January to December 2012


2011 sightings

2010 sightings

2009 sightings

2008 sightings

2007 sightings

2006 sightings

2005 sightings

2004 sightings

A total of 150 species recorded at the site in 2012 – the most in any year. (See Latest Site Species List for details). With my personal total for the site in 2012 at 138 species (my record in any year).

31/12/12 – The rain relented for an hour this afternoon, and I managed to see the Red-crested Pochard on the shore by Lagoon 3 again, with the Mallards. Also 7 Skylark on Lagoon 3.

See photo below – amazing find on the path around Lagoon 3; a huge Conger Eel head ! My binoculars are 6 inches long, so the head is about the same length and 5 inches wide. It was found about 100 yards from the shore (to SW of hide) and is too heavy for a bird. My guess is a Fox brought it there (probably from the sea-weed dump about 50 yards away).

A wet and miserable morning ! c25 Snipe were flushed from the vegetation on Lagoon 3 by a low flying Crow, and a Rock Pipit on the shore.

Conger Eel head on Lagoon 3 !


30/12/12 – 3 Mistle Thrush and 2 Blackcap on mistletoe at Jobsgreen Farm; 204 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 5 Ringed Plover on Lagoon 3; a male Tufted Duck on the lake.


28/12/12 – MP reported the Red-crested Pochard again.


27/12/12 – The drake Red-crested Pochard in breeding plumage was with the Mallards on the shore by the jetty this morning. A Treecreeper was with the tit flock along the track to the shore.

Red-crested Pochard on the shore.


26/12/12 – the only thing passing through the site today was the Gloucestershire Fox Hunt !


24/12/12 – AM reported in afternoon: The male Red-crested Pochard with the Mallards by the jetty, again. The Black Redstart still on fence around Water Works, 3 male Yellowhammer (small copse), 190 Wigeon, 400 Teal, 520 Lapwing, 400 Jackdaw (flushed from roost at Jobsgreen Farm by raptor) and 35 Stock Dove.

A male Tufted Duck on the Tidal Reservoir and a Chiffchaff on Lagoon 2 were the highlights (apart from briefly seeing the sun !). 4 Mistle Thrush and 2 Blackcap at Jobsgreen Farm. A male Shoveler coming out of eclipse on the lake. 2 Mute Swan flying downriver.

4 Little Egret in flooded fields, 2 miles inland of OPS.


23/12/12 – The Black Redstart was on the fence between the jetty and water works again, but highly mobile, and there were 6 Mistle Thrush at Jobsgreen Farm. Along with c150 Mallard and 400+ Teal, were 1 Pintail, 3 Shoveler and a pair of Gadwall (on the lake).

Flooded lake (the river in the foreground is the footpath !).


22/12/12 – A very wet day, but nice and quiet with nobody about. There was a female (type) Blackcap and 5 Mistle Thrush in the orchard of Jobsgreen Farm to south of Lagoon 2, and c30 Fieldfare in the orchard at OPS. The number of ducks at Shepperdine has risen to 450+ Teal and c100 Wigeon. And 30+ Turnstone, 2 Oystercatcher and a Rock Pipit there. Now 5 Gadwall on the lake (3 male & 2 female).


21/12/12 – JS reported the Black Redstart again (around the jetty), a Bar-tailed Godwit and 40 Curlew (7 colour-ringed).

PR reported: 130 Mallard, 195 Teal, 82 Wigeon c350 Lapwing (towards yacht club), 1 Peregrine over power station, 1 Chiffchaff (Lagoon 2), 2 Water Rail (heard, Lagoon 2) and several Pied Wagtail making their way to roost.


16/12/12 – The 1st-winter male Black Redstart was on the fence between the water works and Lagoon 2 again (after being absent for over a week). At Shepperdine, on a high tide were: 1 male Shoveler and 200+ Teal. Also: c100 Fieldfare (c40 in orchard and c60 in trees at Shepperdine) and 1 Grey Plover.

Most of the water birds have abandoned the lake this weekend – only 3 Coot left and the Gadwall pair, but no Moorhens there all weekend (but one in a tree by the orchard, next to some flooding !). A Water Rail heard by the lake again though (and another on lagoon 2).

AM also reported (WeBS count): 25 Redshank, 130 Curlew, 310 Dunlin, 40 Turnstone, 92 Wigeon, 133 Mallard, another Gadwall on river, 10 Yellowhammer (small copse/yacht club), 5 Ringed Plover, 1 Snipe and 3 Chiffchaff (Lagoon 3 to yacht club).


15/12/12 – 3 Mistle Thrush today (2 in orchard to south of Lagoon 2, and 1 at small copse). Lagoon 3 only had: 4 Ringed Plover, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and c25 Curlew (4 colour-ringed). The rest of the waders were in flooded fields: c200 Lapwing and c300 Dunlin. Also 1+ Rock Pipit, a Skylark over NE, and very unusually, a large Water Beetle on the surface of the main rhine.


8/12/12 – A beautiful morning with fantastic light, but not a lot of note to see. The lake had 4 Gadwall and 3 Mute Swan; a juvenile, calling, and being chased by the male in a pair. Also a Water Rail heard there, and another at the small pond to SW of Lagoon 3, and 2 more in reeds on Lagoon 2. A Mistle Thrush by small copse.


4/12/12 – AM/MP reported: the Black Redstart by the Water Works, 1 Stonechat, 1 Chiffchaff, 136 Lapwing, 210 Dunlin, 270 Curlew, 297 Wigeon, 196 Teal and 4 Gadwall.


2/12/12 – Late news: PR reported 2 Waxwing along the north side of lagoon 2 at 1445. Flew down to muddy puddle on the path and then into sallows in the scrubby vegetation.

MP reported a Little Egret and 3 Gadwall at Shepperdine. (69 species recorded at OPS in last 3 days.)


1/12/12 – The 1st-winter male Black Redstart was looking resplendent in the winter sun as it fluttered around the ice on Lagoon 1. A Brambling was calling by the lake, where the 4 Gadwall are still. A Treecreeper was in the wood by the hide. (Half hour searches for the YB Warbler proved fruitless today and yesterday.) And 2 Yellowhammer heard in field along the main rhine.

MP reported: 1 Knot, 1 Shoveler and c700 Dunlin.

1st-winter male Black Redstart.


30/11/12 – The Black Redstart was still around; very mobile, ranging from the water works to the fence at Shepperdine, but mainly around the ice on lagoon 1. It is a 1st-winter male (with pale panels on wings). There were 8 Gadwall today; 2 male + 2 female on lake and 3 male + 1 female on tidal reservoir. A flock of c40 Chaffinch in the ‘Twite fields’ contained 1 Brambling and 4 Linnet. A Water Rail was seen well in the main reedbed on Lagoon 2 with another heard nearby. 3 Siskin and 1 Mistle Thrush over. A Mute Swan flew upriver. Also, c30 Fieldfare and c20 Redwing.

JS reported 66 Curlew on Lagoon 3, c300 at the yacht club, and a Bar-tailed Godwit.

1st-winter male Black Redstart.


29/11/12 – The YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER was reported again (SB).


27/11/12 – AM reported this morning: the YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER in the usual wood, 1 Treecreeper (same place), 1 Siskin (in Orchard), 45 Fieldfare (Orchard), 1 Little Grebe, 3 Gadwall, 350 Curlew (Lagoon 3), 38 Teal, 220 Dunlin, 154 Wigeon and 150 Lapwing.


26/11/12 – WK/MB/CT reported the YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER in the same place this afternoon.


25/11/12 - The YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER was again in the same block of woods at 10.50am, when it called for 2 minutes and was seen well. A female/juvenile Black Redstart was at the water works, but it was very mobile. It was along the fence by the Severn Way, but also disappeared into the works. And a Grey Wagtail there. The 3 Gadwall and Little Grebe were still on the lake, and a Chiffchaff along the main rhine. Also 1 Mistle Thrush, c25 Fieldfare, a Bullfinch singing its ‘creaky gate’ song and 2 Raven ‘kronking’ over the cooling towers.


24/11/12 – 6 Gadwall today (male and 2 females on lake and also on Lagoon 1 – I know they were different as I went from lake-to-Lag 1, and back). Lagoon 1 is now looking superb, having flooded, and there were 90+ Wigeon there, with another c100 at Shepperdine. Also, a Little Grebe on the lake, a Rock Pipit and 2 Chiffchaff around.


23/11/12 – The YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER was reported (on Avonbirding).

Photo by Geoff Harris


22/11/12 – An adult Kittiwake ‘wheeled’ upriver fast at 2.35pm, in strong SW wind, and appeared to land on the water at Shepperdine. A female Pintail was on the very flooded Lagoon 1, the 3 Gadwall are still on the lake and there were 320+ Teal at Shepperdine. AM also reported a male Brambling on Lagoon 3 and 45 Wigeon.

Other news: The farmhouse where the Little Owl was seen on 25/7/12 has been demolished and the Wind Turbine on the ridge over the far side of the Severn was turning for the first time today.


20/11/12 – MP reported on lagoon 3/lake: 27 Snipe out in open, 75 Lapwing, c500 Dunlin, 2 Grey Plover and 3 Gadwall. And the probable 'argentatus' Herring Gull below, which was more bulky than a nearby adult 'argenteus' Herring Gull. Had a very striking pale straw coloured eye which gave a very mean expression (but didn't seem darker on the back). If you can help identify it, please email me at address above !

‘argentatus’ Herring Gull. Wing shot – ‘mirrors’ do seem quite large

Next to GBB Gull for comparison (Photos by MP)


19/11/12 – BL reported: the YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER again, and 1 Crossbill, 50 Snipe, 4 Grey Plover, 500 Dunlin and 240 Lapwing.


18/11/12 – The YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER is still here this morning, in the same area as yesterday, but not calling as much, so difficult to find. Sometimes associating with tit flock, but generally not. The Lagoon 3 HT roost had: 3 Grey Plover, 5 Ringed Plover, 404 Dunlin, 209 Lapwing and one Curlew. Also, a male Brambling with Chaffinch flock on far side of Lagoon 3 (‘scoped from hide). On the lake there are now 3 Gadwall (2 females), 14 Moorhen, 6 Coot, 12 Wigeon and a Little Grebe. Plus, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Water Rail (lagoon 2), 3 Snipe and plenty of Fieldfare again.


17/11/12 – A YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER this morning, spending it’s time moving around the trees in between the track to the shore and the track to the hide (on left of entrance). First heard at 7.50am, giving a zwee-it call (which I thought was a Coal Tit), as I walked down the track to the shore. As I haven’t had Coal Tit at OPS this year, I spent the next 40 minutes tracking it down. Very nearly gave up a few times when it stopped calling, as I was now convinced it was a Coal Tit. Eventually found it in small birch and fir trees by the buildings on the left as you drive into OPS. When I actually got it in my bins, I was very shocked to see an obvious yellow supercilium and two pale yellow wing bars on a greenish body ! Then ran back to the car to check on Pallas’s call, and texted it out. (Late update – still present at same place in evening.)

A Stonechat was in NE corner of Lagoon 3, by the gate, and the HT roost was good again, with 5 Grey Plover, 2 Ringed Plover and lots of Dunlin, Lapwing and Curlew. The Gadwall pair on the lake still and lots of Fieldfare over and around.

Photo by Andy Jordan


16/11/12 – JS reported: On Lagoon 3 - 150 Lapwing, 85 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover, 5 Grey Plover, 12 Snipe and a Stonechat. 13 Snipe at Lagoon 1. At the yacht club - 300 Curlew, 500 Dunlin and a Bar-tailed Godwit.


