January to December 2004

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2005 sightings

Total of 120 species recorded at the site in 2004 (see 2004 Site Species List for details). With my personal total for the site in 2004 at 107 species.

Thursday 30/12/04 – A Treecreeper was (again) with a tit flock along the path to the shore. A spectacular flock of c2000 Lapwing, c300 Dunlin and c100 Black-headed Gull were on Lagoon 3 for the high tide roost. On the coast were 15 Turnstone and 14 Redshank. 2 Stonechat (ad + juv) were around the pond behind the hide. Also: a Water Rail (‘sharming’ on Lagoon 2), 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker (heard) and a Jay.

In addition, AM recorded: 8 Oystercatcher, 13 Shelduck, 220 Wigeon, 105 Common Gull, 160 Teal, 12 Curlew and 1 Black-tailed Godwit.

Monday 27/12/04MP reported: 1000+ Lapwing and 1000+ Dunlin, before they were flushed by a Peregrine and then a Sparrowhawk. Also : 300+ Teal, 150 Wigeon, 6 Oystercatcher, 38 Curlew, 70 Turnstone and 3 Ringed Plover. Belated report of a Merlin at OPS on the 19th December.

Sunday 26/12/04 – 2w Iceland Gull (or possibly 1w Glaucous Gull; but thought not, on size) sat on the shore by the jetty, with Black-headed Gulls. Watched for 5 minutes before it flew and was lost behind the jetty. Distinctive pink bill with black tip; dark (looked black) eye with dark area around, giving ‘angry’ expression. Nearly-white primaries and very light beige back; Pink legs. Also on the shore: c700 Lapwing, c500 Dunlin, 7 Turnstone and 10 Redshank. One, may be two, Peregrine – seen on pylon and then circling tower. 2 Stonechat on Lagoon 2. 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker and 3 Bullfinch by entrance.

Wednesday 22/12/04 – AM made a large count of c1200 Lapwing, and also: 1 Knot, 72 Wigeon, 176 Teal, 25 Redshank, 10 Shelduck, 100 Dunlin and 21 Curlew.

Sunday 19/12/04 – AM reported: c1000 Lapwing, 2 Golden Plover, 2 Oystercatcher, 2 Knot, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 40 Turnstone, 15 Redshank, 210 Dunlin, 30 Curlew, 130 Wigeon, 270 Teal, and a Wren in the hide !

Saturday 18/12/04 – At high tide on Lagoons 1 and 3 were: 4 Knot, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover, c420 Lapwing, 10 Redshank, c20 Dunlin, 1 Shoveler and 10 Shelduck. A Snipe and 2 (probable) Rock Pipit flew down-river. 2 Chiffchaff were with a Long-tailed Tit flock in trees at the South end of Lagoon 2, and a Water Rail heard there. A flock of 15 House Sparrow and 10 Chaffinch were at Jobsgreen farm (where I last had sightings of Tree Sparrow in this area). On-site were c200 Blackbird, c500 Redwing and c200 Fieldfare.

[I saw the Velvet Scoter at Barrow Gurney Reservoir on Wednesday 15/12/04. It was rather flighty and got spooked by something in the water as it surfaced by the jetty – last saw it at 13:20, in flight, heading towards the NW bank of Tank 3 – showing the white flash of secondaries superbly. I think that it was an immature male – had two pale spots on face, but looked more blackish than brown. Also had light colouring on lower portion of bill. The bird was first seen on Sunday 12/12/04, but I and at least two other birders searched for it without luck on Tuesday. Therefore I was rather pleasantly surprised to see it Wednesday (but it begs the question, where did it go ?!). I also got a picture of the Avocet on Tank No. 2 (it was wrongly located as No.1 on www.birdguides.com) on Tuesday 14/12/04 - See Pictures from other locations.]

Saturday 11/12/04 – A Little Egret and a Little Grebe on the pond behind the hide, and 2 Jay. 2 Raven and 4 Snipe flew over. 4 Stonechat in and around the reeds at Lagoon 2. 4 Black-tailed Godwit on the shore towards Shepperdine. 4 Bullfinch and increasing numbers of Blackbird, Redwing and (to a lesser extent) Fieldfare on berry bushes.

Saturday4/12/04 – 2 Greylag Goose flew over and headed up-river. A Little Grebe was on the pond behind the hide. A flock of 7 Bullfinch were by the site entrance. Along the shore were: 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Knot, c20 Redshank, c400 Dunlin and 7 Shelduck. 12 Snipe flew over Lagoon 2, and 3 Stonechat there. AM reported a Merlin, 670 Lapwing, 106 Teal and 98 Wigeon. Numbers of Redwing and Fieldfare have increased.

Sunday 28/11/04 -  AM & I recorded: c750 Lapwing, c500 Dunlin, c150 Curlew (commuting from yacht-club to mud-flats), 12 Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Knot, 3 Oystercatcher, 50 Turnstone, 6 Redshank, 150 Teal, 60 Wigeon, 7 Shelduck,  8 Snipe (landing in Lagoon 2), 1 Little Owl, 2 Grey Wagtail, 1 Chiffchaff (south end of Lagoon 2), 3 Stonechat (inc. ad + juv, Lagoon 2), 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 1 Jay. Also 2 bees still flying. A Treecreeper and 3 Bullfinch were in the small wood just before OPS, along the road.

Sunday 21/11/04 - MP reported at Littleton: 225 Wigeon, 84 Teal, 2 Pintail, 90 Redshank, 708 Dunlin, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Snipe.

