A record total of 154 species recorded at the site from all-comers in 2015 (beating 151 in 2013). (See 2015 Site Species List for details). With my personal total for the site in 2015 also a record at 150 species (beating 143 in 2013). The result of 275 visits (up from 207 in 2014). Some relatively common birds not seen this year : Little Stint and Little Owl (both also missing in 2014), Greenshank, Garganey, Water Pipit (although 95% sure of one at Shepperdine in March) and Brent Goose. (I did also see a Black Tern on 15th Sept. which I did not add to the total, as I mis-identified it as a 1st-w Arctic Tern and had to punish myself !)
31/12/15 – The annual thrash around the site with AM/MP/MB produced a good mid-winter count of 54 species. At the yacht club: 2 Grey Plover, 8 Ringed Plover, c2000 Dunlin, c200 Lapwing and the Canada Goose with broken wing still. 5 Stonechat around (2 pairs on lagoon 2 and a male on lagoon 3) and the male Peregrine in superb display flight over the towers, to the female.
30/12/15 – A Black Redstart at the jetty still.
28/12/15 – AM reported 3 Shoveler and 2 drake Tufted Duck on the lake, 1 Peregrine and 1500 Jackdaw flushed from the roost at Jobsgreen Farm by someone with a shotgun. (Highest previous count at OPS was 500.)
26/12/15 – 2 Mistle Thrush flew from Jobsgreen Farm, ahead of The Berkeley Hunt coming through and a Cetti's Warbler singing from Lagoon 3.
Fieldfare in the orchard, by CL.
25/12/15 – A Short-eared Owl flew up by the (non-squeaky) metal gate on way to yacht club and then landed on the salt-marsh edge. And the TWO 1st-w/fem Black Redstart again; on roofs by the jetty and on settling tanks at the Water Works. RL reported 3 Snipe and a Pheasant on Lagoon 2.
Happy Christmas !
Short-eared Owl sat on salt-marsh.
23/12/15 – MP reported the 1st-w/fem Black Redstart at the jetty this morning. And it was at the Water Works (around the large metal settling tanks) this afternoon. (It first arrived here on 5th November.)
22/12/15 – MP/Avonbirds reported: 3000 Dunlin, 396 Lapwing and 130 Wigeon.
21/12/15 – MP reported: 2000+ Dunlin, 2 Grey Plover (one with damaged leg), 3 Ringed Plover and 4 Little Egret.
20/12/15 – MB reported a 1st-w/fem Black Redstart at the Water Works this morning, and 2 pairs of Stonechat on Lagoon 2.
19/12/15 – A whopping MINIMUM of 4000 Dunlin feeding on the saltmarsh just SW of the yacht club in the run-up to High Tide. (Probably 5000.) The best ever count at OPS is 2700 in 2001 (and then 2000 in 2011). Difficult to estimate accurately, but the whole lot took to the air a couple of times. Also, 4-500 Lapwing, which is more than recently. The only other thing to report was the Canada Goose with red darvic on left leg and white letters (first seen on 7th Oct) which was in a flock of 60 at the yacht club. I managed to read the letters this time - 'BAPA'. This bird was ringed by the RSPCA Ringing Group as part of a project looking at movements to and from Lake Windermere, Cumbria, where the majority are ringed during the annual moult period. It was ringed on 28/6/2014.
Some of the Dunlin today. (Photo by CL - thanks.)
18/12/15 – A Red-legged Partridge stood on an inlet pipe, a few feet above the ground, on Lagoon 3. AM's WeBS count: 119 Wigeon, 151 Teal, 68 Mallard, 3 Shoveler (2 fem and a drake coming out of eclipse on lake), 1200 Dunlin, 39 Curlew, 253 Lapwing, 32 Snipe and 2 Jack Snipe. Also: 2 Stonechat, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Raven and a high count of 40+ Blackbird.
Red-legged Partridge balancing act !
16/12/15 – 130 Common Gull, 1 Chiffchaff and 300 Fieldfare reported on Avonbirds website
12/12/15 – A Marsh Harrier rose up from the middle of the main reedbed on Lagoon 2 and soared on V-wings in the wind as it moved off South-east. All dark-brown and no light patches seen at all, so presume it is a juvenile. (That is my 150th species at OPS in 2015.) The HT roost at the yacht club was large with c1,500 Dunlin and c350 Lapwing. Also 3 Stonechat (2 at yacht club and 1 on Lagoon 3.)
A freshly-dead adult Gannet on the tideline this morning and 3 Roe Deer in fields.
7/12/15 – 3 Cetti's Warbler singing this evening; 2 at same time in Lagoon 2 reeds and one on Lagoon 3. This is the highest number recorded at OPS. The current invasion started in Oct 2013, and 1 or 2 recorded virtually every month since. And a Red-legged Partridge singing ('car starter motor'-like) on Lagoon 3.
AM's Low Tide count: 700 Dunlin, 175 Lapwing, 58 Curlew, 4 Oystercatcher, 144 Wigeon, 206 Teal, 56 Canada Goose, 1 Greylag Goose (with Canadas), 27 Common Gull. Also: a Short-eared Owl reported by Ramblers, 12 Greenfinch (large flock for OPS) and 2 Stonechat.
6/12/15 – A Short-eared Owl was flushed from Lagoon 3, and flew out onto the estaury. Lagoon 3 watched until dark, but no owls seen. A 1st-w/fem Black Redstart again by the jetty, briefly. The pair of Shoveler again on the lake. MP reported a Siskin feeding with a Goldfinch flock on Alders by the lake.
The pair of Shoveler on the lake.
Photos from CL of a Fieldfare and a pair of Pintail on the estuary (cheers).
5/12/15 – The Marsh Tit found again - last seen on 9th Nov - in the woody NW corner of Lagoon 3. Also a pair of Shoveler on the lake, with the drake in pristine breeding plumage.
4/12/15 – 2 Grey Plover on shore towards yacht club.
30/11/15 – The only seabird in 2 hours sea-watch this evening was a remarkably late pale phase Arctic Skua making its way slowly downriver in the strong wind at 3.45pm. It flew up over the Tidal Res. wall and veered around the Tidal Res. for a bit, before coming close to shore and then actually touching down briefly on the saltmarsh at Shepperdine. (This is the 9th Skua I have seen at OPS this year - 3 Greats and 6 Arctics. Before I started concerted sea-watching here, there had only been 2 Greats and 2 Arctics recorded at OPS before 2005 !)
29/11/15 – A 3 hour sea-watch in high SW wind and rough sea over the High Tide: 1 Great Skua upriver at 10am (15 minutes after PB reported one went upriver at Severn Beach - cheers) and 10+ Kittiwake went very fast upriver at 10.30am.(Also some late news from MB of the latest ever Sedge Warbler at OPS on 2nd Oct, in the small reedbed on shore by Lagoon 3.)
28/11/15 – MP reported a Firecrest in brambles next to the reedbed on the NE side of Lagoon 2 this morning, and a Coal Tit. And 2 1st-w/fem Black Redstart again; one around the jetty and a second on the sea-wall by the Water Works (about 100 yards away). Also a Cetti's Warbler in the reeds by the lake (unusually). c900 Dunlin at the yacht club. CL also counted: 300+ Lapwing and 3+ Knot. And a video of the pale Buzzard from last night is here.
Another two excellent photos from CL, of the Lapwing/Dunlin flock at the yacht club and the pale Buzzard again.
27/11/15 – AM reported a Short-eared Owl flushed from a hedge by the metal gate on way to the yacht club. Also: 232 Curlew, 965 Dunlin, 332 Lapwing and 90 Teal.
This very pale Buzzard by the yacht club in the failing light this evening.
22/11/15 – An owl-prowl at dusk produced zero owls, but some good birds heard in the main reedbed, Lagoon 2: a Bearded Tit calling (but not seen in fading light), a Cetti's Warbler and 4 Water Rail (plus another on Lagoon 3). A murmuration of c600 Starling went to roost early in the reeds. And a Black Redstart was at the Water Works, but mobile and elusive. Plus 13 Shoveler (10 on estuary, 3 on lake).
21/11/15 – A large movement into a cold and strong North wind (birds heading NE inland of shore): 500 Fieldfare counted between 9.45-10.18am, c200 Redwing, 2 Stock Dove among a constant stream of Woodpigeon (but no large flocks) and 1 Sparrowhawk. Also, a Chiffchaff at end of main rhine and 3 Stonechat at the yacht club.
20/11/15 – AM reported: 2 Shoveler, 116 Teal, 126 Wigeon, 120 Dunlin, 83 Lapwing, 4 Oystercatcher, 3 Little Egret, 19 Common Gull, 3 Greater Black-backed Gull, 2 Peregrine and 70 Fieldfare. Also, 1+ Stonechat at the yacht club.