15/11/12 – AM reported at HT: 231 Lapwing, 2 Ringed Plover, 2 Grey Plover, 1150 Dunlin, 174 Curlew, 90 Wigeon, 138 Teal, 2 Gadwall, 1 Tufted Duck, 28 Redshank, 30 Turnstone, 1 Rock Pipit and 2 Water Rail.


11/11/12 – At High Tide this evening, 10 Grey Plover, 1 Little Egret, 52 Redshank, c500 Dunlin, c100 Lapwing, 1 Little Grebe (on lake), 2 Gadwall (pair on Tidal Res.), 1 Shoveler (male, Shepperdine).

MP reported 50+ Snipe on Lagoon 1 and 5+ Yellowhammer in maize field by entrance.

Redwing.(Photo by IW)


10/11/12 – At High Tide, on Lagoon 3: 9 Grey Plover, 1 Knot, c100 Lapwing, 18 Redshank and c300 Dunlin feeding avidly on the damp mud.

4 Yellowhammer by the lake and road this morning. Lagoon 2 had 10 Siskin (and 5 on Lagoon 3), 3 Water Rail calling and 10 Reed Bunting (plus 2 on Lagoon 3). A Chiffchaff was in the lagoon 3 hedges and 10+ Goldcrest about. Lots more thrushes around this week: c100 Redwing and c40 Fieldfare. Also a male Shoveler at Shepperdine, 89 Teal and the Gadwall pair on the lake.


8/11/12 – AM reported: 107 Wigeon, 118 Teal, 41 Fieldfare (in orchard), 2 Gadwall (still on Lake), and 1 Little Egret.

JS reported at yacht club: 180 Curlew, (16 colour-rings read), 1,000 Dunlin and 7 Grey Plover.


6/11/12 – IW reported a Fieldfare in the car park.

Fieldfare in the car park.(Photo by IW)


5/11/12 – AM reported: 950 Dunlin, 213 Lapwing, 10 Grey Plover, 28 Redshank, 40 Turnstone, 1 Little Egret, 2 Gadwall, 23 Teal, 60 Wigeon, 38 Canada Goose, 7 Shelduck, 35 Common Gull and a female Blackcap.


4/11/12 – A male Red-crested Pochard in vegetation to left of hide on Lagoon 3 looked very different to the eclipse plumage seen in September (and where has it been since 3rd October ?!). In the High Tide roost: 10 Grey Plover, 2 Knot, 12 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Snipe, 400+ Dunlin and 192 Lapwing. The Gadwall pair were still on the lake. There has been a fall of thrushes in the rain overnight, with 25 Blackbird (including a leucistic, partial albino, male), c15 Redwing, 5 Song Thrush and 2 Fieldfare. Also 1 Bar-tailed Godwit at Shepperdine and 7 Bullfinch.


3/11/12 – On Lagoon 3: 2+ Brambling with c80 Chaffinch (can be seen on far side of lagoon from hide), 10 Grey Plover, c400 Dunlin, 100+ Lapwing, 32 Teal, c100 Mallard and c400 Black-headed Gull. Some migration still (mainly over to West into cold wind): 8 Bullfinch (single flock of 7), 1 Yellowhammer, 25 Fieldfare, 5 Redwing, c600 Starling, 50+ Chaffinch, 2 Greenfinch and a few Meadow Pipit. 2 Rock Pipit on the shore by Lagoon 3. The number of Coot on the lake has increased to 7, the pair of Gadwall are still there, as are the 2 Mute Swan (plus 2 on far side of estuary).

MP identified a male and a female Brambling on Lagoon 3 plus c35 Linnet and 3 Goldfinch. Also, 1 Grey Wagtail and 2 Little Grebe (from hide, tucked into vegetation on north edge of lake).

Male Brambling on lagoon 3.(Photo by MP)


2/11/12 – MP reported: a pair of Gadwall and a Little Grebe on the lake; 131 Mallard, 39 Teal, 10 Grey Plover, 359 Dunlin, 121 Lapwing and 12 Snipe. The finch flock in SW corner of Lagoon 3 had 80+ Chaffinch and 1+ Brambling.

Gadwall pair on the lake.(Photo by MP)


1/11/12 – JS reported: 48 Curlew (on Lagoon 3), c400 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover, 9 Grey Plover, 190 Lapwing and a Bar-tailed Godwit. 30 Snipe were on Lagoon 1 and another 200 Curlew were mainly by the yacht club.


31/10/12 – MP reported on Lagoon 3 at HT: 11 Grey Plover, 201 Curlew, 35 Dunlin, 112 Lapwing and a Bar-tailed Godwit.


30/10/12 – JS reported on Lagoon 3 at dawn: c200 Curlew (flushed by a Fox so only 4 colour-rings read), c400 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover, 11 Grey Plover, 100 Lapwing and a Bar-tailed Godwit.


28/10/12 – 2 Redpoll in the small copse on way to yacht club, a Treecreeper in the wood to SW of lagoon 2 and 1+ Siskin over. A few Chaffinch, Meadow Pipit and 4 Greenfinch moving SW (completely opposite direction to yesterday !). Wigeon have increased to c100 and 14 Teal.


27/10/12 – Excellent visible migration again for the whole of this morning, heading NE into biting wind: a Hawfinch flew at hedge height along the road to the power station and then flew up over trees by rhine – didn’t call, but faster moving and more direct flight than other finches and clearly larger, with a single broad white wing bar (MP caught a hint of the rufous colour), c30 Siskin, 1 Brambling (calling), 600+ Chaffinch (c300 in one hour), 1000+ Starling, c15 Greenfinch, c30 Linnet, c40 Fieldfare, 50+ Woodpigeon, c60 Jackdaw, 9 Redwing (MB), 6 Skylark and 1 Mistle Thrush. All the birds were flying low, despite the sunny conditions, presumably to keep out of worst of the wind. A Merlin flew up high over the estuary chasing a Chaffinch, which escaped, then headed to yacht club. 2 Little Egret and another c10 Redwing along the rhine (and MB/MP had 3 Roe Deer there – very unusual). Also, 1 Chiffchaff (lagoon 3), 1 Water Rail squealing in lagoon 2 reedbed and c150 Dunlin.

MP also reported 35 Canada Goose at the yacht club.


26/10/12 – AM/MP reported, visible migration much reduced into NE wind, nevertheless: 1 Hawfinch (only 2nd site record), 500 Chaffinch (in an hour), 750 Starling (in an hour), 1 Redpoll and 37 Fieldfare. Also: 1 Merlin (male harassing Chaffinch flock), c200 Curlew, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 60 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 7 Grey Plover, 1 Little Egret, 1 Redwing, 35 Dunlin and a male Stonechat.


25/10/12 – MP reported: a Stonechat at yacht club and Vis Mig to NE: 1000’s Chaffinch, Starling and Thrush sp., 3 Swallow, and a few Brambling and Siskin.


21/10/12 – A Siskin over to NE and a Mistle Thrush at the end of lagoon 2. Lagoon 3 had: 17 Grey Plover, 2 Ringed Plover, c15 Lapwing and c100 Dunlin. A Little Egret on Lagoon 1.


20/10/12 – That was a spectacular sunset ! A Little Owl heard at the yacht club (but no SE Owls).


This morning, a possible Twite flying across Lagoon 3 calling and then gaining height as flew along shore NE, calling all the time ‘zoo-it’. Redpoll has similar call but this bird appeared to be larger in bins; inconclusive, unfortunately. Lagoon 3 had a good selection of waders at High Tide again: 26 Grey Plover, 2 Knot, c120 Dunlin, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 3 Ringed Plover. (Only a couple of Curlew though.) A few other visible migrants: 3 Redwing, 4 Greenfinch, 3 Chaffinch (only), 1 Grey Wagtail and 2 Skylark. The Water Rail piping on Lagoon 2 again. Also, 1 Little Egret, c45 Meadow Pipit, c15 Song Thrush, c10 Goldcrest and a Chiffchaff still singing. JS also reported an adult Mediterranean Gull on lagoon 3.

Knot moulting out of summer plumage (2nd from left) with Grey Plovers (right) and a Dunlin, lagoon 3.


19/10/12 – JS reported on lagoon 3: c100 Curlew (17 colour rings), 75 Lapwing, 23 Grey Plover (a very good count), 165 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover, 2 Knot, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 15 Common Gull, and a Shelduck. 19 Canada Goose flew over, south.


18/10/12 - AM reported: 2 Short-eared Owl at 11am between the metal gate and the yacht club (first multiple record since Nov ‘98). On Lagoon 3 : 1 Whimbrel (latest since 12/9/07), 287 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 10 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover, 5 Grey Plover and 13 Dunlin. At Yacht Club: 25 Redshank and 61 Wigeon.


16/10/12 – JS reported: 500+ Curlew at High Tide this morning (and 23 colour-rings read). The latest counts show that at least two thirds of the lower Severn flock are roosting at OPS at the moment. Also: 50 Lapwing, 40 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover, 1 Knot, 9 Grey Plover, 2 Golden Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Little Egret, a second-winter Mediterranean Gull and 5 Redwing.


14/10/12 – At dusk, 637 Curlew roosted on Lagoon 3, 1,000+ Black-headed Gull roosted on the estuary, there were 2 Grey Wagtail together at the Water Works, c50 Pied Wagtail roosted on outbuildings, 54 Turnstone counted at Shepperdine and the Peregrine pair were on the towers.

A Water Rail piping from the reedbed on Lagoon 2 this morning. Also, 1 Rock Pipit, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Little Egret and 3 Skylark over. And a Chiffchaff still singing and a Speckled Wood butterfly.

AM’s WeBS count (in fog !): 33 Lapwing, 35 Dunlin, 9 Snipe and 15 Redshank.

13/10/12 – This evening, there was a late Whinchat at Shepperdine (latest site record) and 3 Knot there. A flock of 282 Curlew roosted on Lagoon 3 (including many colour-ringed) plus 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, and flying along the shore were 17 Grey Plover (a very good number for here). (I have yet to see a Stonechat at the site this year !!) 2 Swallow inland of the Power Station.


All the birds seen this morning were at Shepperdine: 1 juv. Curlew Sandpiper, 1 juv. Little Stint, 15 Grey Plover, 2 Little Egret and c50 Dunlin. A juvenile Merlin flew along the shore and landed about 50 yards from me. It then flew up towards me and passed within 10 yards as it went inland, and climbed to about quarter of a mile, and then performed a tremendous stoop straight down and went out of sight. A few minutes later, a movement caught my eye as I was scoping the shore, and it was the Merlin again, flying along the bank towards me, just below me. It passed within 5 yards and landed on a post only 20 yards away - very friendly ! It then had a go and a passing Meadow Pipit, unsuccessfully. A small amount of migration over: 4 Skylark, 2 Greenfinch and a Grey Wagtail.

Merlin on the shore. . . . and a short while later, on a post.

And a couple of rubbish photos of . . . Curlew Sandpiper . . . and Little Stint (on right).


12/10/12 – This evening, on Lagoon 3: 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, c150 Curlew, c800 Black-headed Gull, c20 Common Gull and 34 Lapwing. And along the shore: 2 Wheatear, 1 Grey Wagtail, 9 Dunlin and c140 Mallard.

Also, reported on http://avonbirding.blogspot.com/ : 41 Wigeon, 30 Dunlin and 32 Turnstone.


9/10/12 – MP reported, on falling tide: 1 Knot, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Grey Plover and a Little Egret at the yacht club.


7/10/12 – MP reported 2 Brambling (one over and one in small copse towards yacht club with Chaffinches), 1 Hobby (hawking dragonflies on Lagoon 2 – latest ever site record after 21/9/06), 1 Siskin over and 2 Little Egret in flight.

There were 2 Rock Pipit at Shepperdine and another Little Egret on Lagoon 1. A Yellowhammer was in the small copse and 1 House Martin and 3 Swallow over the towers. Also, another 2 Siskin, low over. Plus 2 Comma and 1 Red Admiral butterflies and lots of Common Darter dragonflies around Lagoon 2.


