19/5/19 – MP reported a Cuckoo calling on Lagoon 3.
18/5/19 – Superb view of a Tawny Owl perched in open by lake, early morning, being scolded by other birds. And on incoming tide: 31 Black-headed Gull upriver and some waders landed briefly at Shepperdine: 2 Knot, c5 Dunlin and c15 Ringed Plover.
17/5/19 – This evening, a female Cuckoo (silent and with brownish tinge to feathers) flew from Shepperdine, across fields and over hedge to lagoon 1. And 17 Swift upriver. Over High Tide: 3 Sanderling, 2 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover and 30+ Black-headed Gull.
15/5/19 – A beaut of a queen Hornet - about 2 inches long !
13/5/19 – Some fledged chicks about today: 3 Raven being fed by adult, 2 Carrion Crow clambering around trees, 3 families of Long-tailed Tit and parents with 2 young Coot. Also, a Lapwing over, calling (not breeding locally) and 3 Dunlin over HT.
9/5/19 – A Common Tern went slowly downriver at 10:30am. c40 Dunlin and 3 Ringed Plover flew upriver. (But they were all, in 1.5 hrs to HT.) 2 Whimbrel still at Shepperdine.
Tall-ship called 'Pelican of London' went upriver.
8/5/19 – 16 Arctic Tern (12 and 4) and 7 'Commic' Tern (3 + 4) went upriver during a seawatch from 10:30am - 13:00. Very unusually, this was after High Tide (10:41am), with a SW wind and in sunshine between showers. Also 2 Buzzard together high to north, across the estuary, and 4 Whimbrel.
7/5/19 – A Wood Warbler singing and seen for 10 mins. in tree-tops at start of track to shore, by entrance.
Excellent selection of waders as tide came in: a Greenshank with 2 Black-tailed Godwit, a Sanderling, 8 Whimbrel, 35 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover and 4 Curlew.
A Garden Warbler sang (and seen well) in hedge between ramp to Lagoon 3 and hide. And 3+ Tree Pipit (2 over, one calling, 1 landed in same trees as Wood Warbler and 1 or 2 probable in trees at SW end Lagoon 3.)
60 species seen, with 4 new for the year for me.
Sanderling with a Dunlin.
6/5/19 – The first 2 Swift of the year, 17+ Whimbrel, 7 Dunlin, a lovely summer Grey Plover, 2 Curlew and 7 Wheatear.
4/5/19 – Some migrants on a cold (2 degs) morning: 5 'Commic' Tern (probably Arctics) upriver at 7:20am, 6 Wheatear (yacht club), 5 Whimbrel, 5 Dunlin and 2 Sand Martin.
AM reported 22 Blackcap and 21 Wren.
Roe Deer relaxing.
30/4/19 – MB reported a Cuckoo (seen + heard) on Lagoon 2 in the evening. The colour-ringed Oystercatcher first seen on 1st March is still here, and getting on well with the locals !
29/4/19 – Excellent numbers of warblers singing this morning, including 9 Sedge Warbler and 4 Lesser Whitethroat. I got a pretty good video of a Lesser Whitethroat singing, at the top of the ramp to Lagoon 3 (by the hide) and it also has a Cetti's Warbler singing at 8 seconds in. There are 6 pairs of Tufted Duck on the lake again, which may indicate failed nests (and so the female has returned to the water). But there was also the first Moorhen chick. And a Mallard female is now nesting where the Goose was.
Lesser Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler.
28/4/19 – A female Wheatear by the jetty, 2 Whimbrel at Shepperdine and a Greylag Goose over to East. The Canada Goose pair were on the lake alone, so it looks like the goslings sadly perished due to Storm Hannah. AM counted: 24 Reed Warbler, 35 Whitethroat, 16 Chiffchaff, 6 Sedge Warbler and 19 Blackcap.
3 Roe Deer running across the mud to the Tidal Res.(presumably chased off the Lagoons by dogs).
27/4/19 – Storm Hannah overnight and this morning produced: a Fulmar trying to hold-station into wind over near-shore at Shepperdine at 6:35am, before banking and going upriver; 7 Arctic Tern (5 at 8:15am and 2 at 12:15pm) downriver and 1 'Commic' Tern (fast, upriver at 7:45am - probably Arctic). Also 8+ Whimbrel feeding at Shepperdine.
26/4/19 – 3 Whimbrel feeding at Shepperdine.
25/4/19 – A Great Skua was flying low and slow upriver when it spotted 2 Common Tern on the Tidal res., which it came over to investigate. It didn't chase them, but turned and flew down the near-shore and last saw going back downriver. I took a very distant video of it. Nice collection of waders at Shepperdine: 1 Grey Plover (in summer plumage), 1 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Ringed Plover, 1 Curlew and 1 Dunlin (+4 more upriver). AM later reported 3 Common Tern downriver.
Still from video.
24/4/19 – 2 dark phase Arctic Skua upriver just ahead of a rain shower at 11am. Also a Skylark over to NE.
One of the Arctic Skuas - photo by Andy Jordan taken as it went past Sharpness.
The Bar-tailed Godwits flying upriver from 2 days ago (photos by MP).
Flavous Nomad Wasp.(Photo by MP)
23/4/19 – Another 58 Bar-tailed Godwit upriver as tide came in. Flocks of 15, 4, 7, 1 with 5 Whimbrel and 31 between 8:44 and 9:40am. Also 2 Ringed Plover. Loads of warblers singing on the Lagoons, inc. 7 Sedge Warbler and 6 Lesser Whitethroat. A Mistle Thrush again on Lagoons 1/2. Vismig to NE: 1 Crossbill (heard), 5 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Siskin.
