two adult Bewick's Swan at Pillhead Gout over HT. They were feeding on the saltmarsh grasses for over an hour, then flew downriver as tide dropped. A remarkable 3rd day for this rare species at OPS. The Ruff was flying around over the Lapwing flock at the end of Oldbury Pill at dawn, then flew downriver. The adult male Black Redstart again by the jetty. A Siskin flew over, calling. The Peregrine pair were on a kill by Pillhead Gout.



23/1/23 – A flock of c50 Barnacle Goose flew overhead upriver at 8:40am (10 minutes after leaving Severnside where they had been all day yesterday), and an escaped Ross's Goose (photos by Hugh Gregor below - many thanks !) and c5 Greylag Goose with them - quite a sight, and sound ! A juvenile Bewick's Swan was on the estuary towards the yacht club (and 4 possible adults on very far side of estuary). While at the yacht club, a Red Kite flew low upriver along the bank, and a female Marsh Harrier flew up middle of river, and then over to far side of estuary. Also another 2 Barnacle Goose on the estuary, a pair of Shoveler upriver and a Ruff feeding in a field with Lapwing. (The last Ruff at OPS was in 2019.) Then 2 Black Redstart by the jetty (ad m and fem-type) and 6 Grey Plover. (I also heard a Whooper Swan calling, but could not find it.) Hugh Gregor had another 3 Bewick's Swan (2ad + juv) flying down the estuary this morning (photo by HG below). I knew it was going to be a good morning when I found my camera battery dead ! Photos below phone-scoped. OPS #95 - best all-comers total by end of Jan.! (And #92 is my best also.)




22/1/23 – Matt Plenty reported: 7 Whooper Swan that flew upriver at 2:40pm, and 9 Bewick's Swan on the estuary towards yacht club for 10+ minutes and then flew upriver at 3:15pm, and a female-type Black Redstart on the jetty. Also a male Pintail at Shepperdine. Heather England reported: 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Grey Plover and 6 Stonechat (pairs at Lagoon 3, yacht club and by bench next to Lagoon 3). #90



21/1/23 – A very frosty dawn (photo below), when a Redpoll went over to SW, calling, and 3 Little Egret flew from the Littleton direction. Also 17 Yellowhammer and 16 Reed Bunting on Lagoon 3 (latter reported by Heather England). Then freezing fog descended.


20/1/23 – An adult winter Mediterranean Gull on the Tidal Res. shore this evening, with c2,000 Black-headed Gull and c1,800 Common Gull on the Tidal Reservoir alone. The adult male Black Redstart on a building roof in same area as 18th. Also 330 Lapwing (inc. 200 flying over fields at Littleton), plus House Sparrow (in farm to S of Lagoon 2) and Little Egret (downriver) both added to the year-list. #87



19/1/23 – Two Golden Plover flew from frozen fields calling. A male Peregrine landed in a tree and let me walk within 50 yards without moving ! (Video shows how close). Still 16+ Reed Bunting on Lagoon 3. And 3 Stonechat (2 reported by Lois Price by jetty and male at yacht cub). #84 (And the video of the two Shags below on 16th is now available - I hadn't published it, sorry. Worth a look.)


18/1/23 – An adult male Black Redstart on the security fence parallel with the tarmac'd path from the car park to Lagoon 2, with a male Stonechat. (Then flew to buildings nearby.) The frozen Lagoon 1 was good: 65 Redwing, 10 Fieldfare, 3 Snipe and 13 Curlew (inc. 'headstarts' 21 & 23). (Then everything was flushed by a dog walker.) #83


17/1/23 – 24 Reed Bunting feeding together on reed seedheads in N corner of Lagoon 3 this morning (and 2 more around), and 10+ Yellowhammer still at the yacht club. Andy Middleton reported 5 Pintail and an increase to 28 Shelduck on the Tidal Res. this afternoon. Tony Krajeski photographed a Grey Wagtail on the frozen Lagoon 1 (below).


16/1/23 – Two Shag (adult and 1st-winter) close in on the Tidal Res. just after midday. (Video). I had a 1st-w here last January, but there have only been 3 records at OPS before that. #82


15/1/23 – An adult Kittiwake flew low over my head, then over the waterworks, gained height over Lagoon 2 and circled over the towers. Also 12 Oystercatcher reported by Heather England.

      Stonechat (photo by @lisegirl1) and Curlews (photo by Paul Sadley).