6/10/12 – MP found a Guillemot paddling fast upriver on the incoming tide (only 3rd site record). 2 Mistle Thrush, 1 Siskin and 2 Skylark over. c20 Goldcrest around the site, also 3 Chiffchaff and 3 Blackcap. The only small waders were 60 Lapwing and an Oystercatcher. Also 2 Wheatear.


5/10/12 – MP reported 2 Wheatear this morning.


3/10/12 – AM reported: eclipse Red crested Pochard, c30 Teal, c44 Wigeon, 5 Pintail, c200 Mallard, 39 Dunlin, 26 Lapwing (all on Lagoon 3); 2 Little Stint, 27 Ringed Plover, 6 Dunlin, 4 Swallow (all on Seawall by Lagoon 2); 29 Redshank, 2 Wheatear and c500 Curlew (flushed from fields S of Yacht Club and settled on Littleton Wharf).

1+ Little Stint on Lagoon 3 early morning. That’s 130 species at the site this year for me, and 145 for all-comers !


2/10/12 – JS reported on Lagoon 3: 190 Curlew (13 colour-ringed, including one originally ringed in Finland), 11 Dunlin, a juvenile Little Stint, 2 Knot, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 20 Lapwing, 400 Black-headed Gull and the Red-crested Pochard.


1/10/12 – JS reported on Lagoon 3, (before a dog-walker squeezed through the fence behind the hide and walked round, even though he was asked not to – unbelievable !): 130 Curlew (14 colour-rings read), 20 Lapwing, 11 Redshank, 14 Ringed Plover, 30 Dunlin, 2 Knot, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, a juvenile Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper. Other birds: 3 Wheatear, 2 Little Egret, 300 Black-headed Gull (plus 400 more in flooded fields), an adult Mediterranean Gull and lots of Mallard, Wigeon and Teal.


30/9/12 – This evening, 10 Pintail (all juveniles) were on Lagoon 3, and a juvenile Mute Swan (so the corpse on lagoon 2 was an other). There were 3 Grey Plover at Shepperdine and a Wheatear by the jetty.

This morning the eclipse Red-Crested Pochard was with Mallards on Lagoon 3 in front of the hide. Also on Lagoon 3: 1 Knot, 1 Redshank, 1 probable Yellow-legged Gull (3rd yr coming into adult plumage), 1 Shoveler and lots of Wigeon and Teal. The only birds seen migrating (despite overcast conditions) were: 2+ Siskin, c30 Swallow, 5 Chaffinch, 2 Rook flying downriver and a few Meadow Pipit. Plus 1 Little Egret and 1 Wheatear. (The juvenile Mute Swan was killed and eaten, probably by foxes. It’s body was on Lagoon 2.)

MC reported a Little Stint which landed and then disappeared in the gulleys on Lagoon 3 and 8 Pintail there. Also a few House Martin.

Pintail, lagoon 3.


29/9/12 – JS reported the following in the evening: 20 colour-ringed Curlew, a Yellow-legged Gull, an adult and 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull, 7 Common Gull, c300 Black-headed Gull, 45 Mallard and 9 Canada Goose.

This evening, 3 Wheatear, c20 Swallow, and c500 Curlew roosting on lagoon 3 again (with 1 Godwit sp.). And a serious aerial combat between 2 male Peregrine, before the resident saw an interloper off.

This morning, a Nuthatch heard (only) from the entrance gate, in trees at start of the bridleway to the shore – calling ‘droit, droit’ a couple of times. Lagoon 3 had: 1 Pintail (fem/juv), 54 Wigeon (plus c20 at Shepperdine), 19 Lapwing and 1 juvenile Mute Swan. A Sparrowhawk headed out over the river from the near shore – presume a juvenile dispersing. Also, 2 Little Egret (Lagoon 1 and over the lake).

MP reported this afternoon: 1 juvenile Curlew Sandpiper at Shepperdine and 5 Grey Plover.


28/9/12 – MP & KP combined reports: 1 juvenile Curlew Sandpiper at Shepperdine this evening, 40 Dunlin, 35 Ringed Plover, 3 Wheatear, a Shoveler, 1 Oystercatcher, 4 Jay, 7 Lapwing and a good passage of Swallow and House Martin.

Lagoon 3 is looking brilliant, with lots of water and ducks. c530 Curlew and a Lapwing roosted there. Also 17 Canada Goose. A few Starling are roosting in the reeds around the lake.


25/9/12 – MC/MP reported: A Nuthatch with tit flock by entrance (only 2nd site record); 36 Wigeon and 1 Shoveler on flooded Lagoon 3; 5 Teal, 3 Sparrowhawk (1m, 2f), 300+ House Martin, 1 Wheatear, 2 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Siskin.

(No sign of the Red-crested Pochard am or pm.)


24/9/12 – MP reported: Red-crested Pochard (male eclipse again), 1 Pintail, 11 Wigeon and 93 Mallard.


23/9/12 – Some unusual flocks migrating S/SW: 7 Little Egret (reported by MP), 8 Grey Heron and 8 Cormorant. c75 House Martin, c50 Swallow and 2 Sand Martin flying low in the rain. Also 8 Ringed Plover, c15 Dunlin and a Wheatear.

MP reported a Kingfisher again on the lake (but no RC Pochard).

House Martins sat on wires in rain.

22/9/12 – A beautiful autumn morning, all the better for being dog-free until 11am. The male eclipse Red-crested Pochard was asleep on the lake until 11:45 at least. Also 2 Kingfisher flying around the lake. A Whinchat and a Spotted Flycatcher on Lagoon 2; a Yellow Wagtail on Lagoon 3 (where they are pumping water – apparently for the penultimate last time ever). 2 Mistle Thrush, 1 Skylark and 1 Grey Wagtail over. c30 Meadow Pipit along the shore. c30 House Martin around the towers. Not a single wader at the yacht club, and just 4 Ringed Plover at Shepperdine.

MP reported at HT, Shepperdine: 8 Ringed Plover, 3 Dunlin, 7 Turnstone and 2 Oystercatcher.

Red-crested Pochard.


21/9/12 – A male eclipse Red-crested Pochard (bright red bill, beige plumage) was with Mallards on the lake at 6.50pm. Only the 2nd site record. (Unfortunately, it flushed with c50 Mallards towards the shore – one of which hit power-lines and was killed.) Also a Kingfisher calling and flying around the reeds. And a Tawny Owl called from by the entrance at dusk. The roost at Jobsgreen Farm had 150+ Rook and 50+ Carrion Crow.


20/9/12 – AM reported: 1 Little Egret on Scrape, flew down to Littleton where it joined 4 more, 3 Snipe on Scrape, 21 Redshank at Yacht Club, 33 Turnstone 33 at Yacht Club, 4 Wheatear (3 at Yacht Club, 1 on No 2).


16/9/12 – 2 Wheatear and a Little Egret at the yacht club; another Little Egret on the scrape; 1 Sand Martin low downriver, and a Short-tailed Field Vole ran across the path.


15/9/12 – A Kingfisher flew across Lagoon 3, from the shore towards the lake. The scrape had: 7 Snipe, 1 Ringed Plover, 11 Redshank and 7 Teal. The only waders along the shore were: 23 Turnstone, 2 Dunlin and a Ringed Plover ! A few migrant Blackbird and Song Thrush in the bushes, and 2 Chiffchaff still singing. Also, c10 Meadow Pipit over, c100 House Martin and c100 Swallow. Plus 5 Foxes.

AM WeBS count: 13 Lapwing, 23 Redshank, 2 Wheatear and 5 Grey Heron.


11/9/12 – AM reported a Green Sandpiper on the scrape as the only bird of note.


9/9/12 – 40 Canada Goose and 25 Redshank at the yacht club. The Lagoon 3 scrape had 1 Little Egret, 4 Snipe, 1 Redshank and 20 Teal. The annual gathering of House Martin around the towers only had c100, but attracted a Hobby. Also, another Little Egret on the shore, 2 Grey Wagtail over, a Wheatear inland and 4 Wigeon. 67 species seen this weekend.


8/9/12 – An autumnal morning, with a few Meadow Pipit and Chaffinches over, and one Grey Wagtail. A good count of 58 species seen around the site. The Lagoon 3 scrape had 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Snipe, 9 Redshank and 22 Teal. There were 2 Yellow Wagtail at the yacht club. Also some migrants on the ground: 1 singing Willow Warbler, 5 Whitethroat, 10+ Blackcap, 10+ Chiffchaff (some singing), and 2 Reed Warbler. Also a Little Owl heard at SW end of Lagoon 3, and the Little Grebe on the lake again.

Black-tailed Godwit, Lagoon 3.


5/9/12 – Along the shore this evening, one each of: Whinchat, Yellow Wagtail and Wheatear. c100 Rooks roosting in tall trees at Jobsgreen Farm again, after abandoning last year.


1/9/12 – Very quiet this morning. A Little Egret in a flooded field over road from the lake. And 2 Wheatear.

Chiffchaff in reeds, Lagoon 2.


31/8/12 – AM reported this morning: 2 Common Sandpiper, 12 Lapwing, 13 Redshank, 1 Dunlin, 26 Ringed Plover, 3 Wheatear, c500 Swallow, 150 House Martin, 20 Sand Martin, 325 Black-headed Gull and 2 Raven.


27/8/12 – An adult winter Mediterranean Gull flying downriver was the first bird I saw on the estuary at High Tide. At Shepperdine there were 31 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin, c20 Turnstone and an Oystercatcher. Also 7 Sand Martin and a Wheatear.

Magpie Moth.


26/8/12 – A Hobby flying fast around Lagoon 2 this afternoon and c15 House Sparrow in the hedge along the main rhine. Also a single Siskin low over. An update on the lake: 7 Coot with two pairs and 3 well-grown young, 3 juvenile Tufted Duck (2 well-grown including a male, and a small one) and 6 Moorhen.


25/8/12 – At High Tide, I was stuck in the hide for 15 minutes as an intense rain shower went through, with thunder and lightning overhead. 2 Yellow Wagtail on Lagoon 3 and 2 Wheatear on shore.

This morning, between rain showers: A juvenile male Redstart along the hedge looking right through the green gate at far end of main rhine, and 15 House Sparrow there. A Spotted Flycatcher at the road end of the main rhine. Very quiet elsewhere, apart from a single flock containing c50 House Martin and c80 Swallow making their way SW along the shore.


24/8/12 – AM reported: 1 Green Sandpiper (on the scrape), 10 Teal (on scrape), 1 Wigeon and 3 Shoveler.


20/8/12 – JS reported, at the yacht club: an adult Common Tern loafing with about 200 Black-headed Gull 2 Common Sandpiper and a passage of c200 Swallow. At lagoon 3 were: 200 Black-headed Gull, 5 Common Gull and 2 adult Mediterranean Gull. Colour rings were: Black-headed Gull; white 2H16 (ringed at Cotswold Water Park on 9 June 2006), a Polish white T4PL and the Lesser Black-backed Gull blue ‘ACS’ as on 6/8/12. Another Common Sandpiper at Shepperdine.


19/8/12 – A pair of Tawny Owl calling at 8:45pm; the female giving a ‘ker-wick’ from trees by the yellow entrance gate and the male responding ‘twooo’ from distance. A Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Whitethroat on Lagoon 2, where c60 Swallow, 2 Sand Martin and 1 House Martin. Along the shore were 5+ Common Sandpiper, 15 Redshank, 4 Teal and the one Wigeon. Another 7 Teal on the Lagoon 3 scrape, and a Green Sandpiper heard, but not seen. Also, a Little Grebe on the lake, c500 Curlew on the mudflats, c500 Black-headed Gull and 15 Common Gull.

