January to December 2020


2019 sightings

2018 sightings

2017 sightings

2004-2016 sightings

Annual species for last 10 years

A total of 149 species recorded at the site from all-comers in 2020 (worst year since 2014). (See 2020 Species for details.) With my personal total for the site in 2020 at 142 species (my worst total since 2014). The result of 293 visits (16 more than the previous most in 2019). Average number of species per visit = 42, which is the lowest since I started recording this in 2004. Highest was 51 in 2006, and it was 43 last year. The fall in this number is partly due to an increase in number of visits (from 109 in 2006), as it is difficult to record every species every visit, although I do try to do it.
Highest number of species in a day was 68 on 3rd Nov. (second time highest in year has been in Nov. - also in 2014). (68 is my equal 4th highest day-total at OPS.)

In contrast to the low species total, it was one of the best years in the last 15 for Unusual, Rare or Very Rare birds.
I added Tundra Bean Goose to my OPS list (bringing it to 198 species for me at OPS). This and Wryneck were added to the OPS list, and Common Redpoll was retrospectively added from 2009. The Total number of bird species recorded at OPS is now 230.

The commonest (for OPS) birds not seen this year were Jack Snipe and Great Skua (both seen 9 out of 10 previous years). The other relatively common birds not seen at the site were: Brent Goose (which is remarkable considering the other Goose species recorded this year - see below), Little Ringed Plover, Nuthatch, Pochard, Ruff and Water Pipit. (Little Owl now not seen for 8 years and no Little Stint for 4 years.)

The year started ok, with 86 species by end of January (3rd best Jan.), including 59 on the 1st day. But by end of March only 101 species had been seen by all-comers (and 97 by me), about 5 behind recent years, due to mild weather. Then a combination of Covid lockdown and a month of good weather (allowing birds to pass over and not drop down) killed April and May, by the end of which 124 species (119 for me) had been seen, about 12 behind an average year. Numbers recovered a bit with a good July and August, but autumn was very quiet, again due to a prolonged spell of settled weather allowing birds to fly on instead of drop into OPS. So, the total ended up about 5 species behind an average year.

The highlights through the year, were :
Jan - An Egyptian Goose over the lake, 2 Black Redstarts (ad male + fem-type), a Short-eared Owl, 2 Great Crested Grebe, a distant Goshawk, an adult fem. Marsh Harrier, 1+ Red Kite, c7,000 Starlings roosting and a Harbour Porpoise (unfortunately dead).
Feb - A Corn Bunting (probably same as last year in Jan/Feb), a Short-eared Owl, a male Marsh Harrier, 9+ Kittiwake upriver, a fem-type Black Redstart still and 4 canoes from the Wye Valley washed up in floods !
Mar - The Corn Bunting, Short-eared Owl and fem-type Black Redstart still; 2 distant Goshawk (first multiple sighting), 2 Coal Tit, a Little Gull upriver, an early Swallow and a Canada Goose on a nest. And a Hoopoe reported.
Apr - 7 (6&1) Sandwich Tern, 3 Little Gull and 3 (single) Arctic Skua upriver; a close encountered Goshawk; earliest ever Reed Warbler (7th), Yellow Wagtail (11th), Cuckoo (13th), Whinchat (17th) and Hobby (15th); 2 Barnacle Goose, a pair of Garganey, a late Black Redstart, a third Marsh Harrier (female), 7 Canada Goose goslings only lasted one day and a crazy Mallard nest !
May - 2 Greenshank, another Great Crested Grebe, a Hare, a Red Kite and the female Marsh Harrier again, 10 Sanderling and a Barn Owl reported.
Jun - 2 Great White Egret upriver (first multiple record), 3+ Crossbill over, a Kittiwake downriver, a Red Kite, 2 families of Cetti's Warbler, a Purple Hairstreak butterfly, an Eyed Hawkmoth and Scarlet Tiger Moth.
Jul - 5 Common Scoter downriver, juvenile Wheatear and Stonechat, a Red-legged Partridge heard, OPS record 15 Mistle Thrush, and a mad 22 Red-breasted Merganser.
Aug - A male Nightjar in the orchard, 4 Garganey reported, 3+ Green Sandpiper, a Curlew Sandpiper, a dead Gannet, a Grey Phalarope, 2+ Silver-washed Fritillary and a Brown Argus butterflies, plus a Small Red-eyed Damselfly.
Sep - Another Great White Egret, 3 Curlew Sandpipers, flocks of 6 & 4 Avocet, yet another 2 Great Crested Grebe, a Wryneck and an unusual record of a Kingfisher on the shore.
Oct - A S.Gloucs. record 20 Stonechat, a Manx Shearwater killed by a gull, a Bar-headed Goose, Bramblings, Common and Grey Seals.
Nov - A 1st-w Little Gull upriver, a record 1,600 Woodpigeon migrating, a late Wheatear (to 4th), a male Yellowhammer and 3+ (probably 4) Black Redstart.
Dec - 11 Tundra Bean Goose were seen intermittently for a week, 4 Whooper Swan on the estuary, 1+ Common Redpoll photographed, a Red-legged Partridge, 2 Yellowhammer and a Black Redstart still.


31/12/20 – A very icy morning; -4 Degs and both Lake and Lagoon 1 are 100% frozen. Just 5 Moorhen skating on the lake ! AM/MP reported: 800 Dunlin, 200 Lapwing, 180 Wigeon, 50 Teal, 12 Oystercatcher, 1 Grey Plover, 5 Snipe, 13 Shelduck, 50 Curlew, 7 Stonechat around the Yacht Club (and another pair by the jetty early am), 200 Redwing (lots more in the fields), 45 Fieldfare, 18 Blackbird (a lot more) and 24 Robin (a lot more).

      Frosty Yacht Club (photo by MP).


30/12/20 – An icy morning. The male still at Shepperdine with Wigeon flock. 3 Ringed Plover and a Grey Plover were on the seawall at HT. Lagoon 1 was partly frozen with a lot of ducks and waders on it. HE reported 4 Stonechat (pairs on Lagoons 2 & 3).

      Pintail and Grey Plover


      Velvet Shank - attractive fungus growing on a tree stump.


28/12/20 – 57 Canada Goose on Lagoon 1, 13 Bullfinch (inc. flock of 8 in hedge on Lagoon 3) and a pair of Stonechat by Lagoon 3 outfall.

      Snow on high ground of far side of est., but none at estuary level.


27/12/20 – Lagoon 1 still had good numbers on the flood first thing this morning: 53 Canada Goose, c70 Wigeon, c30 Teal and 10+ Curlew. And a herd of 5 Roe Deer - most I have seen together at OPS.


25/12/20 – A lovely male Pintail on the Tidal Res. at Shepperdine, on a crisp and frosty morning (-2 degs). On the floods of Lagoon 1: 68 Canada Goose, 50+ Wigeon, c30 Teal, 1+ Redshank and 10+ Curlew - try not to flush them !


24/12/20 – On a very flooded Lagoon 1 this morning: 7 Redshank and c10 Curlew. MP reported this afternoon, at yacht club: 2 Yellowhammer, 600 Dunlin, 250 Lapwing and 90 Curlew.
And AM reported: 2 Little Grebe (on the lake, sunbathing), 2 Coot (lake, feeding), 220 Wigeon, 48 Teal, 1 Stonechat (Lagoon 2), c115 Fieldfare (c50 in maize field, c65 back of the Orchard) and 3 Green Woodpecker.

      Lagoon 1 is looking good.


22/12/20 – MB reported 25+ Fieldfare in the orchard.


