25/9/16 – HT at Shepperdine: 4 Sanderling (then flew downriver) and a Grey Plover. AM reported a Bar-tailed Godwit again this morning.
24/9/16 – A Bar-tailed Godwit at Shepperdine.
23/9/16 – This eveneing, a Curlew Sandpiper, a Bar-tailed Godwit and reported were a Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Grey Plover all at Shepperdine. A superb flock of 70-75 Grey Plover just downriver of the yacht club at High Tide. This is the best count at OPS since 75 in 1993 ! And follows a very good Spring for this species here (when 35 seen a couple of times). Also, 2 Knot and 5 Wheatear.
22/9/16 – An influx of 6 Grey Plover to the shore of the Tidal Res.; 15 Black-tailed Godwit (13 of which flew upriver) and a Bar-tailed Godwit at Shepperdine. Also, a Willow Warbler in sub-song, a Whitethroat in scrub between lake and Lagoon 3 and 9 Skylark over. c50 House Martin around the towers and 100+ Swallow still.
21/9/16 – A Kingfisher flew from the Oldbury Naite sluice inland, and 5 Wheatear there (+ another by the jetty). 500+ House Martin gathering on the towers. Also a bit of vismig: 2 Reed Bunting and 2 Grey Wagtail over. Counts of 61 Redshank and c50 Teal. 120 Canada Goose reported on the lake in last couple of days.
Those little black flies are the House Martins.
20/9/16 – A Bar-tailed Godwit at Shepperdine this morning and the Mute Swan pair flew from the lake back upriver. Also, 3 Wheatear; and 5 probable migrant Blackbird from the continent, together and flighty. AM also reported c350 House Martin around the towers briefly and a Sand Martin, 55 Turnstone and 16 Wigeon.
18/9/16 – AM's WeBs count: 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 64 Redshank (yacht club), 50 Turnstone, 10 Lapwing, 5 Little Egret, 27 Wigeon, 10 Teal, 154 Mallard and the Mute Swan pair on the lake. Also 1 Cetti's Warbler and 1 Wheatear. CL also had a Common Sandpiper.
Dunlin on the seawall (photo by CL).
16/9/16 – This evening at Shepperdine: 2 juv. Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Little Stint, 1 Knot, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Seal close to shore off Lagoon 1.
15/9/16 – The waders on this evening's High Tide were superb at Shepperdine: 3 Ruff (2 flew downriver, but one stayed on the shore - unique here ! Last seen by me at OPS in 2007, on flooded Lagoon 3, but recorded in 2011), 2 Little Stint, 1 Snipe (first of autumn), 8 Sanderling, 2+ Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Knot, 200+ Dunlin. It is so unusual, I took a video here - you can see the Ruff and 2 Knot and also pick out the light Sanderling. An hour before dusk, at least 850 Swallow descended onto the totally calm estuary to feed, and 150+ House Martin were gathering on the towers. In the morning there was a Common Sandpiper and a Black-tailed Godwit.
The Ruff on the shore, with 2 Knot.
10/9/16 – On this evening's High Tide: 3 Sandwich Tern circling over the Tidal Reservoir to gain height (alerted to them by calls), 3 Little Stint and a juv. Curlew Sandpiper again with the Dunlin flock at Shepperdine. Also an unidentified medium-sized wader with golden-brown back and upper wings (no wing-bars), lighter brown upper tail, and whitish underwing, very briefly touched down at Shepperdine before flying off high along shore upriver (no calls). Probable Dotterel as it also had very pointed wing-tips. The Mute Swan pair are back on the lake - they flew downriver onto the Tidal Res. yesterday morning.
Little Stint with Dunlin on sea-wall by Lagoon 1.
13/9/16 – 9 Little Egret this morning, inc. six together at Shepperdine. Also c10 Blackcap, c20 Chiffchaff and 2 juv. Teal on the lake.
12/9/16 – AM reported a wader-fest: 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Little Stint, 6 Sanderling, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Common Sandpiper, 340 Dunlin (inc. white leg-ringed bird), 50 Turnstone and 36 Ringed Plover. Also 30+ House Martin still around the towers.
11/9/16 – 6 Whinchat still on Lagoon 3 this afternoon and 75 Canada Goose on the lake. MB reported: 2 Whitethroat and a Roe Deer on Lagoon 2 this morning.
10/9/16 – A good count of 6 Whinchat together on Lagoon 3 this morning. (Best count since 11 in 2004.) And at HT, on the shore by Lagoon 2: 1 Sanderling (again), 1 Knot, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, with 190+ Dunlin and c40 Ringed Plover. A Dunlin in breeding plumage still, had a white leg-ring on right with black characters '1YE' (reported to Euring - interesting to see where from).
Knot and the Dunlin with leg-ring.
9/9/16 – AM reported, this morning, 1 Sanderling with Dunlin/Ringed Plover, 26 Redshank and 55 Turnstone.
8/9/16 – This morning, a Common Tern downriver and a Whinchat on Lagoon 2.
7/9/16 – A Spotted Flycatcher in the trees by small reedbed in SE corner of Lagoon 2 again (same as 30th Aug), 2+ Lesser Whitethroat, 100+ House Martin gathering on the towers as they do annually and the first 6 Wigeon of autumn.
Managed to get this one photo of a Lesser Whitethroat, Lagoon 2.
6/9/16 – 3 juvenile Pintail on the Tidal Res. shore (then flew downriver), an adult male Whinchat by the small pond next to Lagoon 2, 3 Wheatear on the shore by the jetty and a Cetti's Warbler 'singing' on Lagoon 3 (no records in August and last singing on 8th June). Also: 50+ Swallow, 2 Sand Martin and 7 House Martin.
2 of the 3 Pintail.
3/9/16 – At the yacht club: a Greenshank, an adult-winter Mediterranean Gull, a Common Sandpiper, 33 Redshank, 2 Little Egret, 4 Wheatear, c35 House Martin and a Yellow Wagtail over. Also: 3 Raven and 2 Grey Wagtail over.
Med Gull in HT roost at yacht club.
2/9/16 – A adult-winter Mediterranean Gull on the shore of the Tidal Res. in evening.
1/9/16 – A Curlew Sandpiper at Shepperdine on this morning's High Tide, and a Common Sandpiper there. More warblers around also: 4 Sedge Warbler and a Reed Warbler on Lagoon 3, 3 Wheatear and a Whinchat on the shore by Lagoon 1/2, a lovely 'fresh' Lesser Whitethroat, 10+ Blackcap, c20 Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler.
30/8/16 – A Sanderling with a mixed flock of Dunlin/Ringed Plover on the sea-wall by Lagoon 1 at HT. And a Spotted Flycatcher in trees by small reedbed in SE corner of Lagoon 2. There was also 2 juvenile Sparrowhawk here, calling a lot. They fledged from a nest nearby a couple of weeks ago. AM also reported a Curlew Sandpiper in the same wader flock, plus 104 Dunlin, 52 Ringed Plover, 45 Turnstone, 16 Redshank, 3 Little Egret, 1 Redstart, 1 Wheatear and 3 Willow Warbler.
27/8/16 – A fem/juv Redstart along the NE hedge of Lagoon 2, with c10 Chiffchaff and 1+ Willow Warbler. AM reported, at HT: 1 Whimbrel, 40 Turnstone and 1 Lapwing. Mrs T reported (Avonbirds): 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Little Egret, 150 Dunlin, 300 Ringed Plover, 250 Black-headed Gull, 1 Wheatear and 90 Goldfinch.
