A total of 157 species recorded at the site from all-comers in 2019 (2nd best year, behind 158 in 2017). (See 2019 Species for details.) With my personal total for the site in
2019 at 154 species (my best total, beating 153 in 2018). The result of 277 visits (2 more than the record 275 in 2017&15). Average number of species per visit = 43.
Highest number of species in a day was a record 78 on 18th Apr.. (previous highest was 74 on 23/4/2015).
I added White-fronted Goose to my OPS list (bringing it to 197 species for me at OPS), but no new species were added to the OPS list (still 226 species recorded at the site).
Two relatively common birds not seen at the site again this year: Little Owl (not seen for 6 years now) and no Little Stint recorded at the site for past 3 years. Also no Little Ringed Plover (as no open water on Lagoons). It was the best start to a year ever for me with record numbers of species seen by end of January (88), including 65 on the 1st day. and by the end of March a record 108 species had been seen by all-comers (and record 107 by me). Monthly records continued to be broken right through to end-Sept. (148 for me and 151 all-comers).
The highlights through the year, were :
Jan - A Corn Bunting, 2 Black Redstarts, Short-eared Owl, DB Brent Goose, Pochard, 6 Barnacle Goose, record 45 Greylags and Otter tracks found.
Feb - A GW Egret, an Egyptian Goose, the Corn Bunting was singing and an early Wheatear (on 28th).
Mar - 6 'Greenland' WF Goose, a Woodcock, earliest Swallow (on 16th), RL Partridge, GC Grebe, 4 Crossbill and first Spring Bramblings for 19 years.
Apr - An Iceland Gull, Goshawk, Common Scoter, Marsh Harrier, 400+ Black'wit upriver, earliest Garden Warbler (11th), 3 Little Gull, 2 Avocet, 2 Sandwich Tern, 2 Arctic Skua, a Great Skua and a Fulmar.
May - A Wood Warbler, 2 calling Cuckoos, a singing Yellowhammer and 3 Raven chicks fledged.
Jun - A Barn Owl, a Nuthatch and family groups of GS Woodpecker, Treecreeper and Coal Tit.
Jul - A Kingfisher, Greenshank and 2 juvenile Cetti's Warbler.
Aug - 9 Gannet in storm, Avocet, Kingfisher, Greenshank, GC Grebe, 3 juv. Sparrowhawks, Ringed Plover from Norway, Honey Buzzard and Green Sandpiper. Butterflies: 64 Painted Lady, first record of Silver-washed Fritillary, Brown Argus and Clouded Yellow.
Sep - Osprey, 2 Curlew Sandpipers, 'head-started' Curlews from Slimbridge, and another GC Grebe. Latest Common Tern (26th) and Sand Martin (30th).
Oct - Late Redstart and Lesser Whitethroat (5th), Water Pipit, 3 Avocet, 2 DB Brent Goose, Ruff, Green Sandpiper, migrating Jay & Hawfinch and record counts of 460 Canada Goose and 3400 Redwing.
Nov - A DB Brent Goose, Woodcock, Green Sandpiper, 3+ (probably 4) Black Redstart, .
Dec - 3 Black Redstart still, Firecrest, Petrel sp., Kittiwake, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Avocet, Merlin and Jack Snipe
30/12/19 A female/1st-winter Black Redstart was around the jetty and sea-wall at midday. 2 Shelduck and 14 Curlew in flooded Lagoon 1 at HT. And a female Peregrine vocally seeing-off a Buzzard. This afternoon, AM reported: 2 Stonechat, 1 Rock Pipit, 350 Dunlin, 35 Fieldfare and 13 Great Tit.
26/12/19 A male Blackcap eating mistletoe berries in paddock to South of Lagoon 2. And 3 Mistle Thrush.
23/12/19 – MP reported: a Treecreeper, 5+ Stock Dove in maize stubble field by road and Fieldfares in the orchard.
Fieldfare (photo by MP).
22/12/19 The adult male Black Redstart again on buildings, seen from jetty. A Mistle Thrush was with Redwings on Lagoon 3 and 17 Bullfinch (flocks of 8 on Lagoon 3 and 6 along main rhine).
19/12/19 – A very light/worn 1st-winter Herring Gull on the Tidal Res. shore this morning. (Very light upper mantle, with some odd vermiculation. But wing has normal H. Gull structure, with pale panel on inner primaries.) (Some video, where it flaps wings near end.) Also a Chiffchaff at the Lagoon 1 outfall.
17/12/19 – A juvenile Merlin found sat on a log on the saltmarsh by the yacht club this morning, in fog. It flew, but decided conditions were not good for flight, and returned to same log ! I then watched it from just 30 yards away for 10 minutes as it had a stretch and preen. (Some video.) Also a male Yellowhammer there. A few good waders at HT, at Pillhead Gout: an Avocet (downriver calling 'wit') a Knot and a Grey Plover. The Coot is still on the lake.
16/12/19 – The big news this afternoon is that a Coot is back on the lake ! Last seen on 4th June.
The adult male Black Redstart again on SW buildings and pylon. DH (the old salmon fisherman) reported a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker with tit flock on SW side of Lagoon 2, "about a week ago" ! (Only other record at OPS is from 1st Apr 1996!)
Also Treecreeper and Coal Tit in wood by lake.
AM's WeBS count: 149 Wigeon, 48 Teal, 6 Shelduck, 3 Gadwall, 91 Mallard, 2 Mute Swan, 216 Curlew, 51 Lapwing, 59 Redshank, 35 Turnstone, 55 Dunlin, 16 Snipe, 1 Water Rail, 4 Stonechat and 1 Grey Wagtail.
14/12/19 – The Peregrine pair playing in the wind over the towers and then hunting over the estuary together.
10/12/19 – Watching the 100's of gulls (mainly Common Gulls) come into evening roost in windy/showery weather, a Black-headed Gull was flying strangely - low to water, determinedly going across/into the wind in the middle of the estuary. I followed it in the 'scope and it started chasing, what looked like, a small bat ! I am sure it was a Storm Petrel, by its flappy flight, but I got no white markings on it at this distance (half mile !), so it will have to be a Petrel sp.. It tried to keep its position in the wind, but being chased continually, it went upriver with the wind. Then a Kittiwake was flying upriver along the (submerged) reservoir wall, and then flew back into the wind to land on the reservoir. (I took some video, but the light was bad and it was a long way out.) That is 154 Species for me at OPS this year! - the record (beating 153 in 2017).
7/12/19 – 2 Black Redstart still this morning (adult male on SW-most building when the sun came out, and female reported by PC/BD on small buildings near pond next to Lagoon 2) and a silent Chiffchaff with a tit flock. Also 2 Peregrine and Tawny Owl reported by PC/BD.
6/12/19 – 3 Gadwall (2m & 1f) on the lake again.
5/12/19 – -2 deg overnight and zero deg at dawn, with freezing fog this morning. A Mistle Thrush singing by the lake and a Weasel crossed the path by the waterworks.
A couple of photos of fungi; Turkeytail and Stump Puffballs.
4/12/19 – The Berkeley Hunt round Lagoon 2, so nothing there. But the adult male Black Redstart still on SW side of SW-most building.
3/12/19 – A Firecrest with Long-tailed Tit flock on the edge of the dense scrub in SE corner of Lagoon 2 this morning. Seen well twice before it disappeared into the scrub. (Last recorded at OPS March 2015.) Species 153 for me at OPS this year - equal my record (from 2017). The adult male Black Redstart was still on SW side of SW-most building. At Shepperdine, 2 Shoveler and a WWT head-started Curlew (number '23').
2/12/19 – The 3 Black Redstart again (ad m on SW side of SW-building, 1st-w m at jetty, fem at waterworks).
1/12/19 – 3 Black Redstart still (ad m, 1st-w m, fem) on SW side of SW-most building in the sun this afternoon. And 3 Gadwall (2m & 1f) on lake.
30/11/19 – A Black Redstart reported on jetty by Birdguides this pm.
This morning, 135 Fiedfare; flocks of 25,85,20 going over to East (into cold breeze).
A Pipit sp. went overhead to NE when I was at Oldbury Pill, calling 'chink' repeatedly (sounding like a Chaffinch). I got it in bins, and it seemed larger than Meadow Pipit. It circled around the field nearest to the yacht club, then hovered (!) and went down. I walked back to the field and thoroughly scanned it (through a few gaps in the hedge), but only found Thrushes feeding. Searched from all angles available, but no Pipits found. When home checked calls of any Pipit sp., and Blyth's and Tawny were only likely ones. (Tawny being very unlikely this time of year.)
Probable 1st-w male Black Redstart. (Photo by LW)
29/11/19 – 3+ (probably 4) Black Redstart this afternoon in the sun; a 1st-winter male (first reported by AM) chasing the female around the jetty (being quite vocal, with 'wheet's and 'tic's), an adult male on the building nearby and probably a different adult male on the roof of the towers. Also a pair of Stonechat by the jetty, 209 Pied Wagtail coming in to roost on the buildings at dusk and a flock of 14 Lesser Black-backed Gull downriver. AM also reported a Grey Plover at Pillhead Gout.
Probable 1st-w male (some video) and adult male Black Redstarts.
Male Stonechat (photo by RL).
28/11/19 – High Tide at Pillhead Gout: c1600 Dunlin, c250 Curlew, 20+ Redshank, 3 Ringed Plover, 3 Snipe, 1 Knot, 1 Turnstone and 1 Little Egret. 5+ Stonechat from yacht club common to Lagoon 3. 57 Canada Goose & 1 Greylag Goose on the lake (for second day). 3+ Rock Pipit at the yacht club.
27/11/19 – c200 Starling going to roost in Lagoon 3 reeds this evening.
26/11/19 – 3 Rock Pipit on the seawall by Lagoon 1 outfall and a flock of 120 Carrion Crow on Lagoon 3, waiting for the tide to fall to go foraging on the estuary.
Autumn colours along the main rhine.
25/11/19 – Adult male Black Redstart on roof near jetty in rain, this afternoon. And 2 vocal Chiffchaff along track to Lagoon 3/hide.
24/11/19 – MP/@BirderGinger reported THREE Black Redstart this afternoon - 2 adult males seen at same time ! (Last time there were 3 here was in 2001.)
The 2 different adult males and the female (top photos by BG, bottom photo by MP).
23/11/19 – MP photographed the male Black Redstart on the buildings near the jetty. DP also reported a Black Redstart, 2 Stonechat and a Grey Wagtail.
21/11/19 – The female Black Redstart on the jetty early morning, but mobile. And a possible Fem/1st-w Ring Ouzel in hedge round Lagoon 3, then flew about half mile (!) over lake and seemed to come down in stubble fields/hedges over road, but not refound.
20/11/19 – 34 Skylark in stubble field between Lagoon 3 and Oldbury village and a pair of Stonechat by jetty. Also, a Goldcrest in the hedge at the end of the track to the shore, by Lagoon 3, flew up into the air and flew all the way along the shore until after the jetty, when it seemed to go down among the buildings !
19/11/19 – The large gull in the photos below is most likely a hybrid Herring x Lesser Black-backed Gull. Some video of it eating a dead eel on the shore at Shepperdine. And the female Black Redstart on the jetty early morning. Plus the Little Grebe on the lake again and 2 Chiffchaff new in.
18/11/19 – Adult male and female Black Redstart still, mobile, around jetty and nearby buildings. And 2 vocal Chiffchaff along the track to Lagoon 3/hide.
16/11/19 – Combined count with AM's WeBS report: Green Sandpiper calling as it flew from the saltmarsh at Shepperdine, 147 Lapwing, 44 Snipe (inc. a 'wisp' of 35 that flew from the estuary into Lagoon 3), 1350 Dunlin, 60 Turnstone, 15 Curlew, 32 Redshank, 3 Knot, 3 Ringed Plover, 1 Greylag Goose, 76 Canada Goose, 82 Wigeon, 264 Teal, the male Gadwall, 79 Mallard, 1 Little Egret and 2 Water Rail. Ad male and female Black Redstart still; MP reported the fem on the fence by the jetty in the morning, and @mattscottphotos reported the adult male & fem in the afternoon. Also: 5 Skylark, 2 Mistle Thrush on Lagoon 2 and 5 Stonechat (3 x shore by Lagoon 3 and 2 x yacht club). In the evening @BirderGinger reported 105+ Pied Wagtail coming in to roost.