17/11/15 – A Great Skua's presence was announced this evening in high winds (50+ mph) at LT, by BH & Common Gulls fleeing upriver. It flew up the estuary over the Tidal Res. and attacked the ducks and waders on the shore, going down out-of-view, but appearing to get something.
15/11/15 – 41+ Kittiwake holding station mid-river off Shepperdine all morning in strong SW wind. Plus 2 singles went upriver along near shore.
14/11/15 – 5 Stonechat around today (3 at yacht club and 2 on Lagoon 2). (No Grey Phalarope at HT.)
13/11/15 – A Grey Phalarope again on the shore in the bay just upriver of Lagoon 1 (which I call "Shepperdine"). Excellent view of it in bright sun between horrible squally showers from West. First seen flying along the saltmarsh, when it dropped out of view into the long grass. But then flew onto mud on shore. I reached for my camera, but it flew and not refound. Also a Black Redstart again, briefly, by the jetty. (The first Blackcap of the winter in my garden today, and one at OPS on 11th.)
12/11/15 – A Hawfinch flew over the SW end of Lagoon 3, heading West and then flew along the shore SW. Only seen in silhouette, but am sure it was one from size and purposeful, undulating, flight. AM reported a Short-eared Owl on the shore by the yacht club, and 2 Stonechat. WeBS count: 297 Dunlin, 123 Lapwing, 7 Cormorant, 3 Little Egret, 6 Grey Heron, 85 Teal, 5 Shoveler, 20 Redshank, 297 Curlew, 73 Wigeon, 1 Snipe and 2 Mistle Thrush.
10/11/15 – No sea-birds at dawn. But a Crossbill flying around over Lagoon 2 at tree-top height, calling.
9/11/15 – An hour's sea-watching was frustrating this evening with only Black-headed Gulls and Common Gulls coming into roost. Sat in the lee of a hedge at Shepperdine, I had just about given up and was looking along the sea-wall, when a small wader flew along the sea-wall past me, and then used the wind-break I was using to double back and head downriver again, straight towards me. My initial thought was Sanderling, due to obvious wing-bars and white head, but as it got closer and I got bins on it, I could see the black smudge by the eye - a Grey Phalarope ! It flew within 5 yards of me, and I ran after it and saw it land about 100 yards away on the shore of the Tidal Res. a couple of times, but would not settle. (A search along the shore came to nothing.) At least one Black Redstart was again on the jetty fences. And the Marsh Tit was heard along the track to the shore.
8/11/15 – The 2 1st-winter Black Redstarts again by the jetty. And the Marsh Tit along the track to the hide. A video of some of its calls is here.
7/11/15 – The 2 1st-winter Black Redstarts again by the jetty briefly this afternoon. They are highly mobile and elusive. Ranging along the fences from the Water Works to the track by Lagoon 3. AM's Low Tide Count: 1 Knot, 500 Dunlin (mostly at Yacht Club), 400 Lapwing (mostly at Yacht Club), 4 Ringed Plover (Shepperdine), 54 Wigeon, 25 Redshank.
6/11/15 – 2 Black Redstart mobile around the jetty area this afternoon. Also, the first murmuration of Starling over Lagoon 2 at dusk, involving c1,300 birds.
A video of the Black Redstart is here.
A bit better photo of the Black Redstart today.
5/11/15 – A Black Redstart was briefly on the fence along the track from the entrance to the shore before flying into the power station and lost (unable to refind).
Only time to take one photo through vegetation. Looks like a 1st-winter with pale wing panel.
3/11/15 – 4 Pochard on the lake this afternoon; a male and 3 females.
Some of the Pochards.
2/11/15 – A male Mandarin in full breeding plumage on the lake. Also 2 male Gadwall there. A Cetti's Warbler on Lagoon 3 was calling 'chet' repeatedly and showing itself. Probably new in; last recorded on Lagoon 3 in January.
Mandarin looking superb !
1/11/15 – In thick fog, 3 Redpoll were on Lagoon 2 still, in bushes.
31/10/15 – The highlight this morning was a Common Seal (I think) eating a Flounder at Shepperdine, and drifting slowly upriver on the tide. MP reported the Marsh Tit again, this time on the track from the entrance to the shore; and a Treecreeper. Also: 6 Stonechat (2's at Lagoon 3, by metal gate and at yacht club), 7 Redpoll (3 in trees, Lagoon 2), 2 Siskin over, a Chiffchaff by the orchard, 32 Blackbird (including a migrant flock of 15 on Lagoon 2), 4+ Rock Pipit on saltmarsh by yacht club. 4 Little Egret reported on the lake, and a Little Grebe there.
A video of the Seal is here.
Seal eating a fish at Shepperdine.
30/10/15 – 2 Golden Plover and a Bar-tailed Godwit on the shore at the yacht club with 110 Lapwing and the Curlew flock. And 4 Rock Pipit and 200+ Canada Goose there. A Water Rail heard in Lagoon 3 reeds.
29/10/15 – A Marsh Tit was on Lagoon 2, quickly moving along the hedge between the main reedbed and the path. Last seen heading towards the trees in the SW corner of the Lagoon. (Last recorded at OPS in 2002.) AM reported: a male Blackcap (Lagoon 3), 4 Stonechat (2 x Lagoon 2, 2 x Lagoon 3), 73 Wigeon, 11 Fieldfare, 12 Redwing (plus flighty Blackbirds and Song Thrushes, presumed migrants), 3 Little Egret (on the lake - which I think is a record here), 9 Stock Dove and 120 Canada Goose.
27/10/15 – A Great White Egret flew in-off the estuary towards Lagoon 3, highish, and then headed downriver, at 8am. (And to avoid doubt - this definitely wasn't the Spoonbill that ended up at Northwick! Neck drawn-in.) Flight very sedately and stiff-winged compared with Little Egret, of which there were 4 around today. Lost in distance over Littleton Warth - later checked, but not there. A Treecreeper and Coal Tit along the track to shore and a Chiffchaff in small reedbed on shore by Lagoon 3. 53 Collared Dove at Westend Lane farm (inland of yacht club). Also 2 Stonechat along shore. (61 species seen early morning - best since May.)
24/10/15 – A single Brambling over, calling. A Water Rail seen in the lake margins this morning, and 3 Shoveler there, plus 6 Cormorant fishing in the lake. Lagoon 3 had 25 Skylark and a Snipe. 2 Stonechat at the yacht club.
23/10/15 – LP reported: 3 Stonechat, 2 Skylark, 12+ Long-tailed Tit, 2 Shoveler, 1 Little Egret, 70+ Mallard, 5 Mute Swan (pair on lake and 3 juvs on river), 80 Lapwing, 40+ Dunlin, 35 Wigeon and 50+ Canada Goose.
22/10/15 – AM reported: 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker (incl. one migrant over to E), 4 Little Egret, 85 Lapwing, 92 Dunlin and 114 Canada Goose.
20/10/15 – PZ reported a female Bearded Tit on Lagoon 2 at 2pm !
Female Bearded Tit. (Photo by PZ)
19/10/15 – A Wheatear at the yacht club and a Little Grebe on the lake (first seen yesterday).
18/10/15 – Migration watch 7.30am-1.30pm by FS (as reported on Trektellen website), NE winds and cloud cover/fog over hills: A male Merlin SW along shore, 447 Starling, 58 Fieldfare, 26 Song Thrush, 245 Redwing, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1,325 Chaffinch, 9 Brambling, 30 Redpoll, 9 Siskin, 2 Crossbill, 12 Bullfinch, 30 Greenfinch, 28 Goldfinch, 16+ Linnet, 4 Stock Dove, 150 Woodpigeon, 1 Yellowhammer, 8+ Skylark, 8 Reed Bunting, 9 Meadow Pipit, 1 Rock Pipit, 10 Cormorant, 1 Stonechat, 2 Cetti's Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 1 Chiffchaff, 15 Goldcrest, 3 Coal Tit, 2 Snipe, 1 Golden Plover, 1 Grey Plover, 2 Black-tailed Godwit.
17/10/15 – A ringtail Hen Harrier reported over the lagoons at mid-day by PZ. AM WeBS count: 53 Canada Goose, 34 Wigeon, 18 Teal, 105 Mallard, 1 Tufted Duck, 11 Cormorant (on power lines), 1 Little Egret, 7 Grey Heron, 1 Lapwing, 4 Knot, 65 Dunlin, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 74 Redshank, 30 Turnstone. Also, 1 Stonechat, 2 Rock Pipit and 3 Redpoll.