Also some late news from 22nd Aug - MB connected with the flock of Shag that was reported flying past various sites up the estuary. 22 birds counted (1 missed) at c12:30pm, but not seen well enough for full id.
24/8/16 – A Wheatear by the jetty and a Hornets nest in a tree along the main rhine. Mrs T reported: a very unusual looking Common Tern with a black bill and sat on the water at Shepperdine (see Avonbirds for photo), also 46 Mallard, 55 Ringed Plover and 65 Dunlin.
23/8/16 – A Redstart again at Shepperdine this morning, on the new wooden fence.
22/8/16 – MB at midday reported: 5 Common Sandpiper, 2Yellow Wagtail and 44 Ringed Plover.
21/8/16 – A Green Sandpiper at Shepperdine at HT. AM's WeBS count: 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Common Sandpiper, 17 Redshank, 43 Dunlin, 52 Ringed Plover, 31 Turnstone and 67 Canada Goose.
20/8/16 – An adult summer Common Tern downriver at HT, and 2 Curlew Sandpiper also flew downriver in mixed wader flocks.
19/8/16 – A juvenile Curlew Sandpiper at Shepperdine, and then along the shore by Lagoon 2 at HT. A video is here. (It flaps, showing its white rump at one point.)
Curlew Sandpiper with Dunlin.
18/8/16 – A record 11+ Little Egret this morning ! (Beating 9 from earlier this year.) 8 together at Shepperdine & 3 at the yacht club (plus another 2 flying over which may or may not have been different ones). The first Teal of the autumn were 15 yesterday, but 13 again today. Another 2 Tree Pipit over at dawn and 2 Yellow Wagtail over. 32 Ringed Plover on shore. A Willow Warbler singing on Lagoon 2.
The 8 Little Egret at Shepperdine this morning (the 8th is on far left.)
17/8/16 – A Great White Egret reported by KA (per HL) this afternoon, "seen with gulls close to river, bottom of bridleway from road." This evening: A Spotted Flycatcher on the fence at end of bridleway to shore, a Tree Pipit flying around and being chased by some of the c70 Swallow, 5 Little Egret again, c30 Dunlin and c30 Ringed Plover.
Spotted Flycatcher being cooperative today.
16/8/16 – A winter plumaged Mediterranean Gull with a total of c600 Black-headed Gull in HT roost at yacht club. Upriver: 2 Grey Wagtail, 1 Yellow Wagtail and 6 House Martin with Swallows.
15/8/16 – Over the afternoon High Tide, a Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Little Egret, c60 Dunlin, c30 Ringed Plover, a juv. Lesser Whitethroat, the juv. Redstart still at Shepperdine, 100+ Swallow and 2 Sand Martin through (generally downriver), and a Weasel crossed the track to Lagoon 3 several times.
A Yellow Wagtail with Pieds on the outbuilding roofs (unusually).
14/8/16 – AM reported: 2 Yellowhammer (first of year), a Grey Wagtail with a flock of Pied Wagtail, 2 Little Egret, 273 Curlew (mainly on sandbanks) and just 1 juv. Tufted Duck left on the lake.
13/8/16 – CL reported, in morning: the juv. Redstart still at Shepperdine, plus a Whinchat there, and a Spotted Flycatcher on the fence along the track to the shore.
Spotted Flycatcher, very flighty. (Photo by CL)
12/8/16 – A juv. Redstart on the fences/hedges at Shepperdine.
8/8/16 – AM reported: a juv. Redstart, a juv. Wheatear, 17 Turnstone, 6 Dunlin and a Ringed Plover.
6/8/16 – Lovely sunny morning: 2 Greenshank flew downriver at HT past the yacht club, the Whimbrel (still), a Willow Warbler in sub-song on Lagoon 2 (and a 'fresh' juv. seen by MP), an adult with a juv. Great Spotted Woodpecker (seen by MP), a pair of Canada Goose with 2 full-grown juvs. on the lake (which I'd like to think was the family that nested here - they all disappeared on 30th May and a family of 4 has since been on the estuary).
5/8/16 – AM reported, this morning: 3 Common Sandpiper (yacht club), a Whimbrel, 12 Turnstone, 45 Goldfinch and 32 Canada Goose.
1/8/16 – My daily visits over the High Tide finally paid off in the rain today with the first Little Stint at OPS since 2012 ! Also a juvenile Sanderling, c45 Dunlin, 14 Ringed Plover and an adult Yellow-legged Gull again on the Tidal Res. shore. A couple of Oak Eggar moths have been flying since Saturday - the size of a large butterfly, with orange and brown wings, and erratic fast flight.
Little Stint and also a very young Wheatear by the jetty.
30/7/16 – A probable/almost certain (!) Great White Egret flying East at 7am along the valley to south of Lagoon 2. (Didn't quite have time to get 'scope on it.) 2 'fresh' yellow juv. Willow Warbler and 3 Sedge Warbler inc. 2 juvs (Lagoon 3 reeds).
29/7/16 – 10 Greylag Goose again - on the far shore of the estuary, with c24 Canada Goose.
27/7/16 – Over the High Tide at Shepperdine: 10 Greylag Goose flew upriver, 7 Black-tailed Godwit flew downriver + another on the shore, 14 Dunlin and 2 Common Sandpiper. Avonbirds reported: 6 House Martin, 9 Chiffchaff and 2 juv Stonechat (lagoon 2).
26/7/16 – 3 recently fledged Cetti's Warbler on Lagoon 3 this morning, including one seen very well being fed by a parent.
23/7/16 – 2 recently fledged Cetti's Warbler on Lagoon 3; 2 broods of Shelduck at Shepperdine (3 new ones and 8 well-grown); 2 family groups of Green Woodpecker on Lagoon 2 (3 + 2 juvs); 2 juv. Kestrel; the first returning 4 Turnstone roosting on the green buoy; 5 Ringed Plover; 8 Raven together with the sheep at the yacht club; and a Yellow Wagtail over to SW.
Juvenile Kestrel and 2 Black-tailed Godwit at Shepperdine.
22/7/16 – AM reported, from the yacht club this morning: a Mediterranean Gull in the HT roost again and 2 Common Sandpiper. This evening a Yellow Wagtail by the jetty.
21/7/16 – An early Whimbrel calling and seen well next to a Curlew and the summer plumaged Mediterranean Gull again at the yacht club.
Med Gull in Black-headed Gull roost. (That's a better photo!)
20/7/16 – A summer plumaged Sanderling and a Common Sandpiper on the shore of the Tidal Res. this evening. Also a Yellow Wagtail by the jetty. And 2 Fallow Deer stags (inc. a black variant) crossed the A38 between Alveston and the Thornbury turning !
19/7/16 – HT at the yacht club this morning: 1 Yellow Wagtail, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Lapwing, 1 Redshank, a family group of 5 Raven and 8 House Sparrow.
18/7/16 – This evening, the first returning 20 Dunlin at Shepperdine, and 2 Common Sandpiper there. 3 Marbled White butterfly (and a Silver-Y moth last week). And news from my Frampton Cotterell house - I have young Swifts in the eaves !
16/7/16 – An adult Yellow-legged Gull on the shore this morning, which flew inland heading south.