15/11/19 – c600 Starling gathering on pylon and some murmuration over Lagoon 3 late afternoon. And 2 Rock Pipit on seawall by Lagoon 1. Reports from Avonbirds website: 2 Stonechat, and a group of 6 Bullfinch.
13/11/19 – the male and female Black Redstart still this afternoon; the male was flycatching with c10 Pied Wagtail on the SW side of the SW-most building, and the female was on the jetty fence.
Got a nice email from the ringer (at Southampton Water) of the Oystercatcher (red on L, black/white on R) which was at OPS from 1st March to 21st May. It was next seen 16th June at Avonmouth by Chris Stone, and on 17th Oct in Newport, S. Wales.
11/11/19 – Only the female Black Redstart seen this morning, on the fence by the jetty. The Little Grebe was in Oldbury Pill. Plenty of Fieldfare (left below) and Redwing (on right in photo) in bushes.
10/11/19 – AM reported: the male and female Black Redstart still, 35 Chaffinch (mostly in bushes along main rhine bridleway), 30+ Redwing (exploding from bushes along bridleway) and 2+ Water Rail (vocal on Lagoons 2 and 3, probably 4+ present).
9/11/19 – A lovely adult male joined the female Black Redstart on the jetty this cold morning (-3 deg before dawn!). Only other things of note was a Redpoll over, calling, and a Kestrel that stooped from overhead power lines, towards a glass building, and attacked the glass !! Only after it flew away did I notice a Pied Wagtail hopping along the windowsill inside the glass !!
A couple of shots of the male Black Redstart. Also some video.
8/11/19 – A female Black Redstart on the jetty this afternoon, with a pair of Stonechat. (First one of last winter arrived 7/11/18). And a Little Grebe with the male Gadwall on the lake. HT at Shepperdine produced: c500 Dunlin, 1 Knot, 1 Grey Plover and c20 Lapwing. Plus 41 Fieldfare over to East.
Black Redstart and Knot (with Dunlin)
And the pair of Stonechats
7/11/19 – I flushed a Woodcock from the path round Lagoon 3, by the hide. It flew up and over a bramble bush and disappeared behind it. And an OPS record count of 5 Cetti's Warbler (2 x singing Lagoon 2, 2 x singing Lagoon 3, and one on Lagoon 3 alarm-calling in tit flock). Also, 2 Stonechat, a Water Rail heard on Lagoon 3, 15 Blackbird including some continental migrants (with dark bills and eye-rings), the male Gadwall still on the lake and a Greylag x Canada Goose with 17 Canada Goose on the lake. (Photo below with orange bill.)
5/11/19 – JS reported a Dark-bellied Brent Goose on Oldbury Sands. At West End Farm (inland of yacht club) this morning, the Collared Dove flock were all flushed high in the air by an unseen raptor (I'm guessing), and as they flew around I counted 60+ (the OPS record, and close to the S. Gloucs. record of 65). A flock of 10 Siskin and a Redpoll over to N (into wind), 4 Stonechat (pairs on Lagoon 3 and at yacht club) and a Chiffchaff on Lagoon 3.
4/11/19 – AM reported at yacht club: 92 Lapwing, 800 Dunlin, 27 Redshank, 3 Little Egret, a very white Buzzard and a Chiffchaff.
2/11/19 – A windy and wet HT at Shepperdine produced no seabirds, but 5 Shoveler.
31/10/19 – At yacht club this morning: 3 Yellowhammer in hedge (2m + 1), the late Wheatear still, 3 Rock Pipit, 1 Knot, 1 Grey Plover and c160 Lapwing. Also, 6 Snipe, 1 Chiffchaff (Lagoon 3), 5 Stonechat and 8 Goldcrest. 64 species today - a high count.
30/10/19 – Reported on Avonbirds website, from Windbound to OPS: a late Swallow on wires, 7 Little Egret, c200 Dunlin, 100 Carrion Crow and a Mistle Thrush.
29/10/19 – Over the high HT early morning, in a very cold NE wind (combined counts with MP):
a late Wheatear (yacht club), 1 Knot, 1 Golden Plover, 87 Redshank, c200 Dunlin, c65 Lapwing, 192 Curlew, 5 Oystercatcher, 5 Little Egret, 6 Turnstone, 4 Ringed Plover and 1 Rock Pipit.
Vismig to E/NE: 1 Hawfinch (at 9:05am over Lagoon 3 with Redwings), 760+ Redwing, c170 Fieldfare, c35 Chaffinch, 3 Bullfinch, a Coal Tit that dropped from high into trees and 1 Snipe.
The Hawfinch is my 152nd species at OPS this year - one to go to equal my record.
Wheatear. (Photo by MP.)
28/10/19 – This afternoon, a flock of c160 Redwing over to North (into cold wind). Another c20 in bushes on Lagoon 2. Also, 16 Fieldfare over and a Mistle Thrush on Lagoon 1. AM reported: a 'White' Wagtail on Lagoon 1, another 40+ Redwing in bushes along the main rhine Bridleway, 6 Fieldfare in the Orchard, and a female Blackcap on Lagoon 1.
27/10/19 – The 2 Mute Swan have found the lake and a Green Sandpiper that flew inland from there, calling 'Tueeet Dwit dwit' is my 151st species at OPS this year (153 for all-comers). On Lagoon 3, 3 Stonechat, a Snipe flushed from the path, a Water Rail 'piping' in reeds and a Chiffchaff. And a Treecreeper reported along the main rhine. Still 2 Red Admiral butterfly in the glorious sun.
JS has found that the Greylag Geese 'Z4Y' and 'Z4P' were ringed during their flightless moult at Llanwern steelworks, Newport, Gwent in June this year. Z4P as a this year's juvenile, bred there, and Z4Y an adult. (Thanks John.)
25/10/19 – No seabirds this evening in wind and rain, but 2 Mute Swan on the estuary. And a Tawny Owl reported being very vocal last night.
JS has managed to read 5 numbered rings of the 50 headstarted juv. Curlew raised and released at Slimbridge. Below are '41' & '49' seen recently by JS at Littleton. (Photos by JS.)
24/10/19 – c23 Siskin (+10 Goldfinch) in Alders in West corner of Lagoon 3 & a flock of 9 over to West. High numbers for OPS - 45 in 2010 is the OPS record count! A Brambling over, giving nasal call. And the 9 Greylag Goose (inc. 'Z4Y' & 'Z4?') on the Tidal Res., then 2 (of these) feeding with 13 Canada Goose in maize stubble by main rhine. An adult male Blackcap by the hide (+ one heard 'tac'ing), the male Gadwall still on the lake and a Water Rail seen very briefly on the pond by Lagoon 2.
Siskin on Alder.
23/10/19 – An adult male Blackcap on a foggy Lagoon 3. And the 9 Greylag Goose on Tidal Res. shore.
The Spindle looks good at this time of year, along the tarmac'd path to Lagoon 2 from car park.
22/10/19 – JS informs that the ringed Greylag Goose 'Z4Y' and its friend ('Z4P') were at Guscar Rocks on 15 Oct.
And both also seen at WWT Slimbridge, but it is unknown where they were ringed, possibly Wales. (It amazes me how uninterested ringers are about sightings of the birds they have ringed !?)
JS also reported 158 Curlew on Oldbury Sands and in a Cowhill field. (And at Littleton, 2 WWT headstarted Curlew and an Avocet.)
Visible migration was much less today. But birds still heading NE, even with zero wind first thing. Only 90 Redwing (compared with yesterday when 800 counted in half hour, 8:50-9:20am !). But some really interesting sightings. A Jay picked up flying at a height of 100m over fields next to Lagoon 1, flew towards The Windbound (Shepperdine) and I was expecting it to land in the tall trees there, but it kept going high NE. Almost certainly a migrant I feel. And a flock of 2 Blue Tit, 2 Great Tit and a few Chaffinch were overhead by Lagoon 1, and seemed to be descending towards hedge there, but instead started circling and climbing until at about 100m they also flew off NE ! Again I feel they were migrants.
9 Greylag Goose were with c30 Canada Goose on the Tidal Res. shore, and I managed to read a white ring on right leg of one - 'Z4Y', and another had similar ring but not read.
Also, 3 Siskin over together, 7 Skylark, 50 Woodpigeon and butterflies: 1 Red Admiral and 1 Speckled Wood.
Jay high over OPS.
21/10/19 – Total counts from visible migration to East/NE (into wind) 7:40-11:25am:
3400 Redwing (OPS record, beating 3000 in 2008 !), 370 Fieldfare, 3 Song Thrush, 340 Chaffinch, 4 Jay (3 over together and one flew long inland from small wood on shore), 6 Siskin, 2 Redpoll, 2 Bullfinch, 7 Greenfinch, 60 Goldfinch, 2 Grey Wagtail, 5 Pied Wagtail, 9 Skylark and 3 Snipe.
But unexpectedly low counts of following: 15 Meadow Pipit, 25 Woodpigeon and 200 Starling.
Also, 1 Blackcap (ad male), 4 Chiffchaff, 3 Goldcrest, a Water Rail calling from pond by Lagoon 2 and 2 eclipse male Tufted Duck plus 2 Wigeon on lake.
AM also reported 22 Wigeon, 4 Stonechat (2f+m on Lagoon 2 and male on Lagoon 3) and 65 Carrion Crow.
19/10/19 @BirderGinger reported: a Chiffchaff still singing and 2 Water Rail at the lake.
Hornets' nest with probable queen at top of photo (photo by @BirderGinger).
17/10/19 – A flock of 5 Blackcap on Lagoon 3, 3 of which I saw well and they were all adult males. And 3 Coal Tit, 2 of which acted like new-in. One calling by lake then flew across middle of lake to trees on far side where a nother was calling. And later, one by Oldbury Pill sluice, calling, and flew over towards West End Farm. Also, 5 Stonechat on Lagoon 3 (2m, 3f), 1 Siskin and 1 Redpoll over and 1+ Redwing.
15/10/19 – A Wheatear and a pair of Stonechat at the yacht club. 3 Siskin and 1 Redpoll over. 2 Redwing and 4 Song Thrush in bushes.
14/10/19 – This afternoon, in rain, 4 House Martin and 2 Siskin over into NE wind,
and a Swallow flying along the main rhine. Also 3 Coal Tit.
This morning AM reported (WeBS count): 108 Canada Goose 90 Mallard, 6 Grey Heron, 28 Wigeon, 30 Lapwing, 55 Turnstone, 98 Redshank, 3 Snipe and 2 Little Egret. Also: 24 Skylark, 1 Wheatear and an OPS record count of 32 Long-tailed Tit ! (Beating 30 from 2006).
12/10/19 A Ruff flying around at the yacht club with a calling Golden Plover early morning, is my 150th species at OPS in 2019. A Barnacle Goose (or cross) flew with c40 Canada Goose to Littleton and 7 Greylag with another 110 Canada Goose at the yacht club. (460+ Canada Goose counted yesterday is the most ever at OPS; 410+ on far side of estuary (i.e. in Gloucs.), 19 on lake and c30 flew from inland at dusk.) Also: 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Stonechat (3 x yacht club, 1 x lake), a male Gadwall on the lake now, a Kingfisher at the sluice on a very flooded Oldbury Pill, a Water Rail heard in small reedbed on shore by Lagoon 3 and 2 Siskin over to SW. MP also reported: 215 Curlew and 3 Grey Plover at Pillhead Gout.
Some of the Greylag and Canada Geese at the yacht club.
10/10/19 – Early morning, c50 Knot flew low downriver and kept landing briefly then rising at Littleton. In stubble fields inland of yacht club, 25 Skylark and 4 Yellowhammer. And another 19 Skylark went high over in groups up to 6. A Redpoll and 2 Redwing also went over, calling. 38 Canada Goose on the lake and another 300+ on the far side of the estuary. Also: 5 Stonechat (3x Lagoon 3, 2 x Shepperdine), 68 Redshank and 20 Lapwing.
9/10/19 – 2 Dark-bellied Brent Goose at Shepperdine, flew upriver at HT. 3 Stonechat (pair on Lagoon 3 and 1 on Lagoon 2). Gadwall still. And a Brown-tail Moth.
Dark-bellied Brent Geese and Brown-tail Moth
8/10/19 The 1st-w female Redstart is still by the outfall on Lagoon 3, and also a pair of Stonechat and 2 Cetti's Warbler there (and another singing by lake). 9 Chaffinch and a few Meadow Pipit over to West in ones/twos. The female Gadwall still on the lake.
