Birdwatching at Oldbury Power Station

25/3/17 – A glorious sunrise this morning, but 0 deg C. Continuous movement of Meadow Pipit into NE wind. Also 80 Black-headed Gull in 3 flocks and 20 Snipe on Lagoon 3. In a timed hour migration watch 8-9am (by which time the earlier movement had slowed considerably), to NE: 63 Meadow Pipit, 14 Linnet, 14 Woodpigeon, 5 Goldfinch, 2 Greenfinch, 1 Siskin, 1 Chaffinch and a female House Sparrow (!) which came down in a hedge. AM reported a Coal Tit and Brimstone butterfly.


24/3/17 – A Grey Plover still at yacht club, 16 Oystercatcher, 2 Comma and 2 Tortoiseshell butterflies.


23/3/17 – ML/CL reported the first Blackcap of the year, singing. The Canada Goose pair have built a nest in the last 2 days, with the female sitting now. And 2 Lapwing in the flooded field to SW of Lagoon 3, and 11 Chiffchaff around.

      A few Cowslips out this week.


18/3/17 – Avonbirds reported: 35 Wigeon, 9 Teal, 9 Oystercatcher and 55 Turnstone at Shepperdine.


17/3/17 – AM reported: 3 Peregrine - male displaying to female on nest shelf, when another female came in to look and male didn't know which one to display to ! Female on shelf ignored her and second female disappeared. Male continued to display. A couple of hours later a female spent sometime drinking and bathing in pools in fields SW of Lagoon 3. Also 43 occupied Rook nests in small copse just before entrance to OPS.


16/3/17 – A Carrion Crow on a nest this morning, and yesterday, a Lesser Redpoll singing its buzzing song from the top of a Pussy Willow by the lake. Also yesterday, 2 Tortoiseshell and 1 Comma butterfly.


15/3/17 – PK reported: 6+ Chiffchaff singing, c90 Meadow Pipit (40 x lagoon 1), Peregrine pair showing very well around towers and brief 'symbolic food-pass' display ! Very few waders - 43 Curlew and 8 Oystercatcher.


13/3/17 – AM reported: 2 Great Crested Grebe floating upriver on incoming tide (the first since 2014, and before that 2008), 1 Wheatear, 4 Chiffchaff, 109 Wigeon, 28 Teal, 165 Curlew, 55 Turnstone, 14 Shelduck, 54 Redshank, 5 Tufted Duck, 2 Water Rail, 79 Snipe and a Jack Snipe. Also a Bank Vole almost ran between feet and a Peacock butterfly.


11/3/17 – 7+ Chiffchaff landed around the site overnight. 2 Greylag Goose flew downriver at HT and a Jack Snipe flushed from saltmarsh. MB reported a Sand Martin over Lagoon 3 (earliest ever at OPS, beating 15/3/2008), and 4 Water Rail (3 showing well and keeping 'Fil' company and 1 heard on Lagoon 2). And another probable Sand Martin seen distantly by AI over Lagoon 2.


10/3/17 – A Water Rail has been showing well all week on the flooded Lagoon 3.


9/3/17 – A Little Grebe coming into breeding plumage on the lake. Not many over-wintering waders left at yacht club at HT: c100 Curlew, 11 Dunlin, 2 Redshank and 1 Grey Plover.


8/3/17 – A male Wheatear at the yacht club is the earliest ever at OPS (beating 9th March 1997), and c300 Pied Wagtail still in the roost on buildings by the jetty.

      Wheatear at yacht club.


7/3/17 – A Water Rail showed well on the flooded part of Lagoon 3 (by 'Fil' the plastic flamingo). And a female House Sparrow at the yacht club. AM counted 14 Stonechat this morning ! (6 x lagoon 1, 1 x lagoon 2, 4 x Yacht Club and 3 on shore towards yacht club.) The site record has increased over the years, as the lagoons have matured. Up to 2004 the historical record was only 5, then 7 in 2005, 8 in 2007 (and also 8 in 2008). Then the numbers reduced for the next 5 years with only 1 or 2 in 2010-2012 (may be as Lagoon 2 over-matured, but Lagoon 3 was still unvegitated.) 8 was hit again in 2014, then 9 in 2016.