A Peregrine on an unusual perch (used to perch here years ago, but not lately). And a neat barge upriver.
22/4/19 – 2 Sandwich Tern appeared from up high and went slowly downriver at 8:07am. (That's the 5th Spring in a row I have had a record here: 16/3/18 1 downriver, 30/3/17 6 downriver & 1/4/17 1 downriver, 28/3/16 1 downriver, 6/4/15 6 upriver.) 142 Bar-tailed Godwit as tide came in (best since 115 in 2011 and 222 in 2007): 8 on shore at Shepperdine joined 10 flying upriver at 8:05am, then flocks of 35 (8:34am), 51 (8:43am), 37 (9:10am) and 1. Also a Whimbrel (heard) and 2 Dunlin.
The Bar-tailed Godwits on the shore (3 in red summer plumage) and a Linnet.
6 canoeists getting a free ride upriver on the tide.
21/4/19 – AM reported an adult Mediterranean Gull upriver and 8 Whimbrel.
Whimbrel at Shepperdine (photo by VC).
20/4/19 – Over High Tide this morning (upriver): 2 Avocet, c15 'Commic' Tern, 2 Whimbrel, c35 Black-headed Gull, c30 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 9 Great Black-backed Gull (single flock), 3 Redpoll, 4 Siskin, 10 Goldfinch, 3 House Martin and a Greylag Goose (again, at dawn). A Whinchat on the fence at Shepperdine and the Canada Goose pair are proud parents of 7 goslings.
19/4/19 – 3 Lesser Whitethroat singing on Lagoons.
AM also reported: 7 Whitethroat, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Sedge Warbler, 9 Reed Warbler, 17 Blackcap and 12 Chiffchaff.
18/4/19 – After this morning's stint, which I knew was good, my mates made me go cycling to Bath (27 miles). After getting back I input my records to Birdtrack and found I had seen 69 species this morning - my equal 2nd best OPS total in a day !
So, I visited this evening with a goal to beat my record 74 species in a day (from 2015). I got there at 4:30pm and went round Lagoon 2 and quickly found Collared Dove, House Sparrow and Chaffinch missing! 72 species.
I then had a massive dilema, about whether to watch the tide or go to Lagoon 3. The conditions looked very good for movement upriver - wind from upriver (or slightly to East) and a haze.
I decided to go towards Lagoon 3 along the shore, but stopping to scan every 100 yards. A scan along the shore to SW and Lagoon 3 produced a Raven and 2 Grey Plover (+c40 Dunlin). 74 species - equal best.
Going back to Shepperdine (my favourite spot for seawatching) I got near the jetty when some tern-like birds were going upriver.
(Conditions in evening are not good here, as sun sets in West on far side of estuary.) The birds puzzled me; they were smaller than 2 Black-headed Gull with them, but what tern were they ?
They then started to turn and gain height and turning against the dark far shore I could make out the black head and white wing-tips of one - an adult Little Gull. One of the others was a moulting out of 1st-winter, the 3rd was intermediate. 75 species - the record !
Settling in at Shepperdine, a couple of flocks of Curlew sp. went upriver (25 + 40) - the first flock looked like Whimbrel but did not call (and were very far out), the second flock were all Curlew, apart from last bird - definitely Whimbrel ! (Very shaky video - it is the very last bird in the line at the start.)
I then got a Kestrel inland, alerted to by Martins. 77 species.
Finally, a 'Commic' Tern was picking flies off the water surface on the (flooded) Tidal Res.. The light was bad now, and it settled on a log, where a 2nd one was.
Video and photos show they were Common Tern.
78 species in a day! (Common birds missed: Starling(!), Green Woodpecker, Skylark(!) and Redshank.) Then a Common Seal popped up at Shepperdine.
Photos show tail length less than wings, and crown extent down back large = Common Tern.
Common Sandpiper and the 3 Greylag going over Lagoon 1.
17/4/19 – My first Tree Pipit of the year and the first
2 Yellow Wagtail over to NE, all calling, at 11am after the mist cleared.
That is 120 species for me at OPS this year, and 122 for all-comers. 7 needed to equal best-ever records by end-April.
A load of cock Pheasant feathers on Lagoon 3. And MP has found some more Bee species . . . Hawthorn Mining Bee
Orange-tailed Mining Bee and Yellow-legged Mining Bee. See Matt's List of Insects so far at OPS.
16/4/19 – A Tawny Owl sat in a tree by the gate to the hide, being scolded by birds. Some vismig to NE (but not much considering mist): 23 Swallow, 3 House Martin, 2 Sand Martin, 1 Collared Dove (flying fast and direct along shore, and landed on jetty), 10 Lesser Black-backed Gull and 2 Black-headed Gull. A Little Grebe on lake again.
15/4/19 – 3 Wheatear by the jetty (2m, 1f), 2 Lesser Whitethroat singing (Lagoon 3 and Lagoon 1 outfall) and a Sedge Warbler singing in Lagoon 2 reeds with the 2 Reed Warbler.
Male Wheatear and an Alder Fly by the lake.
14/4/19 – A Short-eared Owl reported by dog-walker yesterday evening on lagoon 3,
and 2 days ago in the fields towards yacht club.