This morning, AM reported, WeBS count this morning: 2 Mediterranean Gull (moulting adults), 1 Green Sandpiper (on Scrape), 15 Teal (on Scrape), 5 Tufted Duck (3 adults & 2 juvs), 1 Little Grebe, 2 Snipe (over Lagoon 3), 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Wheatear, c550 Black-headed Gull, 2 Reed Warbler, 1 Sedge Warbler and 7 Chiffchaff.


18/8/12 - A Green Sandpiper on the Lagoon 3 scrape (which is looking great, but difficult to see without flushing birds). At the yacht club: 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Common Sandpiper, c200 Curlew (inc. 5 colour-ringed) and 33 Canada Goose.


17/8/12 – A Garden Warbler with a Whitethroat and 2 Willow Warbler (one singing) in the hedge to the yacht club this morning. At the yacht club were 33 Canada Goose, c50 Curlew and a Sand Martin. Along the shore were 5 Common Sandpiper. A count of 8 Moorhen on the lake is an increase (including 3 juveniles).

Also a ‘sky-full’ of House Martin reported over the Horse Training Centre, yesterday.

That’s 140 species at the site this year ! With my total on 125.


16/8/12 – MP reported 4 Greenshank on the Lagoon 3 scrape.

AM also reported: a Snipe on flooded field to SW of Lagoon 3, 1 Wigeon, 3 Teal, 1 Little Egret & 150 Curlew at Yacht Club, 1 Whimbrel and an escaped Cockatiel.


13/8/12 – AM reported: a female Garganey on the shore by Lagoon 3, 3 Greenshank and a Green Sandpiper (on Lagoon 3 scrape), 1 Teal , 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Whimbrel, 89 Ringed Plover, 7 Turnstone, 16 Redshank and 3 Wheatear.


11/8/12 – A Shoveler on the shore, with 125 Mallard. At Shepperdine were 40 Ringed Plover, 5 Dunlin and a Little Owl calling. Also 2 Yellow Wagtail low over.


8/8/12 – 2 juvenile Sedge Warbler and 5 juvenile Reed Warbler on Lagoon 2 this evening.

MP reported a Little-ringed Plover on the scrape.


MS reported from Guscar Rocks on the ‘other side’ of the Severn, opposite OPS, where up to 900 Curlew are roosting at present. He managed to read darvic rings on 47 birds (!).

The birds I saw included one 2011 bird that had not been seen since ringing (Lime/Orange Yellow, FP 01484); one of the very few 2010 birds that had not previously been observed (Blue/Orange Red FP 01432).  We have re-sightings or recoveries of all but two of the 66 birds ringed in 2010; of the 29 ringed in 2011, there are still seven of which we have no news. Other individuals of note that were seen include: Blue/Green White, which bred in the Netherlands in 2011; Blue/Orange Blue, which was recorded on Finnish breeding grounds in April 2011; Blue/White Black, originally ringed as an adult female in Finland in 1997; the German colour-ringed bird which is known to have nested in the same area in 2009, 2010 and 2011; Lime/Orange Blue which appears to have tried to nest in Oxfordshire in 2012.  No sign as yet of Blue/Red Red which has occurred in breeding areas in Gloucestershire in summer 2011 and 2012; nor of Lime/Orange Green, recorded breeding in the Netherlands this year.”


7/8/12 – MP reported 2 juvenile Green Sandpiper on Lagoon 3 scrape and a Hobby.


6/8/12 – JS reported from Lagoon 3 at HT: 1 adult Mediterranean Gull, c200 Black-headed Gull and a Lesser Black–backed Gull with blue ring ‘ACS’, ringed as an adult in Nov 2006 at Gloucester Landfill.


5/8/12 – MP/AM reported: 115 Mallard, 11 Ringed Plover, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Whimbrel, 5 Common Sandpiper and a Green Sandpiper.


4/8/12 – A nice morning was started with a very young Spotted Flycatcher with a mixed flock of finches and tits along the bridleway to the shore. The only visible migration was a Yellow Wagtail over Lagoon 3 and 7 Sand Martin downriver. The Greenshank was still on the small scrape on Lagoon 3, and a moulting adult Mediterranean Gull there with c260 Black-headed Gull, including one with a white darvic ring on left leg. The Peregrine pair were in hunting mode today; first seen circling over Lagoon 2 (alerted to them by Swallow alarm-calls), when the large female (missing 2 tail feathers at present) stooped down and hedge-hopped to surprise a flock of Woodpigeon. She singled one out and got to within grabbing distance, but it just escaped. Later, the pair attacked a large flock of Racing Pigeons up high. They scattered them, and then the male did a massive stoop down, but the target was just out-of-sight below the trees. Brilliant ! On the lake, the two broods of Tufted Duck are down to 5 & 2, and 2 well-grown Moorhen chicks.

Tufted Duck ducklings. Mediterranean Gull (on right) and Black-headed Gull with white darvic ring (left).


1/8/12 – A Greenshank again this evening.

MP/AM reported this morning: The Greenshank and Green Sandpiper again on the scrape at Lagoon 3; 6 Common Sandpiper, 10 Redshank, 53 Dunlin, 10 Ringed Plover, 1 Little Owl (on the old farm house again), 1 Sedge Warbler and 21 Canada Goose.


31/7/12 - MP reported: The Greenshank and Green Sandpiper again on the scrape at Lagoon 3. Also, 2nd year Mediterranean Gull, 1 Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpiper, 54 Dunlin and 9 Ringed Plover.

Greenshank and Green Sandpiper (photo by MP).


30/7/12 – AM reported: The Greenshank and Green Sandpiper still on the scrape at Lagoon 3, and broods of 3 (large) and 6 (small) Tufted Duck ducklings.


29/7/12 – The Greenshank again on the flooded scrape of Lagoon 3, and a Green Sandpiper there at HT. 512 Black-headed Gull in the roost (no Med Gulls). Only 3 Tufted Duck ducklings seen this weekend. A juvenile Wheatear on the jetty again.

A few butterflies this weekend: 4 Comma, 1 Small Skipper, 1 Marbled White.

Comma butterfly.


28/7/12 – A Greenshank on the scrape at SW corner of Lagoon 3 this afternoon. c20 Dunlin and 3 Ringed Plover on the shore.

PC reported: 2 adult Mediterranean Gull and 2 juvenile Wheatear earlier.

Greenshank on Lagoon 3.


25/7/12 – A Little Owl on the derelict farm building to south of Lagoon 2. The first of this species to be seen from the site since October 2010. A very young Wheatear again, on the shore by Lagoon 1.

The Little Owl, just showing where it was in the roof. . . . and the farm house from Lagoon 2.

Another photo of the young Wheatear.

22/7/12 – 3 very young Wheatear on the jetty. A Peregrine flew at knee-height across Lagoon 3, and mock-attacking a feather on the ground - showing the speed of flight very well, so close. The 2 pairs of Coot on the lake had a border dispute, with 3 chicks (2 + 1) watching on.

One of the young Wheatears.


20/7/12 – This evening at dusk, there were 4 Little Ringed Plover on the flooded scrape at SW corner of Lagoon 3, and still an adult Mediterranean Gull there. On the lake there were broods of 6 and 4 Tufted Duck. Also a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker was on the ground and the concrete posts by the waterworks.

2 of the Little Ringed Plover on Lagoon 3 this evening.


19/7/12 – The Lagoon 3 gull roost has reduced but still had an adult Mediterranean Gull, c200 Black-headed Gull and a Little Egret. But the best birds were 13 House Sparrow in the hedge by Lagoon 3 - unheard of numbers here ! Pleased to see that the 5 Tufted Duck ducklings are still on the lake, and a Little Grebe there.

Combined efforts with AM/MP also found: 3 Common Sandpiper, 1 Whimbrel, c160 Curlew, 3 Turnstone, 9 Dunlin, 3 Redshank, 1 Lapwing, 1 Hobby, 4 juv Shelduck and 6 adult, 1 juv Wheatear, 1 Grey Wagtail and 12 Canada Goose.


18/7/12 – A juvenile Grey Plover at Shepperdine.

MP reported: 3 Mediterranean Gull and a Whimbrel on Lagoon 3.


8/7/12 – AM reported: 3 Mediterranean Gull, c1000 Black-headed Gull, 3 Common Sandpiper, 6 adult Dunlin, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, and a Wheatear.


6/7/12 – MP reported: 4+ Mediterranean Gull (2+ ad & 2 2nd-years) and 5 Common Gull.

5/7/12 – Another lovely evening (at one point I nearly took my coat off !), and another great gull roost on Lagoon 3: 6 (yes – six! A record for me here) Mediterranean Gull (4 adult, one with orange ring, 1 juv this year and a 2nd-year) with c925 Black-headed Gull and a Black-tailed Godwit. Also 7 Common Sandpiper together again at Shepperdine and a probable Greenshank heard.

This morning AM reported: 8 Common Sandpiper (5 at Yacht club and 3 off Lagoon 3), 5 juv + 2 ad Tufted Duck (first brood of the year), 1 Little Grebe, 12 Canada Goose, 5 (!) Green Woodpecker, 600 Black-headed Gull, 250 Lesser Black-backed Gull and 150 Herring Gull. Also a Marbled White butterfly and 8 Slow Worms (under black mats).


And ringing details for the Herring Gull (‘MAT’, not ‘MAI’ as reported below): ringed as a 1st-winter at Cheltenham landfill in Jan 2011, and over-summered at Gloucester landfill (May-Jul2011). (Many thanks JS.)


4/7/12 – A nice calm evening saw 7 Common Sandpiper together on the shore and a large gull roost with c800 Black-headed Gull, 4 Greater black-backed Gull and a 3rd-year Herring Gull, with darvic ring ‘MAI’ (orange on blue). Also 5 foxes in a field.


3/7/12 – MP reported: a 1st-summer Mediterranean Gull in field to SW of Lagoon 3 and 3 Common Sandpiper on the shore.


1/7/12 – 3 Black-tailed Godwit on Lagoon 3 at HT.


30/6/12 – A 3rd-yr Yellow-legged Gull again on Lagoon 3 at Low Tide. A juvenile Rock Pipit by Lagoon 1 outfall was a surprise in June. On the lake, were 4 small Moorhen chicks and two broods of 2 Coot chicks. Also, a Lapwing on Lagoon 1 and 5 Oystercatcher.

3rd-year Yellow-legged Gull, near adult plumage (left), with 3rd-year Lesser Black-backed Gull.


26/6/12 – JS reported the following interesting information (many thanks):

Med Gull, first-summer, green 0R4, was ringed at Jablines, Seine-et-Marne as a pullus on 19 June 2011. It spent the winter in Ireland, and was seen near Dublin on several occasions from 19 Oct 2011 to 15 March 2012, and then I saw it at Oldbury on 26 and 27 June. This was an interesting bird, a first-summer, yet it had an almost complete black head, like an adult..

BH Gull, first-summer, white T2NA, was at the WWT, Slimbridge on 15 June 2012, and then at Oldbury on 26 June. It is from a Polish ringing scheme, but no ringing data yet..

H Gull - orange TU2.T, was ringed at Pitsea landfill site, Essex as a first-winter on 3 Dec 2011, and was at Oldbury on 27 June.

LBB Gull - orange 2LF was ringed as a pullus on Flat Holm on 6 July 2009. It was then at Gloucester landfill site from 11 Aug to 7 Sept 2009, and at Oldbury on 27 June.”


25/6/12 – 4+ Mediterranean Gull on Lagoon 3 at HT (2 summer adults, a 2nd-yr and 1 or 2 moulting adults) with c400 Black-headed Gull (inc. 1 juvenile), 200 Herring Gull, c150 Lesser Black-backed Gull and 2 Greater black-backed Gull.