Saturday 20/11/04 - A grey, wet, cold day produced a good selection of waders (mainly on the shore by Lagoon 1): 6 Grey Plover, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Oystercatcher, 27 Redshank, 3 Ringed Plover, c300 Dunlin and c300 Lapwing. 6 Snipe were on Lagoon 1, with 2 Rock Pipit by the outfall. c20 Blackbird along the footpath to the shore were migrants, and an exhausted/sick 1w Black-headed Gull was sat here. Also seen, were singles of: Jay, Peregrine and Raven. The white Aylesbury Duck was still on the pond, with 5 Coot.

Left photo: Black-tailed Godwit. Right photo: Black-tailed Godwit (foreground) with Bar-tailed Godwit (behind), 20/11/04. I certainly captured the greyness of the day, if not the id of the birds !

Sunday 14/11/04 - On a glorious, sunny, windless day some unusual birds. A female Pintail and 4 Knot, near Shepperdine, with c200 Dunlin, c200 Lapwing (inc. 75 on Lagoon 1), 10 Redshank, and c20 Turnstone. Also a Rock Pipit at Lagoon 1 outfall. On Lagoon 2 a Water Rail was heard 'sharming', the 2 Stonechat (ad + juv) are still there, with 3 Reed Bunting. Best bird was a Treecreeper (unusual here) - seen with tit flock in trees at the small reed bed by Lagoon 2. There was an increase in the number of Chaffinch on-site, and 2 Skylark flew over. Also 3 Bullfinch, 2 Song Thrush and a white Aylesbury Duck. 3 Shelduck is an increase - where are they all, this year ?

Saturday 13/11/04 - AM reported: 26 Snipe, 11 Ringed Plover, 98 Dunlin, 90 Lapwing, 10 Redshank, 28 Curlew, 35 Turnstone, 1 Water Rail, 5 Stonechat, 1 Reed Bunting, 2 Bullfinch, 181 Mallard, 97 Teal, 2 Gadwall (unusual here), 10 Wigeon, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Shelduck, 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 1 Green Woodpecker.

Sunday 7/11/04 - At high tide the shore held: 4 Knot, c200 Dunlin, c300 Lapwing, c20 Redshank, c10 Turnstone, and 1 Oystercatcher. 2 Stonechat (ad + juv), 1 Green Woodpecker and a Redpoll were on Lagoon 2. A Mute Swan (juv.) and 2 white Aylesbury Duck on the Pond behind the hide. A calling Raven and 7 Stock Dove flew over. Also, 3 Grey Squirrel were seen.

Sunday 31/10/04 - MP reported the following at Littleton: 8 Grey Plover, 150 Dunlin, 87 Redshank, 6 Snipe, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 250+ Golden Plover (flying up-river) and a Kingfisher. Also 100+ Chaffinch and 1+ Brambling in a maize stubble field. Visible migration included (in an hour): 1100 Chaffinch, 800 Starling, 3 Brambling, 1 Siskin, 46 Skylark.

Friday 29/10/04 - 13 Dunlin, 323 Lapwing, 19 Ringed Plover, 4 Great Black-backed Gull, 1 Stonechat. AM reported a Water Rail from Lagoon 2.

(It looks likely that the Scaup at Barrow Gurney Res. is a hybrid (Scaup x Pochard ?). See Pictures from other locations. Looks convincing, except for head-shape not quite right, and apparently it has grey, not white, wing bars. The bird was still present on Tank No.1 on 28/10/04. See third photo down at http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/bucksbirds/mysite/Pictures/Scaup.htm for a comparison.)

Thursday 28/10/04 - MP recorded the following at Littleton: 4 Golden Plover, 1 Grey Plover, 1 Brent Goose, 1 Knot, c.200 Curlew, c.300 Dunlin, 100+ Redshank, 1 Peregrine, 1 Redpoll.  Plus a few Skylark, Starling and Meadow Pipit moving SW.

Sunday 24/10/04 - 2 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Grey Plover were on the shore towards The Passage House Inn, Shepperdine, with c25 Dunlin and 1 Redshank. c70 Lapwing and 2 Reed Bunting were on Lagoon 3. A Peacock butterfly was still flying, and also an orange with cream spots 14-spot ladybird (Calvia 14-guttata) landed on me.

Friday 22/10/04 - AM noted: 64 Lapwing, 4 Redshank, 16 Dunlin, 90 Teal and 33 Wigeon.

Wednesday 20/10/04 - HL noted: 102 Black-headed Gull, 85 Lapwing, c70 Teal and c25 Wigeon.

Sunday 17/10/04 - AM noted: 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 160 Lapwing, 94 Redshank, 39 Dunlin, 55 Turnstone, 66 Teal, 241 Mallard, 32 Wigeon, 3 Great Black-backed Gull and 14 Common Gull.

Saturday 16/10/04 - A pair of Peregrine were on a pylon. Three tit flocks contained about 30 Long-tailed Tit and 2 Chiffchaff. Along the shore were 25 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover and 5 Curlew. Lagoon 3 still has some water in it and attracted 54 Lapwing, 40 Teal, 3 Wigeon, 2 Great Black-backed Gull (ads) and a Reed Bunting. 5 Skylark flew over. Only 5 Redwing seen, including one eating Dogwood berries. Also a Jay and a Song Thrush. A Grey Squirrel was scrabbling along the hedge at Lagoon 1, and a young fox ran across Lagoon 2. Also reported: Stonechat and a Sparrowhawk chasing a Great Spotted Woodpecker, unsuccessfully.