A Lesser Whitethroat (Lagoon 3) and 2 Reed Warbler (Lagoon 2) singing still. Also 28 Teal still at Shepperdine at HT and 2 Mistle Thrush in the orchard.
AM reported: 1 Cetti's Warbler, 2 House Martin, 12 Blackcap, 25 Chiffchaff, 6 Tufted Duck, 49 Shelduck, 7 Wigeon and 2 Little Egret.
The Meadow next to the car park is full of Cowslips.
13/4/19 – A Lesser Whitethroat singing in SW corner of Lagoon 3 this morning. It can be heard at 16 & 26 seconds in this video here. And an increase to 8 Willow Warbler singing. The first 2 Reed Warbler of the year reported by @BirderGinger on Lagoon 2.
The Canada Goose sitting on the nest on the island.
12/4/19 – A Mute Swan right out in the middle of the estuary at HT, then flew downriver. (Surprisingly quiet over the High Tide today and yesterday, despite seemingly good migration conditions.)
The white dot is the Swan, half-mile away.
11/4/19 – AI reported a Garden Warbler along the bridleway to shore. Showing quite well, not singing. In ivy covered oak tree 100 yards after gate by road, on right. (Earliest at OPS by 6 days, and for S. Gloucs. by 5 days!)
A buck Roe Deer on Lagoon 2 (photo by AI), and heard grunting there recently.
10/4/19 – 3 Greylag Goose flying up far side of estuary; another male Redstart, along the path at south end Lagoon 2; a Grey Plover moulting into summer plumage at yacht club (photo below); a Mistle Thrush singing; and a Sedge Warbler singing in reeds, Lagoon 3; 2 Wheatear at yacht club. MP reported: 8 Golden Plover, 1 Grey Plover and some Ringed Plover high upriver, and another Wheatear.
9/4/19 – An adult male Common Scoter on the Tidal Res., at first-light (or first-gloom!) and stayed to float upriver as tide came in. 2 hours sea-watch to HT was disappointing, with only a few common species of gull upriver. Vismig was only 10% of yesterday's volume.
8/4/19 – A quite brilliant morning's birding, thanks to a breeze from NE and very low cloud. Started with 3 Shoveler on the lake (2m,1f), and 12 tiny Mallard ducklings abandoned there. As I went up the ramp to Lagoon 3 an immature male Marsh Harrier flew over the reeds and it continued to quarter, on and off, for 3 hours. A bit of video here. A lovely male Redstart flew between the lake and Lagoon 3 and had the decency to sit in a tree. Then I stood and watched a visible migration spectacle as a continuous stream of birds flew to NE. Very rough estimates in 3 hours are: 2,000 Meadow Pipit, 500 Swallow, 300 Sand Martin (record OPS count), 100 House Martin, 200 Linnet, 150 Goldfinch, 27 Greenfinch, 8 Siskin, 1 Redpoll, 5 Pied Wagtail, c20 Woodpigeon (only, and no Chaffinches). There were also lots of warblers in the bushes: c30 Blackcap, 30+ Chiffchaff and 10+ Willow Warbler singing. MP had a Tree Pipit at SW end of Lagoon 3 and he put me onto a superb finale as two huge flocks of Black-tailed Godwit flew highish upriver in rough v-shapes, totalling 400+ birds ! (Highest OPS count.) MP also had a 'White' Wagtail on Lagoon 1 and c300 Meadow Pipit there.
A couple of shots of the Marsh Harrier.
Redstart and Tree Pipit (photo by MP).
This Apple Tree is crammed full of blossom on Lagoon 2 and the Shovelers.
7/4/19 – The first Sedge Warbler singing on lagoon 3.
6/4/19 – At 7am a large adult gull flew over the jetty going upriver, towards me.
(It is only in the last couple of years that I have tried to id all gulls I see here.) This one had characteristics of Common Gull (smallish head/bill) but was size of small Herring Gull.
Unusually, it didn't divert track when it got to me, and went directly overhead (at house height), and it's pure white underside, especially underwings, was evident.
As it flew away it turned to fly the length of Lagoon 2, giving a view of the light grey top-side with thin white trailing edge to wings
and no black at tips. A lovely Iceland Gull. (7 prev. records at OPS, last in Dec 2004 and not seen in S. Gloucs. for 7 years.) It didn't look like it was migrating, so I went to look for it in fields to south of Lagoon 2.
(But no gulls there. Later a few LBB Gulls took same flight-path, and I realised the wind was from East, so it was flying into it.)
As I searched the fields I got to the main rhine, walking towards road, when a large bird-of-prey flew from a Willow tree away from me.
A Buzzard often does same, but as I checked with bins, it was flying powerfully with bent wings and was less rich-brown above.
It turned and went over trees to left, showing creamy-brown underneath (with hint of darker flecks, but it was c200 yards away now). It was obviously a juvenile Goshawk.
I ran to a gap in the hedge and saw it power across the fields just above hedge height, towards the Rookery in wood by road.
The Rooks were already all up in a tight swarm and making a lot of noise. A Jackdaw tried to dive-bomb it but was not quick enough (and only about half its size).
Then I sneezed and lost sight ! (Damn this cold!)
Vismig was decent between 8am and 9:30am: 3 House Martin (my first of year), 11 Swallow, c20 Goldfinch, c20 Linnet, 20+ Meadow Pipit, 1 Redpoll and 1 Rock/Water Pipit. Also, a Little Grebe (in breeding plumage) on the lake, 4 Snipe flushed by dog and 2 Willow Warbler singing (Lagoon 3 and MP had one on Lagoon 1).