Adult Yellow-legged Gull
11/7/16 – A lovely full summer plumaged Mediterranean Gull with 100+ Black-headed Gull at the yacht club High Tide roost. (That is the first year-tick since Black-tailed Godwit on 17th May - a very barren 2 months !) Also a Green Sandpiper flight call heard a couple of times at Shepperdine.
Med Gull arrowed. (Yes, another cracker of a photo !)
9/7/16 – 8 Little Egret together on the shore.
7/7/16 – Two broods of Tufted Duck now on the lake (8 + 8). (The scrape on Lagoon 3 has dried up, unfortunately.)
A write-up of my recent trip to The Pyrenees is in the 'Trip Reports' - click on the button above.
4/7/16 – A Green Sandpiper again on the Lagoon 3 scrape in the evening.
3/7/16 – AM reported: a Grasshopper Warbler singing in reeds at yacht club, a Green Sandpiper on the scrape, Lagoon 3, 2 Common Sandpiper, 33 Curlew, 3 Oystercatcher, a Little Grebe, 36 Canada Goose and 6 Grey Heron. An update from JS on Curlew returning to the estuary - "A lot of birds have come in over the last few days, including several from Finland. There were 480 at Guscar Rocks (far side of estuary to OPS) this evening, including over 40 with colour rings."
2/7/16 – c115 Curlew at the yacht club at HT, and a family group of 4 Raven on the ground there with sheep. A recently fledged Lesser Whitethroat on Lagoon 1, the juv. Stonechat on Lagoon 3 again, and 2 Redshank (new in).
30/6/16 – At yacht club/Pillhead Gout, at evening HT: 1 Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, 11 Curlew and c100 Black-headed Gull (inc. 5 juvs from this year). Also a Lesser Whitethroat still singing. The Great Spotted Woodpecker has successfully fledged from the nest.
27/6/16 – AM reported: a juv. Stonechat (probably bred nearby !), a female Tufted Duck with 8 juvs., the Little Grebe still, 1 Little Egret, 4 Curlew, 39 Shelduck (inc. brood of 8 still), 33 Canada Goose and 71 Black-headed Gull.
20/6/16 – 1+ juv. Cetti's Warbler again calling on Lagoon 2, a juv. Great Spotted Woodpecker at a nest entrance hole and the Little Grebe still on the lake.
Great Spotted Woodpecker chick and Painted Lady butterfly.
19/6/16 – AM reported: 4 Curlew, 5 Grey Heron (roosting on Lagoon 1) and 9 Chiffchaff still singing (possibly 2nd broods).
18/6/16 – 3 Cetti's Warbler calling 'chet' repeatedly by the reedbed on Lagoon 2 - one seen was a recently fledged juv., and probably all 3 were. A well grown juv. Moorhen on the Lagoon 3 scrape probably shows they bred there. A Grey Wagtail high over to SW, calling.
17/6/16 – Newly fledged Sparrowhawk and 2 Blackcap in recent days. The Coot is finally sitting on a nest on the lake. 38 Canada Goose on the shore, including 2 goslings - hopefully they are the ones that disappeared from the lake. There are 2 big broods of Shelduck on the shore: 8 at Shepperdine and 9 at yacht club. There are 4 species of orchid on Lagoon 2 at present; three below and Southern Marsh.
From left, clock-wise: Common Spotted, Pyramidal and Bee Orchids. (Nice photos by CL.)
14/6/16 – On 11th, the first Curlew since 5th May was at Shepperdine. JS advises that "a few have started to return to the west bank, and I saw a colour-ringed bird that nests in Holland a week ago".
12/6/16 – A Great Skua was not what I expected mid-June ! But an adult flew fast down the middle of the river at High Tide. A poor video here, slowed down to 1/4-speed. Also, a small juv. Red-legged Partridge flushed from the path around Lagoon 3 - where they almost certainly bred this year.
Great Skua - Screen-grab from the video.
11/6/16 – An adult Little Grebe on the lake. Juvenile Robin, 10 Long-tailed Tit, and an occupied Green Woodpecker nest.
The Little Grebe was being very cooperative today.
8/6/16 – 4 Painted Lady butterflies along the shore by Lagoon 1.
5/6/16 – AM's WeBS count: 2 Little Egret, 5 Grey Heron, 52 Mallard, 1 Tufted Duck, 1 Wigeon, 3 Oystercatcher, 30 Canada Goose, 13 + brood of 8 Shelduck.
Common Blue (photo by CL).
4/6/16 – The Shelduck pair have managed to keep all 8 ducklings. Also a Cuckoo on Lagoon 2.
3/6/16 – The Short-eared Owl again this evening ! Video here. Also the first brood of 8 Shelduck at Shepperdine and the male Wigeon still. Two new broods of 2 & 3 Moorhen on the lake. The first spikes of Bee Orchid and Pyramidal Orchid on Lagoon 2.
2/6/16 – Here's a camera-phone photo of the Short-eared Owl seen on Sunday. It was stood on a fence post and flew to the tree.
1/6/16 – A Siskin flying around overhead, calling. And two Blue Tit nests with young: the one below in the orchard and another in a metal gate post. Late News: a Short-eared Owl was reported and described by a dog-walker on Sunday 29th at Shepperdine.
30/5/16 – The Cuckoo again, around the reeds on Lagoon 2. A pair of Oystercatcher sat on a nest in the middle of a field in full view for 2 weeks, but are no longer sitting, so presume it failed. And the pair of Canada Goose and 2 gosling have disappeared from the lake. The Little Grebe is still there, in the reeds and difficult to see. Late News: a Hobby flew across the road by Thornbury Water Works on 26th.
2 spikes of Southern Marsh Orchid in the meadow next to the car park.
26/5/16 – An enjoyable morning watching the resident birds around the site. A pair of Cuckoo (female more brownish) feeding up on caterpillars on Lagoon 2 (but very mobile and, I presume, same pair seen earlier by Lagoon 3). There is a Moorhen with 4 small juvs. on the small pond by Lagoon 2. It looks like there may be an Oystercatcher sitting on a nest. And the Little Grebe remains on the lake. A video of a Blackcap in full mimicry, including a Nightingale between 40-50 secs in, is here.
The white cows are back on Lagoon 1.
23/5/16 – A lone Dunlin at Shepperdine at HT this evening; a Cuckoo heard by the lake; and the Little Grebe in breeding plumage still on the lake.
22/5/16 – AM reported, in morning: a Peregrine feeding on a Pigeon, a Little Grebe on the lake, the late Wigeon still at Shepperdine, lots of Warblers (Chiffchaff, Reed, Sedge, Blackcap, Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat) and other birders reported a Short-eared Owl (latest ever at OPS) and an Avocet upriver.
19/5/16 – Zero waders over the High Tide. But a Red-legged Partridge on Lagoon 3 and 2 Little Egret downriver.
18/5/16 – HT at Shepperdine: 13 Sanderling, c25 Dunlin and c15 Ringed Plover.
Buttercups on Lagoon 1 resplendent in the sun.
17/5/16 – AM reported a Little Grebe on the lake in the evening. 2 Black-tailed Godwit on the shore, one with darvic rings: left - orange/green, right blue/green (reported via Euring). Some late news from 14th May: SH (Avon Birds) found some wing feathers from a Long-eared Owl (identified by ED) on the track between the car park and Lagoon 2.
16/5/16 – 2+ juvenile Green Woodpecker along the bridleway to the shore.