(See Pictures from other locations for pictures of the female/juvenile Scaup I found at Barrow Gurney Reservoir, 1pm Friday 15/10/04.)

Friday 15/10/04 - B.O.G. group lead by SK reported: 5 late Swallow, 71 Lapwing, 10 Redshank, 2 Dunlin, 40 Teal, 35 Meadow Pipit.

Sunday 10/10/04 - A Little Gull was reported.

Saturday 9/10/04 - A crisp East wind brought c1000 Redwing, c20 Fieldfare, 14 Skylark, c25 Chaffinch and c100 Meadow Pipit over, heading up-river. A Knot was with c100 Dunlin, 6 Ringed Plover, 2 Turnstone and 2 Redshank. 5 Stonechat on Lagoon 2. Also single Raven, Jay, Green Woodpecker and Chiffchaff.

Sunday 3/10/04 - On the flooded Lagoon 3 (pm): c100 Wigeon, c80 Teal, c100 Mallard, c30 Lapwing & 4 Pintail (fems/juvs - see photos below).

The following were logged by MP (am): 2 Rock Pipit (nr. outfall); 1 Common Sandpiper & 1 Little Grebe (pond); 1 Stonechat; 110 Redshank and 3 Dunlin (Lagoon 3). Also a Little Egret and Raven noted (HL).

Female/juv. Pintail (centre of picture), with Wigeon, Mallard and Teal on flooded Lagoon 3 (right), 3/10/04

Saturday 2/10/04 - On Lagoon 3 at HT (where they are still pumping water in): 100+ Redshank, 8 Dunlin, 20 Lapwing, 5 Curlew, c320 Black-headed Gull, 3 Great Black-backed Gull (2ad & a 1st-w), 5 Common Gull, c40 Teal, 10 Wigeon, 10 Meadow Pipit, and 5 Swallow passed through. Along the shore; c40 Turnstone (roosting on green 'Ledges' buoy, nr. Shepperdine) and another 8 Dunlin. Also; 3 Chiffchaff (in tit flock), 1 Jay, c300 Starling (Lagoon 1) and a pair of Mute Swan are back on the pond behind the hide after a 5 month absence.

In addition, AM logged: 1 Pintail (female), 3 Whinchat, 2 Stonechat, 1 Peregrine, 92 Wigeon, 8 Ringed Plover, 82 Teal, 250 Mallard, 43 Lapwing and an additional 3 juvenile Mute Swan.

Comma and Speckled Wood butterflies, and plenty of dragonflies still on the wing.

Tuesday 28/9/04 - 1 Mediterranean Gull (2w), 1 Pintail, 1 Grey Plover, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 11 Teal, 17 Wigeon, 74 Redshank, 2 Dunlin (MD).

Sunday 26/9/04 - 1 Wheatear, 3 Raven, 2 Dunlin, 7 Wigeon, 250 Black-headed Gull, 30 Swallow, 5 Redshank (PC, TV).

Sunday 19/9/04 - 7 Whinchat, 1 Stonechat, 3 Ringed Plover, 4 Dunlin, 200 Mallard, 2 Wigeon, c50 Turnstone (on green 'Ledges' buoy), 350 Black-headed Gull, 2 Raven (AM).

Saturday 18/9/04 - Two Whinchat and a Green Woodpecker on Lagoon 2 today. A Little Owl was in the hedge to north of Lagoon 1, with a Blackcap 'tac'ing madly at it. 24 Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin on the mud at low tide. c30 Swallow and 3 House Martin passing through. 2 Great Black-backed Gull (adults) on Lagoon 3 - with water being pumped into there today, which may attract some birds. 3 Comma butterflies seen.

(See Pictures from other locations for photo of juvenile Garganey at Slimbridge on Sunday 19/9/04.)

Saturday 11/9/04 - A Whinchat was on Lagoon 2. On Lagoon 1 were: a Wheatear, 2 Lapwing, c20 Linnet and c300 Starling. The only other waders seen were c250 Curlew on the mud-flats. A constant stream of Swallows headed down-river into the wind. 52 Mallard and 5 Tufted Duck were on the pond behind the hide. Also present: Green Woodpecker, Jay , Stock Dove and a pair of Kestrel. Chiffchaff still singing.

NB. An Osprey was fishing Barrow Gurney Reservoir (Tank 3) from 12:45 to 13:00, at least, on Friday 10/9/04.

Friday 10/9/04 - An adult Mediterranean Gull (MP).

Thursday 9/9/04 - c.2000 hirundines hawking low over Lagoon 2, including 20+ Sand Martin, and a Wheatear (MP).

Sunday 5/9/04 - 190 Mallard, 23 Ringed Plover, 2 Turnstone, 4 Dunlin, 13 Wigeon, 5 Teal. And a Brimstone butterfly. (AM)

Monday 30/8/04 - 7 Raven this morning, including a family party of 5 (3 juvs. slightly smaller than the adults). A Common Sandpiper was seen at each end of the site (same ?). A juvenile Little Grebe was on the pond behind the hide - but elusive in reeds around the island. A Wheatear was on the sea wall, and c200 Swallow and 2 House Martin were over long grass towards Shepperdine. On-site (mainly in roost on Lagoon 3) were c200 Black-headed Gull, 3 Great Black-backed Gull (adult, 1st yr & a 3rd-year), 13 Herring Gull (including one with yellow leg-ring 'FR' seen by AM), 2 Common Gull and 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull. Also a juvenile Green Woodpecker and one Whitethroat (juv.) were seen.