17/12/20 – I was sat watching the HT roost at Pillhead Gout this morning, containing: c500 Dunlin, c250 Lapwing, 50+ Curlew, c20 Redshank, 8 Grey Plover, 3 Ringed Plover and 2 Turnstone. But the roost was not settling. Looking down towards Littleton, I saw a juv./fem. Merlin chasing an isolated Dunlin low over the estuary. The Dunlin was circling ever tighter, until the Merlin could not go so tight, then it would zigzag and break away and try and get height above the Merlin. But this Merlin was cute to that and made sure it stayed higher. The intense aerial battle continued for a full 10 minutes, with the birds making their tangled way past me (within just 100 yards) and all the way down to the yacht club. There a flock of Dunlin were flushed and the loner tried to get back to the flock, but the Merlin was between them and managed to grab the Dunlin. An epic battle.

      Grey Plovers and Dunlin at Pillhead Gout over High Tide.


16/12/20 – Female-type Black Redstart again around jetty, and 16 Snipe on Lagoon 1, showing well, for Snipe.


15/12/20 – A juv. Peregrine flushed the HT roost at the yacht club this morning, containing: 7 Grey Plover, c250 Lapwing, 100+ Dunlin and c100 Black-headed Gull. And both Mistle Thrush and Song Thrush singing in the sun.


14/12/20 – Female-type Black Redstart still around jetty.

      Amazing colours on a Pheasant.


13/12/20 – A Black Redstart reported by birdguides on building near jetty.


12/12/20 – Approaching Lagoon 1 at 8:20am I flushed 10 noisy Curlew which were on the seawall (unusually), so wasn't expecting anything to be on the lagoon, but poking my head over the seawall, the 11 Tundra Bean Goose were looking at me ! I have put my head over that wall expectantly 100's of times to be disappointed, so I felt that I had to get a photo to commemorate this one time. Unfortunately the 30 seconds it took was enough to spook them and they flew. As they did, I heard their lovely soft calls for first time. A female-type Black Redstart still by the jetty seawall and 2 Stonechat reported there by MP. HE reported a flock of 9 Redpoll feeding near lake, with at least one looking like a Common Redpoll from photos (only recorded at OPS twice before) and the 2 Mute Swan on the estuary.

      Tundra Bean Geese and Common Redpoll (photo by HE.)


      Redpoll and Kestrel. (Photos by HE.)


11/12/20 – The 11 Tundra Bean Goose were reported flying in at 10:20am and landing in the field next to the maize stubble field, but never settling and flew to south after 15 mins.. (They are commuting between here and Slimbridge.) 2 female-type Black Redstart still (presumed fem at jetty and presumed 1st-w at waterworks). Also AM reported 3 Stonechat.


10/12/20 – Walking back to the road along the main rhine bridleway at 9:45am, the 44 Canada Goose that were in the maize stubble field all flew off just before I got to the field, so I was expecting it to be empty. But as I got to it and scanned, the 11 Tundra Bean Goose were in same place as on Saturday, at the far end of the field from the road, and just 50m from me. I very carefully got some photos and video and then turned back way I had come and took the long way round to the road. It only took 10 minutes, but they had flown in that time. (Probably scared off by gunfire coming from a couple of fields away.) A female-type Black Redstart was mobile between jetty and waterworks (presumed 1st-w male with light wing panel) and 2 Coal Tit in Lagoon 2 hedge.



8/12/20 – Scanning the estuary at 8:15am, from SW end of Lagoon 3, there are 4 Whooper Swan on the water just off the shore. Unfortunately, they were not happy with me (even though I was 300m away), and flew off downriver, but then went inland at Littleton and I lost them. But, when I was at the other (NE) end of Lagoon 3, scanning the towers for Redstarts, they came back into view flying back to the estuary ! They then flew low downriver (and were picked up flying past Severn Beach, and landing at Pilning Wetlands later). Some video in flight. (Largest group recorded at OPS. Last at OPS were 3 on 9/12/2017, before that Oct 2010, and only 2 other records.)
Also, a drake Shoveler in fresh plumage at Shepperdine.


7/12/20 – A single flock of 24 Long-tailed Tit along the main rhine. c200 Jackdaw and 3 Greylag Goose in maize stubble, and c235 Rook (35 over estuary to far side, c100 each in roosts at Jobsgreen Farm and by road).
AM's WeBS count: 1 Merlin (over maize field), 1 Little Grebe, 133 Wigeon, 49 Teal, 1 Gadwall, 1000 Dunlin, 550 Lapwing, 32 Snipe, 3 Greylag Goose, 52 Canada Goose, 1 Water Rail, 70 Turnstone, 21 Redshank, 15 Moorhen.

      An image created from snapshots taken from the video, to show all 11 Tundra Bean Geese.


6/12/20 – AM arrived at 8:10am, just in time to see all the Geese from the maize stubble field flushed by a dog-walker down the bridleway. About ten geese fly off SW (could have been the Beans), sixtyish fly off NW and later there was 63 Canada Goose on the Estuary with 3 Greylag Goose. Also a birder working at Jobsgreen chicken farm reports a Black Redstart there. And MS flushed a Red-legged Partridge from the field to NE of Lagoon 1. Also: 1 Chiffchaff, 15 Fieldfare, 20 Redwing, 60 Blackbird and 100 Pied Wagtail.
HE reported: a female Black Redstart near jetty, 4 Stonechat (2 pairs) and 2 Treecreeper.
Two Mistle Thrush seen (and one was singing again yesterday). A pair of Mute Swan are back on the lake, with the Coot, the male Gadwall, 3 Wigeon and a Teal.

      A couple of photos from yesterday - 2 Mistle Thrush and some of the 10 Greylags


5/12/20 – It has taken a while, but I found something good this morning. Rain overnight, and still spitting for an hour after dawn, I felt hopeful of finding something, but had already walked Lagoons 1, 2 & was going round Lagoon 3 at 9:15am, when a flock of geese circled around the maize field by the road (which has been good for all sorts of common birds recently). On checking them, they were 10 Greylag Goose (not that common here). On reaching the maize field gate by the road I found the Greylags and photo'd them, then started counting the Canada Goose flock. Scanning, I found a flock of what looked like 11 Pink-footed Goose at 9:30am, right at the far end of the field - what would be a new species for OPS, so quickly Tweeted it out. I then took some photos and video, and went back to counting the Canadas. But, as I got to the pink-feet, one of them walked into the open and showed very orange feet ! Rechecking the flock, it was 11 Bean Goose sp.. Then PT arrived (having been giving driving lessons to his daughter nearby !), and id'd them as Tundra Bean Goose, a new species for OPS and indeed South Gloucs.! And eleven of them ! After he left, I finally finished counting the 112 Canada Goose flock, and MP arrived, who used to find Bean Geese in his days up north, and also id'd them as Tundra. (There is a record of a Taiga Bean Goose for OPS/S.Gloucs. from 1998.) The bridleway next to this field is very popular, but luckily the only person down it was a single cyclist, and he didn't flush the geese. But at 10:20, a horse rider with 5 walkers and a dog were approaching the geese from the far end of the path, so MP and I walked down the path from our end to get a better view. As soon as the group got to the field, the Bean Geese flew and went off strongly to south. Videos of them on ground and in flight. A better video of them in the field. (PS. Initially I thought they were all adults, as all had similar bill patterns. But the book "Wildfowl" (by Madge & Burn) says juvs identified by being duller. Not checked in field, but in video, the mantle of 3 seem duller, so maybe mix of Ads + juvs..)


3/12/20 – A Water Rail running along path on Lagoon 3, and 5 Snipe flushed by 4 Roe Deer in fields. Also, yesterday, a Mistle Thrush was singing in trees on south side of Lagoon 3 !


2/12/20 – A female Black Redstart by the jetty late afternoon, and 2 Greylag Goose with 77 Canada Goose on the Tidal Res.. And some surprising flowers out around Lagoon 3 (latest flowering from id guides in brackets): Cowslip ! (Apr-May), Musk Mallow (Aug), Common Knapweed (Sept) and Devil's-bit Scabious (Sept).