15/10/15 – Still good vismig this morning in low cloud, with most birds flying ENE. The following seen in 1 hour: 2 Redpoll, 3 Siskin, c500 Redwing (300 from 8-8.15, then fewer), 23 Fieldfare in single flock, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Blackbird, 50+ Chaffinch and another c65 Jackdaw (in single flock, high over to SW). LP reported: flocks of 30+ Meadow Pipit and 50+ Goldfinch, another Mistle Thrush, 2 Kestrel, 23 Canada Goose, 30+ Lapwing, 70 Dunlin, 5 Oystercatcher, 15 Redshank, 5 Grey Heron, 1 Shoveler and 1 Tufted Duck (which returned to the lake on 8th having been absent in Sept.). NB. Sadly no 'ping'ing heard from the reedbed this morning.
14/10/15 – I had been stood migration watching from the southern end of Lagoon 2 for about half an hour when I thought I heard the faint 'ping, ping' of a Bearded Tit. So I moved to where I could get a better view over the main reedbed. Then a Great Spotted Woodpecker started 'tac'ing and I began doubting. Luckily after a quiet 5 minutes the 'ping'ing restarted and I was sure, but could not see it. A binocular scan found it sat nicely in the open ! (My second one here after MP found one in 2008.) Another good vismig morning, with most birds flying NE. The following seen in 2 hours: 6 Redpoll, 2 Siskin, c150 Redwing, 10 Fieldfare, 15 Skylark, 13 Greenfinch, 30+ Chaffinch. 210 Jackdaw (in 3 flocks) flew high over to SW, another c110 were circling over a nearby hill and c30 were heading low NE. 3 Stonechat still on Lagoon 3 and 2 on Lagoon 2. The Kingfisher flew over the road and along the main rhine.
Adult male Bearded Tit !
13/10/15 – Excellent vismig this morning, with birds flying low despite clear skies. Flying ENE into slight wind. The following seen in 2 hours: 16+ Redpoll (inc. a flock of 8 over and 2 x 2 coming down to Lagoon 2. This is the highest count ever at OPS !), 3 Siskin, 50+ Redwing, 30+ Song Thrush, (+ c25 small thrush sp.), 1 Mistle Thrush, 1+ Fieldfare, 3 Bullfinch, 13 Greenfinch, 20+ Chaffinch (only), 10+ Skylark and 100+ Starling. A Kingfisher was sat on reeds at the lake (hopefully it will stay as there are plenty of small Perch and Rudd this year). The 5 Stonechat are still on Lagoon 3. The Cetti's Warbler was calling on Lagoon 2 and 3 adult male Blackcap there with one induced to sing in the sun. Lastly, 2 Coal Tit still around.
A Redpoll that dropped out of the sky into a bush next to me ! And a Redwing that dropped into a tree.
Kingfisher perched on the lake.
12/10/15 – AM reported: 285 Curlew (yacht club), 293 Canada Goose, 4 Knot, 83 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover, 22 Lapwing, 28 Redshank, 16 Teal, 37 Wigeon, 3 Little Egret, 7 Cormorant (all on power cable above pond) and 1 Stonechat.
11/10/15 – 76 Knot on the shore of the Tidal Res. - only beaten by a count of 80 in 1994 at OPS ! 5 Stonechat (2 ad, 3 juv) in NE corner of Lagoon 3 still. Also, 3 Black-tailed Godwit (inc. one with damaged leg).
10/10/15 – CL reported a Whinchat on Lagoon 3 in the afternoon.
Whinchat (Photo by CL).
5 Stonechat (2 ad, 3 juv) in NE corner of Lagoon 3 and another 1 or 2 at yacht club. An amazing count of 311 Canada Goose on the shore and 2 Shoveler. At the yacht club were : 1 Wheatear, 54 Knot (very good count for OPS), 2 Black-tailed Godwit, c300 Curlew, 80+ Meadow Pipit and 3 Rock Pipit.
Stonechats and Knots.
8/10/15 – At Shepperdine this morning: 20 Knot and 6 Black-tailed Godwit. AM reported in afternoon: 290 Canada Goose ("doing my head in trying to count em !"), 11 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 18 Grey Plover, 48 Dunlin, 35 Turnstone and 3 Little Egret.
7/10/15 – A Red-legged Partridge flew from the fields up the bank and landed on Lagoon 3 at dusk. At the yacht club were: 6 Grey Plover, 69 Lapwing, 2 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Wheatear. Also 156 Canada Goose including one with a red darvic ring on left leg with 3 or 4 white letters ending in 'PA' (I think). And another 115+ on the lake.
6/10/15 – A Redpoll over, a Water Rail calling from the main reedbed (Lagoon 2) at dusk, a Wheatear and 11 Black-tailed Godwit (inc. one with damaged leg) at Shepperdine.
2/10/15 – Lagoon 3 had 2 Whinchat, 1 Redstart and a Stonechat in the October evening sun. Also a Snipe flushed there. 3 more Stonechat around the site, 2 Swallow over and a Wheatear. 4 Tawny Owl heard at dusk (a pair, and 2 other males).
Whinchat and Redstart in NE corner of Lagoon 3.
30/9/15 – Avonbirds/AM reported this morning: 285 Canada Goose (on lake - record), 2 Ringed Plover, 31 Lapwing, 43 Redshank, 50 Turnstone.
29/9/15 – A migrant Mistle Thrush on the paddock to south of lagoon 2 and a Swallow still over there; a Grey Wagtail over to East, and a fem/juv Shoveler on the lake (since the weekend).
27/9/15 – The 4 Stonechat still on lagoon 3, by the end of the bridleway to the shore. And a Swallow still around.
26/9/15 – 4 Stonechat and c35 Meadow Pipit on Lagoon 3. 5 Skylark and 2 Siskin over to East (into wind), and 2 Swallow high over. Even more - 241 Canada Goose on the lake this evening. They are feeding on wheat stubble fields over the road.(61 species seen today.) AI reported a Jay burying acorns near the orchard (summer over !).
What the lake looks like.
25/9/15 – There were 2 Coal Tit at the end of the main rhine this evening, and a flock of 33 probable Bar-tailed Godwit and a Knot flying downriver at dusk. The record keeps increasing - 200 Canada Goose on the lake this evening.
Here's a Black-tailed Godwit with a badly damaged leg which has been hopping around for a week.
22/9/15 – A record 190+ Canada Goose on the lake - leaving little room for the water ! MB reported a Tawny Owl at 7.45pm calling by entrance and flew over his head.
19/9/15 – AI reported: a Common Sandpiper and 2 Wheatear by the jetty, 3 Little Egret, a Yellow Wagtail over and 2 Siskin over (heading W) calling, and good numbers of Swallow and House Martin still.
18/9/15 – 4 Whinchat and a Stonechat on the fence at the yacht club at midday.
17/9/15 – Juveniles of Redstart and Whitethroat on the fence at Shepperdine this morning. And a Lesser Whitethroat in Lagoon 1 bushes. AM reported: 1 Cetti's Warbler and a Willow Warbler (both tentatively singing), 2+ Blackcap, 1 Wheatear, 6 Teal, c40 Turnstone, a Lapwing which was stooped on by a Peregrine, 3 Little Egret and 112 Canada Goose on the lake.
This was my BEST shot of the juv. Redstart.
16/9/15 – A Sedge Warbler and 4 Wheatear along shore and the 7 Knot still at Shepperdine. There were 38 Canada Goose on the lake (probably a record for here), then 99 flew downriver and over Lagoon 1 heading south, and at dusk 92 in cut wheat field by road (same?). And a Mute Swan flew upriver (with 2 still on lake). A Sand Martin was over the lake and c100 House Martin and 30+ Swallow around.
This juvenile Teal was on the lake this evening, looking on first glance like a Garganey. But there are a couple of things not good: orange at base of bill and white side to undertail-coverts. Garganey x Teal ? (Thanks for the help - those who Tweeted !)
A short, out-of-focus, video is here, showing nice cinnamon colours on breast.
15/9/15 – This evening, a Whinchat and 8 Knot at Shepperdine and 2 male Tawny Owl calling from different ends of the site. Also, the gull roost is starting to build on the estuary, with 500+ Black-headed Gull on the Tidal Res.. Early morning, a Black Tern flew from Shepperdine downriver (initially mis-identified as 1st-w Arctic Tern). And a juv/fem Pintail on the Tidal Res.. Also, another record of Nuthatch - this time calling ("droit,droit,droit") from the wood at the start of the bridleway to the shore.
Note that this week and the next are the best weeks of the year for number of species at OPS (statistically, from my own records). With 18th to 22nd being the peak.
14/9/15 – At Shepperdine this evening: 7 Knot, c50 Dunlin and 5 Ringed Plover. And a Tawny Owl calling from trees at the south end of Lagoon 2.