AM also reported: 2 Peregrine, 26 Turnstone, 13 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover, 1 Redshank, 7 Grey Heron and 71 Mallard.

Saturday 28/8/04 - Plenty of Chiffchaff (including 3 singing still), at least 3 Willow Warbler (one singing), 3+ juvenile Whitethroat, and a Lesser Whitethroat. One Yellow Wagtail and a Grey Wagtail flew over. 2 Oystercatcher and c100 Curlew on the river. Also, 5 Bullfinch and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Sunday 22/8/04 - MP reported: 1 Mediterranean Gull (adult in field to North of Lagoon 3), 11 Whitethroat, 5 Sedge Warbler, 1 Raven and a Little Owl.

Saturday 21/8/04 - A Raven reported at Lagoon 3.

Saturday 14/8/04 - A Garden Warbler in bushes at south end of Lagoon 2. Also 7 Reed Warbler still in reeds there, including a pair feeding 2 begging juveniles and another singing. The High Tide gull roost had been flushed from Lagoon 3 before I arrived, but there were 4 Great Black-backed Gull (3 adult & a 3rd-year). 4 Whitethroat and 3 Bullfinch also seen. A few Latticed Heath day-flying moths were on the Nature Trail (see below).

Latticed Heath moth, 14/8/04

Sunday 8/8/04 - An adult Mediterranean Gull with c2000 Black-headed Gull, 75 Common Gull, 1 Great Black-backed Gull (adult), 25 Herring Gull and 10 Lesser Black-backed Gull - at HT roost on Lagoon 3. A Yellow Wagtail flew down-river calling. Also on the river were a Little Egret, 2 Ringed Plover, 1 Oystercatcher, and 3 Curlew. A good day for butterflies, with a Clouded Yellow (in bright, fresh, colours) and a Painted Lady.

High Tide gull roost on Lagoon 3 (from the hide), and zoomed-in on an adult Mediterranean Gull moulting out of summer plumage (8/8/04).

Little Egret, 8/8/04, on the shore by Lagoon 3.

Monday 2/8/04 - Little Owl seen perched in the willow just to North of Lagoon 1.

Sunday 25/7/04 - 4 Mediterranean Gull (adults, moulting out of summer-plumage) with c1300 Black-headed Gull, 25 Common Gull, 1 Great Black-backed Gull (adult) and a few Herring Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull - all roosting on Lagoon 3 at 12pm, as High Tide approached. Not a lot else around: 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Green Woodpecker (ad + juv), 2 Curlew, 3 Kestrel (pair + juv). Only one juvenile Tufted Duck seen this morning. Small Copper and Comma butterflies. Emperor dragonfly.

Mediterranean Gull (left of centre, with the black, not brown, head) roosting with Black-headed Gulls, Lagoon 3, 25/7/04.

Sunday 18/7/04 - An ordinary morning turned rather bizarre, when a Turkey Vulture (with jessies) turned up at 12pm to take a bath in the pond behind the hide !! (See photos below.) There were some migrants around this morning, with 2 Yellow Wagtail (juvs.) on the shore by Lagoon 1, 5 Dunlin, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Oystercatcher and 3 Common Sandpiper (seen by AM, towards Shepperdine). Also 2 Lesser Whitethroat (ad + juv) and 16 Whitethroat, along with Bullfinch and Jay. The WeBS count (with AM) produced 685 Black-headed Gull, 12 Common Gull (the first returns) and 2 Great Black-backed Gull. A female Peregrine was also around. The Shelduck brood is up to 9 juveniles (presumably two broods combined), but the Tufted Duck juveniles are now down to just 3 (broods of 2 + 1) - with Lesser Black-backed Gull predation suspected.

Escaped Turkey Vulture taking a bath, 18/7/04

Saturday 10/7/04 - Numbers of Black-headed Gull have increased to c100. As have Curlew to c20. The brood of 6 Shelduck on the shore should be big enough to survive now. A juvenile Green Woodpecker is evidence of successful breeding nearby (photo below). Plenty of juvenile Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Swallow around.

Juvenile Green Woodpecker and Swallows perched on wires, 10/7/04

Saturday 3/7/04 - Three broods of Tufted Duck are now on the lake behind the hide, with 4, 5 and 6 juveniles in each. A Lesser Black-backed Gull was seen taking one of the ducklings (by AM). A brood of 6 Shelduck is on the shore. A Peregrine (male) was on the pylons. 10 Swallow were hawking insects over Lagoon 1. The HT roost on Lagoon 3 contained 27 Herring Gull and 15 Lesser Black-backed Gull. 30 Black-headed Gull were on the shore.

Sunday 20/6/04 - A Redstart was at the outfall pipe of Lagoon 3 (AM).

Saturday 19/6/04 - A Siskin was a surprise fly-over, heading NE along the river. 2 Oystercatcher were on the foreshore, with a Curlew. 3 adult Great Black-backed Gull and 4 Black-headed Gull in summer plummage were in the HT roost on Lagoon 3. A Green Woodpecker was at Lagoon 2, with lots of Whitethroat. Plenty of Marbled White butterflies and Cinnabar Moths were on the wing.

Oystercatcher, 19/6/04

(NB. See Pictures from other locations for a photo of the Ring-necked Duck I found at Barrow Gurney Reservoir on Tuesday 15/6/04.)

Saturday 12/6/04 - A Great Crested Grebe was seen on the river by AM.