24/6/12 – AM reported: A Gannet floating up river on high tide, then took off NE along shore, 2 adult Mediterranean Gull (on Lagoon 3 and field to SW), 1 Hobby (hawking over lake), 28 Curlew, c750(!) Black-headed Gull, 200 Herring Gull, 250 Lesser Black-backed Gull (in Lagoon 3 roost at HT).


21/6/12 – AM reported: 2 Mediterranean Gull (adult and 2nd-summer on Lagoon 3), 1 Teal (drake), 2 Redshank, 132 Black-headed Gull, 137 Herring Gull, 108 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Greater black-backed Gull, 1 Common Gull, 5 Tufted Duck (4 drakes), 12 Canada Goose, 10 Cormorant and 8 Reed Bunting.


21/6/12 – The 2nd-year Mediterranean Gull is in the same field with 139 Black-headed Gull and a Common Gull. Also a Common Sandpiper on the shore. A surprise was two lots of 4 small chicks with two pairs of Coot on the lake (plus the 2 well-grown chicks).


17/6/12 – The 3 Mediterranean Gull were in the same field and a Little Egret over Lagoon 3.

Mediterranean Gulls: 2 adults . . . & 2nd-year.


16/6/12 – This evening in strong SW wind at HT, 2 magnificent adult Mediterranean Gull in full summer plumage, with a 2nd-year and 75 Black-headed Gull (mostly in s.p.) in field next to Lagoon 3. 2 Curlew at the yacht club and 2 Oystercatcher. A probable adult Little Gull (or Kittiwake) very distant on far side of estuary, got blown inland northwards.

This morning, 4 small Coot chicks seen on the lake today. 2 Sedge Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat heard.

The Lesser Black-backed Gull with darvic ring ‘9YF’ seen on 6th was ringed on Flat Holm Island, July 2011. This adds to the theory that a lot of the large gulls seen commuting up the estuary in the morning and back down again in the evening are roosting at Flat Holm and feeding on the Gloucestershire dumps.

Mediterranean Gull 2 adults

Adult with 2nd year Mediterranean Gull (on right).


10/6/12 – A Cuckoo on Lagoon 2 and 3 small Coot chicks on the lake. 12 Long-tailed Tit young together along the bridleway to the shore.


8/6/12 – Strong SW winds blew an adult Kittiwake and an adult Gannet upriver at 9.40am and 10.20am, respectively.


7/6/12 – 16 Shelduck ducklings at Shepperdine are the first of the year. The second pair of Coot have fledged one/two young, with two very fat chicks from the first pair still around. The gull roost held: 36 Herring Gull, 24 Lesser Black-backed Gull and 1 Black-headed Gull (but no YL Gull).


6/6/12 – A good collection of gulls on Lagoon 3 at High Tide this morning: a 3rd-year Yellow-legged Gull, 1 Black-headed Gull, 24 Herring Gull, 15 Lesser Black-backed Gull (including a 2nd-year with darvic ring ‘9YF’, red on white) and 4 Great Black-backed Gull.

3rd-year Yellow-legged Gull . . . with 3rd-year Lesser Black-backed Gull (on left) for comparison.

2nd-year Lesser Black-backed Gull ‘9YF’.


4/6/12 – An exceptional movement of Swift this morning, with 657 counted heading NE between 6.50am and 8.50am. (Another 23 after that, but at a much slower rate.) Most of them were very low, and many were within feet of me. To put this movement into context, my record count of Swift at OPS is 50 before this !! Also c30 Swallow, c25 House Martin and 1 Sand Martin. A Greenshank was on the shore by Lagoon 3.


If you have lost some Opticron equipment at OPS, get in touch.


1/6/12 – MP reported: a Wheatear on Lagoon 3. Also a Grizzled Skipper, and the first Bee and Pyramidal Orchids.


30/5/12 – This evening, a Little Grebe on the lake again, and the Cuckoo heard.

MB reported, this morning: A Spotted Flycatcher again (this time on the bridlepath to the shore, c50 yards from road on left). Also here a male Blackcap carrying food. On lagoon 2 (river end), 4 fledged Whitethroat being feed by parents, and at the other end of lagoon 2, 3 Lesser Whitethroat chasing each other around a Hawthorn bush.


28/5/12 – AM reported: 1 Whimbrel, 1 Cuckoo (calling, Lagoon 3), 2 Lesser Whitethroat (near Yacht Club), 16+ Reed Warbler pairs around the site, 2 Sedge Warbler.


27/5/12 – In the morning, a non-breeding plumaged Little Gull went upriver with 3 Black-headed Gull and a Little Ringed Plover flew from the shore to Lagoon 3 with 17 Ringed Plover at high tide. Also, 9 Canada Goose (including 2 large goslings) on the shore by Lagoon 3 (family returning home ?!) and a Yellow Wagtail over.

Also reported: The pair of Cuckoo again on Lagoon 2, 1 Little Grebe and 10 Blackcap.


26/5/12 – A Red Kite slowly drifted from over Cow Hill, across Lagoon 3 and over the power station at just pylon height; caused panic among the local birds, including putting-up Shelduck and Canada Geese ! 20 Bar-tailed Godwit out on the mudflats at Low Tide.

Red Kite at distance ! . Lesser Whitethroat, being very showy in NE corner of Lagoon 2.

Two Carrion Crow chicks in nest. Pheasant – great photo for me !


22/5/12 – AM reported at High Tide this morning: 1 Whimbrel, 11 Canada Goose (inc. 2 goslings), 2 Cuckoo (one calling and active over Lagoon 2 and one calling from orchard area), 5 Mute Swan (flew downriver), 1 Black-headed Gull and 2 Oystercatcher.


20/5/12 – This evening at High Tide, 2 Common Tern and 3 Little Egret headed upriver. At 7.20pm a Short-eared Owl appeared at the yacht club and hunted the fields around there. 5 Dunlin and 3 Ringed Plover at Shepperdine (MP). The Little Grebe was on the lake, giving its trilling call.

[A late note for yesterday – I saw 2 of the Swifts mating in mid-air. They flew up to each other, and then fell downwards together, with wings in a tight V-shape (reminiscent of Nightjar), pulling out at the last minute (quite literally !) before the ground.]

HL reported c40 House Martin over the lake.

Little Grebe on lake.


19/5/12 – At 8am a Ruddy Shelduck flew downriver with a Shelduck, and appeared to head for Littleton Wharf. 15 minutes later an Avocet flew from over Lagoon 3, calling, (nearly overhead) and then flew downriver. There was another large visible movement of ‘hirundines’ upriver, with at least: 40 Swift, 100 House Martin and 300 Swallow. At 8.50am the fun continued when a dark phase Arctic Skua flew upriver, close to the near shore (for a change !). At the yacht club were: 2 Little Egret, 6 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover, 12 Canada Goose (including 2 gosling) and 3 House Sparrow (unusually). The female Peregrine flew past me with a large kill (probably Pigeon), with the male in close attendance. The Cuckoo was still on Lagoon 2. Totals of 12 Reed Warbler and 6 Sedge Warbler were around the site (but only 5 Reed W in main reedbed).


18/5/12 – A pair of Cuckoo around the reeds on Lagoon 2 this evening, with the male feeding on caterpillars in the brambles and the female flying over to join him.

KP reported: a Cuckoo around Lagoon 2 in the morning, plenty of common warblers and Linnets, and 3 Reed Bunting.


17/5/12 – DS reported a quiet low tide visit: 1 Yellow Wagtail heading NE, 1 Wheatear at the yacht club and the Cuckoo at Lagoon 2.


13/5/12 – The Cuckoo was mobile around Lagoon 2 this evening. Only 2 Coot chicks left from the 5, but the 2nd pair of adults have a new nest. The female Peregrine came off the towers and hung in the northerly wind, about 150 foot above my head, with the setting sun lighting up her underside – magical.

A Spotted Flycatcher was reported from the glade by the metal tower at the end of the main rhine.

MB also reported the Spotted Flycatcher, at 6.30am at the south end of Lagoon 2, and also on Lagoon 2: 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Sedge Warbler and 3 Reed Warbler.

Here’s a mobile phone photo of the Pied Flycatcher seen inside the grounds of OPS on 2/5/12 (thanks JL/SS).


12/5/12 – AM reported: 8 Ringed Plover, 3 Dunlin (all on shore), 2 Little Grebe (pair very active on pond), 6 Tufted Duck, 1 Cuckoo (calling again from Lagoon 2), 2 Wheatear, 7 Canada Goose (6 adult + 1 young at Yacht Club).


7/5/12 – A Whinchat and, even more unusually, a pair of Yellowhammer by the green gate at the end of the main rhine. At High Tide, a Little Ringed Plover was calling avidly from in front of the hide on Lagoon 3; difficult to find in the vegetation, but I eventually did. Also 11 Ringed Plover and 5 Dunlin there. At the yacht club were 10 Bar-tailed Godwit and 8 Whimbrel. Also, 3 Yellow Wagtail over NE, 3 Wheatear, 2 Cuckoo calling again, 5 Sedge Warbler and 6 Reed Warbler (3 on Lagoon 2). Apart from the continued Swallows (and 10 Sand Martin), the only thing moving on the estuary was a Black-headed Gull downriver.



6/5/12 – This evening there were 2 Cuckoo calling; one at Lagoon 2 and one to SW of Lagoon 3. Two broods of Mallard; 8 on lake and 3 on main rhine. The 5 Coot chicks are still there, but the second nest has failed. 27 Black-headed Gull went upriver.

The morning High Tide roost at the yacht club had: 48 Bar-tailed Godwit, 32 Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin and 1 Turnstone. Lagoon 3 had 13 Ringed Plover and 6 Dunlin. A Hobby flew in off the estuary by the yacht club. Also, 2 pairs of Gadwall seen; a pair flew downriver at same time as a pair on Lagoon 1. Only 5 Black-headed Gull upriver. Lagoon 2 had 6 Sedge Warbler (+ 2 elsewhere), only 2 Reed Warbler, and a calling Cuckoo. 3 Cuckoo reported by RA. The Swallow movement continued until 9am when it slowed, with c500 upriver (105 in one flock), plus 20+ House Martin and 10+ Sand Martin.

Cuckoo, by Lagoon 3.


5/5/12 – A fantastic morning, or to be more precise a fantastic hour. Arriving at 5.45am my first look at the estuary was met with ‘tu,tu,tu’ing as 2 Greenshank flew along the shore. A few scans of the river found 2 ‘Commic’ Tern (most likely Arctic) flying upriver at 6.05am. Then a female Ruddy Shelduck was on Lagoon 3, on the water by the outlet, and later in front of the hide (but it went as the tide dropped). Also a Golden Plover was on Lagoon 3 (and later in ploughed field next to it), in not quite full summer plumage. Swallows were still moving NE into the wind, at a rate of about 150 per hour and one each of House Martin, Sand Martin and Swift seen. Also 10 Siskin (7 and 3), 9 Greenfinch and 2 Yellow Wagtail. Things went calm after that, with just 4 Wheatear (inc. 3 at yacht club), 11 Whimbrel, 4 Curlew, 3 Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Cuckoo (Lagoon 2 and on track to hide). A Little Grebe was back on the lake. c50 Black-headed Gull livened things up by suddenly appearing over the power station towers and then heading upriver. Then at 9.15am a ‘Ringtail’ Harrier was out over the estuary being harassed by large gulls, which it finally got away from and headed NNE. (Thought this was a Hen Harrier at the time, but now not so sure. It was rather slight and light-coloured in the body and I estimated the wingspan as 70% of Herring Gull. But wings weren’t particularly pointed. Unfortunately it was seen at a distance of half a mile at its closest.)

Golden Plover on the ploughed, and flooded, field next to Lagoon 3.


3/5/12 – AM reported, in morning: 11 Knot, 23 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Whimbrel, 4 Wheatear, 1 Cuckoo, 20 Swift and 43 House Martin.