13/9/15 – 5 Siskin over (3 + 2), c300 House Martin gathering on/around the power station towers, a Cetti's Warbler vocal around the main reedbed and 2 Coal Tit again (Lagoon 2). 25 Canada Goose and 4 Teal on the lake, which is very green with an algal bloom.
CL took these cracking photos of a Willow Warbler and a Wheatear.
12/9/15 – AM reported (WeBS count): 55 Dunlin, 25 Ringed Plover, 37 Redshank, 5 Turnstone, 1 Little Egret, 1 Teal, 22 Wigeon. Also, 4 Whitethroat, 11 Chiffchaff and 22 House Martin.
5/9/15 – AI reported: 6 Siskin that flew from Lagoon 2 out over the river, 6+ Greenfinch, lots of Chiffchaff, 1+ Willow Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat and 1 probable Lesser Whitethroat.
4/9/15 – A Wood Sandpiper flew lowish over my head from Shepperdine, up and over the Power Station and on SW, calling repeatedly "trib-ute" this evening. A Yellow Wagtail with cows in field south of Lagoon 2. AM reported this morning: 18 Dunlin (Yacht Club), 5 Ringed Plover (seawall by Lagoon 2), c35 Turnstone (on green buoy), 3 Little Egret, 7 Chiffchaff and 2 Raven.
2/9/15 – 2 Tree Pipit grounded on Lagoon 2 by showers in evening. Also there, 3 Lesser Whitethroat and c50 House Martin high over lake. MB reported a Barn Owl at 8.30pm along the main rhine and a Roe Deer on Lagoon 2.
1/9/15 – A migrant Skylark along the shore this morning.
31/8/15 – c200 Canada Goose (record count for site) - c175 towards Littleton and c25 at Shepperdine.
30/8/15 – MB reported this morning: a Coal Tit, 2 Wheatear, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Whitethroat and a Sedge Warbler.
29/8/15 – A juv. Redstart hovering over Lagoon 2 main reedbed (!), 4 Sedge Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Whitethroat (one singing briefly), and 8 Reed Warbler. Plus 7 Common Sandpiper along shore. (Zero geese at Littleton this morning.)
28/8/15 – JM reported a probable female Pied Flycatcher on the fence between Lagoon 2 and Power Station and 4 Green Woodpecker there. This evening a Green Sandpiper was at Pillhead Gout and then flew, calling, towards the yacht club. The 4 Barnacle Goose were at Littleton again. And 6 Common Sandpiper along shore by Lagoon 3. Also reported on Avonbirds: 2 Knot, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and 11 Chiffchaff.
27/8/15 – Seen from yacht club: 4 Barnacle Goose (distantly) and 4 Wheatear. That is 140 species at OPS this year ! (Click '2015 Species' button above for full list.) A wander to Littleton Warth to get a closer look at the geese produced: 278 Canada Goose (attracted to the saltmarsh by wet surface from recent rain and closely-cropped grass from cows), c95 Ringed Plover, c45 Dunlin, 5 Whimbrel with c25 Curlew, 18 Yellow Wagtail (with cows), another 2 Wheatear and a Raven.
Managed to get a (poor) shot with all four Barnacle Geese.
A nice Whimbrel. Showing just how far from 'home' I was ! Here be dragons.
26/8/15 – 4 Common Sandpiper this evening.
25/8/15 – A Spotted Flycatcher again, seen briefly, in trees by the small reedbed, Lagoon 2. AM/MP reported, in the evening: 1 Whimbrel, 4 Ringed Plover, 1 Common Sandpiper and 1 Grey Wagtail.
23/8/15 –On the incoming tide at midday, 6 'Commic' Tern (probably Commons) went low down the middle of the river ahead of a squally shower. And at Shepperdine: 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 35+ Ringed Plover, 2 Common Sandpiper, 23 Turnstone and 5 Oystercatcher.
22/8/15 – 2 Common Sandpiper and 3 Yellow Wagtail.
20/8/15 – 4 Sedge Warbler on edge of main reedbed, Lagoon 2. And from the green gate (main rhine), c50 House Sparrow by a dung-heap and a Yellow Wagtail. Plus 4 Raven.
18/8/15 – This morning, a Hobby was in full hunting mode over the paddock to south of Lagoon 2. Also, 1 Yellow Wagtail and 1 Wheatear.
17/8/15 – AM reported (WeBS count): 101 Mallard, 3 Tufted Duck (only the juvs. are left), 36 Canada Goose, 8 Grey Heron, 1 Little Egret. Also, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Wheatear and 3 Sedge Warbler.
15/8/15 – A Spotted Flycatcher around the small triangular reedbed in SE corner of Lagoon 2. Plus, 5 Common Sandpiper and an adult winter Mediterranean Gull on the shore.
13/8/15 The Mandarin was on the lake again this evening and flew with Mallards towards the shore. (It is an eclipse adult drake, with a red bill.) At yacht club, at HT: 3 Wheatear, 24 Ringed Plover, 21 Dunlin and a Common Sandpiper.
12/8/15 Nothing to report on bird front this afternoon, but 7+ Oak Eggar (I think ?) moth flying around Lagoon 2 - the size and orange colour of Tortoishell butterfly, but with large antenna and flying so fast and erratic I didn't get a good look. And 4+ Small Red-eyed Damselfly on floating weed by the lake edge near the road.
11/8/15 – AM reported this evening: c35 Chiffchaff, 5 Willow Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, c20 Turnstone and 213 Mallard. Also 2 Clouded Yellow butterfly. And SH reported a Wheatear at Shepperdine.
10/8/15 – A Mandarin on the lake with Mallards, then flew to the shore - very flighty. Also: 1 Shoveler, 1 Treecreeper and 1 Willow Warbler.
4/8/15 – This morning, 2 Black-tailed Godwit flying downriver at Shepperdine and 2 Willow Warbler around (one singing).
1/8/15 – A male Common Scoter drifted upriver from the Tidal Res. as the tide came in this morning. Around Lagoon 2 were: 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat and 1 Sedge Warbler. In the ripe wheat field over the road from the lake was a flock of c75 House Sparrow and a Yellowhammer singing. AM reported at yacht club: 2 Little Egret, 5 Oystercatcher and 2 Redshank.
31/7/15 – A pristine, yellow, Willow Warbler on Lagoon 3 with tit flock.
29/7/15 – A Black-tailed Godwit and a Mediterranean Gull with c300 Black-headed Gull at the yacht club on this evening's High Tide.
28/7/15 – Waders at Shepperdine: 2 summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Turnstone and 3 Redshank. And the large tit-flock located along the track to the shore, and had a Treecreeper with them which landed on a concrete fence post briefly.
27/7/15 – No sea-birds in the quite high westerly winds. But a flock of waders at Shepperdine: 13 Dunlin (inc. a ginger juv), 4 Ringed Plover and 4 Turnstone. Also a Hobby, outed by the local Swallows, as usual, calling 'leggit, leggit'.
26/7/15 – A large tit flock along the track to the hide contained maybe 50 birds including Blue, Great & Long-tailed Tits, ad + juv Blackcaps & Chiffchaffs, 2 Greenfinch, 10 Chaffinch, Wrens (inc. tail-less juvs), Dunnocks, a Song Thrush, Blackbirds and watching for about half-hour teased out: ad + juv. Coal Tit, a juv Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker (inc. a red-capped juv). Along the shore at HT, 3 Redshank and 2 flocks of c15 and 30+ small waders contained Dunlin and Ringed Plover but both lots flew before I could check them all out.
25/7/15 – a Common Tern upriver at c8am. (A bit autumnal early morning - gloves and coat back on; 9 degrees C.) Avonbirds reported one each of: Sedge Warbler, Grey Wagtail and Yellowhammer.
18/7/15 – 2 Common Sandpiper on the shore by Lagoon 3, and 14 Cormorant. AM reported a juv. Wheatear.
17/7/15 – An adult summer Arctic Tern making its way slowly downriver, low over the Tidal Res. this evening.
15/7/15 – A surprise Yellowhammer singing from a ripe wheat field next to the main rhine, and a sub-adult Mediterranean Gull flying downriver this evening.
14/7/15 – A beauty of a moth with metallic green wings found at home - named Burnished Brass appropriately enough.
11/7/15 – AM reported, this pm: 2 broods of Shelduck (7 and 5 juvs), 2 broods of Tufted Duck (3 & 3 juvs), 10 Stock Dove, 3 Little Egret and a Sand Martin. This morning at the lake: 1 adult Little Grebe and 8 House Martin.
10/7/15 – A 2nd year Mediterranean Gull on the shore this evening. And a new brood of 7 young Shelduck at Shepperdine.
3/7/15 – A Mediterranean Gull in lovely silvery full summer plumage this evening. 28 Canada Goose (including 6 juvs with parents) have been drifting up and down on the tide all week - they are moulting and flightless. And now down to 3 well grown juvs on lake.