5/4/19 – 3 Willow Warbler: 1 singing, lagoon 2; 1 singing bridleway to shore and 1 sipping nectar from blackthorn there. And a Raven visiting probable nest. AM reported 2 Knot and 6 Swallow.
4/4/19 – A pretty late Fieldfare along the grassy shore by Lagoon 3. (Latest is 18/4/03.)
3/4/19 – A Great Crested Grebe moving around the Tidal Res. and diving. A male Shoveler at Shepperdine, 4 Swallow heading south (?!) and 2 Mistle Thrush over Lagoon 1. A pair of Mute Swan were on the lake, with 6 pairs of Tufted Duck and the sitting Canada Goose (+ mate). Also 3 pairs of Carrion Crow nest-building.
2/4/19 – A Mistle Thrush singing loudly from tree-top in Lagoon 1 cross-hedge. And a colour-ringed Oystercatcher again (first seen 1/3/2019), which was ringed 25/1/2018 at Dibden Bay, Southampton Water, Hampshire. It is in a pair (but no sign of nesting), which are often on the mud at the end of the bridleway to the shore.
1/4/19 – Vismig 9.45-11.15am, all to NE: 1 Yellowhammer, 1 Swallow, 1 Grey Wagtail, 20+ Goldfinch, 15+ Linnet, c15 Meadow Pipit, 5 Chaffinch, 50+ Black-headed Gull and c20 Common Gull. AM reported: a House Martin (earliest record at OPS, beating 6/4/2016), 4 Sand Martin, 30+ Hirundine sp. (high to NE against the sun), 39 Chiffchaff, 10 Blackcap, 12 Tufted Duck, and 5 Bullfinch.
31/3/19 – 4 Sand Martin to East this afternoon.
30/3/19 – MP did a Bee survey today: A colony of Tawny Mining Bees is in dried mud by the metal gate near the shore disecting Lagoon 1
(a few small males with little white moustaches - see photo, and a couple of striking reddish females).
Also, 4 Dotted Bee Fly on lag 3 and lots of Dark-edged Bee Fly elsewhere. The first Speckled Wood butterfly of the year plus 2 Peacock and 1 Small Tortoiseshell.
Most interesting was a bee that mimics a wasp - Gooden's Nomad Bee - visiting a hole on the edge of the meadow.
Matt has created the first Insect List for the site here. (Only a first draft, but excellent start !)
@petercoslett reported: 2 Tawny Owl, 3 Green Woodpecker, 20+ Chiffchaff & 8+ Blackcap.
Male Tawny Mining Bee and Dotted Bee Fly (photos by MP).
Gooden's Nomad Bee (photo by MP).
28/3/19 – 3 Blackcap singing - this is early for this number, but we have had 3+ by end of March in 4 of last 10 years. The Canada Goose is sat tight on her nest on the lake island, as she will be for a month (incubation is 28-30 days). Here are the stats. on nests for last 15 years:
1st on nest 1st fledged juvs. Apparent Incubation No. of juvs.
05/04/2005 07/05/2005 37 3 (first breeding at OPS)
14/04/2006 06/05/2006 22 6
27/04/2008 30/05/2008 33 1+
29/03/2009 02/05/2009 34 5
27/03/2010 01/05/2010 35 6
26/03/2011 01/05/2011 36 3
24/03/2012 21/04/2012 28 3
31/03/2013 failed (successful 2nd clutch) 3
04/04/2014 02/05/2014 28 3
31/03/2015 04/05/2015 34 4
02/04/2016 04/05/2016 32 1
23/03/2017 21/04/2017 29 6
27/3/19 – A Grey Wagtail by the lake and 20 Chiffchaff singing.
26/3/19 – On a cold morning (-1C), a Red-legged Partridge running along the path by the jetty was a surprise! 3 Mistle Thrush & 1+ Redwing were in the orchard, and the Peregrine pair working together brought down a Collared Dove on the Tidal Res. (the female grabbing it from underneath in the end). And as the tide came in a Great Crested Grebe floated upriver. Also, a Greylag Goose flew upriver. 62 species today - highest this year.
25/3/19 – 5 Sand Martin low to NE and 3 Grey Plover still at yacht club at HT. An Orange-tip butterfly by the lake.
24/3/19 – A pair of Shoveler at Shepperdine and a pair of Pintail drifting upriver.
23/3/19 – Vismig to NE in an hour at midday: 4 Crossbill (red male over calling + 3 with it), 1 Red Kite (low in valley to south of OPS), 1 Buzzard (went across estuary), 1 Redpoll,
2 Siskin. Also, a male Brambling in a tree on lagoon 2, but flew high to NE, 14 Chiffchaff singing and a Blackcap singing by gate to hide - hear them here (turn sound up). MP reported a pair of Shoveler at Shepperdine. Butterflies: 3 Brimstone, 1 Tortoiseshell, 1 Peacock.
That is 101 species this year at OPS for me (equal best to March) & 102 for all-comers (3 short of best).
22/3/19 – AM reported: a Wheatear, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Yellowhammer, 7 Redwing, 8 Tufted Duck, 24 Teal, 18 Wigeon, 36 Curlew, 35 Turnstone, 16 Shelduck and 2 Peregrine.