      5/3/17 - Rainbow over the Shepperdine bay.


4/3/17 – A male Yellowhammer was on the hedge along the road to the yacht club, then flew to farms inland. And 10 Stonechat around the site (site record ! 2 pairs x Lag 3, 1f x jetty, 1m x waterworks/Lag 2, pair x Shepperdine, pair at yacht club). A sunny Spring-like morning, but I couldn't find any summer migrants !


2/3/17 – A nice 1st-winter Kittiwake slowly moving downriver off Shepperdine at 8am in high (& cold!) W wind.


1/3/17 – 8 Stonechat today (4 x Lagoon 1, 4 by jetty) and yesterday, a singing Cetti's Warbler on Lagoon 3.


25/2/17 – I was hoping the male Hen Harrier had roosted, and spent the night deciding the most likely place - saltmarsh/Lagoon 2/Lagoon 3. From where it was last seen, I guessed Lagoon 2. So I was there before sunrise and then looked at Shepperdine. Nothing - Damn! Walking along the shore to Lagoon 3, by the Waterworks, the bird circled up highish beyond the jetty and started flying along the shore towards me at pace (in a brisk SW wind). I reached for the camera, but too slow, and it flew virtually over my head at 100m height. Then across Lagoon 2 and out of sight. I went to Shepperdine as fast as I could and it was quartering the saltmarsh at the far end of the bay (where I got a brief 'scope view). Then went upriver. I walked up past the Windbound (now just a parking lot !) as far as the boat radar station, but no sign. This is the 7th record of Hen Harrier for OPS, the last was in Apr 2012. It is the 3rd male (last Mar 2012). (Last time I saw a male was on Outer Hebrides, when one chased a SE Owl for food - photos here.)


24/2/17 – A Raven sat on a nest near OPS - nest first spotted in first week of February. The adult male Black Redstart was on the roof of the SW side of the towers, briefly. And 7 Stonechat on Lagoon 1 ! But PK had the best spot by far - a male Hen Harrier at about 4.30pm - "I was standing on the flood bank at the NE corner of lagoon 1 when it took off from the grass by the small patch of reeds (at the far end of the bay at Shepperdine). It came all the way along the river side of the flood bank to within about 50 yards of me before flicking over the bank and disappearing round the back of lagoon 1 - absolutely stunning and completely unmistakable!!" Also a Gadwall on the Tidal Res. and 2 Jack Snipe at Shepperdine.

      And a touch of Spring, with this Blackthorn blossom.


23/2/17 – No sea-birds blown up the estuary by storm Doris in 2 hours this afternoon.


18/2/17 – A drake Gadwall on the Tidal Res., and a Lesser Redpoll over, calling. (60 species this morning which is equal best so far this year, with two other dates on same number.) MP/AM reported 2 Grey Wagtail at the yacht club. (And the Dunlin 'M1X', JS confirmed, was from the Vistula Delta, north Poland - same as '1YE' I had in September 2016.)


17/2/17 – The adult male Black Redstart still on top of the SW side of towers and 300+ Pied Wagtail gathering on roofs to roost. Only one Mute Swan on the lake calling for other (not as quiet as name suggests). PK reported: 2600 Dunlin (50@Shepperdine, 850 on way to yacht club, 1000 SW of yacht club and c700 on mudbanks.), 330 Lapwing, 150 Curlew, 27 Turnstone (Shepperdine), 20 Snipe, 3 Ringed Plover, 20 Shelduck, 450 Wigeon, 120 Teal, 300 Redwing, a Cetti's Warbler and 6 Stonechat (2m & 1f Shepperdine and same by jetty). SE/MH reported 2 Peregrine flying across from far side of river and one landing on the towers. JS reported 2 Grey Plover and a Polish ringed Dunlin ('M1X'). (Wow ! Unprecedented numbers of birders visiting !)