1/12/20 – A Black Redstart on the SW-most building, in the sun this morning. And 5 Stonechat (pair x yacht club common, pair x Lagoon 3, 1 x weedy field by yacht club). Flooded Lagoon 1 held: 2 Snipe, 38 Lapwing, 23 Curlew and 5 Grey Heron.
AM reported from Pillhead Gout at HT: 2 Knot, 9 Grey Plover, c260 Curlew, c500 Dunlin and c170 Lapwing. Also 113 Wigeon and 79 Teal.


29/11/20 – The female Black Redstart on the seawall of the jetty again, a pair of Stonechat in the waterworks and a male Peregrine noisily stooping continuously on a juv. female by the towers.


28/11/20 – A female Black Redstart reported by BD on shore downriver of jetty.


27/11/20 – 2 Black Redstart (male and female) reported on Avonbirds.


26/11/20 – In freezing fog this morning, 2 female-type Black Redstart on the seawall by Lagoon 2 and a high count of 26 Long-tailed Tit, including a flock of 19 counted as they flew across the track up to Lagoon 3.


25/11/20 – CL reported 3+ Black Redstart this afternoon (A female-type around the outbuildings just south of the jetty, another fem-type on the jetty and finally a male and female-type at the waterworks.)

      Black Redstart on the jetty. (Photo by CL.)


      Redwing and a female Bullfinch eating an Ash-key. (Photos by CL.)


24/11/20 – A female Black Redstart again on the jetty in the morning, and one reported by MB 200 yards upriver in afternoon (3:30pm). JM reported 4+ Stonechat.

      Pair of Stonechats. (Photos by JM.)


23/11/20 – The 2 female-type Black Redstart again around the jetty area at midday. And 2 juvenile 'headstarted' Curlew from Slimbridge on Lagoon 1 (numbers 21 & 23). Also, c650 Dunlin at HT at yacht club, 110 Canada Goose on Tidal Res. and 3 Stonechat (pair x Lag 3, fem x Lag 2).


22/11/20 – A Chiffchaff along the bridleway to south of Lagoon 2 and 3 Water Rail calling (Lagoon 3).
AM reported: 2 Peregrine, 217 Curlew, 123 Dunlin, 244 Lapwing, 45 Turnstone, 11 Oystercatcher, 44 Wigeon, 24 Teal, 96 Canada Goose (in maize stubble field), 38 Redwing 23 Blackbird and 2 Lesser Redpoll with Goldfinch flock in SW corner of Lagoon 3.

      Fieldfare (plus Chaffinch).


20/11/20 – A female Black Redstart again on the seawall of the jetty this morning.


19/11/20 – Up to 3 Black Redstart reported by the jetty this afternoon.


18/11/20 – 2 fem-type Black Redstart by the jetty at 3:30pm with a pair of Stonechat and 100+ Pied Wagtail flew in to evening roost.


16/11/20 – 10 Grey Plover, 3 Ringed Plover, c100 Redshank and a juv. Peregrine at Pillhead Gout on a high HT.
Plus, AM's WeBS count: 3+ Black Redstart (ad male and 2+ fem-types) on shore between jetty and Lagoon 3, 570 Dunlin, 220 Lapwing, 55 Turnstone, 3 Snipe, 83 Mallard, 103 Wigeon, 1 Gadwall, 49 Canada Goose, 1 Little Grebe (lake), 1 Coot, 6 Stonechat and a Treecreeper.

      This Green Woodpecker in the paddocks near Oldbury village.


13/11/20 – c10 Fieldfare and c10 Redwing eating haws along the main rhine. 32 Lapwing roosting on Lagoon 1 at HT, and 20+ Meadow Pipit there.


12/11/20 – 1st-w Black Redstart reported by KH.


11/11/20 – 2 Black Redstart again on buildings near jetty 2-3:30pm (adult male and 1st-w male). Videos of ad and 1st-w. Also: 11 Grey Plover, 1 Knot, 10 Grey Heron roosting on Lagoon 1 and a flock of c350 Black-headed Gull that flew into the Tidal Res. at HT.



10/11/20 – 1+ fem-type Black Redstart on S/SW sides of Power Station in sun this morning. 12 Bullfinch, inc. 5 (3m, 2f) that flew from bushes on Lagoon 3, circled to gain height and flew high to NE, over top of towers. And 2 Siskin low over to SW. On Tidal Res. shore: 2 Knot, 6 Grey Plover and 150+ Dunlin. Also, 2 sparrow sp. flew into Lagoon 1 from high; unfortunately I got a good view when they landed - a pair of House Sparrow. Then, just after this, 3 more House Sparrow on Lagoon 2 (2m, 1f) - unusual here.


9/11/20 – 2+ Black Redstart on buildings near jetty 1:30-3:30pm (adult male and 1 or 2 female-types), with c30 Pied Wagtail and (unusually) c5 Meadow Pipit. A Peregrine was chasing c500 Dunlin and 150+ Lapwing around high over Pillhead Gout/Littleton. And 8 Snipe flying also.
AM also reported: 3 Stonechat, 60 Turnstone, 2 Grey Plover, 32 Curlew, 25 Teal, 58 Wigeon, 117 Mallard, 1 Gadwall and 8 Grey Heron.


8/11/20 – A male Black Redstart reported by BD on buildings on SW side of Power Station.


7/11/20 – This morning, in cold mist: a Yellowhammer in the hedge by the weedy field/yacht club (the 140th species for me at OPS this year and 146 for all-comers), and 2 Redpoll briefly there. A juv. Merlin landed on the jetty. A Siskin, c30 Chaffinch and a Brambling over to NE into slight breeze. Also, 3 Pintail on estuary and 2 male Gadwall on lake, with 47 Canada Goose. 70 Pied Wagtail reported on Avonbirds. MP reported: 12 Grey Plover at Pillhead Gout (photo of a Grey Plover with Dunlins by MP below).


6/11/20 – This morning, in freezing fog: a Kingfisher at the bridge by the Anchor Inn (Oldbury village), a Redpoll briefly in a tree by yacht club, a Siskin over, 6 Stonechat (but Wheatear not found) and 2 Little Grebe together on lake. Yacht Club/Pillhead Gout at HT: 14 Grey Plover, c300 Dunlin, 138 Lapwing (+35 at Shepperdine) and 5 Little Egret with cattle (+2 with cattle on Lagoon 1). A Black-tailed Godwit on shore by Lagoon 3.


4/11/20 – MH reported the late Wheatear again.


3/11/20 – A Wheatear this morning on shore by Lagoon 3 (rare in November, last at OPS in Nov 2011) and 11 Stonechat around still (2 pairs x yacht club, 2 x weedy field by yacht club, 3 together x Lag 3, pair x Shepperdine). 1 Redpoll and 1 Brambling at south end Lagoon 2 and a Speckled Wood butterfly. Also, the first Blackcap for a month or so, and 3 Water Rail heard on Lagoon 3/lake. 68 bird species - best this year.


2/11/20 – A 1st-winter Little Gull upriver at 7:35am (along near bank, and went right over my head), in high wind and heavy showers. A fem/juv Merlin flying around high-ish. A movement of some huge Woodpigeon flocks, SW along far side of estuary (over 1 mile away) and only visible when the sun came out. Flocks of 700, 500 & 200 seen, probably dodging round the heavy showers. Total count of 1,600+ (an OPS record, beating 380 from 2011)! Video of a flock of c500 here. Also a flock of 11 Skylark low downriver, and then high to south.


1/11/20 – AM reported from around yacht club in wind: 21 Grey Plover, 62 Lapwing, 69+ Redshank, 250 Dunlin, 220 Curlew (then flew inland at dawn), 31 Turnstone, 34 Wigeon, 2 Shelduck, 2 Stonechat. Plus a Little Grebe and a Gadwall on the lake.


30/10/20 – A Water Rail squealing from reedbed on shore by Lagoon 3 and 20+ Chaffinch feeding in maize stubble field.


29/10/20 – Pillhead Gout for the early morning tide: c150 Curlew, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Grey Plover, 2 Knot, c55 Lapwing and c200 Dunlin. Also 3 Stonechat (2 x yacht club, 1 inland) and 4 Chiffchaff (2 singing).