1st-winter female Redstart.
7/10/19 A Water Pipit on the seawall by Lagoon 1 is the first OPS year-tick in a month (149 species this year for me). It flew off, calling, to SW. 3 Avocet for 5 mins. at HT, Shepperdine, and a juv/fem Pintail. A juv/fem Gadwall on the lake. The number of Shelduck has increased to 32 at Shepperdine (returning after their post-breeding moult).
5/10/19 A late juv/fem Redstart, a very late Lesser Whitethroat (first Oct record at OPS) and a Stonechat all by the outfall on Lagoon 3. 100+ each of Swallow and House Martin feeding-up (rather than passing through), c100 Meadow Pipit mainly by jetty, 12 migrant Song Thrush flying (inc. 5 that landed on power lines) and c5 migrant Blackird. Also: 5 Greylag Goose upriver early morning, 1 Mistle Thrush, 7 Skylark and 10 Chaffinch over, 10 Bullfinch, 7 Blackcap (3 ad m) and 5 Chiffchaff (2 singing).
The only photo I managed of the Redstart.
4/10/19 – 2 juv. Common Tern downriver at High Tide in showers and SW wind (latest OPS record); 14 Grey Plover at Pillhead Gout (video); c20 Swallow, c20 House Martin, 5 Raven and a Wheatear.
Grey Plovers (and a Ringed Plover).
3/10/19 – Some vismig to NE (into cold slight wind), 9:30-10am: 60+ Swallow, c20 House Martin, 1 Redwing over Lagoon 2 (earliest OPS record, beating 6/10/20016 & 2007), 7 Skylark, 3 Greenfinch, c50 Linnet and c40 Meadow Pipit.
In bushes: 2 Song Thrush, a Mistle Thrush, 2 Coal Tit, 3 Chiffchaff (1 singing) and just 1 Blackcap (ad male).
The HT roost at Pillhead Gout was flushed by a dog running off-lead on the saltmarsh, so only 1 Ringed Plover and 2 Redshank there (!), but 2 Wheatear and later 90+ Curlew returned from fields with 6 colour-ringed, inc. a WWT Slimbridge head-started bird. Also 6 Little Egret around.
30/9/19 – Over this morning's High Tide at Pillhead Gout (combined count with AM):
a 1st-winter Great Crested Grebe flew downriver, turned and flew back up (4th this year!), c120 Curlew,
c125 Redshank, 14 Lapwing, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Snipe, 4 Stonechat, 1 Whinchat (by sluice gate on Oldbury Pill), 4 Wheatear, 1+ Grey Wagtail,
c125 Swallow, 10 House Martin and 2 Sand Martin (latest OPS record, beating 28/9/1991!).
A couple of colour-rings read on the Curlews; Light-green on left, Red over Light-green on right breeds in Finland, and Red-over-Red on right breeds in the Coombe Hill/Ashleworth area of Gloucester. Both are regulars here. (Thanks JS for the info..)
28/9/19 – 4 Stonechat and 2 Whinchat on the wooden fence at Shepperdine, with some Meadow Pipits. Also, c20 Swallow and a Common Sandpiper. 1 Coal Tit and 4 Chiffchaff worked along the hedge I was sheltering in until they were within touching distance ! Early morning, a big juv. female Peregrine flushed the High Tide roost, first upwind, then an excitingly fast downwind attack. It isolated a Black-tailed Godwit (one of 3) and chased it around the estuary, until the wader started to rise in the air, still under chase, keeping above the falcon. I've seen several Dunlin do this also, and as they wind ever higher you would expect the Peregrine to eventually wear the much smaller bird out. But when you think about the huge journeys these little birds do (the Godwit has probably come from Iceland recently !) you can realise what amazing endurance athletes they are. After a few frantic minutes the Peregrine gave up.
Rainbow seen from Shepperdine.
26/9/19 – Over this morning's High Tide, 6 Common Tern downriver (very late date - beating latest OPS record of 9/9/2011) were a mix of adults and juveniles, and 11 Greylag Goose downriver in a line low to water. Also 1 Knot and 2 Black-tailed Godwit at Shepperdine. Plus 1 Wheatear and 8 Chiffchaff (3 singing still).
24/9/19 – 2 Lesser Whitethroat and a Whitethroat still, with Long-tailed Tit flock (etc.) in Lagoon 1 hedge. 220+ House Martin, 60+ Swallow and 5+ Sand Martin moving between showers.
23/9/19 – 2 Whinchat in hedge towards yacht club. AM reported: 3 Whitethroat, 20 House Martin, 1 Cetti's Warbler and 105 Mallard.
21/9/19 – 250+ House Martin, c100 Swallow and 1+ Sand Martin still around. The latest OPS record of Lesser Whitethroat (beating 20/9/2018), 2+ Whitethroat and 4 Stonechat. A Common Sandpiper at Shepperdine. And a Cormorant caught a large eel, and got out of water with it onto Tidal Res seawall, but it got out of the birds beak and wriggled into seaweed. Cormorants are not good at catching things on land, and it just looked embarassed and started picking up seaweed, pretending to build a nest ! Earlier, 3 Roe Deer (and me !) got flushed off Lagoon 2 by dogs off-the-lead.
4 Stonechats together and the House Martin gathering.
20/9/19 – 100+ Swallow still feeding up along the shore and AM reported 400+ House Martin over the towers and 157 Mallard. And lots of butterflies still about: a few Brown Argus along sunny bank on NE side of Lagoon 1, 1 Painted Lady and 3+ Red Admiral.
19/9/19 – a fem/juv Pintail with 25 Teal floating on the tide; 3 more Teal and 5 Wigeon at Shepperdine. And 11 Skylark at Pillhead Gout.
18/9/19 – Not much this afternoon, but this Skylark was on the seawall by Lagoon 1, which probably means it is a migrant passing through.
17/9/19 – 3 Knot at Pillhead Gout, over HT. Also: 3 Whitethroat, 50+ Swallow, 6+ House Martin, 2 Stonechat and a Treecreeper in the orchard.
3 Knot with Dunlin
16/9/19 – AI reported 2+ Yellow Wagtail along the sea-wall.
I got a mention on the 'Call of the Curlew' website for reporting the head-started Curlews. (Thanks to John Sanders and Mike Smart.) If anyone spots any more please let me know.
15/9/19 – AM reported (WeBS count): 5 Whinchat, 2 Stonechat, 4 Wheatear, 7 Lapwing, 65 Turnstone, 98 Dunlin, 47 Ringed Plover, 32 Redshank, 4 Oystercatcher, 106 Mallard, 4 Little Egret and 15 Shelduck.
14/9/19 – 2 of the 'head-started' juv. Curlew, raised and released from WWT Slimbridge, were at Pillhead Gout over HT. (white rings on left: 23 & 49, yellow on right). Also 5 Black-tailed Godwit and 5 Lapwing. And 1,100+ Black-headed Gull were commuting between the estuary and newly ploughed fields. A female Sparrowhawk flew past me and pounced on a juv. Blackbird on the ground, just 5 yards from me. It pinned it down and then pawed up and down, stabbing with its talons.
'head-started' Curlews and Black-tailed Godwits.
13/9/19 – 2 Spotted Flycatcher together by pylon next to ramp up to Lagoon 3, this afternoon. Also 1+ Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Whitethroat, 2 Teal on lake, 100+ House Martin (over towers) and 50+ Swallow (mainly Lagoon 2). Plus a Knot (Shepperdine) and a Mistle Thrush (Lagoon 1).
12/9/19 – An adult Mediterranean Gull with c200 Black-headed Gull feeding on newly muck-spread field near yacht club - just follow your nose ! 3 Wheatear at yacht club and the first autumn HT roost of c60 Curlew at Pillhead Gout.
10/9/19 – 2 Whinchat and a Stonechat at Shepperdine this morning. c30 House Martin at Oldbury village. Some vismig, to NE, into breeze: 1 Tree Pipit, c5 Meadow Pipit, c100 Goldfinch (in flocks of c20) and 1 Greenfinch.
9/9/19 – 3 Whinchat and 2 Wheatear at Shepperdine this afternoon. Swallows moving through (50 counted in 10 minutes), 10+ House Martin and 2 Sand Martin. Plus, 50 Dunlin and 30 Ringed Plover.
8/9/19 – MP reported, an adult Mediterranean Gull and 5 Wheatear at Pillhead Gout.
JS reported 650 Curlew back on the mudflats in the estuary, but still no HT roost at OPS/yacht club.
Med. Gull (top) with a Black-headed Gull
7/9/19 – CL reported over HT at yacht club: a Curlew Sandpiper with the Redshank flock again. And @petercoslett reported: 2 Knot, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Little Egret, 100 House Martin and 40 Swallow. This morning, 11 Chaffinch over to SW and 5 landed in trees, 3 Sedge Warbler (Lagoon 3 reeds), 2 Lesser Whitethroat and 3 Whitethroat still.
Curlew Sandpiper and Redshanks. (Photos by CL.)
Whitethroat and Grey Heron. (Photos by CL.)
6/9/19 – A very good flock (for here) of 37 Knot at Pillhead Gout, over High Tide. video. AM reported probably the same flock at Shepperdine, also 2 Snipe and 2 Wigeon.
5/9/19 – A Spotted Flycatcher halfway along main rhine, 2 Lesser Whitethroat (Lagoon 3) and 4 Whitethroat.
MB reported a Brown Argos butterfly.
3/9/19 – 2 juv. Curlew Sandpiper were with 55 Redshank again at HT, in Oldbury Pill. At Pillhead Gout: 48 Ringed Plover and 27 Dunlin. And around the Lagoons/along main rhine: 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Garden Warbler, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Whitethroat, 1 Sedge Warbler (Lagoon 3) and an OPS record count of c45 Blackcap! (inc. flocks of 8, 7, 6 & 6 in favoured bushes.) Also a near-record count of 12 Pheasant (record is 13 in 2011), inc. a flock of 10 well-grown juvs. + a fem. on Lagoon 3. And the tiniest amount of vismig to SW at dawn: 4 Meadow Pipit and 2 Yellow Wagtail.
2/9/19 – Excellent High Tide at Pillhead Gout. An Osprey flew to SSW along near shore at 10:20am. Short video. (Reported in all of last 4 years, but only 2 of previous 10 years.)
Strangely it didn't put-up any of the HT roost containing: 2 juv. Curlew Sandpiper (video) which were hanging out with the 40+ Redshank, a Greenshank (video of it catching a fish), 450 Black-headed Gull, 17 Ringed Plover and 8 Dunlin. Also 4 Wheatear.
That is 151 species for all-comers here this year (already a record for the end of September!), and 148 for me. And Curlew Sandpiper is the last of the 'common' birds I needed to see this year. (i.e. the 119 species that have been recorded at OPS in at least 9 of last 10 years.)
Osprey and the Curlew Sandpipers.
Greenshank and Wheatear.
1/9/19 –AM reported a Hobby and 7 Wheatear.
This beauty of a Slow Worm was sunbathing on the path round Lagoon 2 this afternoon.
31/8/19 –A pair of Yellowhammer in hedge and bushes on yacht club common, 2 Tree Pipit over to SW calling 7-7:45am), and HT at Pillhead Gout: 1 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 136 Ringed Plover, 44 Dunlin, 43 Redshank, 3 Wheatear and Black-headed Gull '27H1' again. Also, the first Green Sandpiper of the year (on the seawall between jetty and Lagoon 1) and a Spotted Flycatcher reported by @BirderGinger/@petercoslett.
Spotted Flycatcher (photo by @petecoslett).
30/8/19 – This afternoon: 2 Lesser Whitethroat in large flowering Ivy bush along bridlepath at south end of Lagoon 2, 2 Willow Warbler, a Coal Tit, a Hobby flying along main rhine and later over lake
and c15 Blackcap. Also a Clouded Yellow butterfly.
MP/AM reported over morning HT: 49 Redshank, 40 Ringed Plover, 11 Dunlin, only 1 Curlew(!), 1 Common Sandpiper, 5 Wheatear, 1 Sand Martin and 27 Collared Dove.
Wheatear and Redshanks (photos by MP).
29/8/19 – A Nuthatch by the hide, flew to south end of Lagoon 3.