2/7/15 – 3+ juv Green Woodpecker with 1+ parent on the track to shore. A new small Coot chick with second pair, and 2 well grown juvs. with other pair on lake.
Juvenile Grey Heron, roosting on Lagoon 1 with adults.
1/7/15 – 277 Black-headed Gull and 2 Common Gull on shore this evening, and some new duck broods: 7 well grown Shelduck with parents at Shepperdine (not seen before) and 9 Tufted Duck with fem. on lake (+ 3 older juvs still). The first small red-eyed damselfly of the year on the lake edge.
30/6/15 – A Hobby over Lagoons 1 & 2 - alerted to it by Swallow calls.
26/6/15 – RL reported a Hare at south end of Lagoon 2.
21/6/15 – An adult feeding a juv Sedge Warbler and a male singing, in small reedbed on way to yacht club.
20/6/15 – 3 Redshank on this morning's tide.
19/6/15 – This evening, a Whimbrel flew upriver calling. And 3 juv Lesser Whitethroat with parents along the track from car park to Lagoon 2.
18/6/15 – This morning, a good 5 minutes brought me two new ticks for the year: a juvenile Nuthatch landed in the large willow along the main rhine, followed 5 minutes later by 2 very young Coal Tit. (Both last recorded at OPS in 2013.) Also 13 Curlew, c30 Black-headed Gull and the Yellow-legged Gull still on the shore.
16/6/15 – Generally quiet, but 2 Buzzard chicks in a nest and the first returning Curlew.
At least 4 species of orchid on Lagoon 2. Common Spotted (left) and Southern Marsh (I think) shown.
15/6/15 – The first brood of 4 small Tufted Duck ducklings on the lake.
Tufted duck family.
12/6/15 – A good sized post-breeding flock of 70+ Starling along the seawall. And the Yellow-legged Gull still.
11/6/15 – A Tawny Owl was sat on a branch being scolded by a Blackbird this morning. And the Yellow-legged Gull on the shore again. Also, the first spikes of Bee Orchid.
8/6/15 – RL reported 2 Red Kite cirling over Lagoon 2 for some time at 11am. HL and 20 members of Thornbury U3A reported 42 species of bird, including: Little Grebe, Swift, Sedge Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, Mistle Thrush, House Martin and Peregrine. Also, Pyramidal and Common Spotted Orchid, and Azure Damselfly. A Hummingbird Hawkmoth in my Frampton Cotterell garden.
6/6/15 – The Yellow-legged Gull was on the shore again, and then came and 'buzzed' me a few times, giving good views of it's wing feathers, which are in moult but single white 'mirror' on only outer primary seen well. (Heh, I've even got the lingo of this Larid lark !) The smaller 3rd-year bird with it is definitely a Lesser Black-backed Gull, having seen it well in flight. An update on juveniles on the lake: 3 Canada Goose, only 1 Coot left, and 13 Mallard (9 & 4). The sole Shelduck duckling still at Shepperdine.
Yellow-legged Gull, showing single outer primary mirrors and upper wing tip (but still in moult).
Single Shelduck duckling with parents.
4/6/15 – A Spotted Flycatcher was a nice surprise, with a tit-flock in trees by the reedy pond at SW corner of Lagoon 3. At least one Buzzard chick was in a nest, and the single Shelduck duckling was still at Shepperdine. Also a Hornet seen.
2/6/15 – The evening High Tide with W/SW wind produced an Arctic Tern holding station by a sandbar (looking far upriver from Shepperdine) and as the sandbar disappeared it went upriver and a second Tern flew off (probably Arctic or Little - thin winged, but seen very briefly). Shortly after, at 6pm, an adult Gannet went upriver. Then all quiet. There were no waders or seabirds over the morning tide, but a single Shelduck duckling was the first of the year.
30/5/15 – AM reported: 8 House Sparrow (at yacht club), 2 Peregrine, 3 Little Egret and 16+ Reed Warbler.
26/5/15 – This tall ship passed OPS, as seen from the far bank, by JS.
25/5/15 – 4 Turnstone and 6 Ringed Plover at HT. The 3rd-yr/ad Yellow-legged Gull again (been here over a month now). It is hanging out with a smaller 3rd year gull which may be a female Y-L Gull, or may be a Lesser Black-backed Gull ? They are generally the only 2 gulls on the Tidal Res. shore off Lagoon 2 as the tide comes in. HL/ML reported a male Bullfinch carrying food along the bridleway to the shore, yesterday.
Yellow-legged Gull, with magnified red eye-ring. (NB. It has a muddy bill here, from feeding.)
Female 3rd-year Yellow-legged Gull ? or Lesser Black-backed Gull ?
23/5/15 – 2 Sanderling (one full breeding plumage) and a Ringed Plover at HT, Shepperdine. The 3rd-yr/adult Yellow-legged Gull again, with a probable (smaller) female. 2 Cuckoo calling from Lagoons 2 & 3 again. And a live Slow Worm caught basking along the shore. I sat out in the sun over the High Tide, but only 8 Black-headed Gull upriver.
22/5/15 – A Red Kite drifted slowly low NE inland of the Power Station this evening, ahead of a shower. Later I disturbed it from trees by the small triangular reedbed, and got a superb view as it flew off over Lagoon 1.
19/5/15 – On the Tidal Res. shore this morning: 2 Sanderling (one in full breeding plumage), 5 Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin. The Cuckoo and Yellow-legged Gull still. AM reported 2 Peregrine, including a female on a kill.
17/5/15 – A Willow Warbler singing on Lagoon 2 and the Cuckoo still. A Magpie killed a Slow Worm. The Slow Worm's tail came off and was wriggling, but it did not save the animal this time. And a Badger has dug out a bumble-bees nest from the stony path on Lagoon 2. Also a Weasel was seen in the week, crossing the main road to the site.
The 3rd-year, moulting to adult, Yellow-legged Gull again on the shore.
16/5/15 – A Little Ringed Plover was on the Lagoon 3 scrape this morning. A Cuckoo calling on Lagoon 2 still and 2 Whimbrel.
Little Ringed Plover.
15/5/15 – A Cuckoo calling on Lagoon 2 and a Whimbrel.
14/5/15 – A Cuckoo calling on each Lagoon still. And 2 Whimbrel.
13/5/15 – A Cuckoo calling on each of Lagoons 2 & 3 again this evening. Also, a Wheatear and 2 Dunlin.
2 Painted Lady butterflies on Lagoon 2. Buzzard on its nest.
Caught this chap unawares, down to 2 yards.
12/5/15 – The Cuckoo calling again on Lagoon 2.
11/5/15 – A Wheatear, 2 Dunlin and the Cuckoo calling again on Lagoon 2 this evening. There are only 3 Canada Goose goslings left on the lake.
10/5/15 – A pair of Cuckoo again on Lagoon 2. The female has a grey back, but rufous wings; not sure if it is an intermediate phase or some juvenile feathers still.
9/5/15 – On the High Tide: 4 Whimbrel, 32 Dunlin, 13 Ringed Plover, and 3 Turnstone mainly at Shepperdine. AM also reported 2 Cetti's Warbler and a Cuckoo.
8/5/15 – A Cuckoo calling on each of Lagoons 2 & 3.
7/5/15 – This morning, a Garden Warbler seen well, singing behind the Visitor Centre (as was) by the dried pond, and probably a 2nd singing there also. A pair of Cuckoo on Lagoon 2 and another one (probably 2) on Lagoon 3. The Canada Goose pair still have the 4 goslings on the lake, and 4 newly fledged Coot there. A more thorough count of singing warblers around the whole site: 8 Lesser Whitethroat, 16 Whitethroat, 13 Sedge Warbler, 18 Reed Warbler and 1 Cetti's Warbler. But it was mammals that stole the show . . .
A first for the Tidal Res. - Roe Deer taking a swim. (4 seen this morning.) After swimming 1/2 mile, nearly to far wall and back, it was shattered !
The first Hares since Jan '08 ! At Shepperdine.
6/5/15 – A dark-phase Arctic Skua went slowly upriver just before 6pm in strong SW wind. It briefly landed on a sandbar 3 times, before continuing upriver. And 50+ Swallow in a tight flock in the lee of the wind behind tall trees.
5/5/15 – This evening, 2 Arctic Skua (one pale-phase, one dark-phase) went straight upriver at about 40mph in strong wind from SW and squally showers. And a Little Tern went upriver. A Cuckoo called from Lagoon 2. Early morning (before wind/rain) counts on Lagoons 2 & 3 (only): 13 Sedge Warbler (equal site record), 9 Lesser Whitethroat, c10 Whitethroat and 14 Reed Warbler. The Canada Goose pair with only 3 goslings I could see, were trapped on the island by the Mute Swan pair, which are being highly aggressive to them. And the female Wigeon still at Shepperdine.