      Beefsteak fungus.


27/10/20 – A Treecreeper with a tit flock in Lagoon 2 hedge and 10 Grey Plover on shore at Shepperdine.

      Another photo by MP from yesterday, showing where the gold lies !


26/10/20 – MP reported: 3 Stonechat, a Merlin, a Peregrine and c300 Dunlin between Oldbury Pill and Pillhead Gout this afternoon.
A male Stonechat on way to yacht club still and 2 Rock Pipit at Lagoon 1 outfall.
AM reported: 1 Treecreeper (bridleway), 2 Grey Plover (Shepperdine), 120 Dunlin and 17 Common Gull.

      Stonechat (photo by MP).


25/10/20 – HE reported a pair of Stonechat at the yacht club.


22/10/20 – A Brambling calling from in/over the hedge on Lagoon 1. 2 juv. Mute Swan landed on the Tidal Res. this morning. Also, 150 Canada Goose (112 around the Tidal Res., and 38 on the maize stubble) and the male Gadwall still on the lake.


21/10/20 – 18 Grey Plover at Pillhead Gout over HT.


20/10/20 – A young Grey Seal very close in along the seawall by the corner of Lagoon 1 - video. And the only 'Conker Tree' I have found on-site - poking out of the brambles on Lagoon 2.


19/10/20 – 5 Stonechat still (pairs at yacht club + Lagoon 2, and 1 by Lagoon 3). Also, 2 Grey Wagtail over jetty, a Mistle Thrush in Oldbury village and 50+ Lapwing on ploughed field. On lake: 1 Little Grebe, 2 Teal and a male Gadwall. 3 Speckled Wood and a Small Copper butterflies, plus a Common Darter dragonfly still on the wing. A Hare again sat in a field.
AM's WeBS count: 108 Redshank, 360 Dunlin, 93 Curlew, 7 Grey Plover, 90 Turnstone, 50 Wigeon, 65 Canada Goose, 4 Snipe, 12 Grey Heron only 5 Teal and 52 Mallard. Also, 4 Roe Deer in the Maize stubble field by the road at dawn.


18/10/20 – @lisegirl1 reported a Common Seal.


17/10/20 – A high HT at Pillhead Gout this morning produced: 9 Grey Plover, 67 Redshank, 300+ Dunlin, 100+ Curlew (8 colour-rings read), 4 Ringed Plover, 1 Turnstone, 7 Oystercatcher, 1 Swallow, 1 Rock Pipit and 1 Wheatear. Also, a Kingfisher (Oldbury sluice first thing) and 82 Lapwing. On lake: 1 Little Grebe, 14 Moorhen and the Coot still.
AM reported: 3 Snipe (over), 212 Curlew (189 at Oldbury Pill), 44 Wigeon, 47 Canada Goose (25 in maize field, 22 on Estuary) and 74 Mallard.


16/10/20 – BD reported 50+ Fieldfare, a Stonechat and a Blackcap dust-bathing.


15/10/20 – Excellent visual migration again this morning, 7:30-11am (mainly to NE and E, into light breeze): 1 Brambling heard with 400+ Chaffinch (in flocks up to 30), 250+ Fieldfare (in flocks up to 80), 500+ Redwing (in flocks up to 220 and many more mixed Thrush flocks not counted), 45 Skylark (in flocks to 7), 700+ Starling (in flocks to 200), a flock of 200 Jackdaw high to SW, 2 Redpoll, 4 Siskin, 1 Mistle Thrush, 30 Linnet, 2 Snipe, 70 Lapwing (flew up from ploughed field) and a Golden Plover heard. 7+ Stonechat are still about (pair on Lagoon 3, rest around yacht club area). Also 4 Song Thrush together by ex-hide were probably migrants. 61 species, without trying - best this year.


13/10/20 – Good visual migration this morning, 7:30-10:15am (mainly to NE, into light breeze): 178 Fieldfare (in flocks up to 60), 440 Redwing (in flocks up to 70), 67 Chaffinch (a trickle all the time), 20 Meadow Pipit, 3 Greenfinch, 2 Redpoll (to SW), 1 Siskin, 2 Skylark, 2 Song Thrush, 5 Goldfinch, 1 Mistle Thrush (to W), 6 Raven (together, high) and 20 Linnet.


12/10/20 – 20+ Redwing feeding on Hawthorns in the rain this afternoon, and a Mistle Thrush.
This morning, AM reported: 65 Redwing (inc. 60 to NE at 9:20am, over lake) and 217 Curlew on Oldbury Sands at low tide.


10/10/20 – Some vismig: 24 Chaffinch and 2 Mistle Thrush over into W wind (a 3rd Mistle Thrush in hedge), 3 Redpoll, 1 Siskin.


8/10/20 – A covey of 17 Pheasant (a surprising record OPS count, beating 13 from 2011), at Jobsgreen Farm - probably released. And a Hare. Also a Bar-headed Goose with c170 Canada Goose on far side of estuary (i.e. Gloucs.).


6/10/20 – A Manx Shearwater was struggling to stay alive with a Great Black-backed Gull pecking it and holding it underwater. It took a few minutes for it to be killed, and then for the next 20+ minutes the Gull dismembered and ate it. A flock of c20 Common Gull alerted me to it, and flew above them the whole time.


5/10/20 – An OPS & S. Gloucs. record count of 20+ Stonechat ! 6+ x Lagoon 3, 9 x weedy field inland of yacht club, 2 x yacht club common, 3 x Paddocks near yacht club. 6 Wheatear (3 at yacht club/Pillhead Gout and 3 seen by AM around towers), 4 House Martin, 16 Swallow, 8 Goldcrest and 2 Rock Pipit (Shepperdine). Waders: 2 Grey Plover, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 18 Lapwing (Yacht club/Pillhead Gout) and c400 Dunlin (Shepperdine on falling tide).
AM also reported: 7 Chiffchaff (with assorted Tits along the bridleway), 1 Coal Tit, 1 Grey Wagtail (Waterworks), 6 Grey Heron (Lagoon 1), 2 Gadwall, 4 Teal and 32 Wigeon.


3/10/20 – 3 juv. Wheatear together on jetty in rain/wind, 4 House Martin and 2 Swallow.


1/10/20 – A nice crisp and sunny morning. An OPS record count of 18 Stonechat, inc. 15 in weedy field just inland of yacht club. And a Whinchat with them. At HT, between yacht club and Pillhead Gout: 1 Wheatear, 1 Mediterranean Gull, 3 Knot, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 180 Curlew, 14 Grey Plover and 2 Snipe. Also, 1 Redpoll low over to SW and 5 House Martin. AM also reported: 450 Dunlin (300 Yacht Club, 150 Shepperdine), 45 Redshank, 11 Lapwing, 10 Swallow and 9 Skylark.


30/9/20 – A Water Rail at the back of the lake this afternoon. Also, a Greylag Goose with the Canada's on the shore and 15+ House Martin.


29/9/20 – A Kingfisher flying around along the shore between Water Works outlet and jetty this morning. (Very unusual along the shore.) Vismig: 3 Redpoll (one of which landed on Lagoon 3), 3 Siskin, 3 Skylark, 1 Swallow and a possible Brambling heard call once. Also 6 Roe Deer today (3 does in maize field and 3 bucks on Lagoon 3) and c70 Turnstone on the green buoy.


28/9/20 – JS reported 4 Avocet at Pillhead Gout (3:40pm). Shepperdine over HT: 3 Curlew Sandpiper, 18 Grey Plover (3 on shore joined by a flock of 15 that flew in), c300 Dunlin, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Lapwing. Also 2 Pintail still and 10(!) Grey Heron on Tidal Res. wall.
AM also reported: 6 Fieldfare (over high to SW, earliest ever for OPS, beating 9th Oct 2018 & 2004 !), 1 Gadwall, 12 Wigeon, 2 Stonechat & 4 Swallow.