14/5/16 – The first Tawny Owl since January was being scolded by small birds just after dawn, along the bridleway to the shore. Two flocks of c50 and 27 Black-headed Gull went upriver. 2 pairs of Coot seen; on lake and Lagoon 3 scrape. (Looks like the run of Easterly winds comes to an end today - what a week of birding they gave ! 85 species just this week.) (And a Note on the Osprey - that is a very unusual bird at OPS, only seen every 4 years: Aug'01, Apr'05, May'08, Apr12, May16.Ref)
13/5/16 – The Garden Warbler singing still this evening in NE corner of Lagoon 2, 2 adult Yellow-legged Gull on the Tidal Res shore, a Lesser Redpoll on Lagoon 2 again, and the Wigeon still. This morning, AM reported: a Cuckoo and a Garden Warbler singing on Lagoon 2; 3 male Shoveler which flew in high from NE and landed briefly on the Tidal Reservoir; the Canada Goose pair now with just 2 young (and 3 eggs visible on abandoned nest on lake island); and 2 Cetti's Warbler.
Canada Goose goslings.
12/5/16 – Cuckoo reported by MB by orchard this evening. First look at the Tidal Reservoir at 6.35am on another dank and miserable misty morning only revealed 2 gull-sized birds mobbing another large gull as they fly away from me in the NE corner. Now if I was on a ridiculously lucky streak, that would be 2 Caspian Terns and a GBB Gull. No, they are 2 Herring Gull. But why mob a GBB Gull ? Could be a Skua ? It only occurs to me that it looks like an Osprey after it has gone too far into the mist to get any detail. But my luck is really in and it lands on a mud bank just NE of the Res.. I take the photo below (just to show horrible conditions), then trundle all the way round to 'the point' at Shepperdine, set up telescope and confirm id. But at 6.55am just as I reach for my camera it flies off north into mist, with just the gulls' cries to locate it.
Osprey in distant mist, from Lagoon 2. [This photo has been enhanced (!)]
11/5/16 – This evening, a Red Kite and a redhead Goosander upriver along the near bank. The latter photo'd at Sharpness a few mins. later by Andrew Jordan, as was a Skua sp. that went upriver at 7pm (id'd as Arctic by AJ). A Short-eared Owl still along the saltmarsh towards yacht club at 6pm. And 3 summer plumaged Knot at Shepperdine. This afternoon, a Sanderling was with c50 Ringed Plover and c50 Dunlin in a newly flooded field next to Lagoon 3. (Odd for Sanderling to be in a field, when it wasn't even High Tide.) And yet another c35 Grey Plover - what a passage here for that species this Spring !
Nice summer plumage Sanderling and Red Kite low over.
10/5/16 – Here's the story: I wasn't planning on going birding this morning, but I woke at 5am, heard the birds singing and remembered the BBC Weather forecast of rain arriving later in morning. Hmmm - so nearly didn't bother going when I got outside to rain. But there is always the possibility . . . A wander round the lagoons produced just a Garden Warbler feeding in trees by Lagoon 3. Along the shore a Common Sandpiper called as it flew away from me, but visibility was so poor with rain and mist that I couldn't see it. As I got to the shore on the far corner of Lagoon 1 (what I call "Shepperdine"), I became aware of a flock of greyish looking Terns coming out of the mist. A quick check with bins showed there were a number of nice summer plummaged Black Tern among them. They were right on the near shore line of the Tidal Reservoir, about 110 yards away from me. (Any further out and they would have passed undetected.) I quickly set up telescope and got good views of 5 Black Tern. The flock were very kindly holding-station right where I was. I was ignoring the rest of the terns, assuming they would be Arctics. I noticed there were some white rumps and started checking the Black Terns for White-winged. Here's one with a distinctly whiter tail - it was closed and forked like a Swift; dark-grey (almost black) body; just check head . . . black cap with white cheek-stripe - does not compute ! It can only be a WHISKERED TERN. At that moment the flock started moving upriver and I started counting them as they disappeared into the mist. I got to 42 and there were certainly a few I didn't count. I added another 2 definite Black Tern when counting, so 7 at least. The visibility was so bad that I could only see the closest c10 birds in detail, the rest were just grey shadows in the rain/mist, and I have no idea what they were ! Main reasons for being sure it was not an Arctic: tail all wrong, flight action all wrong + distinct demarcation lines between blackish body and white undertail coverts/cheek/light underwing. (And I've seen 300+ Arctic Terns in the same place in last 12 years !)
View of Severn Bridges this morning !!.
9/5/16 – A drab, wet and cold eveing, in contrast with yesterday ! A Cuckoo calling from around the orchard, but mobile. 15 Whimbrel, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 20+ Dunlin upriver. But also 4 flocks of other waders heard only, inluding calling Grey Plover, Greenshank and Ringed Plover.
8/5/16 – A fantastic evening in the warm sun over the HT at Shepperdine. The best was at 8.15pm in the last of the light when a tight flock of 18 Black Tern went high (c200m) upriver. Near them was a flock of Grey Plover. In total c35 Grey Plover went upriver, including a flock of 21 in mainly summer plumage. 3 Greenshank flew in to feed on the shore. And 5 Sanderling accompanied one of the 3 flocks of Ringed Plover, totalling 30+. The last flock upriver were 15 Whimbrel (and another one on the shore). Earlier 2 Hobby (one at yacht club, another at Shepperdine) flew low over the estuary and inland, heading south into the breeze. And a Whinchat was on the fence at the end of the bridleway to the shore.
Whinchat and 2 Grey Plover.
7/5/16 – AI reported the Short-eared Owl out again at 6pm. The 2 hours up to HT were rather quiet: a single flock of 4 Grey Plover (summer plumaged) & 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin and 1 Little Egret. 2 Collared Dove heading high and fast upriver along the shore got me going ! It was nice to see a Short-eared Owl is still here, along the shore at Shepperdine. 4 Lesser Redpoll were on Lagoon 2 and then flew off high over the estuary. And the male Wigeon still at Shepperdine is now the latest ever at the site (beating a female that did the same last year).
The lingering male Wigeon at Shepperdine.
6/5/16 – 2 hours at Shepperdine for the evening High Tide: 22 Black-headed Gull & 1 Common Gull upriver, 4 Whimbrel, 4 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover. The only mild excitement was when a tight flock of 4 Little Egret went upriver, highish. (No SE Owls this evening.)
5/5/16 – MB reported 2 Crane over at 9.45am and a Short-eared Owl on Lagoon 2. A Spotted Flycatcher was in trees along the entrance road, on left as you drive in. And 6 Whimbrel today. There are 4 Canada Goose goslings on the lake. Plus a male House Sparrow at yacht club.
Whimbrel and Canada Goose at yacht club with withered wing, been here since October.
4/5/16 – A Short-eared Owl again, on Lagoon 3 in the early evening sun. A video of it hunting near the staff car park is here),; a Common Sandpiper by the jetty and a Whimbrel at Shepperdine. The Canada Goose goslings have indeed hatched, but couldn't see how many yet.
3/5/16 – A Short-eared Owl again on Lagoon 1 early morning, and 3 Whimbrel at Shepperdine. Also, the highest ever count of Sedge Warbler around the site - 17. The Canada Goose has been sat on the nest for 30 days now, so expecting goslings this week. The Mute Swan pair built a big nest, but she only sat for a few days, so not sure what happened there.