A report (via JL) of a Pied Flycatcher yesterday, in bushes outside the ‘OTC’ office in the Power Station grounds.

Also DS reported 2 Canada Goose gosling with adult at the yacht club on 1st, which may be the ones from the lake.

(And, just checking Earliest/Latest Dates, the Arctic Skua, Little Tern and Spotted Flycatcher below are the earliest recorded at OPS.)


2/5/12 – A Spotted Flycatcher was in trees in SSW corner of the lake (watched from lake-side) this evening, and a Hobby was again on a (different !) post on Lagoon 1. A female Teal was on Lagoon 3. On the shore were 14 Whimbrel and a Bar-tailed Godwit. The Canada Goose goslings have disappeared, and just 2 adults on the lake. But the Coot chicks have survived – 5 yesterday and at least 3 today.


1/5/12 – DS/AS had an excellent day of migration at OPS: an incredible movement of hirundines NE with uncountable numbers of Swallow and plenty of House Martin and Swift and fewer Sand Martin.
A maximum count of 81 Yellow Wagtail in the flooded ploughed fields just down-river of Lagoon 3 plus 105 over NE; also 12 ‘White’ Wagtail in those fields and at the yacht club; 12 Tree Pipit over NE; 10 Meadow Pipit over NE; and 1 Grey Wagtail over NE; 20 Wheatear dotted around; 185 Goldfinch over NE plus another 50 on the deck; 2 Cuckoo at Lagoon 2 and the yacht club; 1 Whinchat in a hedgerow alongside the ploughed fields; 1 Redstart by the metal gate on the way to the yacht club; 1 Hobby between Lagoon 2 and The Windbound; and 1 Siskin over NE.
Up-river: 1 Little Tern really close in, at first at the yacht club; a 1st-winter Mediterranean Gull with 10 Black-headed Gull; 11 Black Tern (2 feeding over the flooded stubble field (where Twite were) and 1 over the river by the yacht club), 1 Common Tern, 2 Arctic Tern and 2 Sandwich Tern.
Finally, a Grey Seal drifted down-river on the falling tide. (Unfortunately, they missed the Laughing Gull seen at Severnside, as the visibility at the time was awful.)


A nice sunny evening and Lagoon 1 had a Hobby sat on a post and a Cuckoo calling and seen (and Lagoon 1 also has water in it for the first time in about a year ?). An Arctic Skua went upriver at 7:50pm.

The Swallow movement continued right to dusk – ones and twos passing every minute or so.

Hobby on Lagoon 1.


30/4/12 – DS/AS reported: 1 Turtle Dove (on sea wall near Lagoon 1, then flew into hedgerow along NE edge of the lagoon), 1 female Redstart (near the gate to Lagoon 3), 4 Bar-tailed Godwit (1 at yacht club, 3 just down-river of the sluice at ST626973), 12 Yellow Wagtail heading NE, 1 Common Sandpiper (yacht club), 34 Wheatear (mostly between OPS and the yacht club), 2 Garden Warbler, 30+ Whimbrel, 3 Siskin (heading NE), 5+ Lesser Whitethroat, and a steady passage of hirundines with small numbers of Swift mostly heading NE. Also 2 Yellowhammer. And from NE of OPS: 2 Sanderling (just up-river of the sluice at ST626973), 1 Grasshopper Warbler (singing from a ditch NE of White House at ST618967).


29/4/12 – Sadly, the Raven nest blew down from the pylon in the high winds this morning. One chick found dead in a puddle underneath; estimated at one week old. The Canada Goose has lost 2 goslings, so 2 left.

A truly horrible day. The high wind from the east is cold and the rain incessant – the small pond to SW of Lagoon 3 has risen by 20cm this week. Virtually no birds singing and the estuary was empty; not a single Shelduck even. The only birds flying went past at knee height: 2 Swift, 3 Swallow and 6 Racing pigeon. 3 bedraggled Wheatear (2 on the shore, and one on the road by the main entrance !).

(Only 29 species seen in 2 hours – must be my lowest count ever.)

Ravens nest on pylon – the amazing construction was built in just one week (1st week in March), with the pair flying continually from hedges to nest.


Here’s a short video of the nest on the ground – the cup was made of wool and hair and the nest contained lots of bits of string with hundreds of sticks.



28/4/12 – Lagoon 2 had a Grasshopper Warbler reeling at the north end and 3+ Sedge Warbler. Visible migration was still obvious mid-morning, with birds heading NE into wind: 11 Swift, 35 House Martin, 60 Goldfinch, 2 Linnet and 1 Reed Bunting. There were also 3 House Martin, 25 Swallow and 20 Sand Martin over the lake. Plus, 1 Whimbrel at Shepperdine, 7 Ringed Plover and 6 Wheatear along the shore.

MP reported, early morning: 13 Whimbrel at the yacht club and similar numbers of ‘hirundine-types’ through.


26/4/12 – 4 Canada Goose gosling fledged.

(I now think that the recording below is a Blackcap and the strange sounds are noise distortion. No sign of it this morning.)


25/4/12 – A possible Marsh Warbler singing by the small triangular reedbed on Lagoon 2 at 7:50pm this evening. Listen to a recording at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxS09qWkYPI.

10 Whimbrel on shore at Shepperdine. The lake had 3+ House Martin, 5+ Sand Martin, 5+ Swallow, still 5 Coot chicks and 2+ Canada Goose goslings have fledged.

A Carrion Crow was on a nest and 2 Blue Tit nests – one in the yellow metal barrier at the main entrance !


22/4/12 – AM reported: 10 Black-tailed Godwit on flooded No 3 lagoon in summer plumage, 3 Greylag Goose on the lake, 8 Tufted Duck (4 pairs) and 2 Yellowhammer (pair).


21/4/12 – A Short-eared Owl sat on a post on Lagoon 2, behind the main reedbed, for at least an hour (7:20-8.20am). Seemed rather sleepy (see photo), so I expect it will roost there. Also on Lagoon 2: 8 Whitethroat (+ 2 elsewhere), 1 Lesser Whitethroat and 5 nesting Linnet pairs. A Black-tailed Godwit in summer plumage was on Lagoon 3, which is flooded and looking good. A Sedge Warbler in hedge between Lagoon 3 and small copse, and 2 Wheatear at the yacht club. The lake is looking excellent, with loads of weed, and there were 5 Coot chicks in one family (plus another adult on a nest – haven’t had two nests since 2006), 3 Canada Goose gosling peeped out from under their mother on the nest, 4 pairs of Tufted Duck and the Mute Swan pair (plus 3 on estuary). Also, 2 Goldcrest singing. A Fox stalked and pounced on a Vole, and then ate it, just 10 yards from the hide, and then strolled past the front of the hide while I was sat watching it ! It returned 5 minutes later with another Vole in its jaws.

That’s 100 species for me at OPS in 2012, and 118 for all-comers.

Short-eared Owl on Lagoon 2. Black-tailed Godwit, Lagoon 3


20/4/12 – A Ringed Plover and 14 Curlew on Lagoon 3 this evening. Also, 12 Sand Martin and 8 Swallow. And the first Hawthorn flowers.


19/4/12 – AM reported: 2 Redstart (males; on fence on Lagoon 1 and flying across Lagoon 2), 1 Garden Warbler (singing at side of Lagoon 2), 2 Reed Warbler, 3 Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warbler, 7 Blackcap, 16 Chiffchaff, 5 Canada Goose, 6 Tufted Duck (3 pairs) and 3 Wheatear (at Oldbury Pill).


17/4/12 – DS/AS reported: 1 Sandwich Tern (down-river over the tidal lagoon at 11:50), 28 Kittiwake (a single flock, drifted down river in the main channel beyond the tidal lagoon at 11:45 before taking off and heading towards the bridge gaining height as they did so), 3 Whitethroat, 3 Whimbrel and 18 Wheatear. Also, overhead (mostly moving up-river): 1 House Martin, 20+ Swallow and 5 Pied/’White’ wagtail.


15/4/12 – Lagoon 2 had 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Common Whitethroat (a week later than 2011) and 1 Reed Warbler. At 8.30am 3 Arctic Tern went slowly over the Tidal Reservoir upriver into the NE wind.


14/4/12 – In a brief evening visit, a male Ring Ouzel by the hedge between Lagoon 2 and the horse paddock to South, amd 2 Redstart (male and female) on the Lagoon 1 fence viewable from Lagoon 2. Also 5 Wheatear (2 on Lagoon 2 and 3 on shore by Lagoon 3, which is now half full of water), and 4 Swallow.

AM reported this morning: 1 female Redstart on road by lake, 5 Willow Warbler and 1 Wheatear at Yacht Club.

Male Ring Ouzel.


13/4/12 – More migrants around today. A Lesser Whitethroat singing in the bushes at south end of Lagoon 2, a Tree Pipit in bushes at north end of Lagoon 1 (earliest here by a day), a Yellow Wagtail heard over, 20 Swallow and 23 Sand Martin trickling through all morning, 8 Wheatear (4 in ploughed field by Lagoon 3 and 4 at yacht club), 1 ‘White’ Wagtail (ploughed field) and Linnets and Meadow Pipits heading through.

The bird surveyors (DS/AS) reported: an Osprey upriver at 09:20, a Little Ringed Plover over the estuary by Lagoon 3 (which has water being pumped in), another Tree Pipit, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 1 House Martin, 1 Redpoll, 2 Siskin and a brood of Mallard.


12/4/12 – 7 Bar-tailed Godwit on a mudbank (found by MP), 2 Swallow and 2 Willow Warbler. On the lake were 4 tiny Coot chicks with parents (which are very aggressive to the ducks), 3 pairs of Tufted Duck, 2 Canada Goose (one on nest still), 2 Mute Swan and 3 Teal (with another 14 at the yacht club).

AM reported the Tawny Owl again in the dead tree to SW of Lagoon 3 and 11 Blackcap.

The Raven is still sat on the nest near Thornbury.

Coot with chicks.


11/4/11 – 3 Willow Warbler and 1 Swallow.

DS reported from a nocturnal survey: a female Fallow Deer in a field just up-river of The Windbound and a Little Owl on the fence between Lagoon 2 and the Water Works (the first since Oct 2010 – used to nest regularly).

Chinook landing in the meadow next to the orchard.


10/4/12 – 2 Swallow moving West into wind and 4 Jay together, one of which I recorded singing its strange song – listen from 27 seconds in (sorry about wind noise !), at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nApfQk69iKk.


9/4/12 – Nothing moving up the estuary this morning over High Tide, in wet South-Westerly. 3 Sand Martin and c20 Meadow Pipit battling into the wind. Another c40 Meadow Pipit on the ground around Lagoon 1.


8/4/12 – AM WeBS count: 8 Teal, 4 Tufted Duck, 40 Mallard, 6 Canada Goose, 2 Mute Swan, 1 Little Egret, 9 Redshank, 2 Peregrine, Buzzard at nest, 5 Yellowhammer, 22 Chiffchaff.


7/4/12 – A good day for birds of prey, but nothing else. A female Merlin flew North, over Lagoon 3 and straight over the estuary. A Tawny Owl sat in classic pose, in a hole in an old tree. The Peregrine pair were around the towers, with the male trying to land on the female, and the female later with a cached Feral Pigeon. Also, a pair of Kestrel mating on a pylon, a juvenile Sparrowhawk and a pair of Buzzard sat next to each other in the large tree they nested in last year.

Tawny Owl sat in old tree.


6/4/12 – 1+ Willow Warbler singing by the lake and 9 Blackcap. Now 2 pairs of Tufted Duck on the lake. 2 Little Egret a mile inland, by the Lower Severn Drainage Board office.

The pair of Raven were still at the nest near Thornbury.