14/1/23 – Another 3 Kittiwake (2 ad and a 1st-w) between dawn and 11am. Also a juv/fem Merlin hunting over flooded fields between Lagoon 3 and yacht club, 4 Greylag flew upriver, and the remaining Mute Swan left the lake and flew upriver.#81


13/1/23 – A second night of high winds and rain produced a Fulmar (video) and 5 Kittiwake (4 ad and a 1st-w) from dawn (8:10am) to HT (11:05am). Two of the adult Kittiwake landed close in, one at Shepperdine and the other right next to the seawall by Lagoon 1. Also 9 Raven together along shore by Lagoon 1 at dawn. #80



12/1/23 – A Kittiwake at dawn, flying around and sat on estuary at Shepperdine for half hour. Also, the first Snipe of the year. (The Brambling record on 9th was erroneous.) #79


10/1/23 – A Merlin again, flushed the HT roost at Pillhead Gout, then flew to Littleton. Also, a male Pintail, 250 Curlew, 250 Dunlin, 38 Redshank and 12 Yellowhammer.


9/1/23 – Andy Middleton reported: a Merlin hunting over farmland between Lagoon 3 and yacht cllub, the Mute Swan pair are back (having been absent for 2 days) they were on the lake, but also on Lagoon 1, 157 Wigeon, 2 Pintail, 300 Curlew, 500 Dunlin, 35 Redshank, 75 Lapwing, 18 Yellowhammer (yacht club), 1 Treecreeper and a Coal Tit. Also, 210 Rook on the rocky shore at Shepperdine (presumably picking up grit) and 2 Stonechat (m + f). #77


8/1/23 – A Little Grebe on the lake and a Chiffchaff there. (The Mute Swan pair have left.)


6/1/23 – Two species added to the year-list this morning: 4 Pintail (2 pairs) on the estuary off Pillhead Gout and a female Blackcap eating mistletoe berries in the Anchor Inn car park. Also, 10 Yellowhammer, another c300 Black-headed Gull low downriver, 370 Woodpigeon high over in flocks of 70 (to NE) and 300 (to E); 50 Pied Wagtail on flooded field and the Peregrine pair back on their favourite pylon, and being vocal. #76
John Sanders reported: 270 Curlew (Pillhead Gout), 5 Ringed Plover and 2 Mute Swan on flooded Lagoon 1. Lagoon 1 would be excellent for wildfowl and waders if it was not walked round when it was flooded.


5/1/23 – Five species added to the year-list this morning (in the rain): 2 Siskin (over, calling), the first Kestrel, 3 Skylark, a Rock Pipit (yacht club) and a Greenfinch. (Still no Peregrine or Snipe.) Lois Pryce reported: a Tawny Owl calling (wood by lake), 12 Yellowhammer and c500 Black-headed Gull mainly flying up/down river. Andy Middleton reported: 400 Common Gull and 11 Oystercatcher at Shepperdine. Mike Smart reported, yesterday evening: 230 Curlew (Pillhead Gout) and a Peregrine on the shore by Tidal Res.. #74


3-4/1/23 – Another two species for the year-list: 3 Ringed Plover and 2 Shelduck. #67


2/1/23 – Nine species added to the year-list this morning: 2 Treecreeper (one with Long-tailed Tits and other Goldcrests), 3 Coal Tit, a Little Grebe (lake - last here in Nov.), 9 Oystercatcher, a Chiffchaff (Lagoon 3 reeds), 11 Bullfinch, 2 Cetti's Warbler (sub-song, Lagoon 3), Sparrowhawk and 2 Collared Dove. #65 Also 3 Water Rail heard.


1/1/23Happy New Birding Year ! The first bird of the year, this afternoon, was a Robin singing in the car park, followed by a Raven calling from a pylon. 3 Redpoll on Lagoon 2 were a nice surprise; the 14 Yellowhammer are still at the yacht club; also, a male Gadwall courting a female Mallard, a Mistle Thrush, 5 Grey Plover, 218 Curlew, 206 Teal, 250 Wigeon, 56 Lapwing, 34 Redshank, 38 Canada Goose still in the flooded field. But just 1 Dunlin ! The Mute Swan pair are getting aggressive on the lake as the breeding season nears. Wonder if they will be usurped by the Canada Geese this year ? #56 bird species seen. (Same as first day last year !)





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