Saturday 5/6/04 - At high tide on Lagoon 3: 2 Great Black-backed Gull (adults), 130 Herring Gull (all ages), 15 Lesser Black-backed Gull (all ages). A Peregrine was on the pylons and 2 Green Woodpecker were around Lagoon 2. Butterflies seen: Small Copper, Common Blue, Small Heath, Small Skipper and Brimstone. Bee Orchids and Pyramidal Orchids in flower.

Bee Orchid, 5/6/04.

Friday 4/6/04 - AM noted 4 Lapwing with at least one fledged young. Also a Ringed Plover, 2 Great Black-Backed Gull, 110 Herring Gull, 8 Lesser Black-Backed Gull and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Sunday 30/5/04 - Lagoons 1 and 3 both completely dried up. Only local breeding birds seen: 1 Oystercatcher, 1 Grey Wagtail, 6+ pairs Whitethroat, 5 pairs Reed Bunting, 4 pairs Song Thrush, 2 pairs Skylark, 1 Green Woodpecker, 5+ pairs Reed Warbler, 6 Tufted Duck (5 male), c5 Swallow; lots of Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler; Buzzard, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. c150 Starling in post-breeding flock.

Whitethroat, Lagoon 2, 30/5/04.

Saturday 29/5/04 - AM spotted: 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Oystercatcher and 9 Tufted Duck.

Sunday 16/5/04 - AM reported a good selection of waders: 1 Bar-tailed Godwit on the river, and at Lagoon 3 were 30 Ringed Plover, 2 Sanderling and 7 Dunlin. Also, now 12 Tufted Duck on the pond, plus Grey Wagtail, Peregrine and 4 Canada Geese.

Reed Bunting, Lagoon 2, 15/5/04

Saturday 15/5/04 - Birds of note on an otherwise quiet day were: Little Egret on the shore north of Lagoon 1, Little Owl also here, and Sedge Warbler singing in bushes south of Lagoon 2. Also 28 Shelduck, 10 Whitethroat, 3 Lapwing - displaying on Lagoon 1, and 10 Reed Warbler. Also 2 Canada Goose on Lagoon 1 and 2 Hare on Lagoon 3.

Saturday 8/5/04 - An Arctic Tern was lingering over the marine reservoir at 2:45pm, but it only stayed for 5 minutes before heading up-river. A little later, upon hearing a 'whoosh', I looked up expecting to see a flock of pigeons, and indeed that's what it was. But instead of them heading along in a tight flock, they scattered in all directions, as a large (female) Peregrine pursued them hotly. The bird of prey then headed up the river chasing a single pigeon that had become isolated and was slightly lower than the Peregrine. But, with a tight turn and a bit of lift, the pigeon looked like it had escaped . . . just then a male Peregrine came stooping out of the sky at great speed. However, the lucky pigeon managed to change course just in time and avoided a fatal strike. All three birds were then lost to view behind trees, but the pair of Peregrines were later seen in aerial display over the river, and actually landed on the breakwater around the marine reservoir. It started to drizzle then, and there wasn't a lot else to see: a Sedge Warbler sang briefly from bushes to South of Lagoon 2, a Grey Wagtail was again present, 15 Swallow flew through, and the unattached male Tufted Duck has found a mate, to bring the total to 10 (5 pairs). The first chicks on-site were 2 Coot on the lake.

Monday 3/5/04 - An Arctic Skua flew up-river at 10:20am - only seen for about 10 seconds as it passed Lagoon 3 in middle of river, and disappeared behind the jetty. After that a heavy shower put a dampener on things. But a Sedge Warbler was singing along the track to the hide. Also, 3 Dunlin flew up-river. A Little Owl was chasing two Grey Squirrel from its favoured oak tree. 2 Wheater were on Lagoon 2. 9 Tufted Duck (5 males) are still on the lake.

Sunday 2/5/04 - AM reported: A female Merlin (the Northwick Wharf bird wandering ?), 11 Whinchat, 4 Yellow Wagtail, 4 Wheatear, 1 Grey Plover and c20 Teal.

Saturday 1/5/04 - A gloomy day was brightened by the first Whinchat of the year, in the form of 3 on Lagoon 2 (photo below). Also an amazing flock of 24 Yellow Wagtail flushed by a Kestrel and then returning to Lagoon 1. Other migrants passing through: 4 Wheatear, c75 Swallow, 15 House Martin and 10 Swift. A pair of Peregrine were circling and calling over the river. 3 Reed Warbler and 2 Sedge Warbler were in the reeds on Lagoon 2. 9 Whitethroat and 2 Lesser Whitethroat were singing. The only waders seen were 2 Oystercatcher and 4 Lapwing. A Raven circled over the cooling tower. Also pairs of Grey Wagtail and Little Owl were seen.


Whinchat and Yellow Wagtail (male), 1/5/04

Sunday 25/4/04 - MP reported: 2 Grasshopper Warbler (on Lagoon 2), 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 8 Whitethroat, 2 Reed Warbler,1 Sedge Warbler, 2 Whimbrel, 1 Grey Wagtail (singing again in sewage treatment area) and 1 Canada Goose.

Saturday 24/4/04 - A warm, sunny, day brought out 9 singing Whitethroat (Lagoons 2 & 3) and the first Reed Warbler of the year - singing in the reeds on Lagoon 2. 3 Mute Swan (2ad + juv) were on Lagoon 3. There were a couple of migrant waders: a Whimbrel was to the right of the hide, by the seaweed dump, and a Common Sandpiper was on the shore (see photo, below). Plenty of butterflies today: Orange Tip, Speckled Wood, Brimstone and Peacock.