      The flock of Grey Plovers flying off and some on shore.


26/9/20 – A crisp and sunny morning. A bit of vismig early: 5 Siskin and 6 Skylark over to E. 3 Grey Plover on Tidal Res..


25/9/20 – At Shepperdine over HT: c325 Dunlin, 20 Ringed Plover, c55 Turnstone and 7 Curlew (two with coloured-rings: BGL (no rings now below knee on left) & BYW (just a W ring below knee on L). They have both been here since the winter of 2010/11 ! Also, the fem-type Pintail again, 15+ House Martin, 5+ Swallow and 4 Raven.


24/9/20 – 3 Curlew Sandpiper with c210 Dunlin and 5 Ringed Plover on the Tidal Res. shore this morning. Plus a fem-type Pintail there with Mallards. AM also reported: a Gadwall on the lake, 1 Wheatear, 5 Grey Heron (on Lagoon 1 at high tide) and 14 Swallow.



21/9/20 – At Shepperdine/Pillhead Gout over HT this morning: 3 juv. Curlew Sandpiper, 2+ Golden Plover (one on shore by yacht club flew, and later 2 flew over upriver), 1 Grey Plover, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Snipe, c5 Curlew, c280 Dunlin, c20 Ringed Plover. Also, 2 fem-type Pintail on Tidal Res., and a male Gadwall and 6 Wigeon on the lake at dawn. (Had a good search for the Wryneck, but no joy.) AM also had 2 Kingfisher on Oldbury Pill (at village bridge).


20/9/20 – MB reported a Wryneck by the metal gate next to the shore on Lagoon 3 at 3:15pm - a new species for OPS !


19/9/20 – Pillhead Gout over a high HT, this morning: 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Snipe, 3 Knot, just 3 (unringed) Curlew, c150 Dunlin, c25 Ringed Plover, 38 Redshank, 9 Lapwing. Also an adult-winter Mediterranean Gull over Lagoon 2 to estuary.

      Knot and Bar-tailed Godwit.


18/9/20 – AM's WeBS count this morning: 1 Gadwall, 4 Teal, 12 Wigeon, 1 Shelduck, 159 Mallard, 42 Curlew (38 at Pillhead Gout but flushed by walkers), 101 Dunlin, 18 Ringed Plover, 38 Redshank, 13 Lapwing, 45 Turnstone, 3 Little Egret, 1 Coot. Also: 1 Hobby, a pair of Sparrowhawk around the towers, 7 Wheatear, 3 Stonechat and 1 Whinchat.


17/9/20 – This morning, 9+ Stonechat (4 x Lag 3, 5+ x Lag3 to yacht club), 1 Whinchat and a Sedge Warbler. At Pillhead Gout over HT: a Golden Plover flying around calling, 1 Snipe, c25 Curlew and 2 Wheatear. Also a male Gadwall on the estuary and a Great Spotted Woodpecker migrating SW along the shore, watched at height of 150m fly from the 'squeaky gate' (between Lagoon 3 and yacht club), and go out of binocular view down towards Littleton !


16/9/20 – On this evening's HT at Shepperdine: 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 4 Knot, 100+ Dunlin, 2 Lapwing and a Stonechat.

      Curlew Sandpiper (left) with Dunlin - Photo by HE.


15/9/20 – This morning, a Kingfisher at Oldbury Pill sluice first thing, 2 Curlew Sandpiper with c120 Dunlin at Shepperdine, 4 Whinchat (2 x Lag 3, 2 x hedges to yacht club) and 5 Stonechat (2 x Lag 3, 2 x yacht club common, 1 x shore - thanks AM!). Vismig: 4 Siskin, 1 Redpoll and 2+ Grey Wagtail. Also a pair of Gadwall on the estuary and 33 Collared Dove at West End Farm.
64 species today - best this year (and quite a few common birds missed: Peregrine, Oystercatcher, no Mute Swan on lake).
AM also reported: 43 Redshank, 6 Lapwing, 3 Wheatear and 30 Meadow Pipit at Pillhead Gout/yacht club.


14/9/20 – Shepperdine before HT: 2 juv. Great Crested Grebe feeding on the Tidal Res. (video), 1+ Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Knot.


13/9/20 – HE reported 2 Whinchat on Lagoon 3 and a Kingfisher at Oldbury Pill in evening.

      Photo by HE.


12/9/20 – A Redpoll over, calling. 'Did-it'; yes it did ! And 27 Swallow over. All heading high to north, which is odd at this time of year in a Westerly breeze. Plus 8 Little Egret (5 downriver, probably from overnight roost). 2 possible Tree Pipit flew from ramp on Lagoon 3 to shrubs in middle, but not calling and not refound.


11/9/20 – Shepperdine at HT: 6 Avocet feeding avidly, 2 Curlew Sandpiper (2 seen by AM) & 2 Knot with c80 Dunlin and c30 Ringed Plover.


10/9/20 – A Red Kite preened in a tree at Shepperdine for 45minutes, joined by a pair of Raven. It flew off south at 9:15am. video. A Whinchat in the hedges on way to yacht club. At dawn there were 213 Canada Goose + 1 Greylag Goose on the Tidal Reservoir. (They must have finished their annual moult on the inland reservoirs.) Most flew to Littleton later. A Grey Wagtail and 2 Siskin over.


9/9/20 – HE reported 2 Kingfisher on Oldbury Pill sluice in the evening.

      Photo by HE.


8/9/20 – 2 Siskin in tree-tops just S of Lagoon 2, calling; then flew. A Black-tailed Godwit at Shepperdine, and a Coal Tit vocal in wood by lake. But generally very quiet.


7/9/20 – The Kingfisher again on Oldbury Pill sluice at HT and 8 Wheatear. And a Hobby through Lagoon 2 (alerted to by Swallows giving alarm call).


6/9/20 – AM/HE reported: 2 Redstart on Lagoon 2 (1 still by pond and another in middle of Lagoon), 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Stonechat, 12 Chaffinch and 3 Roe Deer (female and 2 youngsters feeding in the carpark meadow).


5/9/20 – Yacht club at HT: a Kingfisher on Oldbury Pill sluice again (estuary side), 4 Lapwing, 35 Redshank, 4 Wheatear and 2+ Yellow Wagtail with cattle. PC/BD reported a fem/juv Redstart on Lagoon 2 fence by pond.


4/9/20 – HE reported a Kingfisher on the sluice.


3/9/20 – The first 11 Wigeon of the autumn at Shepperdine and c300 Swallows there over a cow field in the rain. (I forgot to mention the Muntjac Deer seen very close on the path round Lagoon 2 yesterday.) AM reported 75 Turnstone.


2/9/20 – 2 Siskin over to SW, calling. House Martins and Swallows gathering on the towers.


1/9/20 – A Great White Egret flew from Littleton to the lake at 7:40am (video'd), where it seemed to come down, but not found in search. Then seen flying from lake, parallel to the main rhine. A Kingfisher was again on the lake at dawn - on the island, but not settled and flew around the lake calling. Plus a Redstart at outfall of Lagoon 2 and 2 Tree Pipit low over Lagoon 3 to NE. On estuary, at HT: 2 Snipe over, 10 Teal, 1 Shoveler. AM reported at yacht club: 52 Redshank, 8 Wheatear and 2 Stonechat.
60 species this morning - best this year (equal with 10th April).


31/8/20 – 2 Redstart flycatching along the bridleway to south of Lagoon 2, and a Lesser Whitethroat video'd on the path there. Also a Grey Wagtail over.


29/8/20 – HE reported: a Greenshank, a juv. Little Grebe (on Oldbury Pill and same/another? on lake), 1 Common Sandpiper and 36 Redshank.


28/8/20 – A Hobby low over Lagoon 2 this afternoon. 12 Wheatear (8 x yacht club, 3 x Shepperdine fence, 1 x jetty). Shepperdine at HT: c80 Ringed Plover, c20 Dunlin and 1 Knot.