2/5/16 – 10 Swift, 60 House Martin, 1 Sand Martin and c100 Swallow in showers. At HT: c75 Dunlin and 9 Ringed Plover. Plus the male Wigeon still hanging on at Shepperdine.
30/4/16 – MP found a Wood Warbler singing intermitently in trees/scrub at south end of Lagoon 2, and also a Short-eared Owl there. A Garden Warbler reported near the lake. At HT, Shepperdine: c70 Dunlin (mainly summer-plumaged), c30 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel and a Turnstone. Orange-tip and Brimstone butterflies on the wing.
29/4/16 – 3 Short-eared Owl this evening; 2 on Lagoon 3 and another (at least) ranging over Lagoons 1 & 2. At midday, 4 Whimbrel and a large juv. female Peregrine sat on saltmarsh, at yacht club. MP reported a Cuckoo.
28/4/16 – A frosty morning; -2 degrees. A Grasshopper Warbler reeling in brambles just to NE of the yacht club (A video of it here), a Cuckoo flew over Lagoon 2 and started calling in SW corner, a Red-legged Partridge was a surprise on Lagoon 1, 4 Whimbrel at Shepperdine and 2+ Whinchat still on Lagoon 3. And a few finches and hirundine-types over, despite the cold, inc. 13 Sand Martin.
Whimbrel and Grasshopper Warbler.
27/4/16 – Arrived in bright sun this evening, with an enormous black cloud looming over the estuary, which delivered 15 minutes of very cold hailstones. Glad I stayed, though, as after it cleared there were 3 Short-eared Owl and 3 Whinchat. The first owl was hunting Lagoon 1 and caught a shrew. I walked straight to Lagoon 3 and another was out quartering it. Then a third came out of roost on Lagoon 3 ! I watched them for an hour and they even stayed when a dog-walker went round the Lagoon. Also had a brief view of a female Redstart on Lagoon 2.
Whinchat and Short-eared Owl.
26/4/16 – A Cuckoo and a Grasshopper Warbler both calling from the south end of Lagoon 2 early morning. Also, 2 Wheatear on the newly ploughed field next to Lagoon 3 and 21 Whitethroat around the site.
25/4/16 – A Short-eared Owl hunting on Lagoon 2 at 4.30pm.
24/4/16 – A pair of Redstart on the fence at Lagoon 1, by the round concrete water trough. (A favourite place for this species at OPS.)
The pair of Redstarts.
23/4/16 – A mixed bag of 68 species this morning. 5 Arctic Tern with long tail-streamers went low upriver at 7.20am. A Short-eared Owl was flushed from the saltmarsh at the yacht club and nearby a Red-legged Partridge called from a field. A few waders on the HT: 1 Whimbrel, 5 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover. AM had 60 House Martin around the lake/Lagoon 3 and a few Sand Martin. 2+ Redpoll still on Lagoon 2. Warblers singing around the site: 14 Whitethroat (an increase), 8 Lesser Whitethroat, 11 Reed Warbler, 7 Sedge Warbler, 5 Willow Warbler and 2 Cetti's Warbler (Lagoons 2 & 3).
Singing Sedge Warbler in Blackthorn and the Red-legged Partridge.
22/4/16 – Birdless over the HT this evening in NE wind and rain ! But 2 broods of Mallard ducklings on the lake: 7 & 5.
21/4/16 – A cold NE wind and cloud was good for VisMig early morning. 12 Grey Plover and 11 Bar-tailed Godwit in two mixed flocks, 2 Whimbrel high inland to south of lagoon 2, the first Swift of the year (over low), 16 House Martin, 2 Sand Martin, 50+ Goldfinch (in flocks up to 20), 7 Redpoll and 10+ Linnet. Also, around the site: 7 Lesser Whitethroat and 7 Sedge Warbler.
20/4/16 – A Garden Warbler singing (and seen briefly) between car park and Lagoon 2. Not a lot over the high tide this evening, with a more easterly (rather than NE) element to the wind: 5 Little Egret and 8 Black-headed Gull upriver. A late male Wigeon is still hanging around at Shepperdine. The Mute Swan pair have built a big nest on the lake and the female is sitting. Late addition - the first Hawthorn flowers out today.
19/4/16 – That was an excellent couple of hours on this evening's HT at Shepperdine. at 6pm a single flock of 14 Bar-tailed Godwit and 5 Whimbrel. 6.15pm a Short-eared Owl appeared in the sunshine and hunted until I left over an hour later - at first it was on the saltmarsh towards The Windbound, but at one point got nearer to me and actually landed on a fence 20 yards from me and at that moment a Cuckoo started calling on Lagoon 1 - very special ! Later another flock of 8 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Whimbrel went upriver. (And 2 other Whimbrel also.) A movement NE of c25 Swallow, 6 House Martin and 2 Sand Martin also. Early morning HT at the yacht club: 2 Whimbrel, 1 Common Sandpiper, 25 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover, c25 Curlew and 7 Redshank.
The Short-eared Owl and then some !.
17/4/16 – A Tree Pipit flew from Lagoon 2 and called twice, 'fizz'. At Shepperdine, 2 Short-eared Owl were flushed from the saltmarsh. They were roosting in long grass just at the bottom of the flood-wall, right next to the Severn Way. Lots must have walked near them, but I was stood there for a while listening for a Crane that had given its trumpeting call twice. It sounded like it came from fields inland, but I could not find it. Also, the 5 Lesser Redpoll again at south end, Lagoon 2, and 5 each of Lesser Whitethroat and Whitethroat.
Short-eared Owl on the shore at Shepperdine.
16/4/16 – CL reported a juv. Yellow-legged Gull upriver and 5 Wheatear at the yacht club. The 5 Lesser Redpoll again at south end of Lagoon 2, feeding on Pussy Willow flowers (and another over North). And MB reported butterflies: Brimstone, Orange-tip and Green-veined White. Nothing new in early morning in sleet and nasty NE wind, that I could find, but a pair of Treecreeper in the wood by the entrance, a juvenile female Peregrine hunting at the yacht club and 3 Cettit's Warbler calling (2 x Lagoon 2, 1 x Lagoon 3).
Blue Tit by CL.
15/4/16 – 2 Short-eared Owl were flushed from the saltmarsh by the yacht club late afternoon, and about an hour later one went to roost on Lagoon 2 (I assume one of the same). There has only been one other record of more than one at OPS in the last 18 years (2 in 2012), since there were 7 (seven) on Lagoon 1 in Nov 1998. (A year after the amazing 7 Long-eared Owls roosted along the main rhine - yes nearly 20 years ago !) This morning, AM/AI reported: 2 Grasshopper Warbler (Lagoons 2 & 3), 5 Lesser Redpoll (Lagoon 2), 1 Sedge Warbler, 3+ Whitethroat, 3+ Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Cetti's Warbler (Lagoons 2 & 3), 2 Reed Warbler and 20 Chiffchaff.
Short-eared Owl on shore.
14/4/16 – MB had a 'Commic' Tern over the Tidal Res. in the evening and a Short-eared Owl on Lagoon 3 at 7.55pm. Totals this morning, roughly split 50/50 between Lagoons 2 & 3: 5 Whitethroat, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Sedge Warbler, 2 Reed Warbler. Also, 1 Wheatear by the jetty and a Yellow Wagtail high over, calling.