25/8/19 – CL reported: a Honey Buzzard flying high south, 80+ Swallow on the wires and a Hobby. AM reported: a Red Kite at Shepperdine, flew out from the Windbound and went down to feed on the mud/rocks by the green buoy at low tide. It put up 2 Greenshank from the green buoy. Also: 1 Knot (reported by MP), 2+ Whinchat, 18 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler and 500+ House Martin reported around Towers early morning.
Common Darter dragonfly and a fresh immature Damselfly which hasn't gained its colour yet (photos by CL, id by MP).
24/8/19 – JG reported a Red Kite between south side of towers and car park.
22/8/19 – A bit of vismig: a Tree Pipit flying around over Lagoon 2, calling, at 7am, 4 at Yellow Wagtail over to S at 8:30am and two flocks of Cormorant - 4 over to W and 10 downriver. Also 2 Lesser Whitethroat. (A possible Corncrake reported by dog-walker, calling for 30 mins. at SW end of Lagoon 3, was later found to be a Pheasant. Shame, as environment looks good.)
21/8/19 – One of 44 Ringed Plover had a yellow flag on R leg 'VCE' (and red ring on L), with 25 Dunlin roosting on the seawall by Lagoons 1/2. The Plover was ringed in Giske, Norway on 25/8/17, the year it fledged and hasn't been reported since. (I had one from same place with yellow flag 'UEV' on 29th Aug 2018 !)
1 Redstart (Lagoon 2, south end), 3 Yellow Wagtail flushed from Lagoon 1 by Sparrowhawk which flew straight over the estuary to North. The main rhine was productive again today: 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Treecreeper and 1 Cetti's Warbler with lots of Blackcaps, etc..
Ringed Plover with yellow flag on leg.
The Black-headed Gull with leg-ring '27H1' (photo below) has been around a while . . .(thanks to JS for details)
04-Jun-12 juvenile ringed at Cerney Wick, Glos.
28-Dec-13 vv Lagoon 3, OPS
19-Jan-14 vv Lagoon 3, OPS
23-Jul-19 vv Cowhill Warth, Oldbury-on-Severn
20/8/19 – A Great Crested Grebe on the Tidal Res. at dawn, a Nuthatch calling in the wood in South corner of Lagoon 2, a Spotted Flycatcher with tit flock along bridleway to shore, 2 Redstart (Lagoon 2 outfall and paddocks along Oldbury Pill), 8+ Whitethroat (video), 4 Wheatear (3xPillhead Gout, 1xSeawall by jetty), a Yellow Wagtail, 2 Mistle Thrush (also reported by AM on Saturday 17th), c75 Ringed Plover but only c15 Dunlin. A Silver-washed Fritillary was showing very well in the meadow next to car park.
Redstart with Whitethroat, and Silver-washed Fritillary.
19/8/19 – 3+ Garden Warbler seen well eating Elderberries along the main rhine, with Blackcaps - video of one. Also there, the Silver-washed Fritillary again ! Feeding on Blackberry blossom. A Knot and a Black-headed Gull with leg ring '27H1' in HT roost at Pillhead Gout.
Garden Warbler and Silver-washed Fritillary.
Knot and Black-headed Gull '27H1'.
17/8/19 – 4 Yellow Wagtail and a Wheatear at the Pillhead Gout. MP reported a Brown Argus butterfly in SE corner of Lagoon 2, on path by reedbed. (Photo by MP below.)
15/8/19 – 2 Yellow Wagtail on Lagoon 1, a Kingfisher on the lake briefly, c15 Black-tailed Godwit on the shore and a Wheatear at the Pillhead Gout.
13/8/19 – A very autumnal feel to the weather and the birds this morning. A Tree Pipit heading SW (seen + heard) is very early, 2 juv. Redstart (in yacht club hedge, and AM reported another south end Lagoon 2), 3 Willow Warbler (all still singing), a Kingfisher at Oldbury Pill sluice, a Lesser Whitethroat and I managed to video a juv. Cetti's Warbler on Lagoon 3. (Listen to the interesting call, and pause at start shows the yellow gape.) HT at Pillhead Gout: a 1st-w Mediterranean Gull, 2 Yellow Wagtail (with sheep), a Sanderling & a Whimbrel (thanks AM), 31 Ringed Plover, 24 Dunlin and 86 Curlew. AM also reported a Silver-washed Fritillary - first OPS record ! It was on bridleway along main rhine, just past two big oak trees (where Purple Hairstreak's last year). In a patch of Blackberry blossom and Bindweed.
Juv. Cetti's Warbler and 1st-winter Med. Gull.
12/8/19 – A Hobby headed out over the estuary, to NW (?!) into wind, a Black-tailed Godwit, 4+ Little Egret and 3 adult Common Gull. An excellent count of 64 Painted Lady butterfly (mainly round Lagoon 3) and a large number of Common Blue.
11/8/19 – An adult Gannet was sat on the Tidal Reservoir this afternoon. Also, 20 House Martin and 2 Sand Martin.
When the Gannet drifted to the reservoir wall it stood on it next to a Great Black-backed Gull - showing how big a Gannet is.
10/8/19 – A remarkable 9 adult Gannet went past upriver in high wind and frequent showers between 11:40 and 3:30 (1,3,4,1) during a 6 hour sea-watch. (This is only the 10th record of Gannet at OPS and easily the highest number.) Also a 'Commic' Tern (probably Common) upriver at 11:07am. Plus some waders: 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 9 Ringed Plover and 5 Dunlin.
9/8/19 – A Clouded Yellow butterfly and an Oak Eggar moth (butterfly sized, day flying, orange and brown).
7/8/19 – MP reported this morning: 2 Sanderling (photo by MP below), 1 Knot (earliest OPS return date ! Beating 12/8/1990), 18 Ringed Plover, 31 Dunlin and 2 Common Sandpiper.
6/8/19 – An adult male Redstart in a hedge at Shepperdine, a Hobby (to SW; first of year at OPS for me) and a record OPS count of 5 Sparrowhawk (3 juvs giving wheezing squawks in trees in NE corner Lagoon 2 with a fem there, and another adult seen elsewhere).
Also, a Black-tailed Godwit, a brute of a juv. Great Black-backed Gull not long out of nest (head covered in silt) and a Common Sandpiper (2 at Shepperdine).
5/8/19 – A Wheatear at the yacht club, a Kingfisher on Oldbury Pill (from bridge by Anchor pub) and 6 Common Sandpiper still at Pillhead Gout.
3/8/19 – A Spotted Flycatcher on the fence/trees along the bridleway to shore early morning, but mobile. HT roost at Pillhead Gout: An adult Avocet (briefly), 8 Common Sandpiper, 16 Dunlin, 23 Redshank, 4 Lapwing, 200+ Black-headed Gull and 2 Yellow Wagtail over to SW. 1 Ringed Plover at Shepperdine. 2 juv. Sparrowhawk, very noisy and white-spotted, with another juv/fem in trees in NE corner Lagoon 2. AM also reported (WeBs count): a Greenshank (Shepperdine), 16 Turnstone, 14 Common Sandpiper (record OPS count! Beating 13 in 2008), 34 Shelduck (inc. 3 well-grown broods), and 7 Tufted Duck ducklings on the lake.
2/8/19 – MP reported a juv/fem Redstart and masses of Common Blue and Small Red-eyed Damselfly (photos below) on the lake with good numbers of Black-tailed Skimmer and a few Emperor dragonflies. (Photos by MP.)
27/7/19 – 2 lovely yellow juvenile Willow Warbler with mixed flocks on Lagoons 2 & 3 this morning; a surprise late brood of 7 Tufted Duck ducklings on the lake; and 2 juv. Cetti's Warbler are repeatedly calling "vitt" from deep scrub by the lake (but not seen).
The Common Tern and a Police launch.
27/7/19 – 2 lovely yellow juvenile Willow Warbler with mixed flocks on Lagoons 2 & 3 this morning; a surprise late brood of 7 Tufted Duck ducklings on the lake; and 2 juv. Cetti's Warbler are repeatedly calling "vitt" from deep scrub by the lake (but not seen).
25/7/19 – A flock of 11 Cormorant flew high over to East (mainly juvs.), 5 Lesser Whitethroat (2 fam. groups; 3xLag 3, 2xLag1), 4 Mistle Thrush on Lagoon 1 (probably a family that bred here), a Yellow Wagtail again and a Roe Deer without a white rump (?!).
24/7/19 – a tight flock of 13 (probable) Common Tern low down middle of river past yacht club at 12:07pm, and all 3 common wagtail species on the jetty: 4+ juv. Yellow Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail and 4+ Pied Wagtail. Also c100 Starling feeding near jetty (mainly juvs.), 5 adult Dunlin at Shepperdine and 2 probable juvenile Cetti's Warbler heard (only) in deep scrup by the lake.
One of the juvenile Yellow Wagtail.
20/7/19 – A flock of 14 Black-tailed Godwit flew in to roost at yacht club over HT, and 3 Common Sandpiper (2 at Oldbury Pill, other on Tidal Res.). AM reported, from Pillhead Gout: another Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Whimbrel, 6 Dunlin and 44 Curlew. CL reported, "Fantastic sight of juv Peregrine and adult doing a food pass" over the entrance.
Nice photos by CL - Southern Hawker dragonfly, Essex Skipper, Speckled Wood and unusual shot of a Peacock.
16/7/19 – A Kingfisher on the estuary side of the sluice on Oldbury Pill this morning; caught a fish. And a juv. Wheatear at Pillhead Gout. And a few more waders at HT: 3 adult Dunlin, 9 Lapwing and 4 Redshank. Also 14 Skylark around.
10+ Marbled White butterflies along the sea wall towards yacht club, where lots of Tufted Vetch (purple) and Meadow Vetchling (yellow).
15/7/19 – A juv. Coal Tit with other tits on Lagoon 2.
14/7/19 – AM reported some waders beginning to reappear at Oldbury Gout: 58 Curlew, 2 Dunlin, 3 Lapwing, 3 Redshank, 3 Oystercatcher, 350 Black-headed Gull and 55 Swallow. Also, 13 Dunnock again.
11/7/19 – Reported on Avonbirds: 35 Canada Goose, 25 Shelduck with 13 young, 2 Little Egret, 5 Moorhen, c80 Black-headed Gull, 3 Skylark, c30 Swallow and 4 Pied Wagtail.
5/7/19 – AM reported: 3 Common Sandpiper (outflow from Lagoon 1), 3 Oystercatcher, 2 adult male Tufted Duck, but no ducklings, a female Redstart (along seawall, looking rather worn), 51 Swallow (many congregating on the wires) and 225 Black-headed Gull. (The Dunlin on the 2nd was the earliest returning record at OPS ! Beating 7/7/18.)
4/7/19 – Some surprisingly good birds for July over the high tide at the yacht club: 2 Common Tern flew downriver together, calling. They flew up Oldbury Pill, then back down and continued downriver. Then a Greenshank was flushed by the sheep farmer doing his rounds, and flew into the Pill, calling "tu tu tu". It stayed to feed. Also a Yellow Wagtail on the common and flew to join sheep, and 2 Lapwing. A dead Mole was on the path at south end of Lagoon 2.
2/7/19 – A Tawny Owl sat in tree along track to hide, early morning, being scolded by small birds.
And a family group of 4 Great Spotted Woodpecker (2 of which were on the metal pylon at end of track to shore). And another 1 elsewhere, equaling record OPS count of 5 from last year.
Later AM reported: a Dunlin, two Shelduck broods/creches of 10 each, 11 Swift heading determindly NE and 3 Little Egret.
AM reported a high count of 13 Dunnock (OPS record is only 15.)
28/6/19 – AM reported: Two broods of Tufted Duck (7 and 9) on lake and the Shelduck brood of 6 still on shore.
27/6/19 – 3 Coal Tit (adult calling and 2+ juvs) along main rhine with large number of other juveniles: Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits and 2+ Goldcrest. A Frog also along the main rhine, and many tiny froglets by the pond next to Lagoon 2 - easy to tread on !!
26/6/19 – A Devil's Coach-horse (beetle that eats slugs) and an eclipse male Shoveler.
25/6/19 – A Barn Owl flew and landed on a low tree in the orchard at 1pm in drizzle !
It stayed for a couple of minutes before flying towards the main rhine. (And belated news of one reported by PT on Lagoon 2 at 9pm on 10th June.)
These are the first definite reports for four years (not five as I reported on Twitter), although there was a second-hand report of one at yacht club in 2017.
And 11 small Tufted Duck juvs. on the lake with just a male today. (They are dispersed all over the lake, so difficult to count accurately.)