5/4/12 – DS reported: 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 7 Swallow (+2 in Thornbury), 5+ Wheatear, 1 Crossbill and 7 Yellowhammer. Also, a pair of Oystercatcher mating on the wall of the Tidal Reservoir.

AM/MP reported: 2 Wheatear (yacht club) and 4 Yellowhammer.


1/4/12 – No new birds in. 9 Buzzard soaring at same time, to south of Lagoon 2.

MP reported: 9 Stock Dove (one displaying male), 19 Meadow Pipit, 1 Lapwing and 2 Dunlin.

A Red Kite a few miles inland of OPS, between Kingswood and Hillesley, in Gloucestershire.

Tufted Ducks on the lake (photo by MP).


31/3/12 – AM reported this evening: a male Hen Harrier flying along the shore, past the yacht club and along Littleton Warth, then south over Littleton Brick Pits, and a Short-eared Owl at the yacht club again.

At High Tide, a Swallow and 17 Black-headed Gull upriver. Also a male ‘White’ Wagtail. And 4 Blackcap (3 males singing and a female).

MP reported another Siskin and a Wheatear over.

Visible migration was apparent this morning, with c300 birds per hour heading NE into breeze; mainly Meadow Pipit and Linnet, with a few Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Goldfinch. Also, 1 Sand Martin and 2 Siskin. All action on the lake, with 2 pairs of Mute Swan and 2 pairs of Canada Goose fighting it out between and among themselves. The female Canada Goose had to come off the nest to help defend the patch. The 2 Little Grebe displaying still, a pair of Tufted Duck and 10 Teal. Very quiet on the estuary (at low tide), with NO small waders, Wigeon or Teal.

Late addition – A Little Ringed Plover was heard flying upriver at high tide, calling ‘tee-ooou’.

A Merlin was hunting near Alveston.


30/3/12 – A Greylag Goose was on the dry Lagoon 3 at dusk and the Short-eared Owl was again hunting the long grass just inland of the yacht club.

A Willow Warbler was singing in my garden at Frampton Cotterell this morning.

Greylag Goose on Lagoon 3.


28/3/12 – A Short-eared Owl hunting along the stream running from the Anchor pub to the yacht club at dusk. What a sunset it was – cloudless sky and walking around in a T-shirt (in March !). The 2 Little Grebe were on the lake again. Also 2+ Lapwing heard after dusk in the fields to SW of Lagoon 3. The Raven pair were at the nest near Thornbury.

AB/AS reported (via DS): 4 Willow Warbler, 2 Wheatear, 1 adult Mediterranean Gull, 1 ‘White’ Wagtail and 2 Water Pipit.


27/3/12 – MP reported: a pair of Little Grebe displaying on the lake and 3 Peregrine (a pair seeing off another male).

AB/AS reported (via DS): a Willow Warbler and a Red Kite.


26/3/12 – A walker reported (via MP) a Short-eared Owl at the yacht club in the evening.


25/3/12 – 3 Blackcap singing around the site. A juvenile Peregrine was sat on the tower ledge, and later a pair were on the pylons (and AM earlier saw them flying around, calling). March records for butterfly: Speckled Wood, Peacock, Tortoiseshell and Brimstone all on the wing.

AM also reported: 3 Sand Martin (over Lagoon 2), 18 Chiffchaff, 4 Teal (2 on the pond, 2 on the river), 52 Curlew, 8 Reed Bunting and 41 Shelduck.

A Raven was sat on the nest near Thornbury.

Speckled Wood. Dead Shrew


24/3/12 – Dense fog around the estuary early morning, but the first Blackcap of the year singing along the main rhine and 20+ Chiffchaff. Canada Goose sat on nest on island in lake.


23/3/12 – MP reported: a Short-eared Owl hunting between lagoon 3 and the sailing club. c250 Curlew roosted on lagoon 3, including 10+ colour-ringed birds (but unable to see colours).

Short-eared Owl showing well.(Photo by MP)


The following interesting news from Mike Smart, about a colour-ringed Curlew . . .


FP 01439                              Dark Blue (above ‘knee’, left leg), Red-over-Red (right leg)

26.09.10               Ringed Wibdon Warth

22.03.11               Coombe Hill

23.03.11               Coombe Hill

28.03.11               Ashleworth Ham

01.04.11               Ashleworth Ham

12.08.11 *            Guscar Rocks (VP3)

15.08.11               Guscar Rocks (VP1)

17.08.11               Guscar Rocks (JDS)

27.08.11               Guscar Rocks (JDS)

29.08.11               Guscar Rocks (JDS)

31.08.11               Guscar Rocks (JDS)

30.09.11               Guscar Rocks (JDS)

04.12.11               Oldbury Power Station (PH)

20.03.12               Coombe Hill


Hence, after it was ringed on 26 September 2010, it was seen four times in late March /early April 2011 at Coombe Hill / Ashleworth Ham, both Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust wetland reserves in the Severn floodplain between Gloucester and Tewkesbury, where there are actually breeding Curlews in the hay meadows.  We wondered last year if the bird was a local breeder, but it wasn’t seen after 1 April, so we supposed that it had hung around off-passage for a few days, feeding up, and had then moved on to nest in the Finland area.  It reappeared with all the others on the Severn estuary in August, and was regularly seen.


Today, almost a year to the day from last year’s first observation, it turned up again at Coombe Hill, as one of a group of ten birds that arrived mid-morning; they had nothing whatsoever to do with the local breeders, already on site, and fed as a group on the surrounding fields.  I assume from this behaviour that it was a migrant stopping off on its way north, and presumably going further north than all the birds that have already passed through.  (We had one bird seen by JDS on 16 February, and sighted in the Netherlands on 24 February, and still there, behaving like a breeding bird.  So maybe those that don’t go so far north to breed are departing earlier.)


20/3/12 – DS reported it being rather quiet, but 7 Chiffchaff (including 6 singing males) and 5 Siskin going over west.


18/3/12 – AM found 3 Roe Deer in a field towards the yacht club (one is unusual), a pair of Peregrine around the towers and 4+ Canada Goose at the yacht club.

A surprise flock of 42 Linnet were in the maize-field, and a male Yellowhammer still around.

The pair of Ravens were around the nest near Thornbury.

Roe Deer, sat under hedge.


17/3/12 – A male Wheatear on Lagoon 2 (by the Water Works) this morning, and 2 more males at the yacht club (one of which was singing softly !). Also a Greylag Goose at the yacht club. There were 8 Chiffchaff around the site (a high count for this early). It really felt like Spring, with Meadow Pipit singing, one of the c50 Shelduck nest-prospecting in a tree at Shepperdine and Cowslips flowering. Very few winter visitors left: 6 Redwing, 8 Wigeon and 10 Teal (on the lake – a lot for here). A Peregrine was around the towers after an absence of 3 weeks.

Wheatear at the yacht club.


11/3/12 – This evening there were 2 Mistle Thrush to south of Lagoon 2.

No sign of Ravens at the(very large) nest near Thornbury, all weekend.


10/3/12 – A fabulous Spring-like morning. A Siskin flew over, low to SW, calling. The Curlew flock at the yacht club still had 100+, and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit with them. Also 20 Redshank, 25 Meadow Pipit and 20 Dunlin there. A Chiffchaff was singing in the trees at the west side of Lagoon 3. The lake had: 1 Little Grebe (AM reported), 2 Canada Goose, a male Tufted Duck, 9 Teal (counted by MP) and 3+ Coot. There were still 30+ Redwing and 2 Fieldfare left. Also, 5 Yellowhammer, 1 Grey Wagtail , 5 Collared Dove and 3 queen Bumblebees.

AM WeBS count: 58 Wigeon, 14 Shelduck, 28 Mallard, 8 Canada Goose, 36 Dunlin, 21 Redshank, 2 Chiffchaff (1singing,1 calling), 120 Redwing and a Brimstone butterfly.


7/3/12 – DS reported: a Crossbill over West this afternoon and a male Stonechat on Lagoon 2.


6/3/12 – WK reported a Chiffchaff. (Avon Birds)


5/3/12 – DS reported, a Barn Owl feeding at night, along the sea-wall between Lagoon 1 and The Windbound, and later, along a hedgerow just inland.


4/3/12 – On the lake: the Little Grebe still, a male Tufted Duck, 3 Canada Goose, 1 Mute Swan, 4 Coot, 4 Teal, 2 Cormorant and 4 Moorhen. Another 3 Mute Swan were on the far side of the estuary.

A pair of Raven were nest-building near Thornbury.

MP reported: a Siskin on the west side of Lagoon 3 and 11 Oystercatcher at Shepperdine.


3/3/12 – At dusk, there were c100 Pied Wagtail going to roost on out-buildings, 10 Oystercatcher and 31 Shelduck (Shepperdine) and 2 Raven disturbed from roost in trees along main rhine.

A Little Grebe on the lake along with the usual wildfowl. The Damson trees are flowering very early . . .

Adult Little Grebe. Canada Goose on the lake (Photo by MP)

Damson flowers.


2/3/12 – KP reported: 4 Redpoll (in trees on NE side of Lagoon 2), 3 pairs of Bullfinch, 2 Jay, 4 Green Woodpecker (3 in same tree !) and 8 Redwing.

AM reported: 3 Siskin (feeding in Alders at the back of Lagoon 2), 47 Shelduck, 15 Redshank, just 4 Lapwing, 28 Common Gull, 15 Teal, 43 Wigeon, 34 Curlew (one colour-ringed), 7 Oystercatcher and a pair of Canada Goose that have taken up residence on the pond. Also the Surveyors recorded 4 Shoveler and a Grey Wagtail.


26/2/12 – Warm sunny day again, but not many new birds to report. A Mute Swan flew upriver, and a Raven was heard.

Grey Heron on the jetty.


25/2/12 – A lovely, warm and sunny morning. On the lake were: 1 Tufted Duck (male), 2 pairs of Coot, 4 Canada Goose (with 6 more at yacht club), 1 Mute Swan and some Teal. Plenty of birds were singing, including Chaffinch, Goldcrest, Skylark, and 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker drummed. Also a Sparrowhawk did a territorial roller-coaster, up-and-down, ‘sky-dive’ at tree height. At the yacht club were: 12 Yellowhammer, 2 Rock Pipit and 20+ Meadow Pipit. I checked the maize-stubble field, but only 1 Linnet, 1 Skylark and 5 Snipe there. A Bar-tailed Godwit was with c120 Curlew on Lagoon 3. Also, 2 Peregrine, 1 Ringed Plover, 7 Bullfinch and 7 Skylark. A respectable total of 63 species.


18/2/12 – 52 Shelduck is a large increase in numbers. Not very good birding conditions today in a cold westerly wind. A Goldcrest was singing, though. Sadly, a Herring Gull had a broken wing on the lake, after hitting the power lines above it (I expect). Also, 2 colour-ringed Curlew to report.

(The male Blackcap that has been on my feeder all month has started singing today !)


17/2/12 – AM/MP reported: 12 Oystercatcher (best since Feb 2009), 2 Tufted Duck (first since July 2011), c37 Yellowhammer, 260 Dunlin, 72 Lapwing, 2 Ringed Plover, 23 Teal, 41 Wigeon.


A video of the Twite from 15th Jan is here . . . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjDhaD0quBU (Thanks Matt P)


13/2/12 – MP reported that the thawing maize-stubble fields are teeming with birds, including 1 Golden Plover and 2+ Twite.


12/2/12 – The Peregrine pair were calling from the top of the tower at dusk, and a Tawny Owl was heard calling distantly towards the yacht club from Lagoon 3 at 7pm.