13/4/16 – The first Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat together between lake and Lagoon 3. Both seen well, and the Lesser giving a few 'rattles'.
12/4/16 – A misty morning, but 2 Redstart (male + female) brightened it up, flitting between the fence and hedge along the bridleway to the shore. Also: 2 Sedge Warbler (Lagoon 2 and lake), 5 Willow Warbler singing and 15 Blackcap (inc. 4 females). A bright, still, evening visit produced a flock of c85 Whimbrel - picked up way downriver towards the Severn Bridge (initially expected Bar'wits) and 'scoped all the way upriver, flying in a long V-formation at great speed at about 100m. When closest could hear them wittering and giving a few calls. 10 minutes later they flew back downriver, low, and landed on mudflats. (It is the largest flock here in 20 years !) A Grasshopper Warbler and a Reed Warbler were singing at south end of Lagoon 2. And the Short-eared Owl flew low over Lagoon 3 briefly. Lastly, the Raven nest has 4 well-grown chicks in it. (65 species recorded today.)
Nice photo of male Redstart in hedge by yacht club, by CL.
10/4/16 – A Sedge Warbler was singing in the reedbed on Lagoon 3 and a Short-eared Owl flew into there at HT and went to roost. 2 Common Sandpiper flittered along the shore by Lagoon 3 at HT but no other migrant waders. There were 3 Cetti's Warbler singing this morning (at lake, Lagoon 3 reeds and in a hedge/ditch on way to yacht club). 8 Blackcap today, including the first 'brown-cap' female and 3 Willow Warbler singing by the lake. And 3 Peregrine around the towers; the resident pair and a juvenile, seen off by the male.
The Short-eared Owl and a Comma butterfly.
9/4/16 – A Greenshank was with 20+ Redshank at the yacht club. Apart from that and 6 Blackcap, it was rather quiet this morning. CL reported 8+ Willow Warbler by the lake this afternoon.
Greenshank and Willow Warbler(by CL).
8/4/16 – AM reported a Short-eared Owl doing a couple of spectacular flypasts over the salt-marsh by the metal gate on way to yacht club early morning. Also 32 Chiffchaff and 40+ Turnstone.
6/4/16 – The first House Martin over the lake with 5 Sand Martin and 4 Swallow.
5/4/16 – A redhead Red-breasted Merganser flew downriver this morning, and a Willow Warbler singing. This evening, nothing over the tide, but a Mistle Thrush and a Blackcap singing by farm to south of Lagoon 2 and 3 Swallow. A dog-walker reported a 4ft long snake on Lagoon 2, "not green, not a Grass Snake, but speckly". (Female Grass Snake best guess.)
3/4/16 – The probable adult Yellow-legged Gull was sat on the shore of the Tidal Res. this afternoon, with another gull which had a darker mantle (probably a Lesser Black-backed Gull). A Blackcap and Willow Warbler were singing. And late news from yesterday - the Canada Goose pair built a nest on the island in the lake overnight and the female is sitting.
Probable adult Yellow-legged Gull.
2/4/16 – At HT, 10 Ringed Plover, 3 Dunlin and c30 Turnstone. Plus the first Blackcap, which was singing. Early morning, a male Ring Ouzel in trees between Lagoon 2 and orchard. Also around Lagoon 2: 2 Willow Warbler singing, a Wheatear in the paddock to south, a Siskin over and a Greylag Goose heading SW (later seen near Thornbury, heading back NE). Then rain started, and things went quiet apart from 3 Swallow and 7 Sand Martin over the lake. A video of the Ring Ouzel, here.
Male Ring Ouzel, Lagoon 2.
1/4/16 – MP/AM reported, in morning: A Red Kite, 4 Wheatear, 1 Water Rail, 12 Wigeon, 30 Teal, 2 Shoveler, 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Peregrine, 37 Shelduck and 10 Oystercatcher. And KP added, this afternoon: 2 Sand Martin and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. This evening there was a Swallow at the south end of Lagoon 2.
31/3/16 – 20 Chiffchaff this morning (but no Willow Warblers singing). Also a probable adult Yellow-legged Gull around the Tidal Res. (2nd time seen this week).
Chiffchaff (photo by CL) and a stunning male Sparrowhawk.
30/3/16 – No birds to report . . . but that is no surprise . . .
Hover-craft on the mud of the Tidal Res. is a first.
28/3/16 – Sitting at Shepperdine over the HT, I picked up a distant tern right over towards Aylburton Warth, and it slowly made its way downriver. When it got close enough, I could see it was a Sandwich Tern. It struggled on against the strong, cold, SW wind and I found it an hour later in the middle of the estuary off the yacht club. A poor video clip is here. And a slowed-down version is here. Also 6 Chiffchaff.
Sandwich Tern-ish blur !
26/3/16 – A Sand Martin heading SSW into high wind - wrong direction ! That is my 100th species at OPS this year - a record and remarkable number before the end of March.
25/3/16 – A definite Swallow this evening, flying around over the farm buildings to south of Lagoon 2 - looked like it was resident. This afternoon: 5 Chiffchaff singing (3 x Lag 3, 2 x Lag 2), a Hirundine-type flew over the estuary heading directly North - probably a Swallow, and a Redpoll over NE. Also a Tortoiseshell and 6 Brimstones (reported by AM).
24/3/16 – No Spring migrants this morning, but 4 Mute Swan on the estuary at Shepperdine (and the pair still on the lake). And 2 Siskin over. There is lots of frogspawn and toadspawn (in strings rather than clumps) in the rhine by the lake.
22/3/16 – A 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit (sub-species 'littoralis') in fields between Lagoon 3 and yacht club at HT this morning, with c15 Meadow Pipit. A pretty good video (for once !) is here. Seems to show a classic 'Scandinavian', but if anyone can teach me more, or confirm this, please feel free ! And 5 Water Rail - 1 seen and 2 calling, Lagoon 2; 1 seen and 1 calling, Lagoon 3.
'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit.
21/3/16 – 2 Chiffchaff singing today (one on Lagoon 2 and one along main rhine). And the Mute Swan pair are back on the lake. JS reported (from his mobile hide at Pillhead Gout): 360 Curlew on Oldbury Sands at low tide, and most came in to roost on the shore at Pillhead Gout; 39 colour-rings read. The birds now remaining are those that breed in Sweden and Finland. Also seen were 2 Bar-tailed Godwit.
John S. incognito.
20/3/16 – Spring has sprung at last ! 2 Wheatear on the Common by the yacht club with 4 Stonechat. The sitting Raven was off the nest briefly, so may be the eggs have hatched ? CL reported 3 Chiffchaff around the lake and a Water Rail on the island. And 'Thomas' (via Avonbirds) reported 2 Redpoll. And that is 100 species reported at OPS by all-comers this year - a record and remarkable number before the end of March, with my personal tally on 98.
A female and a striking male Wheatear.
19/3/16 – A Chiffchaff by the lake and a few migrants over heading NE, into cold breeze, early morning: 40 Woodpigeon, 20 Meadow Pipit and 10 Chaffinch. A Raven is still sat on a nest.
18/3/16 – AM reported a quiet Chiffchaff this morning. And this evening, another Water Rail seen - this time at the lake.