Also reported on Avonbirds website: 2 Whitethroat families (3-4 young each) and a Bullfinch family with 4 young.
24/6/19 – A Cuckoo calling from SW end of Lagoon 3 (last heard 31st May).
23/6/19 – A family group of 3+ Treecreeper (record count for OPS !) in tall trees at road end of main rhine. One bathing using wet green leaves in tree, during shower. Fluffing feathers up and rubbing against leaves. 9 small juvenile Tufted Duck but no adults again ! And 4 small Moorhen chicks (2,1,1).
22/6/19 – AM WeBS count: 5 Grey Heron, 35 Canada Goose (including 7 well-grown juveniles),
8 small juvenile Tufted Duck but no adults(!), 6 juv. Shelduck. Plus a Hobby flew from Shepperdine to the jetty.
Earlier: 9 juv Tufted Duck and 3 adults (plus a dead female under the power lines) and 2 Coal Tit (wood by lake and Anchor Inn car park).
20/6/19 – A Nuthatch in the hedge near the yacht club. At least 16 of the Tufted Duck brood are still on the lake. A brood/creche of c20 Shelduck at Pillhead Gout, and the brood of 8 still on the shore. Also, first Marbled White butterfly of year yesterday. (Photo below by MP.)
18/6/19 – A single brood of 17(!) Tufted Duck. (Looks like the broods from last week have perished in wet/cold weather.)
16/6/19 – CL took these excellent photos of: Bee, Pyramidal and Common Spotted Orchid. Plus a moody photo of the towers. (Thanks!)
10/6/19 – PT reported a A Barn Owl.
The first Shelduck brood of 8 on the Tidal Res., and the Tufted Duck broods from yesterday still complete. And 2 Large Skipper butterflies reported by DP. (A Red Kite soaring next to the A38 at Rudgeway.)
9/6/19 – AM reported: The first Tufted Duck broods of 16 and 6 ! Plus 7 adults (4 male). Also, a Cetti's Warbler, 18 Reed Warbler (inc. juvs.), 11 Chiffchaff and 9 Blackcap.
8/6/19 – I finally got to see the Coal Tit, in the tall trees in SE corner of Lagoon 2. It was a very mobile juvenile.
The flower meadow next to the car park is full of yellow Hawk's-beard flowers. (Still trying to id which species!)
4/6/19 – AM reported: a Hobby between Lagoon 3 and Yacht club, 8 Tufted Duck and 16 Long-tailed Tit in one party.
5/6/19 – A female Mallard was leading her new 8 ducklings from Lagoon 3 towards the lake - video. And a Coal Tit heard again in a large flock of tits.
The Bee and Pyramidal Orchids are just starting to open. Also the other purple orchids on Lagoon 2.
4/6/19 – AM reported: a Hobby between Lagoon 3 and Yacht club, 8 Tufted Duck and 16 Long-tailed Tit in one party.
3/6/19 – The first Spotted Flycatcher of the year in small wood in NW corner of Lagoon 3, with flock of juvenile Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and tits. And a second year-tick was a Coal Tit, heard only, in wood by lake. (As you can see from the text colours, Coal Tit is rarer at OPS than Spotted Flycatcher. The latter has been reported every one of last 10 years, the former was missing in 3 years.) Over High Tide: a late Dunlin, 14 Black-headed Gull downriver and a pair of Teal.
Spotted Flycatcher. And the latest victim of the power lines directly over the lake is a Mallard. Stupid having them here with no bird-strike mitigation.
2/6/19 – A Great Spotted Woodpecker nest found today, with 1+ very noisy young inside and female nearby. And 10 new Mallard ducklings on the lake with mother.
31/5/19 – AM reported: 4 Ringed Plover at Oldbury Pill and a Cuckoo calling twice from Oldbury village direction.
29/5/19 – A winter plumage Bar-tailed Godwit (latest OPS date, beating 26/5/12) and 6 Ringed Plover at yacht club over High Tide.
28/5/19 – CS reported on Avonbirds: a Cuckoo calling, 1 Little Egret, 4 Ringed Plover, 1 Kestrel, 4+ Whitethroat, 8 Reed Warbler and 3 Sedge Warbler.
And this unusual photo of a Wood Mouse (I think) up a bush ! (Photo by CS)
27/5/19 – @Mikejackson6Mj reported, this morning: the Cuckoo calling on Lagoon 3 (and also from Lagoon 2). Also Little Egret and Reed Warblers actively nest building.On 20 May 1996, Royalist ran aground in the River Severn some 3 nautical miles (5.6 km) north of the Severn Bridge near Oldbury Power Station. Twenty cadets were taken off by helicopter and lifeboat.
TS Royalist - a retired Cadet training ship with history of OPS. (From Wikipedia) "On 20 May 1996, Royalist ran aground in the River Severn some 3 nautical miles (5.6 km) north of the Severn Bridge near Oldbury Power Station. Twenty cadets were taken off by helicopter and lifeboat."
25/5/19 – TWO male Cuckoo calling together on Lagoon 3 this morning. Then 2 birds chasing each other with one calling - but not sure if they were the males or a male & female. Then 30 mins. later, same 2 (most likely) chasing with one calling, on Lagoon 2. Also, 3 Raven together were probably the young recently fledged from nearby nest.
24/5/19 – The Cuckoo calling again this afternoon on Lagoon 3, then seen flying long towards Lagoon 2, and later calling there. I got a video of it (turn sound up to hear - wind noise dies a bit after start). And 3 recently fledged Blackcap chicks sitting on a branch being fed by parents. I got a video of that also. Only 3 female Tufted Duck on the lake now, with 7 males, so hopefully 3 or 4 females are sitting on nests. Lastly, the Tawny Owl was sat at the entrance to a probable nest site.
Blackcap chick and Cuckoo.
23/5/19 – A Yellowhammer heard singing from the gate at end of main rhine (was the 'green gate' but been replaced with new silver one and wooden stile). And staying on-theme, a late Yellow Wagtail over to NE. c20 Ringed Plover and 3 Dunlin at yacht club over HT.
The Matthew going upriver (although it has turned here to face incoming tide and wait for 2 other tall-ships with it).
21/5/19 – The Cuckoo calling and perching on trees in reedbed, on Lagoon 3 again. 2 Greylag Goose flew upriver at 7:20am (again). 6 Curlew and a Redshank at yacht club over HT. A male Pied Wagtail feeding a juv. at the waterworks.
Some Small Heath butterflies around, mainly along shore path (photo by MP).
19/5/19 – MP reported a Cuckoo calling on Lagoon 3.
18/5/19 – Superb view of a Tawny Owl perched in open by lake, early morning, being scolded by other birds. And on incoming tide: 31 Black-headed Gull upriver and some waders landed briefly at Shepperdine: 2 Knot, c5 Dunlin and c15 Ringed Plover.
17/5/19 – This evening, a female Cuckoo (silent and with brownish tinge to feathers) flew from Shepperdine, across fields and over hedge to lagoon 1. And 17 Swift upriver. Over High Tide: 3 Sanderling, 2 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover and 30+ Black-headed Gull.
15/5/19 – A beaut of a queen Hornet - about 2 inches long !
13/5/19 – Some fledged chicks about today: 3 Raven being fed by adult, 2 Carrion Crow clambering around trees, 3 families of Long-tailed Tit and parents with 2 young Coot. Also, a Lapwing over, calling (not breeding locally) and 3 Dunlin over HT.
9/5/19 – A Common Tern went slowly downriver at 10:30am. c40 Dunlin and 3 Ringed Plover flew upriver. (But they were all, in 1.5 hrs to HT.) 2 Whimbrel still at Shepperdine.
Tall-ship called 'Pelican of London' went upriver.
8/5/19 – 16 Arctic Tern (12 and 4) and 7 'Commic' Tern (3 + 4) went upriver during a seawatch from 10:30am - 13:00. Very unusually, this was after High Tide (10:41am), with a SW wind and in sunshine between showers. Also 2 Buzzard together high to north, across the estuary, and 4 Whimbrel.
7/5/19 – A Wood Warbler singing and seen for 10 mins. in tree-tops at start of track to shore, by entrance.
Excellent selection of waders as tide came in: a Greenshank with 2 Black-tailed Godwit, a Sanderling, 8 Whimbrel, 35 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover and 4 Curlew.
A Garden Warbler sang (and seen well) in hedge between ramp to Lagoon 3 and hide. And 3+ Tree Pipit (2 over, one calling, 1 landed in same trees as Wood Warbler and 1 or 2 probable in trees at SW end Lagoon 3.)
60 species seen, with 4 new for the year for me.
Sanderling with a Dunlin.
6/5/19 – The first 2 Swift of the year, 17+ Whimbrel, 7 Dunlin, a lovely summer Grey Plover, 2 Curlew and 7 Wheatear.
4/5/19 – Some migrants on a cold (2 degs) morning: 5 'Commic' Tern (probably Arctics) upriver at 7:20am, 6 Wheatear (yacht club), 5 Whimbrel, 5 Dunlin and 2 Sand Martin.
AM reported 22 Blackcap and 21 Wren.
Roe Deer relaxing.
30/4/19 – MB reported a Cuckoo (seen + heard) on Lagoon 2 in the evening. The colour-ringed Oystercatcher first seen on 1st March is still here, and getting on well with the locals !
29/4/19 – Excellent numbers of warblers singing this morning, including 9 Sedge Warbler and 4 Lesser Whitethroat. I got a pretty good video of a Lesser Whitethroat singing, at the top of the ramp to Lagoon 3 (by the hide) and it also has a Cetti's Warbler singing at 8 seconds in. There are 6 pairs of Tufted Duck on the lake again, which may indicate failed nests (and so the female has returned to the water). But there was also the first Moorhen chick. And a Mallard female is now nesting where the Goose was.
Lesser Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler.
28/4/19 – A female Wheatear by the jetty, 2 Whimbrel at Shepperdine and a Greylag Goose over to East. The Canada Goose pair were on the lake alone, so it looks like the goslings sadly perished due to Storm Hannah. AM counted: 24 Reed Warbler, 35 Whitethroat, 16 Chiffchaff, 6 Sedge Warbler and 19 Blackcap.
3 Roe Deer running across the mud to the Tidal Res.(presumably chased off the Lagoons by dogs).
27/4/19 – Storm Hannah overnight and this morning produced: a Fulmar trying to hold-station into wind over near-shore at Shepperdine at 6:35am, before banking and going upriver; 7 Arctic Tern (5 at 8:15am and 2 at 12:15pm) downriver and 1 'Commic' Tern (fast, upriver at 7:45am - probably Arctic). Also 8+ Whimbrel feeding at Shepperdine.
26/4/19 – 3 Whimbrel feeding at Shepperdine.
25/4/19 – A Great Skua was flying low and slow upriver when it spotted 2 Common Tern on the Tidal res., which it came over to investigate. It didn't chase them, but turned and flew down the near-shore and last saw going back downriver. I took a very distant video of it. Nice collection of waders at Shepperdine: 1 Grey Plover (in summer plumage), 1 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Ringed Plover, 1 Curlew and 1 Dunlin (+4 more upriver). AM later reported 3 Common Tern downriver.
Still from video.
24/4/19 – 2 dark phase Arctic Skua upriver just ahead of a rain shower at 11am. Also a Skylark over to NE.
One of the Arctic Skuas - photo by Andy Jordan taken as it went past Sharpness.
The Bar-tailed Godwits flying upriver from 2 days ago (photos by MP).
Flavous Nomad Bee.(Photo by MP)
23/4/19 – Another 58 Bar-tailed Godwit upriver as tide came in. Flocks of 15, 4, 7, 1 with 5 Whimbrel and 31 between 8:44 and 9:40am. Also 2 Ringed Plover. Loads of warblers singing on the Lagoons, inc. 7 Sedge Warbler and 6 Lesser Whitethroat. A Mistle Thrush again on Lagoons 1/2. Vismig to NE: 1 Crossbill (heard), 5 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Siskin.
A Peregrine on an unusual perch (used to perch here years ago, but not lately). And a neat barge upriver.
22/4/19 – 2 Sandwich Tern appeared from up high and went slowly downriver at 8:07am. (That's the 5th Spring in a row I have had a record here: 16/3/18 1 downriver, 30/3/17 6 downriver & 1/4/17 1 downriver, 28/3/16 1 downriver, 6/4/15 6 upriver.) 142 Bar-tailed Godwit as tide came in (best since 115 in 2011 and 222 in 2007): 8 on shore at Shepperdine joined 10 flying upriver at 8:05am, then flocks of 35 (8:34am), 51 (8:43am), 37 (9:10am) and 1. Also a Whimbrel (heard) and 2 Dunlin.