4/5/15 – Two Cranes flew over from NE at 11.05am, circled over Shepperdine to gain height, and flew on to SW. They cirlcled again over the yacht club and then went down the estuary and over the central span of the old Severn Bridge. Once they hit the far bank of the estuary they circled again (near Chepstow) for height and flew on to SW along far bank, lost to view at 11.40am. (Too distant, even at closest point, to check for rings.) A short, rather shakey video is here. The Canada Goose pair have 4 goslings on the lake, but are being chased around by the aggressive Mute Swan pair. The female Wigeon was still at Shepperdine. Heading North, directly over the estuary were: 3 Swift, 1 House Martin and a few Swallow.
2/5/15 – I am a grandparent again ! As the Canada Goose goslings have hatched after 30 days brooding. I am so proud. Not so proud of the Mute Swan pair, though, which have now laid 4 eggs in hastily constructed nests and abandoned them. A count of singing warblers around the whole site: 7 Lesser Whitethroat, 10 Whitethroat, 3 Sedge Warbler, 9 Reed Warbler and 1 Cetti's Warbler. The only migrants moving through were 5 Whimbrel.
Canada Goose on nest, with brownish egg shell on left. Mute Swan egg abandoned in rough nest.
1/5/15 – The first Swift and a Cuckoo calling, both on Lagoon 2. The late Wigeon, 4 Whimbrel and c40 Dunlin at Shepperdine.
30/4/15 – AM reported 2 Cuckoo calling, a Teal and 18 Dunlin this evening. 6 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Sedge Warbler and 7 Whimbrel around this morning. And the Mute Swan pair were demolishing the nest (with 2 eggs in it) and reconstructing it 1 yard away. Also a Roe Deer again, this time by the lake. And yesterday, the late female Wigeon was at Shepperdine.
Lesser Whitethroat, Lagoon 2.
28/4/15 – At Shepperdine this evening: 1 Knot, 4 Whimbrel, 45 Dunlin and 7 Ringed Plover. And a Roe Deer along the main rhine path yesterday.
28/4/15 – Another Red-legged Partridge this morning, on the grassy sea-wall to the yacht club, and a Hobby disturbed from rest in a tree along the main rhine. Also, a Tree Pipit low over calling, 5 Sedge Warbler and 6 Lesser Whitethroat.
Red-legged Partridge on the run. Only 2 shots nearly in focus, and both are when it has head down feeding !
27/4/15 – The adult Yellow-legged Gull again on the Tidal Res. shore, and 60 Dunlin, this evening.
Yellow-legged Gull (at back) with 2nd-year Herring Gull.
26/4/15 – In the evening, MB reported a Red-legged Partridge on the path by Lagoon 2. MP reported a Spotted Flycatcher inland of 'The Windbound', Shepperdine, and 3 Whimbrel on shore there. A Sanderling was with 43 Dunlin and 7 Ringed Plover at what is referred to as 'Shepperdine' on this website, i.e. the bay immediately upriver of Lagoon 1. Also there, a late Wigeon - the latest recorded at OPS was 27/4/2008.
Sanderling. Late Wigeon.
25/4/15 – Nothing on the estuary at HT, in a stiff SW wind. The Mute Swan pair seem a bit bemused by their newly laid egg. It was not being brooded today, so seems abandoned. 7 Lesser Whitethroat singing around the site. Avonbirds reported 7 Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin
Mute Swan, with egg.
24/4/15 – MB found a nice male Redstart on the track to the shore this morning, and it was still there on the fence at 10.30am. Some interesting things seen today. A newly fledged Mistle Thrush is the first on site since 'possible breeding' in the late 1990's. The Mute Swan pair seemed to be hastily building a nest around a newly laid egg. And a Jay fly-catching insects in a tree !
Male Redstart. Juv. Mistle Thrush.
23/4/15 – An excellent Spring day's birding. A Wood Sandpiper on the Lagoon 3 scrape in the evening. And the Pochard still on the lake. 74 species seen in all today - my best at OPS in a day.
Wood Sandpiper, Lagoon 3 scrape.
This morning: 2 Arctic Tern went upriver over the Tidal Res. at 7.40am. Then 10 minutes later a Cuckoo started singing on Lagoon 3. Plus a lovely male Whinchat (by the non-squeaky gate on way to yacht club), and a Common Sandpiper at the yacht club. But most unusual here, was a female Pochard on the lake. That's 6 new ticks for the year bringing my OPS total to 122 species (breaking my record at end of April). Also, the first brood of the year (yesterday) are 6 Mallard ducklings on the lake.
Female Pochard on the lake. Male Whinchat.
Cuckoo, Lagoon 3.
22/4/15 – Some good birds at the yacht club. A Spotted Redshank, Grey Plover coming into summer plumage, 4 Dunlin, 7 Wheatear and 100+ Meadow Pipit on the short grass of the saltmarsh. Also the first 2 Yellow Wagtail of the year over to NE.
Spotted Redshank just starting moult into summer plumage. Grey Plover just finishing moult.
21/4/15 – This evening, a Black-tailed Godwit was a surprise, on the edge of the lake.
Lots of birds around this morning: 3 Tree Pipit (over to NE calling, before 7am), 10 Whimbrel, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit (in summer plumage), 4 Sedge Warbler, 5 Reed Warbler (only), 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 13 Whitethroat, 5 Willow Warbler, 6 Wheatear (yacht club), c25 Blackcap, c40 Meadow Pipit on grass at yacht club and 2 Little Grebe (in breeding plumage). Minimum totals today: c50 Swallow, 5 House Martin and 10 Sand Martin moving upriver. 67 species seen in all today.
Summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwit by the lake.
20/4/15 – AI reported a singing Garden Warbler along the main rhine in the evening.
AM reported 2 Whinchat (by non-squeaky kissing gate on way to yacht club), 2 Cetti's Warbler, 3 Wheatear, 19 Chiffchaff, 15 Blackcap, 1 Little Egret and 1 Little Grebe.
An update on the Curlews from JS - 220 still roosting on far side of estuary (mainly Wibdon/Guscar), but they will soon be gone. These will be mainly from Scandinavia, and one with a ring on 17th was from Sweden.
19/4/15 – A Tawny Owl was hooting at 2.30pm ! It was being hassled by a Jay in the wood by the lake. Also of note, the rough fields on way to yacht club, where a Lapwing and 2 Skylark had been holding territory, have been ploughed up.
18/4/15 – CL reported a Garden Warbler (seen, not singing) by the lake in the evening.
46 Black-headed Gull were the only things moving upriver on this morning's tide. There were 2 Cetti's Warbler singing on lagoon 2, 8 Whitethroat around and a Grey Wagtail singing from the Waterworks.
Some late news from 16th - JS reported an Osprey upriver on the morning tide (seen from other side of estuary). It landed on a sandbank before being pushed off by rising water. Also a 1st-winter Little Gull upriver at 2pm on 17th (on far side of est.).
17/4/15 – On this evening's High Tide, with easterly wind, 2 Arctic Skua (one pale, 1 dark-phase) went low upriver at 5.55pm. And at 6.50pm a 1st-winter Kittiwake flew downriver and landed on water, then continued downriver with 6 Common Gull. Also a Greylag Goose to SW.
This morning AM reported: a Red Kite upriver from the bridge, and then flew inland towards Oldbury village, 7 Wheatear (yacht club), 6 Whitethroat, 4 Reed Warbler, 1 Cetti's Warbler, 11 Blackcap, 16 Chiffchaff, 2 Little Egret, 3 Whimbrel and 74 Curlew.
16/4/15 – A Lesser Whitethroat was singing from the scrub at the south end of lagoon 2 this morning.
15/4/15 – 5 Whimbrel this evening. SH reported: 1 Whitethroat (lagoon 2), 1 Grasshopper Warbler (lagoon 3), 1 Redstart (car-park bushes).
14/4/15 – The first 2 Reed Warbler and a Sedge Warbler arrived on Lagoon 2 overnight. Another Sedge Warbler and a Grasshopper Warbler (reeling) on Lagoon 3. And 3 female Wheatear by the jetty. 2 Mistle Thrush again along the track to the hide.
13/4/15 – Nothing upriver on the HT in the afternoon (except the Balmoral!). But a near-adult Yellow-legged Gull on the estuary with 106 other large gulls.
Yellow-legged Gull, 3rd-winter coming into adult? Or adult finishing moult ? The Balmoral
A proper still April morning produced: a Whitethroat singing (and seen) at south end of Lagoon 2, a Grasshopper Warbler 'reeling' loudly from brambles right next to the path on NE side of Lagoon 2, a Whimbrel (with Curlews) and a Badger crossed the path at the far end of the main rhine in broad daylight.