21/3/19 – Vismig early am: 1+ Brambling with c20 Chaffinch to North and a loose flock of c230 Woodpigeon to NE. (This is the first Spring Brambling record at OPS since one in March 2000.) On a high HT at yacht club: 4 Grey Plover, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, c80 Curlew, c70 Redshank, only 2 Dunlin, 1 Turnstone and a flock of c120 Common Gull sat on the estuary were virtually all immatures. Also: 8 Chiffchaff, a Canada Goose on a nest at the top of the island in the lake and a singing Blackcap was the equal earliest at OPS (with 2009).
20/3/19 – 6 Chiffchaff this afternoon.
19/3/19 – A pair of Yellowhammer still in the hedge near the yacht club.
17/3/19 – AM reported 2 Raven, 2 Mute Swan flying over Lagoon 3 and up river - displaced from the lake? Where there were 2 Canada Goose. And 210 Curlew on the estuary.
16/3/19 – The earliest ever Swallow at OPS (by 9 days) was battling against high winds to fly low across the estuary. And 3 Peregrine; a pair doing some display flying over the towers, when another male turned up and was chased and shouted at by the male in the pair. This morning a total of c45 Meadow Pipit were battling against the wind, heading NW.
12/3/19 – No sea-birds in 2.5 hrs to HT this morning, despite showers and some high gusts.
A new record S. Gloucs. count of 28 Little Egret at Park Mill Farm in evening of Monday 11th March, as reported by HC! (And 26 there again this morning.)
10/3/19 – A Yellow-legged Gull with Lesser Black-backed Gull and Herring Gull (photo from same field added for comparison) in maize field by main rhine. Short video taken
Some late news from Friday 8th March - 21 Little Egret on Park Mill Farm reported by HC! (S. Gloucs. record count !)
9/3/19 – A Woodcock flushed from the path along the south end of Lagoon 2,
flying 25 yards along path and then veering sharply through gap in hedge - giving good view of uppers in 'bins' as it turned.
Lovely red-brown colour, with dark vermiculations just visible.
Quite strong wind and showers on estuary, giving highest count - just 15 - of Great Black-backed Gull for at least 16 years ! 1's & 2's going upriver - probably just the local ones going to find some shelter.
Rainbow over the jetty.
8/3/19 – A Knot at Shepperdine and a large flock of birds feeding in wet fields there: c200 Starling, c100 Fieldfare and c150 Redwing. AM also reported 2 Mistle Thrush and 110 Fieldfare.
7/3/19 – Over High Tide at yacht club this morning: 2 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 46 Redshank, 1 Ringed Plover, c40 Curlew, c200 Black-headed Gull, but just 2 Dunlin.
6/3/19 – 2 Weasels were noisily sqeaking to each other in the reeds on Lagoon 3, and then one ran across the path just in front of me, while the other looked at me ! Also the first report for the site (that I know of) of a Wood Mouse, which I disturbed in the hedge of Lagoon 1.
5/3/19 – AM reported this morning: a Cetti's Warbler (in bushes by the lake singing), 2 pairs Tufted Duck, 52 Fieldfare (Lagoon 1 with Starlings and Redwings), 15 Redwing, 200 Starling, 56 Curlew, 19 Redshank, 84 Wigeon and a Mistle Thrush.
4/3/19 – PS. The White-fronted Geese this morning were from the Greenland subspecies (flavirostris) and this is only the second record of them in South Gloucs.! (The prev. was also at OPS - 2 in Oct 2010, seen by MP.)
6 White-fronted Goose feeding in grassy field between Lagoon 3 and yacht club early morning, until at least 9:30am (but gone by 11am, after first walkers along seawall). A new tick for me at OPS - my 197th species here ! Short video taken. Last recorded at OPS in 2010. Also, the Corn Bunting was singing in the hedge by Lagoon 3, with 6 Yellowhammer. And the 2 Bar-tailed Godwit still at yacht club.
1/3/19 – The very early Wheatear was still on the seawall just upriver of the jetty this afternoon. And an Oystercatcher had colour-rings Red//Black/White on right leg and Metal//Orange on left.
28/2/19 – A very early Wheatear reported by DP - the earliest ever for S.Gloucs..
Blackthorn flowering (1 day earlier than last year).
27/2/19 – An Egyptian Goose was with 9 Canada Goose at the yacht club after High Tide. (Only the fourth record for OPS.) Also there, 6 Grey Plover (but zero Dunlin). The 'battle of the lake 2019' has started between the Mute Swan and Canada Goose pairs. Also, 6+ Chiffchaff (2+ x Lagoon 3,2xLagoon 2,1xLagoon 1, 1xOrchard), and a Dragonfly sp. in the meadow.
26/2/19 – The adult male Black Redstart has been absent since 6th Feb, but one was on the top of the towers late afternoon. A pair of Mute Swan are back on the lake, and 2 pairs of Coot there. AM reported: 2+ Chiffchaff, ad m Gadwall, pair Tufted Duck, 103 Wigeon, 27 Shelduck, 12 Teal, 2 Yellowhammer, 2 Brimstone butterflies and a Red Admiral.
25/2/19 – A Chiffchaff singing on Lagoon 2, where c100 Honey Bee, c5 Buff-tailed Bumblebee and a Drone-fly were feeding on Sallow (aka 'Pussy Willow') flowers.
Honey Bee covered in pollen and a Drone-fly.
I have introduced a new colour-coding for the rarer birds recorded on this page.To understand what the colours mean, take a look here, which shows what species have been seen at OPS every year since 2006, and historically before that. At the bottom is an explanation of the colours. On the right of the list is a comparison of the frequency of species in last 10 years, compared with 1979-2005. 11 species have been seen >70% more in recent years (e.g. Little Egret), and 5 are now seen >30% less (e.g. Goldeneye). 201 species have been recorded at OPS in the last 10 years ! 119 species have been seen virtually EVERY year for last 10 years !