The Bar-tailed Godwits on the shore (3 in red summer plumage) and a Linnet.
6 canoeists getting a free ride upriver on the tide.
21/4/19 – AM reported an adult Mediterranean Gull upriver and 8 Whimbrel.
Whimbrel at Shepperdine (photo by VC).
20/4/19 – Over High Tide this morning (upriver): 2 Avocet, c15 'Commic' Tern, 2 Whimbrel, c35 Black-headed Gull, c30 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 9 Great Black-backed Gull (single flock), 3 Redpoll, 4 Siskin, 10 Goldfinch, 3 House Martin and a Greylag Goose (again, at dawn). A Whinchat on the fence at Shepperdine and the Canada Goose pair are proud parents of 7 goslings.
Canada Goose young and the Avocets (photo by @Tay_PJT as they went past Berkeley 10 mins. later).
19/4/19 – 3 Lesser Whitethroat singing on Lagoons.
AM also reported: 7 Whitethroat, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Sedge Warbler, 9 Reed Warbler, 17 Blackcap and 12 Chiffchaff.
18/4/19 – After this morning's stint, which I knew was good, my mates made me go cycling to Bath (27 miles). After getting back I input my records to Birdtrack and found I had seen 69 species this morning - my equal 2nd best OPS total in a day !
So, I visited this evening with a goal to beat my record 74 species in a day (from 2015). I got there at 4:30pm and went round Lagoon 2 and quickly found Collared Dove, House Sparrow and Chaffinch missing! 72 species.
I then had a massive dilema, about whether to watch the tide or go to Lagoon 3. The conditions looked very good for movement upriver - wind from upriver (or slightly to East) and a haze.
I decided to go towards Lagoon 3 along the shore, but stopping to scan every 100 yards. A scan along the shore to SW and Lagoon 3 produced a Raven and 2 Grey Plover (+c40 Dunlin). 74 species - equal best.
Going back to Shepperdine (my favourite spot for seawatching) I got near the jetty when some tern-like birds were going upriver.
(Conditions in evening are not good here, as sun sets in West on far side of estuary.) The birds puzzled me; they were smaller than 2 Black-headed Gull with them, but what tern were they ?
They then started to turn and gain height and turning against the dark far shore I could make out the black head and white wing-tips of one - an adult Little Gull. One of the others was a moulting out of 1st-winter, the 3rd was intermediate. 75 species - the record !
Settling in at Shepperdine, a couple of flocks of Curlew sp. went upriver (25 + 40) - the first flock looked like Whimbrel but did not call (and were very far out), the second flock were all Curlew, apart from last bird - definitely Whimbrel ! (Very shaky video - it is the very last bird in the line at the start.)
I then got a Kestrel inland, alerted to by Martins. 77 species.
Finally, a 'Commic' Tern was picking flies off the water surface on the (flooded) Tidal Res.. The light was bad now, and it settled on a log, where a 2nd one was.
Video and photos show they were Common Tern.
78 species in a day! (Common birds missed: Starling(!), Green Woodpecker, Skylark(!) and Redshank.) Then a Common Seal popped up at Shepperdine.
Photos show tail length less than wings, and crown extent down back large = Common Tern.
Common Sandpiper and the 3 Greylag going over Lagoon 1.
17/4/19 – My first Tree Pipit of the year and the first
2 Yellow Wagtail over to NE, all calling, at 11am after the mist cleared.
That is 120 species for me at OPS this year, and 122 for all-comers. 7 needed to equal best-ever records by end-April.
A load of cock Pheasant feathers on Lagoon 3. And MP has found some more Bee species . . . Hawthorn Mining Bee
Orange-tailed Mining Bee and Yellow-legged Mining Bee. See Matt's List of Insects so far at OPS.
16/4/19 – A Tawny Owl sat in a tree by the gate to the hide, being scolded by birds. Some vismig to NE (but not much considering mist): 23 Swallow, 3 House Martin, 2 Sand Martin, 1 Collared Dove (flying fast and direct along shore, and landed on jetty), 10 Lesser Black-backed Gull and 2 Black-headed Gull. A Little Grebe on lake again.
15/4/19 – 3 Wheatear by the jetty (2m, 1f), 2 Lesser Whitethroat singing (Lagoon 3 and Lagoon 1 outfall) and a Sedge Warbler singing in Lagoon 2 reeds with the 2 Reed Warbler.
Male Wheatear and an Alder Fly by the lake.
14/4/19 – A Short-eared Owl reported by dog-walker yesterday evening on lagoon 3,
and 2 days ago in the fields towards yacht club.
A Lesser Whitethroat (Lagoon 3) and 2 Reed Warbler (Lagoon 2) singing still. Also 28 Teal still at Shepperdine at HT and 2 Mistle Thrush in the orchard.
AM reported: 1 Cetti's Warbler, 2 House Martin, 12 Blackcap, 25 Chiffchaff, 6 Tufted Duck, 49 Shelduck, 7 Wigeon and 2 Little Egret.
The Meadow next to the car park is full of Cowslips.
13/4/19 – A Lesser Whitethroat singing in SW corner of Lagoon 3 this morning. It can be heard at 16 & 26 seconds in this video here. And an increase to 8 Willow Warbler singing. The first 2 Reed Warbler of the year reported by @BirderGinger on Lagoon 2.
The Canada Goose sitting on the nest on the island.
12/4/19 – A Mute Swan right out in the middle of the estuary at HT, then flew downriver. (Surprisingly quiet over the High Tide today and yesterday, despite seemingly good migration conditions.)
The white dot is the Swan, half-mile away.
11/4/19 – AI reported a Garden Warbler along the bridleway to shore. Showing quite well, not singing. In ivy covered oak tree 100 yards after gate by road, on right. (Earliest at OPS by 6 days, and for S. Gloucs. by 5 days!)
A buck Roe Deer on Lagoon 2 (photo by AI), and heard grunting there recently.
10/4/19 – 3 Greylag Goose flying up far side of estuary; another male Redstart, along the path at south end Lagoon 2; a Grey Plover moulting into summer plumage at yacht club (photo below); a Mistle Thrush singing; and a Sedge Warbler singing in reeds, Lagoon 3; 2 Wheatear at yacht club. MP reported: 8 Golden Plover, 1 Grey Plover and some Ringed Plover high upriver, and another Wheatear.
9/4/19 – An adult male Common Scoter on the Tidal Res., at first-light (or first-gloom!) and stayed to float upriver as tide came in. 2 hours sea-watch to HT was disappointing, with only a few common species of gull upriver. Vismig was only 10% of yesterday's volume.
8/4/19 – A quite brilliant morning's birding, thanks to a breeze from NE and very low cloud. Started with 3 Shoveler on the lake (2m,1f), and 12 tiny Mallard ducklings abandoned there. As I went up the ramp to Lagoon 3 an immature male Marsh Harrier flew over the reeds and it continued to quarter, on and off, for 3 hours. A bit of video here. A lovely male Redstart flew between the lake and Lagoon 3 and had the decency to sit in a tree. Then I stood and watched a visible migration spectacle as a continuous stream of birds flew to NE. Very rough estimates in 3 hours are: 2,000 Meadow Pipit, 500 Swallow, 300 Sand Martin (record OPS count), 100 House Martin, 200 Linnet, 150 Goldfinch, 27 Greenfinch, 8 Siskin, 1 Redpoll, 5 Pied Wagtail, c20 Woodpigeon (only, and no Chaffinches). There were also lots of warblers in the bushes: c30 Blackcap, 30+ Chiffchaff and 10+ Willow Warbler singing. MP had a Tree Pipit at SW end of Lagoon 3 and he put me onto a superb finale as two huge flocks of Black-tailed Godwit flew highish upriver in rough v-shapes, totalling 400+ birds ! (Highest OPS count.) MP also had a 'White' Wagtail on Lagoon 1 and c300 Meadow Pipit there.
A couple of shots of the Marsh Harrier.
Redstart and Tree Pipit (photo by MP).
This Apple Tree (actually a Pear Tree - found out when fruited !) is crammed full of blossom on Lagoon 2 and the Shovelers.
7/4/19 – The first Sedge Warbler singing on lagoon 3. A Short-eared Owl reported by BD.
6/4/19 – At 7am a large adult gull flew over the jetty going upriver, towards me.
(It is only in the last couple of years that I have tried to id all gulls I see here.) This one had characteristics of Common Gull (smallish head/bill) but was size of small Herring Gull.
Unusually, it didn't divert track when it got to me, and went directly overhead (at house height), and it's pure white underside, especially underwings, was evident.
As it flew away it turned to fly the length of Lagoon 2, giving a view of the light grey top-side with thin white trailing edge to wings
and no black at tips. A lovely Iceland Gull. (7 prev. records at OPS, last in Dec 2004 and not seen in S. Gloucs. for 7 years.) It didn't look like it was migrating, so I went to look for it in fields to south of Lagoon 2.
(But no gulls there. Later a few LBB Gulls took same flight-path, and I realised the wind was from East, so it was flying into it.)
As I searched the fields I got to the main rhine, walking towards road, when a large bird-of-prey flew from a Willow tree away from me.
A Buzzard often does same, but as I checked with bins, it was flying powerfully with bent wings and was less rich-brown above.
It turned and went over trees to left, showing creamy-brown underneath (with hint of darker flecks, but it was c200 yards away now). It was obviously a juvenile Goshawk.
I ran to a gap in the hedge and saw it power across the fields just above hedge height, towards the Rookery in wood by road.
The Rooks were already all up in a tight swarm and making a lot of noise. A Jackdaw tried to dive-bomb it but was not quick enough (and only about half its size).
Then I sneezed and lost sight ! (Damn this cold!)
Vismig was decent between 8am and 9:30am: 3 House Martin (my first of year), 11 Swallow, c20 Goldfinch, c20 Linnet, 20+ Meadow Pipit, 1 Redpoll and 1 Rock/Water Pipit. Also, a Little Grebe (in breeding plumage) on the lake, 4 Snipe flushed by dog and 2 Willow Warbler singing (Lagoon 3 and MP had one on Lagoon 1).
5/4/19 – 3 Willow Warbler: 1 singing, lagoon 2; 1 singing bridleway to shore and 1 sipping nectar from blackthorn there. And a Raven visiting probable nest. AM reported 2 Knot and 6 Swallow.
4/4/19 – A pretty late Fieldfare along the grassy shore by Lagoon 3. (Latest is 18/4/03.)
3/4/19 – A Great Crested Grebe moving around the Tidal Res. and diving. A male Shoveler at Shepperdine, 4 Swallow heading south (?!) and 2 Mistle Thrush over Lagoon 1. A pair of Mute Swan were on the lake, with 6 pairs of Tufted Duck and the sitting Canada Goose (+ mate). Also 3 pairs of Carrion Crow nest-building.
2/4/19 – A Mistle Thrush singing loudly from tree-top in Lagoon 1 cross-hedge. And a colour-ringed Oystercatcher again (first seen 1/3/2019), which was ringed 25/1/2018 at Dibden Bay, Southampton Water, Hampshire. It is in a pair (but no sign of nesting), which are often on the mud at the end of the bridleway to the shore.
1/4/19 – Vismig 9.45-11.15am, all to NE: 1 Yellowhammer, 1 Swallow, 1 Grey Wagtail, 20+ Goldfinch, 15+ Linnet, c15 Meadow Pipit, 5 Chaffinch, 50+ Black-headed Gull and c20 Common Gull. AM reported: a House Martin (earliest record at OPS, beating 6/4/2016), 4 Sand Martin, 30+ Hirundine sp. (high to NE against the sun), 39 Chiffchaff, 10 Blackcap, 12 Tufted Duck, and 5 Bullfinch.
31/3/19 – 4 Sand Martin to East this afternoon.
30/3/19 – MP did a Bee survey today: A colony of Tawny Mining Bees is in dried mud by the metal gate near the shore disecting Lagoon 1
(a few small males with little white moustaches - see photo, and a couple of striking reddish females).
Also, 4 Dotted Bee Fly on lag 3 and lots of Dark-edged Bee Fly elsewhere. The first Speckled Wood butterfly of the year plus 2 Peacock and 1 Small Tortoiseshell.