27/8/20 – A Kingfisher flew from the main rhine towards the lake at 6:30am. And (bizarrely) a Spotted Flycatcher was on the rocky shore by Lagoon 1 with 2 Yellow Wagtail and Pied Wagtails. A lot of warblers with the tit-flocks this morning: 1 Garden Warbler (West side, Lagoon 3), 1 Redstart (SW corner, Lagoon 2), 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat, c20 Blackcap and c15 Chiffchaff.


26/8/20 – CL reported at midday, "a Grey Phalarope flying south right out mid-channel". And HE reported a fly-through Kingfisher.

      Wheatear (photo by CL).


25/8/20 – Seawatch from 11:30-3pm, during storm Francis only produced: 3 Arctic Tern (ad + juv downriver at 12 and a juv from high went upriver at 12:20), the body of the dead Gannet from yesterday floated upriver, 1 Knot and 1 Sand Martin downriver.

      The rotten old Willow tree came down in the wind. The farmer cut down the other tall one along the main rhine, so now none. 4 Red Admiral on the trunk.


      Cormorants on the crane on the jetty - don't usually roost here.


24/8/20 – A freshly dead Gannet on the seawall between jetty and waterworks. Pillhead Gout at HT: 2 Knot, c60 Dunlin, c150 Ringed Plover and 2 Turnstone. Also 14+ Blackcap and 2 Whitethroat on Lagoon 2. And a Common Seal out in the middle of the estuary at Shepperdine. A lovely Grass Snake, lying across the path on Lagoon 3. When disturbed, it rose its head up like a Cobra and hissed - intimidating if I didn't know what it was ! Also a Muntjac deer in the orchard and a surprise juv. Little Grebe on Oldbury Pill.

      Beautiful big Grass Snake.


      The Gannet - didn't know they had turquoise toes !


      And a Small Red-eyed Damselfly from yesterday.


23/8/20 – MP/AM WeBS count. At Pillhead Gout at HT: a Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Sanderling, 2 Knot, and 3 Mediterranean Gull. 26 Redshank, 35 Dunlin, 125 Ringed Plover, 28 Turnstone, 450 Black-headed Gull, 1 Hobby and 2 Little Egret. Also 6 Wheatear reported by HE.

      Photo of Knot and Sanderling by MP.


      Photo of Wheatear by HE.


22/8/20 – A male Nightjar reported by PC/BD this morning - in orchard just as you come through hedges from car park, roosting on floor under an apple tree strewn with cut debris and almost trod on it, so well camouflaged ! Wing tip spots were really obvious as it flew off low and totally silent. Then flew into the woods at back of orchard. Also 3 Green Sandpiper.
Good selection of waders at Pillhead Gout at HT: a juv. Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Sanderling, 2 Knot, 5 Common Sandpiper, 100+ Ringed Plover and 50+ Dunlin. One of the Dunlin has a yellow chromatic aberration - video. Also 2 adult winter Mediterranean Gull with 200+ Black-headed Gull before being flushed by canoeists - different, I suppose.

      Curlew Sandpiper.


      Sanderling and the 'yellow' Dunlin.



21/8/20 – No seabirds in 2 hours, despite quite high wind and a couple of showers going up the estuary. But a Green Sandpiper flying round lake, calling "doy, doy-doy", at 8:45am and a juv/fem Redstart by lagoon 3 outfall. A late brood of 3 small juv. Moorhen on the lake.
CL reported from Pillhead Gout, at high tide: 25+ Redshank, 91 Ringed Plover, 25+ Dunlin, 1 Knot and 1 Common Sandpiper. Also, 2 Green Sandpiper at the sluice, a Kingfisher up stream from the bridge by Anchor pub, 4 Wheatear and a Lesser Whitethroat.

      Photo of Knot by CL.


20/8/20 – Lovely sunny morning. 10 Yellow Wagtail flew in and landed on rocks under seawall by Lagoon 1 at 6:45am. Very mobile and flew off again after 5 mins. flitting about. (Plus another one at yacht club.) 14 Wheatear (7 x yacht club, 6 x Pillhead Gout, 1 x Lag 1). Pillhead Gout: A pair of Redstart in (usually birdless !) hedge, adult winter Mediterranean Gull with c80 Black-headed Gull in roost. Shepperdine: c70 Ringed Plover (44 of which presumed in roost at yacht club later) and c10 Dunlin. 2 Kingfisher on the same overhanging branch on Oldbury Pill (near sluice) ! On the lake, a juv. Teal and a small (newly fledged) Moorhen.


18/8/20 – In the evening, HE reported 4 Garganey on the lake (female and 3 juvs.). (OPS record count, beating 2 in 2011 and earlier this year!)
A juvenile Arctic Tern flying low downriver at 7:25am and diving to pick off surface, was with an adult 'Commic Tern' (probably Arctic, but flying a bit higher, and not seen as well). On the lake, a Grey Wagtail is unusual, and the Coot is back !! (Last seen 7th April.) Also, 5 large fish dead on surface, including a big Carp and a nice Perch. So water quality must be bad due to very low water level (and possibly too much weed). A recently fledged Reed Warbler was scrambling around the reeds on Lagoon 3.
AM reported, from yacht club/Pillhead Gout: 9 Wheatear, 9 Common Sandpiper, 112 Curlew, 45 Redshank, 4 Little Egret, 140 Linnet, 58 Swallow, 1 Yellow Wagtail and 1 Willow Warbler.



17/8/20 – The possible trumpeting call of a Crane heard in the fog this morning (but subsequently heard a farmyard Goose that could account for this !!), and a Tree Pipit over, calling. A Yellow Wagtail still around Lagoon 1. 21 Chiffchaff, 10 Robin, 3 Goldcrest and a Coal Tit with the roving tit flocks. A report of a Hoopoe in late March at the Shepperdine Riding School (i.e. paddocks to south of Lagoon 2), from the owner. Hopefully a photo to come.


16/8/20 – A Spotted Flycatcher and a male Redstart reported on Avonbirds.


15/8/20 – A Yellow Wagtail still with c20 Pied Wagtail on Lagoon 1. And 230+ Goldfinch counted in trees on Lagoon 3. (No Whitethroat seen or heard for last three days, so think the local ones have dispersed. To be replaced by migrants soon.) 4 Lapwing and 6 Little Egret reported on Avonbirds.


14/8/20 – In drizzle this afternoon, the earliest ever returning Golden Plover at OPS was at Pillhead Gout. And a Spotted Flycatcher in the (usually birdless) hedge there. On Tidal Res.: 2 adult Common Tern (downriver at 2pm), 2 juv Arctic Tern (fishing at 2:45pm), 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 39 Ringed Plover, 16 Dunlin and a juv. Yellow-legged Gull. Also, 3 Greylag Goose with the c60 Canada Goose. Videos of Spotted Flycatcher and Golden Plover.



12/8/20 – A flock of 22 (yes!) Cormorant flew low upriver at midday with the tide incoming, and landed on the Tidal Res. at Shepperdine, where they fished for 5 minutes before continuing low upriver. A couple of videos of them flying and fishing. (Also, 4 sat on navigation lights, and 26 is the largest count in last 15 years.) Also a Common Tern flying around and sat on water for long periods at Shepperdine.


10/8/20 – A Mute Swan sat on the mud of the Tidal Res.. But the one was still on the lake, so I wonder if they have had a fight ?


7/8/20 – 2 adult Mediterranean Gull in the HT roost at Pillhead Gout. AM reported 2+ Silver-washed Fritillary butterflies along the main rhine/bridleway.


6/8/20 – A Hobby again this morning, hunting Swallows at Pillhead Gout.


5/8/20 – A Hobby hunting low over fields and hedges at Shepperdine, and sat in a tree a few times.