24/2/19 – Lovely sunny afternoon. The male Gadwall still on the lake and another Chiffchaff singing. MP also reported: 3 Stonechat, the Peregrine pair active around nesting ledge, Brimstone and Peacock butterflies, lots of Common Drone Fly, Honey Bees on Blackthorn flowers with 2+ Gwynne's Mining Bee.
A Small Tortoiseshell Lagoon 2.
23/2/19 – An adult winter Mediterranean Gull with 368 Black-headed Gull at the yacht club over high tide. Another 275 Black-headed Gull on estuary. The 5 Grey Plover again (last seen on 5th) and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit. Also, the first Chiffchaff singing (early, but not earliest - 9/2/2008). (Zero degrees and fog at dawn - 8 degrees and sun when I left 3 hours later !)
22/2/19 – Sunny and warm ! The male Gadwall still on the lake with 3 pairs of Tufted Duck, a male Wigeon and a pair of Canada Goose. (The Mute Swan pair left on Sunday.) This morning AM reported 8 Yellowhammer at the yacht club and 63 Wigeon still.
A Red Admiral out already on Lagoon 2.
21/2/19 – The Corn Bunting was singing again this morning by the yacht club, with 9 Yellowhammer.
On a high HT at yacht club: 1 Jack Snipe (flew NE), 2 Snipe, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover, 1 Grey Plover, c200 Curlew (18 colour-ringed, one not seen since Mar 2018 - thanks JS), c35 Redshank and c300 Black-headed Gull.
And 2 Brimstone butterflies reported.
A high tide at yacht club.
20/2/19 – c30 Chaffinch and c10 Linnet in old maize field next to main rhine.
19/2/19 – The Corn Bunting was singing its 'key-jangling' song this morning by the yacht club ! With 9 Yellowhammer. (If you put the volume up to max, you can just hear it at 3 secs in this video of a Yellowhammer). Also the 'Continental' Cormorant seen again and 3 Peregrine - female calling from nest-ledge with male circling above, then another male flew in for a short aerial battle then left.
Corn Bunting and Yellowhammer.
More remarkable news - 19 Little Egrets were in fields at Park Mill Farm on 9th Feb at 10am, as reported by HC - thanks !
These 17 together and then 2 more in next field.
18/2/19 – A flock of 10+ Yellowhammer still in hedge by yacht club (14 birds in flock all appeared to be Yellowhammers,
but couldn't check them all before they hid).
AM's WeBS count this morning: 2 Little Grebe (pair on the lake), 2 Ringed Plover, 30 Shelduck, 31 Mallard, pair Tufted Duck on the lake, 91 Curlew, 45 Teal, 110 Wigeon, 150+ Dunlin, 28 Redshank, 45 Turnstone, 3 Grey Plover, 7 Snipe (5 in wet fields by yacht club, 2 on Lagoon 3), 1 Sparrowhawk and 1 Peregrine.
17/2/19 – Lovely view of a Short-eared Owl hunting on Lagoon 3 for 10 minutes at 10am, and 5 Stonechat there (3m, 2f). MB reported 3 Lesser Redpoll on Lagoon 2. Skylark and Reed Buntings singing. Plus 6 Roe Deer seen today (4 + 2). Also @BirderGinger reported: 2 Raven, 4 pairs of Stonechat, 2 Green Woodpecker, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 3 Goldcrest, 20+ Long-tailed Tit and a Chiffchaff. @CathieHasler1 tweeted a Corn Bunting singing !
14/2/19 – A Great White Egret reported by JS at 9am just downriver of the yacht club.
10/2/19 – AM reported 12 Snipe on Lagoon 3.
8/2/19 – A male Yellowhammer on the stones at top of ramp to Lagoon 3.
7/2/19 – I flushed a juv/fem Merlin from driftwood by Pillhead Gout, which unfortunately then flushed the entire HT roost: 1 Golden Plover, 400+ Lapwing, c500 Dunlin, c100 Curlew.
6/2/19 – The adult male Black Redstart still on roofs down 'South Road', by the jetty.
5/2/19 – The Corn Bunting still in hedge near yacht club, with a Yellowhammer and 4 Reed Bunting. And 2 Redpoll high over to NE, calling. 5 Grey Plover still.
2/2/19 – AM reported in afternoon: the adult male Black Redstart still to 12:30pm,
8 Song Thrush (Lagoon 1), 2 Stonechat, 5 Grey Plover, 77 Curlew and 2 Raven.
And MP reported in fields between Lagoon 3 and yacht club: 12 Yellowhammer, c40 Skylark, 14 Reed Bunting,
c150 Redwing and 30 Fieldfare.
Both adult male and female-type Black Redstarts seen again this morning - on south side of towers. And a Short-eared Owl flushed from Lagoon 3.
1/2/19 – MP reported, this afternoon: a 1st-year male Black Redstart in sewage treatment area, 3 Stonechat and 4 Grey Plover.
3 Skylark flying upriver into cold NE wind, and another with 12 Meadow Pipit on the seawall. And 6 Lapwing over to SW. c30 Fieldfare and c100 Redwing in fields. 44 Canada Goose feeding in field today.
Teal on the frozen lake.
Main Rhine and Lagoon 1.