Most interesting was a bee that mimics a wasp - Gooden's Nomad Bee - visiting a hole on the edge of the meadow.
Matt has created the first Insect List for the site here. (Only a first draft, but excellent start !)
@petercoslett reported: 2 Tawny Owl, 3 Green Woodpecker, 20+ Chiffchaff & 8+ Blackcap.
Male Tawny Mining Bee and Dotted Bee Fly (photos by MP).
Gooden's Nomad Bee (photo by MP).
28/3/19 – 3 Blackcap singing - this is early for this number, but we have had 3+ by end of March in 4 of last 10 years. The Canada Goose is sat tight on her nest on the lake island, as she will be for a month (incubation is 28-30 days). Here are the stats. on nests for last 15 years:
1st on nest 1st fledged juvs. Apparent Incubation No. of juvs.
05/04/2005 07/05/2005 37 3 (first breeding at OPS)
14/04/2006 06/05/2006 22 6
27/04/2008 30/05/2008 33 1+
29/03/2009 02/05/2009 34 5
27/03/2010 01/05/2010 35 6
26/03/2011 01/05/2011 36 3
24/03/2012 21/04/2012 28 3
31/03/2013 failed (successful 2nd clutch) 3
04/04/2014 02/05/2014 28 3
31/03/2015 04/05/2015 34 4
02/04/2016 04/05/2016 32 1
23/03/2017 21/04/2017 29 6
27/3/19 – A Grey Wagtail by the lake and 20 Chiffchaff singing.
26/3/19 – On a cold morning (-1C), a Red-legged Partridge running along the path by the jetty was a surprise! 3 Mistle Thrush & 1+ Redwing were in the orchard, and the Peregrine pair working together brought down a Collared Dove on the Tidal Res. (the female grabbing it from underneath in the end). And as the tide came in a Great Crested Grebe floated upriver. Also, a Greylag Goose flew upriver. 62 species today - 2nd highest this year (65 on 1st Jan).
25/3/19 – 5 Sand Martin low to NE and 3 Grey Plover still at yacht club at HT. An Orange-tip butterfly by the lake.
24/3/19 – A pair of Shoveler at Shepperdine and a pair of Pintail drifting upriver.
23/3/19 – Vismig to NE in an hour at midday: 4 Crossbill (red male over calling + 3 with it), 1 Red Kite (low in valley to south of OPS), 1 Buzzard (went across estuary), 1 Redpoll,
2 Siskin. Also, a male Brambling in a tree on lagoon 2, but flew high to NE, 14 Chiffchaff singing and a Blackcap singing by gate to hide - hear them here (turn sound up). MP reported a pair of Shoveler at Shepperdine. Butterflies: 3 Brimstone, 1 Tortoiseshell, 1 Peacock.
That is 101 species this year at OPS for me (equal best to March) & 102 for all-comers (3 short of best).
22/3/19 – AM reported: a Wheatear, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Yellowhammer, 7 Redwing, 8 Tufted Duck, 24 Teal, 18 Wigeon, 36 Curlew, 35 Turnstone, 16 Shelduck, 5 Coot and 2 Peregrine.
21/3/19 – Vismig early am: 1+ Brambling with c20 Chaffinch to North and a loose flock of c230 Woodpigeon to NE. (This is the first Spring Brambling record at OPS since one in March 2000.) On a high HT at yacht club: 4 Grey Plover, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, c80 Curlew, c70 Redshank, only 2 Dunlin, 1 Turnstone and a flock of c120 Common Gull sat on the estuary were virtually all immatures. Also: 8 Chiffchaff, a Canada Goose on a nest at the top of the island in the lake and a singing Blackcap was the equal earliest at OPS (with 2009).
20/3/19 – 6 Chiffchaff this afternoon.
19/3/19 – A pair of Yellowhammer still in the hedge near the yacht club.
17/3/19 – AM reported 2 Raven, 2 Mute Swan flying over Lagoon 3 and up river - displaced from the lake? Where there were 2 Canada Goose. And 210 Curlew on the estuary.
16/3/19 – The earliest ever Swallow at OPS (by 9 days) was battling against high winds to fly low across the estuary. And 3 Peregrine; a pair doing some display flying over the towers, when another male turned up and was chased and shouted at by the male in the pair. This morning a total of c45 Meadow Pipit were battling against the wind, heading NW.
12/3/19 – No sea-birds in 2.5 hrs to HT this morning, despite showers and some high gusts.
A new record S. Gloucs. count of 28 Little Egret at Park Mill Farm in evening of Monday 11th March, as reported by HC! (And 26 there again this morning.)
10/3/19 – A Yellow-legged Gull with Lesser Black-backed Gull and Herring Gull (photo from same field added for comparison) in maize field by main rhine. Short video taken
Some late news from Friday 8th March - 21 Little Egret on Park Mill Farm reported by HC! (S. Gloucs. record count !)
9/3/19 – A Woodcock flushed from the path along the south end of Lagoon 2,
flying 25 yards along path and then veering sharply through gap in hedge - giving good view of uppers in 'bins' as it turned.
Lovely red-brown colour, with dark vermiculations just visible.
Quite strong wind and showers on estuary, giving highest count - just 15 - of Great Black-backed Gull for at least 16 years ! 1's & 2's going upriver - probably just the local ones going to find some shelter.
Rainbow over the jetty.
8/3/19 – A Knot at Shepperdine and a large flock of birds feeding in wet fields there: c200 Starling, c100 Fieldfare and c150 Redwing. AM also reported 2 Mistle Thrush and 110 Fieldfare.
7/3/19 – Over High Tide at yacht club this morning: 2 Grey Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 46 Redshank, 1 Ringed Plover, c40 Curlew, c200 Black-headed Gull, but just 2 Dunlin.
6/3/19 – 2 Weasels were noisily sqeaking to each other in the reeds on Lagoon 3, and then one ran across the path just in front of me, while the other looked at me ! Also the first report for the site (that I know of) of a Wood Mouse, which I disturbed in the hedge of Lagoon 1.
5/3/19 – AM reported this morning: a Cetti's Warbler (in bushes by the lake singing), 2 pairs Tufted Duck, 52 Fieldfare (Lagoon 1 with Starlings and Redwings), 15 Redwing, 200 Starling, 56 Curlew, 19 Redshank, 84 Wigeon and a Mistle Thrush.
4/3/19 – PS. The White-fronted Geese this morning were from the Greenland subspecies (flavirostris) and this is only the second record of them in South Gloucs.! (The prev. was also at OPS - 2 in Oct 2010, seen by MP.)
6 White-fronted Goose feeding in grassy field between Lagoon 3 and yacht club early morning, until at least 9:30am (but gone by 11am, after first walkers along seawall). A new tick for me at OPS - my 197th species here ! Short video taken. Last recorded at OPS in 2010. Also, the Corn Bunting was singing in the hedge by Lagoon 3, with 6 Yellowhammer. And the 2 Bar-tailed Godwit still at yacht club.
1/3/19 – The very early Wheatear was still on the seawall just upriver of the jetty this afternoon. And an Oystercatcher had colour-rings Red//Black/White on right leg and Metal//Orange on left.
28/2/19 – A very early Wheatear reported by DP - the earliest ever for S.Gloucs..
Blackthorn flowering (1 day earlier than last year).
27/2/19 – An Egyptian Goose was with 9 Canada Goose at the yacht club after High Tide. (Only the fourth record for OPS.) Also there, 6 Grey Plover (but zero Dunlin). The 'battle of the lake 2019' has started between the Mute Swan and Canada Goose pairs. Also, 6+ Chiffchaff (2+ x Lagoon 3,2xLagoon 2,1xLagoon 1, 1xOrchard), and a Dragonfly sp. in the meadow.
26/2/19 – The adult male Black Redstart has been absent since 6th Feb, but one was on the top of the towers late afternoon. A pair of Mute Swan are back on the lake, and 2 pairs of Coot there. AM reported: 2+ Chiffchaff, ad m Gadwall, pair Tufted Duck, 103 Wigeon, 27 Shelduck, 12 Teal, 2 Yellowhammer, 2 Brimstone butterflies and a Red Admiral.
25/2/19 – A Chiffchaff singing on Lagoon 2, where c100 Honey Bee, c5 Buff-tailed Bumblebee and a Drone-fly were feeding on Sallow (aka 'Pussy Willow') flowers.
Honey Bee covered in pollen and a Drone-fly.
I have introduced a new colour-coding for the rarer birds recorded on this page.To understand what the colours mean, take a look here, which shows what species have been seen at OPS every year since 2006, and historically before that. At the bottom is an explanation of the colours. On the right of the list is a comparison of the frequency of species in last 10 years, compared with 1979-2005. 11 species have been seen >70% more in recent years (e.g. Little Egret), and 5 are now seen >30% less (e.g. Goldeneye). 201 species have been recorded at OPS in the last 10 years ! 119 species have been seen virtually EVERY year for last 10 years !
24/2/19 – Lovely sunny afternoon. The male Gadwall still on the lake and another Chiffchaff singing. MP also reported: 3 Stonechat, the Peregrine pair active around nesting ledge, Brimstone and Peacock butterflies, lots of Common Drone Fly, Honey Bees on Blackthorn flowers with 2+ Gwynne's Mining Bee.
A Small Tortoiseshell Lagoon 2.
23/2/19 – An adult winter Mediterranean Gull with 368 Black-headed Gull at the yacht club over high tide. Another 275 Black-headed Gull on estuary. The 5 Grey Plover again (last seen on 5th) and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit. Also, the first Chiffchaff singing (early, but not earliest - 9/2/2008). (Zero degrees and fog at dawn - 8 degrees and sun when I left 3 hours later !)
22/2/19 – Sunny and warm ! The male Gadwall still on the lake with 3 pairs of Tufted Duck, a male Wigeon and a pair of Canada Goose. (The Mute Swan pair left on Sunday.) This morning AM reported 8 Yellowhammer at the yacht club and 63 Wigeon still.
A Red Admiral out already on Lagoon 2.
21/2/19 – The Corn Bunting was singing again this morning by the yacht club, with 9 Yellowhammer.
On a high HT at yacht club: 1 Jack Snipe (flew NE), 2 Snipe, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover, 1 Grey Plover, c200 Curlew (18 colour-ringed, one not seen since Mar 2018 - thanks JS), c35 Redshank and c300 Black-headed Gull.
And 2 Brimstone butterflies reported. JA reported a Coal Tit.
A high tide at yacht club.
20/2/19 – c30 Chaffinch and c10 Linnet in old maize field next to main rhine.
19/2/19 – The Corn Bunting was singing its 'key-jangling' song this morning by the yacht club ! With 9 Yellowhammer. (If you put the volume up to max, you can just hear it at 3 secs in this video of a Yellowhammer). Also the 'Continental' Cormorant seen again and 3 Peregrine - female calling from nest-ledge with male circling above, then another male flew in for a short aerial battle then left.
Corn Bunting and Yellowhammer.
More remarkable news - 19 Little Egrets were in fields at Park Mill Farm on 9th Feb at 10am, as reported by HC - thanks !
These 17 together and then 2 more in next field.
18/2/19 – A flock of 10+ Yellowhammer still in hedge by yacht club (14 birds in flock all appeared to be Yellowhammers,
but couldn't check them all before they hid).
AM's WeBS count this morning: 2 Little Grebe (pair on the lake), 2 Ringed Plover, 30 Shelduck, 31 Mallard, pair Tufted Duck on the lake, 91 Curlew, 45 Teal, 110 Wigeon, 150+ Dunlin, 28 Redshank, 45 Turnstone, 3 Grey Plover, 7 Snipe (5 in wet fields by yacht club, 2 on Lagoon 3), 1 Sparrowhawk and 1 Peregrine.
17/2/19 – Lovely view of a Short-eared Owl hunting on Lagoon 3 for 10 minutes at 10am, and 5 Stonechat there (3m, 2f). MB reported 3 Lesser Redpoll on Lagoon 2. Skylark and Reed Buntings singing. Plus 6 Roe Deer seen today (4 + 2). Also @BirderGinger reported: 2 Raven, 4 pairs of Stonechat, 2 Green Woodpecker, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 3 Goldcrest, 20+ Long-tailed Tit and a Chiffchaff. @CathieHasler1 tweeted a Corn Bunting singing !
14/2/19 – A Great White Egret reported by JS at 9am just downriver of the yacht club.