4/8/20 – 2 Common Tern downriver at 7:35am. 5 Lesser Whitethroat and a singing Willow Warbler are new in; 4 Wheatear (3xPillhead Gout, 1xYacht club). HT at Pillhead Gout: 3+ Ringed Plover, 2+ Dunlin, 1 Common Sandpiper and 3 Lapwing. A juv. Teal on the lake (and yesterday). 10+ Mistle Thrush still on Lagoon 1 and 1+ Yellow Wagtail.


3/8/20 – This afternoon, a young Buzzard not long out of the nest and not very competent at flying, and even worse at landing ! And a Hare along the bridleway to south of Lagoon 2.
AM reported: a Kingfisher and 21 Redshank at Oldbury Pill; 3 Wheatear (Pillhead Gout), 600 Black-headed Gull, 4 Common Gull, 2 Stonechat and a Common Sandpiper (Yacht Club); 30 Pied Wagtail and 2 Yellow Wagtail on Lagoon 1, c30 Turnstone (Green Buoy) and 4 Little Egret.


      The meadow and the orchard are being cut at just the right time this year.


2/8/20 – A Brown Argus butterfly reported by MB on Lagoon 3.


1/8/20 – 4+ Yellow Wagtail with 40+ Pied Wagtail on Lagoon 1 with the cattle this morning, and Black-headed Gull '2N23' on the shore by Lagoon 3 (which was ringed at a nest in Slimbridge in 2010 - thanks JS).


131 species seen by me at OPS this year (134 for all-comers). The end of July averages for last 5 years are for 5 more species to have been seen. I had my best July ever at OPS for adding species to the year-list - 7 species added, compared with 1 to 4 usually. This is helped by the appalling Spring for species at OPS. By end of May I only had 119 species, compared with average over last 5 years of 133 by this time. That was partly due to the Covid restrictions, but also because of the month of extremely good weather, which allowed migrating birds to carry on flying without dropping down at OPS.


31/7/20 – This afternoon: a Common Tern on the Tidal Res. shore with Black-headed Gulls; a Yellow Wagtail on the saltmarsh by the jetty; 2+ Whimbrel on the estuary; 18 Redshank and c250 Black-headed Gull at the yacht club at HT; and c200 Starling feeding around the waterworks.


30/7/20 – Scanning the estuary with binoculars at 6:20am from near Lagoon 3, a flock of 22 quite large brownish birds are flying low towards me having just gone past the jetty. My first thought is Curlews coming out of roost, but these are flying a bit fast. I then start seeing white wing-flashes and think this is going to be the biggest flock of Gadwall I have seen fly past OPS. But their wings are strangely whirring. It is only as they are parallel with me and only 100m offshore that I see they are all Red-breasted Merganser ! With necks stretched out in front and long narrow bills. They are all 'redheads' with scruffy red-brown heads, and bodies a buff-brown/grey colour. (Possibly all juveniles.) I now panic a bit, and have a choice of going for my camera or telescope. Choosing the latter (as I want to make sure they are not Goosander), it takes 10-15 seconds to put up and I just see them flying directly away from me and they are so low and near that they are lost below the near bank of the estuary. Some were gliding with straight wings (like Cormorants in a flying flock), and I am hoping they have gone down at the mouth of Oldbury Pill, by the yacht club, as I don't see them again. I checked Oldbury Pill, but not there. They were only viewable for 1 minute in total. (This is the first July record and highest count for S.Gloucs. - thebirdsofsouthgloucestershire.) I disturbed a Kingfisher from Oldbury Pill sluice, and a Common Sandpiper there. Also: the Redstart still at Lagoon 1 outfall, 1+ Yellow Wagtail with the cows, and yet another odd July record; a Rock Pipit on the seawall.


28/7/20 – A Garden Warbler was with a mass of other small birds along the main rhine, including a Lesser Whitethroat, a juv. Willow Warbler, c10 Blackcap, 2 juv. Bullfinch, 2 Reed Warbler, 5+ Chiffchaff and tits. Still on Lagoon 1 were: the juv/fem Redstart, 3+ Yellow Wagtail with c20 Pied Wagtail and 14 Mistle Thrush. And 1 Whimbrel on the estuary early morning.

      The Garden Warbler, and a patch of Field Scabious on Lagoon 3.


25/7/20 – A juv/fem Redstart again by Lagoon 1 outfall, 2 Yellow Wagtail there with c20 Pied Wagtail, and a Little Egret with 3 Grey Heron in HT roost. An adult Stonechat on the Shepperdine fence and 6 adult Dunlin there. AM counted 13 Mistle Thrush.


24/7/20 – 15 Mistle Thrush on Lagoon 1! (OPS record count, beating 13 from 2017.) And 3+ juv. Yellow Wagtail with the cows there, along with 20+ Pied Wagtail. And a nice yellow juv. Willow Warbler at south end of Lagoon 2. Approaching HT only produced 4 adult Dunlin and a Redshank.


22/7/20 – A Sand Martin perched on wires with Swallows.


21/7/20 – A Red-legged Partridge calling from near Lagoon 3 at 6am and 10 Greylag Goose (inc. 4 juvs with less bright orange bills) flew upriver at 7am. A juv/fem Wheatear on Lagoon 1 seawall, and 5 Mistle Thrush there. HT at Shepperdine produced: 1 Whimbrel, 11 Dunlin, 11 Turnstone and 1 Redshank.

      This nice white form of Musk Mallow on Lagoon 3.


18/7/20 – A different juv/fem Wheatear at the yacht club this morning, and 3 Common Sandpiper. Surviving, well-grown broods of Shelduck number 9,6 & 5, plus 6 small ones. Plus 3 Lapwing on Oldbury cricket pitch (and later on Pill).


17/7/20 – This juvenile Stonechat by Lagoon 1 outlet pipe and the family of 4 Mistle Thrush still there. And 10 Oystercatcher at Shepperdine.


16/7/20 – An adult Stonechat in the weedy field just inland of yacht club. LP reported yesterday: a female Southern Hawker dragonfly "was oviposting on the bench pond (by Lagoon 2); she landed on a thick chunk of floating reed, and with her abdomen underwater and her wings vibrating strongly, she and her 'vessel' were pushed forward through the water! - a mixture of wings beating but also catching the wind."

      A couple of interesting photos of a Fox and a Speckled Wood butterfly.


15/7/20 – A juv Wheatear at Pillhead Gout and c300 Black-headed Gull in HT roost there, inc. white ring '27H1' which was also here in August 2019 (and 2013 & 2014; ringed at Cerney Wick, Gloucs., in 2012). Plus an adult Common Gull and the Slimbridge 'headstart' Curlew number '23'.




14/7/20 – This morning, a Whinchat by Lagoon 2 outfall and a juv. Stonechat on shore fence of Lagoon 1. Also 8 Whitethroat along the fence and a family group of 3 Lesser Whitethroat in hedge between Lagoons 1 & 2.


13/7/20 – 5 Common Scoter (3 ad m, 2 fem/juv) flew low and fast down the middle of the river at 12:12pm as the tide was coming in. video. (Second biggest flock ever at OPS, after 8 in July 2018.) Also 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Dunlin and a lone Turnstone on the green buoy. And 4 Mistle Thrush still on Lagoon 1.


      Nice photo of a Holly Blue by CL, from 10th July.


11/7/20 – A juv (or fem) Redstart mobile around the outfall area of Lagoon 1, and a possible Spotted Flycatcher there. Plus 3 Mistle Thrush there, and a Sand Martin over the lake. The first returning Turnstone reported on the green buoy by Thomas@gardenbirder1.

      A couple of shots of the Redstart.


      Mistle Thrush.