Whimbrel on Tidal Res..
12/4/15 – 11 Blackcap and 5 Willow Warbler, most singing. Also, 2 House Martin (to north), 3 Ringed Plover and 5 Dunlin. LB reported the first Whitethroat, on Lagoon 2.
11/4/15 – Migration stopped by cold W/NW wind. A Grey Plover and 3 Dunlin at yacht club. MP reported 8 Blackcap. (Yesterday's Ring Ouzel not seen in morning.)
10/4/15 – This evening, a male Ring Ouzel on the grass between Lagoon 3 and the shore. MB reported it was still there at 8pm, and a Tawny Owl heard.
Male Ring Ouzel
Not exactly the birds I was looking for in the morning; but a female Goosander flew upriver quite close in and landed on the water at Shepperdine. And a Stonechat on Lagoon 3. The Cetti's Warbler is also still around. RL reported a Hummingbird Hawkmoth in a Thornbury garden.
Distant shots of female Goosander, Shepperdine.
9/4/15 – Some vismig, to NE, this morning: the earliest House Martin for OPS (by 1 day, from 2013), 1 Sand Martin, 4 Swallow, c15 Meadow Pipit and c15 Linnet. Also 2 Wheatear on ground and a Mistle Thrush again. And the first Orange-tip butterfly.
8/4/15 – A Red kite soaring in thermals south of Lagoon 2 at 1.40pm. Still quite a bit of visible migration, to NE, around midday: 1 Tree Pipit low over calling, c20 Meadow Pipit,c35 Linnet in small groups and 2 Swallow.
Red Kite - you may need to squint and use a bit of imagination !
7/4/15 – Mist prevented any birds upriver on this morning's tide, but a Seal went downriver along the near bank from the Tidal Res.. JL reported 2 Sand Martin over the lake.
6/4/15 – In the evening, 4 Sandwich Tern languidly flew around the Shepperdine end of the Tidal Reservoir for 5 minutes, before gaining about 100 foot of height and heading upriver at 6.30pm. Also 5 Swallow upriver and 2 over the paddock south of Lagoon 2. Thick fog on the estuary at dawn. Out of it, coming straight towards me were the pair of Peregrine in very close pursuit of a Feral Pigeon. They came within 20 Yards of me, right over my head ! The pigeon then headed for the towers with the female gaining on its tail. The pigeon flew straight into the tower wall to escape ! It then fluttered down and got away as the Peregrine banked. Spectacular ! Also: 4 Willow Warbler singing, 3 male Wheatear, 2 Blackcap and 18 Chiffchaff.
The sun through the mist at dawn, over Lagoon 2.
5/4/15 – A Willow Warbler singing by the lake, a Swallow upriver and a Blackcap singing on Lagoon 2. Also a Mistle Thrush again along the track to the hide. Lots of butterflies in the sun: Peacocks, Brimstones and Small Tortoiseshells. MB reported a Harbour Porpoise this morning. KP reported, mainly from the yacht club: 5 Wheatear, 2 Grey Wagtail, 1 Little Egret, 2 Swallow and 2 Stoat. MP reported what were probably the 3 Red-breasted Merganser later seen at Severnside, flying high downriver at c7:20. That's 100 species at OPS for me in 2015 - fastest ton ever !
4/4/15 – A male Goosander flew close past the yacht club, upriver, at 9am. There was a large visible migration early morning, low into wind, NE: a Crossbill seen well and 'chip'ing, c370 Meadow Pipit, 10 Linnet, 6 Goldfinch, just 3 Chaffinch, 1 Greenfinch and a Sparrowhawk low across and up river. Also a Wheatear on the ground at the yacht club.
3/4/15 – A roosting Barn Owl disturbed from in a hedge by Lagoon 3 during daylight. It flew to a nearby field edge/hedge and dived in. A Little Grebe in breeding plumage on the lake, where they have been absent, or unseen, since 8th March. And a Canada Goose sat on a nest there since 31st March.
29/3/15 – High westerly wind and squally showers blew a few seabirds upriver: a tight flock of 50+ Kittiwake at 10.40am wheeled upriver at incredible speed. Then at 11.30am a flock of 10 were holding station off the Tidal Reservoir wall and settled on the choppy river. At 12pm a Great Skua went over my head and upriver - didn't move its wings once.
28/3/15 – A Kingfisher flew across the lake calling and landed out of sight. And 12 Tufted Duck back on the lake, where the 2 pairs of Coot are nest-building. 25 Meadow Pipit low over, to SW ?! (Into wind.)
25/3/15 – The first t-shirt day of the year ! And lots of birds of prey in the thermals. Another Goshawk in roller-coaster display flight, this time on 'our' side of the estuary, 1 mile upriver and inland of Shepperdine. Also seen around the site: 18 Buzzard (inc. 6 on far side of estuary), 5 Kestrel, 3 Sparrowhawk and 3 Raven.
21/3/15 – A Spring-like morning, with a cold start but heat from the sun. 2 Greylag Goose flew low over to East at 6.40am. (That's 91 species for me at OPS in 2015, equalling my record by end March from 2013. List so far here).
20/3/15 – 8 Little Egret were together on the shore this evening, then flew inland at dusk. And 3 drake Shoveler at Shepperdine. AM also reported: 81 Wigeon, 67 Teal, 6 Cormorant (high upriver) and 2 Water Rail. Plus 3 Brimstone and 2 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies.
The partial eclipse. Some of the Little Egrets
19/3/15 – JS reported, on this evening’s tide at Pillhead Gout: 300 Curlew, 4 Oystercatcher and an Avocet.
18/3/15 – 5 Sand Martin (one, the first of the year, upriver and 4 over the lake at dusk), a Cetti's Warbler seen in reeds by the lake and 13 Chiffchaff around the site this afternoon.
17/3/15 – This morning, a Firecrest was with 2 Goldcrest in brambles, by the metal gate that is off its hinges at the end of the main rhine. (Grid ref ST612944.) Around the site were 5 Chiffchaff (4 singing). JS reported at Pillhead Gout (i.e. yacht club): c200 Curlew on Oldbury Sands at low tide, 3 Knot, a Grey Plover, 3 Little Egret and 3 male Wheatear dropped in early afternoon.
16/3/15 – The first singing Chiffchaff of the year.
14/3/15 – Some good birds at Shepperdine: an (almost certain) Water Pipit flushed from the sea wall and gave a thin 'si' call, then refound briefly on the saltmarsh, a male Wheatear, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 7 Snipe. 3 Mistle Thrush seen - have had more than usual sightings of these this winter. And a pair of Great Spotted Woodpecker together.
3 Bar-tailed Godwit at Shepperdine - first of year.
12/3/15 – At High Tide, an Avocet seen from yacht club along shore to SW. AM reported: a male Wheatear by the jetty, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Stonechat (2 by jetty, 1 on lagoon 2), 11 Tufted Duck, 74 Curlew, 46 Wigeon, 12 Teal, 2 Kestrel and 2 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies.
Avocet at Pillhead Gout. Took to the water !
10/3/15 – A Wheatear on the saltmarsh at the yacht club this morning, in lovely sun. (One day after earliest site record from 1997.)
9/3/15 – Now there are 17 Tufted Duck on the lake (10 drakes).
8/3/15 – A coincidence after the news 2 days ago, but there were 2 pairs of Peregrine in a big territorial dispute in the airspace over OPS this afternoon. In the end the resident male saw off the other pair, while the female sat watching from the towers. 2 Sand Martin and 2 Tree Sparrow again reported by MC upriver of Windbound at Shepperdine this morning.
7/3/15 – A Cetti's Warbler heard in the main reedbed, Lagoon 2, this morning (last heard 9th Jan). A Grey Plover at the yacht club. Drake Wood Duck still on Winterbourne Pond. Plus AM WebS count: 77 Wigeon, 27 Teal, 12 Tufted Duck, 17 Mallard, 2 Mute Swan, 10 Canada Goose, 92 Curlew, 9 Oystercatcher, 24 Redshank, 40 Dunlin and 3 Water Rail.
6/3/15 – A distant Goshawk this afternoon on the far side of the estuary, in display flight over a fir wood; dipping down into trees and up again as it flew along the ridge. Perfect viewing conditions with bright sun, but no heat haze. Also seen: 4 Buzzard, 2 Raven and (helpfully) a Sparrowhawk. (Been watching that ridge for 2 years !) A Tortoishell butterfly on the wing in my garden today.
Very sad news of a dead female Peregrine found 'recently' at Duckhole (2 miles inland of OPS). May account for only seeing one Peregrine at OPS all this year. Two last seen on 24/12/14.