11/2/12 – A -6C start, warming up to a barmy -0.5C by 11:30am. The 3 Twite were with the large Chaffinch flock on Lagoon 3, with 2+ Linnet. A Chiffchaff was in bushes by the reedbed on Lagoon 2. At Shepperdine were: 1 Grey Plover (AM reported), 4 Ringed Plover, 2 Rock Pipit, and 20 Curlew (inc. 3 colour-ringed). At the yacht club was another Grey Plover, c200 Curlew and 40 Yellowhammer. Also a Treecreeper along the main rhine and a Siskin over. A Peregrine was flying around low, calling, and landed in a tree full of Jackdaws, causing them to swirl about noisily. Also 4 Foxes seen, including one out on the iced lake.

AM reported (WeBs count): 500 Dunlin, 32 Redshank, 59 Turnstone, 6 Oystercatcher, 183 Mallard, 148 Wigeon, 30 Teal, 3 Rock Pipit.

Mute Swans just managing to keep a patch of ice-free water on the lake. (The hide is in the background.)


7/2/12 AM reported: a drake Goosander fast asleep on the Tidal Reservoir. 107 Curlew, 36 Wigeon, 10 Teal, 7 Moorhen (all on the frozen lake) and c30 Stock Dove.


6/2/12 DS reported: a Short-eared Owl near The Windbound, 1+ Crossbill over NE (heard only) and 1 Little Egret.


5/2/12 – MP reported: the tailless pipit sp. flushed from the seawall by the yacht club and flew to green grassy field behind hedge just upriver. (Didn’t call again, and no details seen.) Also a Siskin over, 1 Shoveler and a Mistle Thrush. MB reported a Chiffchaff on the south side of Lagoon 2.

PQ reported: 1+ Twite in the maize stubble field, with 8+ Reed Bunting, 2+ Linnet, Chaffinches and 2 Goldfinch. Also a Peregrine stooping on Woodpigeons and 20+ Stock Dove.

WK reported: 53 Wigeon, 23 Teal and 1 Rock Pipit.


4/2/12 – 3 Twite in flight from the maize field to Lagoon 3. Also 30 Skylark, 10 Reed Bunting and 5 Linnet at the maize field. 19 Canada Goose, a pair of Pochard (reported by MP) and c30 Yellowhammer at the yacht club. 44 Stock Dove and c70 Chaffinch on Lagoon 3. The lake is frozen except 2 square yards, where 3 Coot, 2 Moorhen and the drake Wigeon (which it’s suspected cannot fly). The Mute Swan pair flew to the estuary at dawn, when -6 degrees C. Plus, 1 Rock Pipit and 1 Snipe.


2/2/12 – WE reported: 3 Twite again this pm, with a small flock of Linnet, Reed Bunting and Goldfinch in the maize stubble fields.


31/1/12 – AM/DS reported: 1 Short-eared Owl, 1 Pintail, c35 Yellowhammer, c900 Dunlin, 1 Peregrine, 10 Redshank, 102 Wigeon and 56 Teal. No sign of the tailess pipit this morning or this afternoon.


30/1/12 – The possible Richard’s Pipit, with no tail, was again in the green grassy field behind the first hedge to NE (just upriver) of the yacht club, but wasn’t seen on the ground – grass is long. It flew over head, and seemed to be light underneath and a flap-flap-flap-‘miss one’, flight. (But it appears to be same size as Meadow Pipit.) Once again it didn’t call, and landed in the next green grassy field upriver (to NE). This field has some lower areas of grass where it landed, in the West corner, but again I couldn’t find it. c20 Yellowhammer still here in hedge, and a Peregrine had several low stoops at a Lapwing.


29/1/12 – MP, MB and I had a hunt around for the pipit in the evening. MP found it on the boggy common land next (just upriver) to the yacht club. It flew almost immediately and landed in the green grassy field behind the hedge (where it went first time I saw it.) The light was so bad we didn’t get any details, except for the definite lack of tail feathers. (It didn’t call again.)

The Twite were reported in the stubble field again today. I found what I think was a Richard’s Pipit, with 37 Yellowhammer in the hedge just before the yacht club. I had been watching the Yellowhammers for about an hour, getting an accurate count of them. They were quite flighty, but happily flying between the saltmarsh and the hedge. I was checking the flock in my scope and found the pipit. The most striking thing about it was the huge hind-claws, which were over 1cm long and very obvious as the bird perched on a twig. As it was in the hedge with the Yellowhammers, I was expecting to get prolonged views of it. Annoyingly, when the Yellowhammers flew back to the saltmarsh, the pipit flew high on its own in the opposite direction ! Another thing became obvious when it flew – it had NO tail feathers. (It didn’t call at all.) It appeared to land in the green grassy field (last on left when walking to yacht club from OPS). I walked round this field, and across it, but there were no birds at all in it. I then walked all the way along the saltmarsh, next to the river, and found 2 Skylark and a Snipe that had not showed themselves at all. Also a Rock Pipit and 2 Meadow Pipit (all with tails !). Early morning I heard a Crossbill fly over to SW. 1 Little Egret and 4 Canada Goose at yacht club.

Yellowhammers. Bright yachts under grey sky.


28/1/12 – 3 Twite on the mud of Lagoon 3 with c100 Lapwing and c300 Dunlin at High Tide. A juvenile Peregrine on the shore at Shepperdine, hunting inexpertly, and an adult flying between pylons and cooling towers.


25/1/12 – NW reported: 3+ Twite in the stubble field to the SW of Lagoon 3 at 12:30.


23/1/12 – PL reported 4 Egret sp. in flight this morning, just inland of OPS; possibly Great White.


22/1/12 – The 4 Twite had latched on to 6 Linnet today in the large maize-stubble field. Also c30 Yellowhammer, c10 Reed Bunting and 7 Skylark. On the roost on Lagoon 3 were: 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 291 Curlew, c600 Lapwing and 4 Ringed Plover. Also 9 Pheasant on Lagoon 3.

Evening roosts: c3,000 Black-headed Gull and c160 Pied Wagtail.

3 Little Egret were 1 mile inland of OPS on the rhine by the Severn Drainage Board office.


21/1/12 – AM reported the Twite in the fields to SW of Lagoon 3.


19/1/12 – WK reported: 3+ Twite with the large Chaffinch flock, 5 Yellowhammer and 3 Reed Bunting, feeding in the stubble field to the SW of Lagoon 3 at 12:30.


18/1/12 – The 4 Twite again on the seaweed dump on Lagoon 3; unfortunately I flushed them and they flew to the trees at the west end of Lagoon 3.

AM reported: Redpoll along path South of Lagoon 3 and 25 Yellowhammer, 15 Reed Bunting and c20 Skylark in weedy fields.


17/1/12 – The 4 Twite flew over the West wall of Lagoon 3, calling, and landed on the seaweed dump on Lagoon 3 (about 30 yards to right of hide). I relocated them on the lagoon edge of the seaweed dump at 3pm. Also 32 Yellowhammer to SW of Lagoon 3.

AC saw the 4 Twite along the footpath that goes round the west side of Lagoon 3, near Yellowhammers and Chaffinch.

And AB had the 4 Twite this morning in an Alder in the hedge between the north side of Lagoon 3 and the shore; also 40+ Yellowhammer (mostly in the hedges between Lagoon 3 and the yacht club).

AM reported amazing views of a Jack Snipe on the edge of the estuary, by Lagoon 3.

3 of the 4 Twite (Photos by Allan Chard). Wren


16/1/12 – D Smith reported: 1 or 2 Twite, 1 or 2 Reed Bunting and 15+ Chaffinch from the hide (looking SW, flying between the small reedbed on the lagoon and hedges by the lake). Along the Severn, a fly-over Black Redstart, came in from the Severn heading into the Power Station.

D Spittle reported, from around the stubble fields: c30 Yellowhammer (c40 in total with a few birds along the sea-wall), c20 Reed Bunting and c50 Chaffinch. 15 Golden Plover with Lapwing flock and 3 Roe Deer dozing in the sun. Also 10 Moorhen on the lake and the drake (injured ?) Wigeon there still.


15/1/12 – Four of us (Martyn Hayes/Mark Coller/Matt Plenty and me) finally nailed down the id of the elusive Twite, two of which MP first saw on 20th December 2011. We met at 8.30am and tried to find the Chaffinch flock on Lagoon 3. But the Chaffinches were dispersed. We kept scanning Lagoon 3, and walked the public footpath that runs along the South West side of the lagoon. As the tide and the sun rose higher, the Chaffinches started flocking more, until there were about 50 in the hedges around the hide, flying onto Lagoon 3 to feed. Just before 11am (same time as when I saw them yesterday) 4 smaller birds flew from the NE end of the Lagoon, along the south bank. They looked good, and thankfully gave two clear ‘Tuee-it’ calls. They tantilisingly flew around the lagoon in front of us, but then flew off high to SW. We kept bins on them and they seemed to go down in the fields, so off we plodded once more along the footpath to SW of the lagoon (accessed by going past the lake and turning right). We had noted a flock of Chaffinch, Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting where the footpath kinks right-left-right, and started looking in the fields here. A flock of about 5 Skylark flew up, and among them were the 4 small birds again – always sticking together. They flew up high again, but this time thankfully came down on top of a hedge 50 yards away. Unthankfully, the sun was behind the birds, and we couldn’t make markings out. We moved to get better light, but the birds flew down into the next field. Luckily we managed to locate them on the ground, and gradually crept round the field-edge to be just 10 yards from them. Magic ! It had taken us 4 hours, but it was very enjoyable and well worth it. (Thanks guys.)

We found them in the large maize-stubble field at ST603935. (About 70 yards SE of small copse on Severn Way.) But there are several weedy fields here, that they could use. We have also seen them three times on Lagoon 3. They seem to associate with the other flocks of birds.

Also: c50 Chaffinch, 22 Yellowhammer, 6 Reed Bunting, 5 Skylark , 21 Stock Dove, 2 Snipe, a Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming and a Stoat.

Photos of the Twite by MC.

And by MP.


14/1/12 – 3 (or 4) probable Twite with c100 Chaffinch on Lagoon 3 this morning.

If trying to see them. Firstly, locate the Chaffinch flock - best from the hide, using telescope to scan hedges all way round Lagoon 3. They aren’t always here. Then try and get closer to them.

The only other news of note was 20 Bullfinch. (Looked for the Black Redstart with no joy.)

Probable Twite . Bullfinch.


Some late news from DS –a Woodcock on Monday night between Lagoon 1 and The Windbound.


12/1/12 – AM’s early WeBS Count : 1 Gadwall, 90 Wigeon, 87 Teal, 158 Mallard, 153 Curlew, 160 Lapwing, 65 Turnstone, 2 Oystercatcher, 4 Yellowhammer.
Also DS reported an immature/female Black Redstart at Jobsgreen Farm, 400m E of Lagoon 2,
feeding on the buildings with the goats in at the semi-derelict farm SE of the chicken sheds. And a Water Rail on Lagoon 2. Also a Small Tortoishell butterfly !


8/1/12 – A Bar-tailed Godwit with 251 Curlew (including 10+ colour-ringed) roosting on Lagoon 3. A Treecreeper and a Goldcrest with Long-tailed Tit flock by the lake. Also 12 Bullfinch seen.


7/1/12 – 3 Pintail (2 male + fem) with 66 Wigeon and 92 Teal at Shepperdine. A flock of 5 Raven flew upriver, and another at the yacht club. Also: 26 Stock Dove and 5 Yellowhammer.

3 Pintail with Wigeon and Shelduck. Yellowhammer in hedge towards yacht club.


5/1/12 – 3 Kittiwake heading downriver in first hour of light this morning, during high westerly winds (i.e. straight across from the other side of the river). These are the first Kittiwakes for four years at OPS. Also 200+ Common Gull heading downriver.


2/1/12 – 4 Shoveler and the male Gadwall on the lake, along with the male Wigeon. Also a Raven and a very good count of 10 Bullfinch.


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