10/2/19 – AM reported 12 Snipe on Lagoon 3.
8/2/19 – A male Yellowhammer on the stones at top of ramp to Lagoon 3.
7/2/19 – I flushed a juv/fem Merlin from driftwood by Pillhead Gout, which unfortunately then flushed the entire HT roost: 1 Golden Plover, 400+ Lapwing, c500 Dunlin, c100 Curlew.
6/2/19 – The adult male Black Redstart still on roofs down 'South Road', by the jetty.
5/2/19 – The Corn Bunting still in hedge near yacht club, with a Yellowhammer and 4 Reed Bunting. And 2 Redpoll high over to NE, calling. 5 Grey Plover still.
2/2/19 – AM reported in afternoon: the adult male Black Redstart still to 12:30pm,
8 Song Thrush (Lagoon 1), 2 Stonechat, 5 Grey Plover, 77 Curlew and 2 Raven.
And MP reported in fields between Lagoon 3 and yacht club: 12 Yellowhammer, c40 Skylark, 14 Reed Bunting,
c150 Redwing and 30 Fieldfare.
Both adult male and female-type Black Redstarts seen again this morning - on south side of towers. And a Short-eared Owl flushed from Lagoon 3.
1/2/19 – MP reported, this afternoon: a 1st-year male Black Redstart in sewage treatment area, 3 Stonechat and 4 Grey Plover.
3 Skylark flying upriver into cold NE wind, and another with 12 Meadow Pipit on the seawall. And 6 Lapwing over to SW. c30 Fieldfare and c100 Redwing in fields. 44 Canada Goose feeding in field today.
Teal on the frozen lake.
Main Rhine and Lagoon 1.
31/1/19 – An ear-stingingly cold morning, at -4 deg C. The lake is 95% frozen and now only has the Mute Swan pair, a pair of Coot and 3 Moorhen. 42 Canada Goose feeding in a frosty field between Lagoon 3 and yacht club. A pair of Stonechat by the jetty.
A frosty Lahoon 2.
30/1/19 – Corn Bunting still in hedge near yacht club, with 1+ Yellowhammer and 2+ Reed Bunting.
Corn Bunting with Redwings.
29/1/19 – A pair of Sparrowhawk displaying over the end of Lagoon 2. The male flew over my head, then dived straight at the reedbed, but just as it got to the reed tops, it went straight up in the air, and then looped straight down again as it lost momentum at top of loop. Spectacular, only 50 yards from me !
28/1/19 – A cold, but sunny afternoon. A Little Grebe in the Oldbury Naite Rhine;
8 Geese flew from Littleton Warth at 2:30pm and I tracked them (at distance, from yacht club) with 'scope out over estuary,
where 2 of them flew on over far side, but 6 stuck together and started gaining height, circling a couple of times and as they did I saw they were
Barnacle Geese, light grey coloured. They flew downriver, over the first Severn Bridge and then headed for far side of estuary.
At 3pm, a flock of c40 Lapwing and c20 Dunlin were gaining height over the estuary, and a Merlin appeared beneath them.
The Dunlin flock separated from the Lapwings and the Merlin pursued them, making them go higher and higher. Eventually a single Dunlin broke away, and the Merlin chased it all over the sky,
but they don't give up easily those Dunlin ! After about 10 minutes, I couldn't hold by binoculars up any more and lost them !
The Grebe and Geese give me a total of 88 species at OPS this year - my best January ever, beating 87 in 2016. 2 more needed for best all-comers record.
26/1/19 – HT at yacht club: 5 Grey Plover and 420+ Lapwing. And 2 Mistle Thrush near Anchor Inn car park.
The results of the 2018 'Patchwork Challenge' national birding league ('Estuaries' section) are out. I was 12th (out of 33), which is same as the previous year.
The table below compares how everyone in the Estuaries table did compared to their average year. It was my 4th best year at OPS regards Patch Score (as no really rare birds found in 2018).
And nationally, I was 69th out of 460, showing what a varied place OPS is, even compared to reserves managed for birds.
23/1/19 – A flock of 8 Raven over to NE, calling.
22/1/19 – The fallow field nearest to yacht club had 7 Yellowhammer, 5 Reed Bunting and c25 Chaffinch feeding on the edge of it. The high High Tide at dawn pushed waders onto the top of the saltmarsh at the yacht club: 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, c270 Curlew, 350+ Lapwing, c1,500 Dunlin, 32 Redshank and 31 Canada Goose.
21/1/19 – AM reported in morning: a Black Redstart reported by a birder on top of the towers before being flushed by a Peregrine and 13 Yellowhammer just SW of Windbound.
20/1/19 – Reported on AvonBirds in afternoon: the male Black Redstart (power station), 1 Corn Bunting , 1 Yellowhammer, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 300+ Lapwing, 600+ Dunlin, 30+ Fieldfare, 200+ Redwing, 15+ Song Thrush, 6 Stonechat, 30+ Meadow Pipit, 3 Greenfinch and 20+ Linnet.
19/1/19 – 28 Skylark and 4+ Yellowhammer in fallow fields near yacht club.
18/1/19 – Excellent to find Otter tracks by the Lagoon 3 outfall pipe, on the shore. A 'Continental' Cormorant (sub-species 'Sinensis') on the Tidal Res., where I checked the whole gull roost as it drifted upriver on the incoming tide late afternoon. c2,000 Black-headed Gull, 500+ Common Gull, c10 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 10+ Herring Gull (only), 2 Great Black-backed Gull and nothing unusual.
Otter tracks show 5 toes (4 on dog) and the arrow shows the webbing between toes (visible on the other footprints also).
'Continental' Cormorants have the white head and neck feathers.
17/1/19 – The female-type Black Redstart on south side of main towers (in sun) this morning. And a Treecreeper by entrance. Up to 13 Little Egret reported in fields between Parkmill Farm and Thornbury Castle 'this year' (i.e. 2019).
16/1/19 – A Short-eared Owl hunting around the yacht club this afternoon. And 11 Yellowhammer and what looked like the Corn Bunting , on saltmarsh there.
Short-eared Owl and Snowdrops out in the wood by the lake.
15/1/19 – This morning, the ad male Black Redstart was taking cover from drizzle on NE side of buildings.
(Also, a POSSIBLE Hawfinch - flew from near lake to SW, only seen from behind and didn't appear to stop.)
Some late news. Yesterday at dawn, JS reported: 99 Curlew roosting at Pillhead Gout with another 87 feeding on Oldbury Sands. Also 250 Lapwing, 2 Oystercatcher and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit. 2 Peregrine flew over. Most of the Curlews and Lapwings flew to feed in fields, joined by about 2,000 Dunlin. All disturbed by a farmer and 2 dogs.
14/1/19 – A Black Redstart reported on Birdguides. AM's WeBS count, reported "pretty low counts. Few Curlew and NO Lapwing seen! Teal very low nos."
2,000 Dunlin, 12 Redshank, 19 Snipe, 45 Turnstone, 18 Curlew, 5 Grey Plover, 115 Wigeon, 14 Teal, 1 Short-eared Owl and c12 Yellowhammer in bushes just before Windbound, with Linnets and Reed Buntings (none seen at Yacht Club or fallow field).
4 Rock Pipit gave me the run-around by the yacht club. AM reported an OPS record count of 22 Great Tit !
11/1/19 – The 2 Black Redstart were by the jetty this afternoon. And a Siskin over the lake, calling. AM also reported in morning: 4+ Yellowhammer, 5 Grey Plover, 20 Redshank, 230 Dunlin and 45 Turnstone.
fem/1st-w Black Redstart.
10/1/19 – A Black Redstart reported on Birdguides and 6+ Stonechat reported by @Lisegirl1. The Corn Bunting still with 9+ Yellowhammer in fallow field nearest yacht club. A Treecreeper in wood by lake, with Long-tailed Tit flock. (OPS year-list = 85 species.)
9/1/19 – The 2 Black Redstart were both in same places as yesterday (although a 1st-w was later on the jetty, before it flew to roofs again). Kestrel and Buzzard seen today, bringing OPS year-list to 84 species - 2nd best January, behind 90 species in Jan 2016.
3 of 4 Roe Deer seen in a field.
8/1/19 – Both the fem/1st-w and the adult male Black Redstart were on the SW side of the power station buildings this morning in the bright winter sun. And 1+ Lesser Redpoll heard on Lagoon 2, "Did-it". (Also a probable Water Pipit by Waterworks outfall, just from flight-call.)
7/1/19 – At Pillhead Gout, at dawn (High Tide): 1 Brent Goose (Dark-bellied), 2 Bar-tailed Godwit with 100+ Curlew, c35 Canada Goose, 12 Oystercatcher, c1,000 Dunlin and c300 Lapwing. 8 Little Egret flew inland from fields by Littleton Brickpits. (80 species at OPS this year. Still missing Buzzard, Kestrel, House Sparrow !)
6/1/19 – CL reported the Short-eared Owl hunting fields between Lagoon 3 and yacht club again, 2:45-3:15pm.
5/1/19 – The Short-eared Owl was hunting between Lagoon 3 and yacht club again, and the first Green Woodpecker of the year heard 'yaffling'. (78 species at OPS.) MB reported 2+ Yellowhammer in hedge by yacht club still. The Mute Swan pair have left the lake (yesterday). There was a small murmuration of c300 Starling, with another c500 over to SW.
4/1/19 – The adult male Black Redstart again, briefly, on building by Jetty, the Short-eared Owl was hunting fields and shore between Lagoon 3 and yacht club from 3:45pm to dusk, and c3,000 gulls in the roost on the Tidal Res., inc. c2,000 Black-headed Gull and 500+ Common Gull. Also 2 Roe Deer. (Strangely no Starlings seen up to 4:15pm when I left. But it was a light sunset, so may be came in later?)
3/1/19 – AM/MP reported, in afternoon: fem/juv Black Redstart on Jetty (2:10pm). So there are still TWO different ones here.
1 Bar-tailed Godwit (Oldbury Pill), c3,000 Starling, c2,000 Black-headed Gull, c250 Common Gull, c3,000 Dunlin, c500 Lapwing, 2 Stonechat, Sparrowhawk (hunting in the Orchard), 2 Peregrine (pylons by entrance),
2 Ringed Plover (Shepperdine) and 67 Teal.
This morning, 42 Golden Plover circling around high, with c300 Lapwing upriver of The Windbound (viewed distantly from Shepperdine). 6 Grey Plover still at Shepperdine. 25 Skylark and a Pheasant in fallow field. c3 Yellowhammer still in hedge near yacht club. A pair of Raven calling and displaying and now 4 Coot on lake. 77 species at OPS this year.
Catkins, Lagoon 3.
2/1/19 – At 3pm the largest ever flock (45) of Greylag Goose at OPS flew low upriver, honking.
And a female Pochard on the lake is the first since Nov 2015. About 1,000 Starling performed again over Lagoon 3, with another 1,000 going straight into roost.
The male Black Redstart was reported again on the jetty, by KB.
That's 71 species now at OPS, and I am yet to see : Buzzard, Kestrel, Pheasant, House Sparrow, Green Woodpecker, Little Egret, Raven, Ringed Plover or Sparrowhawk !
At The Windbound were 5 Yellowhammer and a Stonechat.
1/1/19 – Wow, what a start to the year !! 65 species already. Late afternoon, I found a Merlin flying from Lagoon 3 out over the estuary. It started diving and chasing several of the c150 Pied Wagtails coming into roost on the jetty. A spectacular end to a special day was created by a murmuration of c2,000 Starling over Lagoon 3 from 4-4:15pm, when a Tawny Owl started hooting. (Some video of the murmuration.) The Corn Bunting is still in the hedge by the yacht club, with 12 Yellowhammer, as reported by MP/BO. Also 4 Stonechat, a Grey Wagtail and the 5 Grey Plover. The adult male Black Redstart was mobile around the buildings looking from the jetty, and at 4pm was on stony ground looking through blue gate from jetty. (A short video in poor light.) The Short-eared Owl was hunting the fallow field between Lagoon 3 and yacht club for 15+ minutes at 11:30am. Also, a Chiffchaff in the wood by the lake, a Mistle Thrush in the horse paddock to south of Lagoon 2 and 18 Bullfinch seen (inc. flock of 8 at south end Lagoon 2).
Corn Bunting photo by Ben Ofield and Yellowhammer by Matt Plenty - thanks guys !.