17/3/16 – Thought I had a very early House Martin this morning, that flew past me struggling into the wind, but it called 'tu-it' and was a Green Sandpiper ! It flew from the Oldbury Naite Rhine at the yacht club and seemed to go down in rhines at West End Farm (inland of yacht club). Later 2 Greylag Goose flew downriver past the yacht club (and ended up at Pilning Wetlands 5 minutes later).
14/3/16 – This morning, a few migrants heading NE into cold wind: 2 Siskin, c10 Meadow Pipit, c10 Linnet and c15 Pied Wagtail. Also, a Redpoll on Lagoon 2 again, 2 different Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming and now 9 Shoveler on the lake (6 male).
13/3/16 – CL reported this afternoon: the Black Redstart still near the waterworks (not reported for 3 weeks !) and 2 Greater Spotted Woodpecker. And this morning, a Siskin over to NE, 3 Stonechat (2 at Lagoon 3, 1 at yacht club) and c60 Meadow Pipit on the very wet Common behind the yacht club.
Peregrine and Black Redstart. And Great Spotted Woodpecker. (Photos by CL.)
12/3/16 – Glorious morning; crisp, but not too cold, zero wind and bright sun. Felt sure I would find an early Spring migrant, but no luck. [Lagoon 1 looks perfect for a Garganey (but flushed by 'doggers' regularly) and the flooding in the field to SW of Lagoon 3 looks great for Little Ringed Plover.] 2 Water Rail out in the open, on the grass by the flooded small triangular pond in East corner of Lagoon 2 (and another one calling from main reedbed). Nearby, a Coal Tit singing, and 5 Skylark singing between Lagoon 3 and yacht club. 2 Grey Wagtail over NE.
11/3/16 – AM reported: 1 Water Pipit (yacht club), 1 Short-eared Owl, 4 Jack Snipe, 91 Snipe, 1 Ringed Plover, 56 Curlew, 102 Teal, 122 Wigeon, 17 Mallard, 3 Tufted Duck (2 male), 8 Shoveler (inc. 5 males, on lake still), 6 Shelduck, 2 Little Egret, 9 Redwing, 12 Skylark (2 singing on Lagoon 3 and one in fields towards yacht club), 7 Reed Bunting. Also, this afternoon, a pair of Green Woodpecker together and the Peregrine female on the nest ledge, with the male flying around being vocal.
Male Green Woodpecker on Lagoon 2.
7/3/16 – 2 Knot at Shepperdine and 6 Stonechat (3 on Lagoon 2, 2 on shore by Lagoon 3 and 1 at yacht club). Also, a Skylark has been singing on Lagoon 3 this week, and the Peregrine pair have been around the towers.
Knot at Shepperdine.
6/3/16 – AM reported: a Chiffchaff, a Treecreeper and 8 Shoveler (on the lake). And 3 Stonechat and 45 Goldfinch reported on Avonbirds.
2/3/16 – This afternoon a Red Kite circled over the valley to south of Lagoon 2 and slowly drifted SW. And 9 Shoveler still (8 on lake, inc. 5 drakes and another drake at Shepperdine).
And a Lesser Redpoll on seed-heads by the lake.
29/2/16 – This afternoon: a pair of Pintail and 3 Stonechat at the yacht club. And 5 Little Egret in a field next to the main rhine.
Pintail pair and Little Egrets.
26/2/16 – A Raven sat on a nest and 2 Cetti's Warbler together in brambles by the lake (probable pair). Also a pair of Roe Deer along the main rhine. And a note from JS: One of the Curlew colour-ringed at Wibdon Warth, which over-winters higher up the estuary than OPS, is back on breeding grounds in Holland already.
24/2/16 – A Short-eared Owl flushed from Lagoon 3 in lovely sun this afternoon; 2+ Redpoll in Lagoon 2 alders; 7 Tufted Duck (5 male) and a pair of Shoveler on the lake; another 7 Shoveler at Shepperdine; and 3 Water Rail calling in Lagoon 2 reedbed. JS reported: 200+ Curlew at Pillhead Gout at HT, of which 26 had colour-rings. (All birds trapped at Wibdon Warth over last few years.) Also, a Grey Plover, 4 Oystercatcher, and by rhine behind the sea wall - 30 Meadow Pipit, 2 Stonechat, 2 Reed Bunting, and a Chiffchaff. I also heard a probable Chiffchaff in Lagoon 2 scrub today - could be early migrants or over-winterers starting to move north ? We have had NO over-wintering birds at OPS since 16th Dec 2015, and looking back at previous OPS records, Chiffchaff over-wintered in last two years, then none seen in any January from 2009-2013, over-wintered 2008, not 2004-2007, over-wintered 2003. So, a rather intermittent over-winterer here.
23/2/16 – 3 Cranes circling over today, and then drifted south towards Thornbury, as reported on Avon Birds/TBOSG. A butterfly fluttered past my house window in Frampton Cotterell today in the sun - think it was a Peacock.
22/2/16 – A female-type Black Redstart at the Waterworks still this evening.
20/2/16 – 10 Shoveler now - 6 at Shepperdine (4 male) and 4 on lake (2 male). And a male Peregrine attempting to mate with a female on the shore.
6 Shoveler, Wigeon and Teal at Shepperdine.
19/2/16 – 8 Shoveler this evening - 5 at Shepperdine (3 male) and 3 on lake (1 male).
14/2/16 – AM's WeBS count: a Short-eared Owl and a Red-legged Partridge on Lagoon 3; 4 Jack Snipe, 248 Snipe (site record, beating 164 in 2000 - 207, Lagoon 3, 41 Lagoon 2), 18 Skylark, 3 Redpoll, 370 Lapwing, 350 Dunlin, 75 Curlew, 7 Oystercatcher, 181 Wigeon, 114 Teal, 5 Shoveler, 80 Mallard, 6 Tufted Duck (5 drakes), 9 Canada Goose (5 on lake), 2 Mute Swan. And 7 Stonechat this afternoon (4 on Lagoon 3 and 3 at yacht club). And MB reported a Black Redstart still at the Waterworks.
Skylark on the saltmarsh by the yacht club
13/2/16 – Rather quiet on the estuary, despite quite a high HT. A male Siskin in Alder trees by the lake. (Thanks for tip, Matt!) Lagoon 3 had: a Red-legged Partridge, c70 (!) Snipe and c10 Skylark. Also 3 Stonechat (2 at yacht club). The birds are starting to think about the breeding season. A Raven by a nest on a pylon (which I haven't seen before - could be new), 2 Canada Goose nest-prospecting on the island in the lake, and the Mute Swan pair being aggressive.
10/2/16 – This evening, in lovely sun, 2 Siskin in trees by small triangular reedbed, Lagoon 2. This morning, CL reported: a Treecreeper, 2 Peregrine (one with prey), a Black Redstart at the jetty, a Grey Wagtail and a Stonechat (Lagoon 2).
Treecreeper and Peregrine. (Photos by CL.)
9/2/16 – In the morning, MP reported: 2 Black Redstart (fem/imm's, one paler than the other. One by the jetty and the other on the east side of lagoon 2), a Cetti's Warbler singing and 9 Oystercatcher.
Black Redstart - photos by MP of the darker bird of the two (a female ?).
8/2/16 – During storm 'Imogen', a 2 hour watch with no seabirds was followed at 4pm by a Kittiwake appearing, sat on the Tidal Reservoir only 100 yards from me ! (Another one out in the estuary later.) Then at 4.30pm, on the incoming tide, a Great Skua was being hassled by large gulls in the middle of the estuary and finally, five minutes later, I was scanning the estuary with the telescope and found a Storm Petrel (a first for me at OPS and only one other record of a live one, from Sep 1990) flapping around the middle, and across to the far side, where it was making its way downriver. A short video of the Great Skua, just about showing the white wing-flashes, is here.