31/1/19 – An ear-stingingly cold morning, at -4 deg C. The lake is 95% frozen and now only has the Mute Swan pair, a pair of Coot and 3 Moorhen. 42 Canada Goose feeding in a frosty field between Lagoon 3 and yacht club. A pair of Stonechat by the jetty.
Teal on the frozen lake.
30/1/19 – Corn Bunting still in hedge near yacht club, with 1+ Yellowhammer and 2+ Reed Bunting.
Corn Bunting with Redwings.
29/1/19 – A pair of Sparrowhawk displaying over the end of Lagoon 2. The male flew over my head, then dived straight at the reedbed, but just as it got to the reed tops, it went straight up in the air, and then looped straight down again as it lost momentum at top of loop. Spectacular, only 50 yards from me !
28/1/19 – A cold, but sunny afternoon. A Little Grebe in the Oldbury Naite Rhine;
8 Geese flew from Littleton Warth at 2:30pm and I tracked them (at distance, from yacht club) with 'scope out over estuary,
where 2 of them flew on over far side, but 6 stuck together and started gaining height, circling a couple of times and as they did I saw they were
Barnacle Geese, light grey coloured. They flew downriver, over the first Severn Bridge and then headed for far side of estuary.
At 3pm, a flock of c40 Lapwing and c20 Dunlin were gaining height over the estuary, and a Merlin appeared beneath them.
The Dunlin flock separated from the Lapwings and the Merlin pursued them, making them go higher and higher. Eventually a single Dunlin broke away, and the Merlin chased it all over the sky,
but they don't give up easily those Dunlin ! After about 10 minutes, I couldn't hold by binoculars up any more and lost them !
The Grebe and Geese give me a total of 88 species at OPS this year - my best January ever, beating 87 in 2016. 2 more needed for best all-comers record.
26/1/19 – HT at yacht club: 5 Grey Plover and 420+ Lapwing. And 2 Mistle Thrush near Anchor Inn car park.
The results of the 2018 'Patchwork Challenge' national birding league ('Estuaries' section) are out. I was 12th (out of 33), which is same as the previous year.
The table below compares how everyone in the Estuaries table did compared to their average year. It was my 4th best year at OPS regards Patch Score (as no really rare birds found in 2018).
And nationally, I was 69th out of 460, showing what a varied place OPS is, even compared to reserves managed for birds.
23/1/19 – A flock of 8 Raven over to NE, calling.
22/1/19 – The fallow field nearest to yacht club had 7 Yellowhammer, 5 Reed Bunting and c25 Chaffinch feeding on the edge of it. The high High Tide at dawn pushed waders onto the top of the saltmarsh at the yacht club: 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, c270 Curlew, 350+ Lapwing, c1,500 Dunlin, 32 Redshank and 31 Canada Goose.
21/1/19 – AM reported in morning: a Black Redstart reported by a birder on top of the towers before being flushed by a Peregrine and 13 Yellowhammer just SW of Windbound.
20/1/19 – Reported on AvonBirds in afternoon: the male Black Redstart (power station), 1 Corn Bunting , 1 Yellowhammer, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 300+ Lapwing, 600+ Dunlin, 30+ Fieldfare, 200+ Redwing, 15+ Song Thrush, 6 Stonechat, 30+ Meadow Pipit, 3 Greenfinch and 20+ Linnet.
19/1/19 – 28 Skylark and 4+ Yellowhammer in fallow fields near yacht club.
18/1/19 – Excellent to find Otter tracks by the Lagoon 3 outfall pipe, on the shore. A 'Continental' Cormorant (sub-species 'Sinensis') on the Tidal Res., where I checked the whole gull roost as it drifted upriver on the incoming tide late afternoon. c2,000 Black-headed Gull, 500+ Common Gull, c10 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 10+ Herring Gull (only), 2 Great Black-backed Gull and nothing unusual.
Otter tracks show 5 toes (4 on dog) and the arrow shows the webbing between toes (visible on the other footprints also).
'Continental' Cormorants have the white head and neck feathers.
17/1/19 – The female-type Black Redstart on south side of main towers (in sun) this morning. And a Treecreeper by entrance. Up to 13 Little Egret reported in fields between Parkmill Farm and Thornbury Castle 'this year' (i.e. 2019).
16/1/19 – A Short-eared Owl hunting around the yacht club this afternoon. And 11 Yellowhammer and what looked like the Corn Bunting , on saltmarsh there.
Short-eared Owl and Snowdrops out in the wood by the lake.
15/1/19 – This morning, the ad male Black Redstart was taking cover from drizzle on NE side of buildings.
(Also, a POSSIBLE Hawfinch - flew from near lake to SW, only seen from behind and didn't appear to stop.)
Some late news. Yesterday at dawn, JS reported: 99 Curlew roosting at Pillhead Gout with another 87 feeding on Oldbury Sands. Also 250 Lapwing, 2 Oystercatcher and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit. 2 Peregrine flew over. Most of the Curlews and Lapwings flew to feed in fields, joined by about 2,000 Dunlin. All disturbed by a farmer and 2 dogs.
14/1/19 – A Black Redstart reported on Birdguides. AM's WeBS count, reported "pretty low counts. Few Curlew and NO Lapwing seen! Teal very low nos."
2,000 Dunlin, 12 Redshank, 19 Snipe, 45 Turnstone, 18 Curlew, 5 Grey Plover, 115 Wigeon, 14 Teal, 1 Short-eared Owl and c12 Yellowhammer in bushes just before Windbound, with Linnets and Reed Buntings (none seen at Yacht Club or fallow field).