4/3/15 – A Treecreeper, a Mistle Thrush and a pair of Raven nest-building (started same week in 2014 and 2012 !). Also a queen Bumblebee flying in sun.
3/3/15 – This morning: 5 Stonechat (4 at yacht club and 1 on Lagoon 2), a Grey Plover in flight downriver, now 12 Tufted Duck on the lake and a pair of Carrion Crow stealing a fresh carcass from the Peregrine's food cache on the nesting platform, while the Peregrine was sat on other side of the towers ! Sneaky, but clever.
28/2/15 – A Tawny Owl reported on Avonbirds website.
25/2/15 – JS reported: c290 Curlew (mainly on sandbanks), 3 Ringed Plover, a lame Grey Plover, 1 male Pintail, 1 male Shoveler, 1 Little Egret and 4 Stonechat (2 at yacht club and 2 upriver of the jetty). One of the over-wintering Curlew is back on the breeding grounds in Holland already.
21/2/15 – A high HT produced (at yacht club): 1 Grey Plover, 11 Oystercatcher, 8 Snipe (one swimming to shore from flooded marsh !), c25 Redshank, c600 Dunlin, 17 Canada Goose, 4 Rock Pipit, but only 5 Lapwing (have they departed ? Or in wet fields?). Also a Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming by entrance.
Flooded salt-marsh, looking back to OPS from yacht club.
20/2/15 – AM reported, on a very high tide, with fog: 234 Teal, 75 Wigeon, 104 Curlew, 2 Gadwall, 44 Stock Dove, c30 Fieldfare (being vocal in fog), 5 Water Rail and a Yellowhammer.
18/2/15 – Two migrant Mistle Thrush along the bridleway to the shore. And a pair of Little Grebe back on the lake (one in breeding plumage). The Peregrine flew to the towers with a dead Jackdaw.
17/2/15 – 4 Stonechat today; two's at yacht club and Lagoon 3.
14/2/15 – Suddenly it is Spring on the lake with lots of pairs: 4 pairs Tufted Duck, the pair of Gadwall, Mute Swan pair (and juv. on the lagoon 3 scrape), a pair of Canada Goose, 2 pairs Coot and a male Shoveler (+ pair on estuary). Also a nice flock of 6 Bullfinch. And a Blackcap has sung in my Frampton Cotterell garden every morning this week, since Monday.
11/2/15 – 4 Shoveler (3 males) on the estuary and 23 Skylark in fields. The Mute Swan pair have evicted the juvenile from the lake, and it was on the estuary. I also watched a Mole pushing soil out of a mole-hill !
9/2/15 – AM's WeBS count (after the fog cleared at 11am !): 153 Wigeon, 159 Teal, 135 Curlew, 136 Dunlin, 11 Redshank, 2 Gadwall and c30 Turnstone, 60 Stock Dove, 31 Reed Bunting (record site count) and 2 Stonechat. Also, the Mute Swan pair have returned to the lake (having left on 13th December) and were hassling the juvenile that has been there all winter.
7/2/15 – A male Pintail flying with Mallards inland of the yacht club.
Spring must be just round the corner . . . !
5/2/15 – At yacht club: a Jack Snipe flushed from underfoot and 2 male Yellowhammer. And 2 Little Egret on the main rhine.
4/2/15 – A Chiffchaff flycatching from hedge on NE side of Lagoon 1 (found by JL yesterday). And a Siskin low over Lagoon 2, to NE (calling).
2/2/15 – A Treecreeper in hedge on NE side of Lagoon 2. The lake is mainly frozen but still had: a pair of Gadwall, 2 Little Grebe, 4 Coot and the juv Mute Swan.
30/1/15 – A Mistle Thrush on Lagoon 2. Lagoon 3 had 2 Stonechat and c120 Stock Dove. And 20+ Blackbird on the short grass along the shore by Lagoon 3.
25/1/15 – At the yacht club: 1 Grey Plover, 5 Yellowhammer, 3 Stonechat and 5 Rock Pipit. And 5 Tufted Duck today (2 pairs on the lake and a male on the Tidal Res.).
24/1/15 – HL and 19 (!) members of the Dursley BWPS reported: 2 Peregrine, 2 Raven, 1 Stonechat (Lagoon 2), and Goldcrest. The ducks are back on the unfrozen lake: pairs of Shoveler, Gadwall and Tufted Duck; 1+ Little Grebe and the juv Mute Swan.
23/1/15 – A Treecreeper in the wood along the track to the hide today. (82 species.) The ducks have vacated the frozen lake, but still 2 Little Grebe and 2 Coot there in a tiny unfrozen patch. The juv. Mute Swan was on the Tidal Reservoir.
22/1/15 – A high High Tide this morning gave a proper wetland at the yacht club, which attracted: a Mediterranean Gull, 2 Golden Plover, 3 Grey Plover, 4 Little Egret, 3 Ringed Plover, 69 Canada Goose, c400 Lapwing, 400+ Dunlin and c300 Curlew. Also there, 3 Yellowhammer, 1 Stonechat and 4 Rock Pipit. That's 81 species at OPS in January - my record for the site. AM reported 2 Water Rail on wet farm track to south of Lagoon 3.(Plus 10 Greenfinch and 38 Meadow Pipit.) And the Mediterranean Gull with c1500 Black-headed Gull in sheep field along road to yacht club (Oldbury village). And a Blackcap in Anchor Pub car park earlier.
Adult winter Med Gull. Nice male Yellowhammer.
20/1/15 – There are at least 4 Stonechat still around (with a different one on Lagoon 2 today). And 12 Great Black-backed Gull on the Low Tide mudflats (highest number in last 10 years, but nowhere near the 60 in 1995).
19/1/15 – 3 Stonechat still around (2 at yacht club, 1 on Lagoon 3).
Superb drake Shoveler shining in the sun on the lake.
17/1/15 – The pair of Tawny Owl were calling loudly to each other by the entrance at 5pm.
16/1/15 – 2 Yellowhammer at the yacht club.
15/1/15 – Good variety on the lake: pairs of Shoveler, Gadwall and Little Grebe and 2 pairs of Tufted Duck and Coot, plus the juv Mute Swan still.
14/1/15 – A Ringed Plover at Shepperdine.
3 colour-ringed Curlew at Shepperdine - let me know if you see any (Need to get colours on right leg, and colour above Yellow/White on left - e.g. Light Green over Red and Blue, for lefthand bird.
13/1/15 – Some good bird numbers at the farm inland of the yacht club (Westend Lane): 55 Collared Dove (site record), 23 Magpie, 2 Mistle Thrush and a Little Egret.
11/1/15 – A Chiffchaff on Lagoon 2. AM WeBS count: 2 Jack Snipe, 85 Snipe, 292 Lapwing, 198 Curlew, 120 Dunlin, 220 Teal, 100 Wigeon, 3 Gadwall, 2 Shoveler, 3 Tufted Duck.
10/1/15 – No seabirds on the estuary in the strong westerly wind. c130 Stock Dove and 23 Skylark on Lagoon 3.
9/1/15 – A Cetti's Warbler called from Lagoon 2 at dusk (1st since Xmas Day) and the pair of Shoveler still on the lake.
4/1/15 – AM reported: on lagoon 3: 3 Jack Snipe, 57 Snipe (+ 5 on Lagoon 2), 110 Teal, 23 Reed Bunting (record count for site !), 8 Skylark; at Yacht Club: 4 Yellowhammer, 3 Little Egret; on the River: 228 Curlew, 680 Lapwing, 800 Dunlin; on the lake: the juv Mute Swan back from its trip to the estuary, a pair of Shoveler and 4 Tufted Duck.
3/1/15 – The juv. Mute Swan was, bizarrely, on the thin strip of grass between the fences next to the bridleway to the shore. It may have tangled with power lines on its first flight. (It has been on the lake since it fledged on 3rd/4th June.) When I approached it flew to the Tidal Res..
2/1/15 – Happy New Birding Year ! A Lesser Redpoll was feeding with 3 Goldfinch in an alder by the entrance; 5+ Mistle Thrush were vigourously defending Mistletoe in the orchards around the stable (south of Lagoon 2). Lagoon 3 had: 1 Yellowhammer, c80 Chaffinch, c10 Reed Bunting, 40+ Linnet, 3 Stonechat and c40 Stock Dove. Also a pair of Shoveler on the flooded scrape. The 2 Little Grebe and juvenile Gadwall are still on the lake.
A Tree Sparrow was still in the stubble field 20 mins. upriver of The Windbound with c40 Linnet, 5+ Yellowhammer and c15 Reed Bunting. And a Red Admiral butterfly landed on my hand there !
Lesser Redpoll in alder by entrance.
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