Common Sandpiper, 24/4/04

Sunday 18/4/04 - Good migrant fall conditions today (with overnight rain and sunny spells this morning) brought a variety of birds. 2 Tree Pipit were at the south end of Lagoon 2, and a Grasshopper Warbler 'reeled' intermittently from the reedbed here. Also MP heard a Whitethroat here. 8 Wheater were seen; 4 (3 male + a female) were at the other end of Lagoon 2 (by the shore) and 4 were by Lagoon 3. A Yellow Wagtail flew over, calling, as it headed up-river. 16 Swallow flew through in small groups. 3 Ringed Plover were on Lagoon 3 and 2 Oystercatcher were on the shore. 9 Tufted Duck (5 male) are now on the pond. 2 Hares were in the long grass on Lagoon 2. MP reported the following from Littleton: 2 Whimbrel, 1 Tree Pipit (over), 2 Yellow Wagtail (over), 1 Raven, 100+ Meadow Pipit, and 35+ (!) Wheatear - see photo:

Wheater, 18/4/04 by Matt Plenty.

Tuesday 13/4/04 - A Grey Wagtail was singing at the Sewage Works this morning. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was at Lagoon 1. c100 Curlew were on the mud flats (distant) at Low Tide. Plenty of Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff singing. 6 Reed Bunting on Lagoon 2. 4 pairs of Tufted Duck were on the pond. (NB. Water was being pumped into Lagoon 3 today, which could improve conditions there for waders.)

Friday 9/4/04 - 2 Little Ringed Plover on Lagoon 3 this morning, and same or different 2 on Lagoon 1 (seen by MP). Also on Lagoon 1 (or near) were: 2 Oystercatcher, 6 Redshank, 2 Curlew, 3 Lapwing, c80 Teal and a Grey Wagtail (seen by MP). 4 Swallow passed through. Other (singing) migrants: 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap, c20 Chiffchaff. A Little Owl was in an old oak to North of Lagoon 1, and a Fox was sunning itself in a field nearby. 2 Mute Swan were on the river. 5 Reed Bunting were on Lagoon 2. The female Peregrine was on the pylon by the road.

Sunday 4/4/04 - MP reported the following at HT: 67 Teal, 4 Oystercatcher, 4 Lapwing, 10 Redshank, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Sparrowhawk.

Saturday 3/4/04 - Plenty of singing migrants in the sun between the showers, with: 3 Willow Warbler, 21 Chiffchaff and 2 Blackcap. On Lagoon 1 at HT were: a pair of Shoveler, 10 Redshank, c30 Teal, 5 Lapwing and c170 Starling. Only c20 Meadow Pipit showing today, with 2 Reed Bunting and 4 Skylark on Lagoon 2. Also 8 Tufted Duck on the pond behind the hide.

Tuesday 30/3/04 - 40+ Sand Martin reported.

Sunday 28/3/04 - AM reported a Raven, 12 singing Chiffchaff, 65 Teal, 20 Wigeon, 15 Shelduck, 6 Tufted Duck. a Green Woodpecker and a Little Owl. Also 100 Stock Dove in field to North of Lagoon 1

Saturday 27/3/04 - A Little Ringed Plover was on Lagoon 1 this morning, along with 6 Redshank and 2 Oystercatcher. Also 13 Chiffchaff were singing on-site. But second best bird was a Coal Tit (only one other reported in last 2 years), in small pines by the small pond, Lagoon 2. The Peregrine pair were displaying over Lagoon 3, before settling on pylons. 2 Green Woodpecker (see photo below) and 7 Redwing were on the grass by the entrance. There was a large influx of Meadow Pipit, with c90 on-site (mainly between Lagoons 1 and 2, with c100 Starling). On Lagoon 2 were 5 Reed Bunting (4 male) and 3 Skylark (2 singing). On Lagoon 3 at HT were 3 Great Black-Backed Gull and 18 Common Gull. Also: 4 Bullfinch (one in song), 4 Stock Dove, 4 Tufted Duck and 3 Pheasant. (See Pictures from other locations for pictures of the 3 Garganey at Slimbridge WWT today, and the Fulmar taken into care at Severn Beach last weekend.)

Can Green Woodpeckers read ?

Sunday 21/3/04 - High wind from west today. Chiffchaff with Long-Tailed Tits, hawking insects along the fence posts behind the hide. 22 Shelduck, 6 Redshank, 4 Curlew, 5 Tufted Duck and a Sparrowhawk. Cowslips in flower in the wildflower meadow. A few Fieldfare and Redwing still on the farms just inland of OPS.

Saturday 13/3/04 - In a brief visit: Female Peregrine calling from the pylons (no doubt the male was close-by, but not seen). 2 Bullfinch and 2 Song Thrush. Then I went for cover as a heavy squall came up the channel. [From the Severnside web-site (see Links) I should have stayed to look for Kittiwakes, but headed for the Purple Sandpiper and 2 Little Stint at Slimbridge WWT.] AM counted 31 Shelduck, 8 Tufted Duck, 12 Snipe, 4 Shoveler, 49 Wigeon, 33 Teal, 2 Dunlin and 42 Redshank.