16/2/17 – A Ruff flying around with the Lapwing flock at the yacht club, and then towards Littleton. The Mute Swan pair are back on the lake, and 5 Stonechat still (2xLagoon1, 1xLagoon2, 2xYacht club).


14/2/17 – 2 Golden Plover with c300 Lapwing at yacht club at HT, then flew upriver. And a Mistle Thrush in the newly cut hedge there.

      The Golden Plover above the Lapwing flock.


13/2/17 – MP, PD and 29 Thornbury U3A birders reported a Red Kite moving upriver at 10.40am. 35 species seen. MP reported the male Black Redstart still, by the waterworks. At lunchtime, Lagoon 1 had a pair of Stonechat and 20+ Meadow Pipit.


12/2/17 – AM reported: 254 Curlew, 745 Lapwing, 2000 Dunlin, 47 Redshank, 16 Oystercatcher, 31 Turnstone, 53 Snipe, 1 Jack Snipe, 166 Wigeon, 87 Teal, 24 Mallard.


11/2/17 – Out walking before dawn this morning, in the snow/sleet - didn't help me find much though ! A Golden Plover was heard (only) over the yacht club, and 350-400 Lapwing there. And a male Stonechat on the shore by Lagoon 3. But the best find was the remains of an Otter meal by the lake, i.e. a load of fish scales, with a fresh, sweet smelling, spraint !


10/2/17 – 4 Tufted Duck (3 male) on the lake now.


9/2/17 – A Mediterranean Gull was in the evening roost on the Tidal Res., and 3 Gadwall (2m+1f) on the lake.

      Med Gull with quite an advanced black hood.


8/2/17 – 2 Coot back on the lake with the 3 Tufted Duck.


7/2/17 – An adult male Black Redstart was still on top of the towers, fly-catching at south end in glorious morning sun. (It may have been here since 20th Nov 2016.) And 6 Pintail at Shepperdine (4m+2f). AM also reported: 2600 Dunlin, 495 Lapwing, 58 Snipe (inc. 27 at Shepperdine), 12 Oystercatcher, 295 Wigeon and 46 Teal. Plus, a Peacock butterfly - newly hatched and flying on Lagoon 3 !

      Some of the male Pintails at Shepperdine.


6/2/17 – 3 Tufted Duck (2m+1f) back on the lake.


4/2/17 – A nice crisp (-1 deg C) and sunny morning. In the run-up to High Tide, a Golden Plover was with the Lapwing flock on the shore off Lagoon 3, before flying off downriver. At the yacht club: 4 Shoveler (3 male), 6 Pintail (3m,3f) and an adult winter Little Gull drifted upriver with a flock of c30 Black-headed Gull. Also, 8 Snipe, 3 Ringed Plover and 3 Water Rail heard on Lagoon 3 (where there is some standing water). AM reported from Shepperdine: 235 Wigeon, 170 Teal, 180 Lapwing, 46 Turnstone and 9 Oystercatcher.

      This Little Gull was asleep as it drifted upriver past the yacht club and all the way to the Tidal Res..


      The Golden Plover with Lapwing.


2/2/17 – A Short-eared Owl was at the saltmarsh by the yacht club this morning, and went to roost nearby. Also 2 Grey Plover and c2,500 Dunlin at HT. (Highest count at OPS is 2,700, in 2001.)

      . . . it was raining, ok !


1/2/17 – 29 Skylark in a field to SW of Lagoon 3 this evening and 2 Little Egret at yacht club. JS reported good numbers of waders at HT from Pillhead gout (& Littleton Wharth): 1,500 Lapwing, 2,000 Dunlin, 20 Redshank, 15 Knot, 9 Turnstone, 6 Snipe, 3 Ringed Plover, 2 Grey Plover, a Black-tailed Godwit, a male Ruff and about 100 Curlew (and another 100 in fields between the yacht club and lagoon 3).


31/1/17 – A Black-tailed Godwit in the HT roost at the yacht club this morning. Also 4 Stonechat and 2 Rock Pipit there.

      The Snowdrops are out - only 2 months of winter left !