Kittiwake sat on the Tidal Res..
6/2/16 – c500 each of Black-headed Gull and Common Gull blown up the estuary, but no sea birds in 2 hours late afternoon. (But very hopeful for Monday if the forecast is correct.)
5/2/16 – 2 Bar-tailed Godwit at the yacht club. And 22 Magpie going to roost at farm inland of here. 5 Tufted Duck (4 drakes) and a Shoveler on the lake.
1/2/16 – In gusty wind and murky conditions, a flock of, what seemed to have the 'jizz' of c300 Kittiwake accumulated through the evening out in the middle of the estuary, and eventually settled on a mud bank. They then all flew up together and settled on the water at dusk. Unfortunately they were just out of range to be certain of id, so will have to go down as 'probables'. But I did id a flock of c10 which came close enough. A poor video, which has been through the Youtube enhancements (and is better than the original !) is here
30/1/16 – A 1st-winter Little Gull circling around the estuary about 100m above the water and slowly going upriver at 10:30am. On the rising tide a flock of 14 Pintail flew downriver. And a Red-legged Partridge was singing on Lagoon 3. 3 Mute Swan flew down the shore at Shepperdine, and later 2 were back on the lake for the first time since 28th November.
29/1/16 – A Merlin in full hunt mode at Shepperdine, repeatedly diving at a Pied Wagtail from above and below. And a mumuration of c6,000 Starling was a surprise over Lagoon 2 as they weren't here last week. (Lagoon 1 is flooded.)
Snowdrops in the wood by the lake.
26/1/16 – 8 Rock Pipit between Lagoon 3 and yacht club, and 4 Grey Plover at yacht club.
23/1/16 – A Water Pipit with c25 Meadow Pipit in flooded fields by metal gate on way to yacht club. 7 (seven) Stonechat today; 4 x Lagoon3, 2 x Lagoon 2 and 1 at yacht club. A Siskin flew over Lagoon 3 and 2 Redpoll flying around Lagoon 2, calling. Also 4 Grey Plover at yacht club. 62 species seen today, and the Siskin gives me 83 for January - beating Jan 2015. Also a record Jan for all-comers with 87 - beating 84 in 2013. The Dursley Birdwatchers listed, around the main site : Bullfinch, Fieldfare, Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker, Coal Tit, Goldfinch, Tufted Duck (3 drakes on lake), Oystercatcher (6 at Shepperdine), Peregrine, Kestrel, Buzzard, Raven and Jay.
Best I could do with the Water Pipit, I'm afraid . . .
22/1/16 – 2 Red-legged Partridge reported by dog walkers flushed several times this month from Lagoon 3. [Not sure what the access policy is on Lagoon 3 nowadays. Used to be authorised access only for birdwatchers, but seems to be a free-for-all now.]
19/1/16 – JS, via Avonbirds, reported: 415 Curlew (inc. 9+ colour-ringed) and 3 Grey Plover. JS says, "About 415 Curlew were feeding on Oldbury Sands at low tide. Most flew over to the west bank as the tide came in, a few flew into fields between the yacht club and the power station, and 77 landed on the shore at Pillhead Gout. Of the 77, nine had colour rings. This was about right, I reckon that one in eight of the Curlews are colour ringed."
16/1/16 – A nice crisp (-3 degrees C) and sunny morning. 65 species seen, with the highlight a Great White Egret flying SW inland of Lagoon 2, and then heading south over the hills in the distance. A Water Pipit flushed from the salt-marsh by the yacht club, calling, and flew inland to the frozen puddles in the fields. A female Tawny Owl called 'kerwick' by the lake, and a Mistle Thrush sang in paddocks to south of Lagoon 2. On the lake, which is 90% frozen: 2 Shoveler (an eclipse male + a fem., and another pair at Shepperdine, making 4), 2 Tufted Duck and 2 Coot still. Also: 4 Little Egret, 3 Stonechat (pair at yacht club + 1 on Lagoon 3), 1 Grey Plover, 1 Grey Wagtail, 3 Water Rail (2 x Lag 2, 1 x Lag 3), 2 Cetti's Warbler singing (reeds Lag 2) and 2 Redpoll over to SW.
15/1/16 – c 500 Starling in pre-roost mumuration, Lagoon 2 reedbed, this evening. AM's WeBS count: 2 Grey Plover, 56 Snipe, 160 Dunlin, 500 Lapwing, 300 Curlew, 21 Redshank, 240 Wigeon, 500 Teal, 128 Mallard, 2 Shoveler, 2 Tufted Duck, 2 Stonechat and 2 House Sparrow (yacht club).
12/1/16 – thebirdsofsouthgloucestershire reported the Black Redstart again at the jetty.
11/1/16 – MB reported: the Black Redstart still at the jetty, a Treecreeper and a Coal Tit.
10/1/16 – A Mistle Thrush in paddocks to south of lagoon 2, 3 Stonechat and the Little Grebe on the lake again. AM's Low Tide Count: 1 Dunlin (!), 160 Lapwing, 20 Redshank, 147 Wigeon, 320 Teal, 64 Curlew. Plus, the Black Redstart (jetty area), 2 vocal Raven and 2 Shoveler (pair on lake).
9/1/16 – A Little Grebe on the lake, 2 Mute Swan flew over Lagoon 2 to SW and then estuary and a Grey Wagtail at the water works. There is a lot of Song Thrush song about and Blackthorn and Crab Apple in flower !
Crab Apple blossom (I think).
5/1/16 – A Greylag Goose flew along the shore to SW, 2+ Lesser Redpoll on Lagoon 2 again, and 9 Little Egret (record for site) seen at distance towards Littleton (6 in trees at the Pits and 3 on salt-marsh). AM reported: 4 Golden Plover, 3 Grey Plover, 1 Knot, c1,200 Dunlin, c450 Lapwing, 25 Redshank, 182 Wigeon, 558 Teal, 156 Mallard, 2 Shoveler, 2 Water Rail, 5 Grey Heron, 3 Great Black-backed Gull and a site-record c30 Reed Bunting.
3/1/16 – A Treecreeper and a Coal Tit with a long-tailed Tit flock at the end of the main rhine, by the road. And 8 Goldcrest around the site.
2/1/16 – 8 Avocet at the yacht club at HT (best previous count at site was 4 in 2014). Other waders there: 2 Grey Plover, 3 Ringed Plover, c2,000 Dunlin and c200 Lapwing. And lots of finches feeding on weeds and brambles at Lagoon 2, including: 2 Lesser Redpoll, c15 Greenfinch, 12 Bullfinch. Also, late news of c20 Brent Geese at the yacht club "a couple of weeks ago" from a yachtsman. ("All-black geese, smaller than Canadas".)
8 Avocet feeding and 2 Grey Plover.
1/1/16 – A 1st-w/female Black Redstart still, at the water works and then on a roof at the jetty. A Jack Snipe and 12 Snipe flushed from Lagoon 3. CL also reported a Grey Wagtail and 4 Stock Dove.
Stonechat, Blue Tits and Black Redstart at OPS, by CL.
(since Jan 2004)