4 Rock Pipit gave me the run-around by the yacht club.
11/1/19 – The 2 Black Redstart were by the jetty this afternoon. And a Siskin over the lake, calling. AM also reported in morning: 4+ Yellowhammer, 5 Grey Plover, 20 Redshank, 230 Dunlin and 45 Turnstone.
fem/1st-w Black Redstart.
10/1/19 – A Black Redstart reported on Birdguides and 6+ Stonechat reported by @Lisegirl1. The Corn Bunting still with 9+ Yellowhammer in fallow field nearest yacht club. A Treecreeper in wood by lake, with Long-tailed Tit flock. (OPS year-list = 85 species.)
9/1/19 – The 2 Black Redstart were both in same places as yesterday (although a 1st-w was later on the jetty, before it flew to roofs again). Kestrel and Buzzard seen today, bringing OPS year-list to 84 species - 2nd best January, behind 90 species in Jan 2016.
3 of 4 Roe Deer seen in a field.
8/1/19 – Both the fem/1st-w and the adult male Black Redstart were on the SW side of the power station buildings this morning in the bright winter sun. And 1+ Lesser Redpoll heard on Lagoon 2, "Did-it". (Also a probable Water Pipit by Waterworks outfall, just from flight-call.)
7/1/19 – At Pillhead Gout, at dawn (High Tide): 1 Brent Goose (Dark-bellied), 2 Bar-tailed Godwit with 100+ Curlew, c35 Canada Goose, 12 Oystercatcher, c1,000 Dunlin and c300 Lapwing. 8 Little Egret flew inland from fields by Littleton Brickpits. (80 species at OPS this year. Still missing Buzzard, Kestrel, House Sparrow !)
6/1/19 – CL reported the Short-eared Owl hunting fields between Lagoon 3 and yacht club again, 2:45-3:15pm.
5/1/19 – The Short-eared Owl was hunting between Lagoon 3 and yacht club again, and the first Green Woodpecker of the year heard 'yaffling'. (78 species at OPS.) MB reported 2+ Yellowhammer in hedge by yacht club still. The Mute Swan pair have left the lake (yesterday). There was a small murmuration of c300 Starling, with another c500 over to SW.
4/1/19 – The adult male Black Redstart again, briefly, on building by Jetty, the Short-eared Owl was hunting fields and shore between Lagoon 3 and yacht club from 3:45pm to dusk, and c3,000 gulls in the roost on the Tidal Res., inc. c2,000 Black-headed Gull and 500+ Common Gull. Also 2 Roe Deer. (Strangely no Starlings seen up to 4:15pm when I left. But it was a light sunset, so may be came in later?)
3/1/19 – AM/MP reported, in afternoon: fem/juv Black Redstart on Jetty (2:10pm). So there are still TWO different ones here.
1 Bar-tailed Godwit (Oldbury Pill), c3,000 Starling, c2,000 Black-headed Gull, c250 Common Gull, c3,000 Dunlin, c500 Lapwing, 2 Stonechat, Sparrowhawk (hunting in the Orchard), 2 Peregrine (pylons by entrance),
2 Ringed Plover (Shepperdine) and 67 Teal.
This morning, 42 Golden Plover circling around high, with c300 Lapwing upriver of The Windbound (viewed distantly from Shepperdine). 6 Grey Plover still at Shepperdine. 25 Skylark and a Pheasant in fallow field. c3 Yellowhammer still in hedge near yacht club. A pair of Raven calling and displaying and now 4 Coot on lake. 77 species at OPS this year.
Catkins, Lagoon 3.
2/1/19 – At 3pm the largest ever flock (45) of Greylag Goose at OPS flew low upriver, honking.
And a female Pochard on the lake is the first since Nov 2015. About 1,000 Starling performed again over Lagoon 3, with another 1,000 going straight into roost.
The male Black Redstart was reported again on the jetty, by KB.
That's 71 species now at OPS, and I am yet to see : Buzzard, Kestrel, Pheasant, House Sparrow, Green Woodpecker, Little Egret, Raven, Ringed Plover or Sparrowhawk !
At The Windbound were 5 Yellowhammer and a Stonechat.
1/1/19 – Wow, what a start to the year !! 65 species already. Late afternoon, I found a Merlin flying from Lagoon 3 out over the estuary. It started diving and chasing several of the c150 Pied Wagtails coming into roost on the jetty. A spectacular end to a special day was created by a murmuration of c2,000 Starling over Lagoon 3 from 4-4:15pm, when a Tawny Owl started hooting. (Some video of the murmuration.) The Corn Bunting is still in the hedge by the yacht club, with 12 Yellowhammer, as reported by MP/BO. Also 4 Stonechat, a Grey Wagtail and the 5 Grey Plover. The adult male Black Redstart was mobile around the buildings looking from the jetty, and at 4pm was on stony ground looking through blue gate from jetty. (A short video in poor light.) The Short-eared Owl was hunting the fallow field between Lagoon 3 and yacht club for 15+ minutes at 11:30am. Also, a Chiffchaff in the wood by the lake, a Mistle Thrush in the horse paddock to south of Lagoon 2 and 18 Bullfinch seen (inc. flock of 8 at south end Lagoon 2).
Corn Bunting photo by Ben Ofield and Yellowhammer by Matt Plenty - thanks guys !.
(since Jan 2004)