Sunday 7/3/04 - A Little Owl was posing in an oak tree just to NE of Lagoon 1. 4 Jay and 26 Fieldfare flew across the wildflower meadow. A Green Woodpecker was heard to S of Lagoon 2, and later flew along the rhine (by the road). 2 Collared Dove and 2 Stock Dove flew over. 10 Tufted Duck (3 male) on the pond behind the hide. 6 Shoveler (3 pairs), c60 Teal, c20 Wigeon and 12 Shelduck were on the coast + Lagoon 1. Waders were: 1 Oystercatcher, c10 Redshank, c20 Curlew and just 4 Lapwing. Also 2 Great Black-Backed Gull. The Stonechats had disappeared again. A Weasel was dragging a dead baby Rabbit along the bridleway, and AM saw 4 Hares on Lagoon 3 - acting madly, as befits the month !

Saturday 28/2/04 - AM reported a Goshawk circling and displaying, towards Berkeley (NE of Lagoon 2), at 1pm. No sign of it after 2:30pm, though. A Treecreeper was along the bridleway from the road to the shore, with 3 Goldcrest. A Jay was by the hide, and a juvenile Mute Swan has taken up residence on the pond behind the hide. The Peregrine pair were on the pylon over the road from the hide. Here's the female:

3+ Stonechat (Ad and 2 juv, + another adult maybe) were mobile on Lagoon 2, and a Water Rail was heard 'sharming' in the reeds there. A Snipe was flushed from Lagoon 2. 3 Shoveler (2 male + a female) were on Lagoon 1. Also seen were: c25 Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 5 Song Thrush, 3 Bullfinch, 4 Buzzard, 2 Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk. AM also counted: 82 Curlew (in fields to SW of Lagoon 2), c20 Dunlin, 16 Redshank, 23 Teal, 138 Wigeon, 1 Little Owl and 2 Great Black-Backed Gull.

Sunday 22/2/04 - A Water Pipit was found by AM, at the outflow channel from Lagoon 3. He also counted: 33 Shelduck, (19 of which were on Lagoon 3 when I visited - a distinct increase in numbers), 58 Curlew, 8 Redshank, 11 Ringed Plover, 56 Lapwing, 120 Teal, 190 Dunlin, 142 Wigeon, 20 Turnstone, and 41 Mallard. I can add a Grey Wagtail (near the wildlife Pond by Lagoon 2), and a Fox (Lagoon 2), to this list. (But no Stonechats on Lagoon 2.). The Peregrine pair were on the pylons together, again.

Tuesday 17/2/04 - MP reported the following between Littleton and Oldbury: 400 Dunlin, 36 Redshank, 3000+ Starling (probably roosting the old brick pits), 1 Water Rail (in the brick pits), 1 Raven, 400+ Curlew (pre-roost flock on the shore at Oldbury), 11 Skylark (including some in song), 2 Rock Pipit (including a possible Scandinavian sup-species (littoralis)).

Monday 16/2/04 - The following reported (by AM): a juvenile Bewick's Swan, 1 Little Owl, 2 Black-Tailed Godwit, 2 Great Black-Backed Gull, 5 Shoveler, 3 Snipe, 450 Dunlin, 92 Lapwing, 181 Wigeon, 108 Teal, 48 Mallard, 2 Tufted Duck.

Sunday 15/2/04 - 2 Peregrine on the pylons and 2 Oystercatcher on the shore by Lagoon 3. (NB. I went to Northwick Wharf in the morning, without knowing the Spoonbill was there. But I got there at 10:30, just after it flew off up-river. So, I whizzed up to OPS to try and catch it as it went past - thinking Slimbridge was favourite for it. I got to OPS at 10:55, but didn't catch up with it, despite staring across the murky river until 12:30. But it is quite likely that it went past when I was there, as it was reported at Slimbridge at 12:10.)

Saturday 14/2/04 - 5 Stonechat now on Lagoon 2 (2 adults and 3 juvs.), near the reeds (See photo of an adult, below). On the shore, a Turnstone was on the sea-wall (see photo below), and there were 13 Ringed Plover, 5 Dunlin, 5 Redshank and 14 Shelduck. Another 3 Shelduck were on Lagoon 3 with 304 Lapwing. Along the bridleway to the shore were: 4 Bullfinch (2 pairs), c100 Fieldfare and c20 Redwing. A Peregrine was on the pylons again. Also a Snipe was reported. Driving home, I spotted 4 white Fallow Deer in a field near Oldbury Naite - see Pictures from other locations.


Stonechat (lagoon 2) and Turnstone, 14/2/04.

Friday 6/2/04 - 2 Stonechat (ad + juv) by reeds in Lagoon 2, and Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers in trees near here. Unusually, a Collard Dove was on the bridleway to the shore, along with 2 Goldcrest and 3 Bullfinch (one of which was singing). A Peregrine was on a pylon to left of the hide, with 3 male Tufted Duck on the lake. On Lagoon 3 were 96 Lapwing and a Skylark. On Lagoon 1, the c200 Fieldfare and c15 Redwing were still present, and the Starling flock has increased to c400. Also present were: 13 Redshank, an adult Great Black-Backed Gull and 2 singing Song Thrush. Lastly, Blackthorn (Sloe) bushes are already in flower !

Monday 2/2/04 - 2 Raven flying along the shore, calling, and then in flooded field between Lagoons 1 & 2. Also in this field: c200 Fieldfare, c15 Redwing, c200 Starling and 17 Meadow Pipit. 2 Water Rail were heard calling in the reeds, Lagoon 2. On the shore were: 14 Ringed Plover, 15 Redshank, (only) 4 Dunlin, c20 Curlew, 2 Shoveler (pair), 204 Teal and 148 Wigeon. Also, 1 Great Black-Backed Gull (ad), 25 Common Gull, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Bullfinch, and singles of Jay, Sparrowhawk and Green Woodpecker.