30/1/17 – c150 Redwing in the paddock to south of Lagoon 2 this afternoon. AM reported: 145 Teal, 20 Wigeon, 80 Lapwing, 58 Curlew, 5 Redshank and 9 Bullfinch.


28/1/17 – Dan@twit1144 reported the Peregrine pair.


27/1/17 – An excellent hour for birds of prey this afternoon, in still air and overcast skies. A Red Kite was inland of Lagoon 2, slowly heading low SW at 2.35pm and then at 3.30pm a female Marsh Harrier headed upriver along the shore, and quartered Lagoon 2, before seeming to go down in the reedbed at 3.40pm.


25/1/17 – The 2 adult male Black Redstart were along the shore by the waterworks this afternoon, with a pair of Stonechat.


21/1/17 – DP reported the Peregrine pair on the towers at midday. Driving through frozen fog at dawn, the signs were not good, but amazingly it was completely clear at OPS. (-4 degrees C though.) And there were some interesting birds about: the adult male Black Redstart was back on the towers, having been invisible since 2nd Jan.. The orchard is now home to c250 noisy Fieldfare eating apples. There were 2 Grey Wagtail on the sea-wall, and 4 Stonechat about. Also a Grey Plover on the shore (and a probable adult Yellow-legged Gull briefly). Lastly, an impressive c40 Reed Bunting were on Lagoon 3, eating seeds from the top of reed stems, including c20 together.


17/1/17 – A very grey morning, but a pair of Stonechat at the yacht club.

      Male Stonechat and Robin.


14/1/17 – The HT roost at the yacht club was pretty much the same as all winter: 1 Grey Plover, 2 Ringed Plover, 15 Oystercatcher, c20 Redshank, c200 Curlew, c1000 Dunlin, 300+ Lapwing, 7 Snipe and 2 Rock Pipit.

      There are 100+ Fieldfare eating the scrumpy apples in the Orchard and c150 Redwing in the fields.


      CL found this Fox in the Orchard.


13/1/17 – Lagoon 3: 1 Jack Snipe, 35 Snipe and 6 Skylark.


10/1/17 – AM's Low Tide Count: 120 Curlew, 800 Dunlin, 330 Lapwing, 14 Snipe, 54 Teal, 113 Wigeon, 110 Fieldfare.


8/1/17 – AM reported: 1 Jack Snipe, 15 Snipe, 1 Tufted Duck (drake back on lake), pair of Mute Swan, 63 Blackbird, 65 Fieldfare (in orchard) and a Stonechat.


7/1/17 – In the fog this morning, a Grey Plover called from the Tidal Res. shore. And 2 Mute Swan reported by a dog-walker yesterday, checking out the lake briefly.

      6 Fallow Deer seen in a field inland of OPS.


6/1/17 – 3 Water Rail seen this morning: 1 on ice at edge of reeds on lake and 2 ran across the path around Lagoon 2. (Also 3 flushed by a dog from Lagoon 2 reeds 'a couple of days ago'.).


5/1/17 – c100 Fieldfare late afternoon (inc. c75 in orchard). Also the first Cetti's Warbler of the year heard on Lagoon 3 and a Little Egret along the main rhine. And a Treecreeper seen on 3rd with tit flock.


4/1/17 – Mrs T reported: 6 Stonechat and c800 Dunlin.


3/1/17 – No American Wigeon at the OPS end of Littleton Wharth this morning, but a Grey Plover, 2 Ringed Plover, c350 Lapwing and 500+ Dunlin at Pillhead Gout.


2/1/17 – Ben Ofield found this American Wigeon at Littleton Wharth this morning, flying up and down the estuary.(Photo by Ben - Thanks !) (And apparently it did fly into OPS patch air-space, i.e. viewable from yacht club.)


The adult male Black Redstart is still following the sun around the towers. And 4 Stonechat still. A Water Rail was flushed from Lagoon 3.

      Black Redstart fly-catching. And yachts at start of race off salt-marsh at yacht club.


1/1/17 – A juvenile Marsh Harrier quartered the reedbed on Lagoon 2 a couple of times before disappearing. (Moulting wing feathers, so rather tatty looking.)

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