(NB. The Lapland Bunting is still at Slimbridge (for its 9th day). It can only be seen by guided walk, as it is in a field to the north.)

Sunday 1/2/04 - MP saw 3 Kittiwake flying up-river, in the windy conditions, and a high count of 22 Great Black-Backed Gull. He also counted: (on Lagoon 1) 115 Teal, 220 Wigeon, 1 Snipe, 250 Lapwing, 2 Shoveler.

Friday 30/1/04 - At HT: 5 Turnstone, 7 Ringed Plover, c20 Curlew, 10 Redshank, an adult Great Black-Backed Gull, c100 Black-Headed Gull, 3 Shelduck (Lagoon 3). Also a Jay and a Bullfinch.

Tuesday 27/1/04 - An adult Mediterranean Gull in winter plumage was on Lagoon 3 at HT, with 14 Ringed Plover, a juv. Great Black-Backed Gull and a Canada Goose (on the water by the outfall). Also there was a 1w Lesser Black-Backed Gull with a deformed, very hooked, beak. But the highlight was seeing 9 Pintail flying up-river in V-formation. A juv. Stonechat was around the reeds on Lagoon 2, as was a Fox. On Lagoon 1 at HT were: 27 Curlew, 12 Redshank and a Snipe. 3 Bullfinch (2 male + a female) were eating Blackthorn buds by the road. Also by the road were: a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Stock Dove and c40 Linnet. The pair of Peregrines were on separate pylons, with a Raven. Here's a picture of the male Peregrine:

My first attempt at digi-scoping !

Monday 26/1/04 - A Peregrine was perched on one of the pylons by the Power Station entrance. A Water Rail was 'sharming' (i.e. making a noise like the squealing of a pig) in the reeds on Lagoon 2. More large gulls than usual were flying up-river in a bitter wind from the North: c50 each of Herring Gull and Lesser Black-Backed Gull. The High Tide roost on Lagoon 3 held: 6 Ringer Plover, c200 Dunlin and c300 Lapwing. On the coast were 12 Curlew and 6 Redshank. c30 Stock Dove flew over.

Saturday 24/1/04 - A (probable) Yellow-legged Gull flying down-river and a 1w Great Black-Backed Gull. 4 Bullfinch, included a male singing. 2 female Pheasant. Also AM counted: c1000 Lapwing, c700 Dunlin, 74 Mallard, 10 Curlew, 7 Shelduck, 180 Wigeon, c100 Teal, 3 Shoveler, 7 Redshank and 40 Snipe.

Saturday 17/1/04 - 2 Raven displaying over the towers. A pair of Peregrine together on a pylon, with the female plucking a kill. 111 Pied Wagtail coming in to evening roost. Singles of: Song Thrush, Jay, Green Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk. 6 Shelduck, c400 Lapwing and c200 Dunlin on lagoon 3. c60 Curlew in flight. A Mute Swan flying up-river at dusk. In the Gull Survey (with AM): 2674 Black-Headed Gull, 218 Common Gull, 92 Herring Gull, 47 Lesser Black-Backed Gull, 2 Great Black-Backed Gull (ad + 1w), 4000 unidentified Gulls coming in to roost on the river at dusk.

Thursday 15/1/04 - At HT roost on lagoon 3: 1135 Lapwing, 248 Dunlin and 1 Great Black-Backed Gull. Also on-site: 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Green Woodpecker and 2 Goldcrest with c25 Long-Tailed Tits (in 3 flocks).

Tuesday 13/1/04 - I was one of the lucky observers who saw the Cory's Shearwater at Severn Beach. It appeared on the High Tide at about 10:30am, during quite high Westerly winds (following a night of Westerly gales and heavy rain). It made two close passes of the sea-wall, giving great views down to 100 yards. It attracted the unwanted attention of large gulls as it lingered by the Severn Bridge. This gave a good indication of its size, as it had a wingspan equal to adult Herring Gull. It was still present when I left at 11:20am, with the tide falling. If the record is accepted, it will only be the second 'Avon' record for this species - the first being at Severn Beach in November 2000.

Saturday 10/1/04 - 1360 Lapwing, 925 Dunlin, 10 Ringed Plover, 12 Snipe, 6 Turnstone and a Water Rail all reported by AM. Also reported: apair of Peregrine on pylon, and 6 Bullfinch.

Friday 9/1/04 - 13 Tree Sparrow reported along footpath north of lagoon 3 (MW).

Monday 5/1/04 - Rock Pipit flushed and flew down-river. 2 Water Rail heard piping from reeds on lagoon 2 and 2 Stonechat still there. Also a Hare seen here. Peregrine on pylon over road from hide. 309 Teal on coast. Adult Great Black-Backed Gull on lagoon 3 at HT, with c700 Lapwing and c300 Dunlin. Male Tufted Duck on pond behind hide.

Sunday 4/1/04 - Ringtail Hen Harrier reported between Lagoon II and coast, in afternoon. (Probably the bird seen regularly at Frampton-On-Severn.)

Saturday 3/1/04 - 4 Bewick's Swan circled around lagoon 1 and then flew low upriver, calling, in misty conditions. Water Rail heard 'piping' from the reedbed in lagoon 2, then came out of reeds to give very good views. 2 Stonechat on lagoon 2. Single Golden Plover with c600 Lapwing, 8 Ringed Plover and c300 Dunlin at HT roost on lagoon 3. 11 Common Snipe on lagoon 1. Adult, male Peregrine seen carrying kill (looked like feral pigeon). Also Jay, Green Woodpecker, Reed Bunting.

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