10/7/20 – A Muntjac Deer again, this time on path round Lagoon. Loads of birds this morning in the bushes on far side of the main rhine, in the sun. 10+ Blackcap (mainly juvs.), 10 Dunnock, plus lots of juv. Whitethroat and Chiffchaff, a couple of tit flocks, 1 Bullfinch, 1 Reed Bunting and 1 House Sparrow. Apair of Sedge Warbler were busy feeding three fledgelings on Lagoon 3. A 'headstarted' Curlew from Slimbridge was on the shore (but unable to read number on ring). 2 Siskin over to N. And it looks like there are going to be NO Tufted Duck young this year on the lake. So I have had a look back at the breeding records for this species at OPS, since the first brood in 1998:


No. pairs

No. of broods

No. hatched

No. survived

First duckling

     Last juvs noted











































































































1 or 0









































7/7/20 – A Tawny Owl seen early morning, flying across track to Lagoon 3, chased by mob of noisy Blackbirds. And a probable Sandwich Tern high over the towers heading upriver (but couldn't get 'scope on it before lost to view).

      A Sparrowhawk sat on top of the towers, unusually. And a Muntjac Deer.


      Marsh Woundwort is flowering nicely on the small saltmarsh by the jetty.


6/7/20 – AM's WeBS count: 11 Common Sandpiper (between Lagoon 3 and Pillhead Gout), 2 Lapwing (Shepperdine), 7 Redshank (Yacht Club), 54 Canada Goose, 60 Mallard, a Red Kite (drifted from Lagoon 3 to SW), 3 Mistle Thrush (Orchard), 4 Green Woodpecker (in Orchard, including 3 juvs.) and 166 Black-headed Gull (but only one juv.).


4/7/20 – A Lapwing feeding in a field at Shepperdine this morning.

      A Swallow-tailed Moth along shore.


      A couple of nice photos by CL of Ringlet and Red Admiral.


3/7/20 – A Bar-tailed Godwit in full summer plumage in morning HT roost at Pillhead Gout. It is the earliest OPS date for this species' return from breeding by over a month, beating 7th Aug 2010 ! Also a Common Sandpiper and 3 Redshank at the yacht club.

      The photo on the right below shows the size of a Great Black-backed Gull compared with Canada Geese !


      And some late news of a Red Kite photo'd by JM on 15th June over Lagoon 3, and seen other dates that week, inc. on 12th in the orchard and around Lagoon 2.


30/6/20 – An adult Kittiwake flying slowly downriver at 5:45am into a stiff breeze. And 1+ Whimbrel in amongst c15 Curlew in small flocks going downriver at first light.

      Some unusually pink fresh Yarrow flowers.


29/6/20 – No luck in 3 hours seawatch to 3pm. But a surprise juvenile Stonechat on the fence at Shepperdine. Walking back to the car, had much better luck - this Purple Hairstreak butterfly sat on the path from Lagoon 3 (not Lag 2 - tweet incorrect!) to the road ! Also, the broods of 7 & 5 Shelduck still intact at Shepperdine.


26/6/20 – A noisy flock of 3+ Crossbill flew over to North at 11:50am. And 175+ Black-headed Gull in the HT roost at Pillhead Gout, but the only waders were 2 Oystercatcher and 2 Curlew.

      The Knapweed in the meadow is starting to look spectacular, and 40 Canada Goose are moulting on the estuary.


25/6/20 – 2 Great White Egret flying upriver over the Tidal Res., early morning. (First multiple OPS record.) Video. Also, a pair of Tawny Owl calling to each other and 2 Mistle Thrush flew from Lagoon 1 trees towards Shepperdine.


23/6/20 – The 2 Little Grebe on the lake this morning. And at Pillhead Gout over High Tide: 60+ Black-headed Gull, 6 Curlew, 2 Oystercatcher and 2 Raven let me get close to them.


22/6/20 – Plenty of life in the cow pats on Lagoon 1 ! Small Dung Beetle (Aphodiini quadrimaculatus, I think) and red and black predatory beetle (Paederus littoralis). Semaphore Flies in muddy puddles. And a nice patch of Water Figwort on Lagoon 3. Also, 4 Marbled White butterflies and a Mistle Thrush right at the top of a tall pylon?!



21/6/20 – Some lovely images of Essex Skipper (note black ends to antennae), and Marbled White butterflies. (Photos by CL.)


18/6/20 – 20 Black-headed Gull on the shore, inc. the first juv., and c20 Pied Wagtail on Lagoon 1. Broods of 6 and 7 Mallard on the lake.


13/6/20 – 5 Cetti's Warbler on Lagoon 3; a juv. calling 'chet' continuously, with an adult singing nearby. And another 2 juvs. calling together with an adult flitting about.


11/6/20 – Broods: 7 & 5 Shelduck, 4 & 1 Moorhen, 6 & 3 Mallard.

      Superb display of Pyramidal Orchid on the estuary slope of Lagoon 2, and an unusual view of Bullfinch.


9/6/20 – 16 Blue Tit in 4 family groups reported by BOC, and 12 Song Thrush reported in June.


8/6/20 – AM reported a Little Grebe still on the lake. Staying on the moth theme, a lovely Scarlet Tiger Moth with bright red underwings was flying around the small reedbed just above the pond on Lagoon 2 for 10+ minutes this afternoon. (But it refused to come close enough to photo!) Also 26 Tortoishell, 4 Marbled White and 2 Large Skipper (photo below) butterflies around the site.


7/6/20 – @Lisegirl1 reported this Eyed Hawkmoth in the orchard. That is the 759th species recorded at OPS ! 244 Birds (inc. 17 introduced), 123 Animals (inc. Fish), 138 Insects (inc. Spiders and Worms) and 254 Plants. And we have only been listing the Insects and Flowers since 2018, so still lots to find.


MP recorded this Sedge Warbler singing from Lagoon 3 on 8th May - worth a watch and listen. Video


5/6/20 – This morning, c180 Rook and c80 Carrion Crow on the muck-spread field near Lagoon 3. This is my highest ever summer count of Rooks. All higher counts were in winter (i.e. Dec to Feb). Also 2 Ringed Plover on the seawall by Lagoon 2.

      Here are c250 of the corvids.


4/6/20 – The Cuckoo still calling on and off from Lagoon 3, a juv. Lesser Whitethroat at Lagoon 1 outfall and c120 Rook (inc. many noisy juvs. with black bills) plus c70 Carrion Crow on newly muck-spread field near Lagoon 2. On the lake, a Mute Swan and 3 broods of Moorhen(5, 3+ and 1+).

      Loads of Southern Marsh Orchid (unspotted leaves, round lobes with small tooth, darker pink spots) and Common Spotted Orchid (spotted leaves, three fairly equal lobes, darker pink dashes and lines), plus hybrids of two, on Lagoon 2.


2/6/20 – MP reported: 13 Reed Warbler, 4 Oystercatcher, 3 Green Woodpecker and 2 Ringed Plover.


1/6/20 – One adult Mute Swan with 5 small cygnets on the Tidal Res.. A Marbled White butterfly on Lagoon 1.


30/5/20 – 3 adult Little Grebe together on the lake (highest count since 4 in 2014) and 3 Mistle Thrush in Lagoon 1 trees, briefly, were probably a family group. The Cuckoo still calling from Lagoon 3. 64 spikes of Bee Orchid on Lagoon 1. (Just 7 Reed Warbler singing around the site, including just one from the main reedbed on Lagoon 2 - due to the dryness.)


29/5/20 – A Cuckoo reported by MS calling this afternoon. The first 10 Shelduck ducklings on the Tidal Res. and first noisy Linnet family on Lagoon 2. A pair of Little Grebe still being secretive on the lake. Plus 5 Bee Orchid and a Large Skipper butterfly.


      A pair of Damsel Flies and a Tortoishell - MP counted 25+ (photos by CL - thanks.).


28/5/20 – A Grey Seal eating a flatfish near the shore off Lagoon 3 - video. On the lake: a Gadwall, 2 families of Moorhen (5 + 4 juvs) and 3 families of Mallard (11 new, 4 small and 2 well-grown juvs).


27/5/20 – The rather odd sight of a pair of Mute Swan with 5 small cygnets on the Tidal Res. - wonder where they came from ?! The Canada Goose family with 8 juvs. are still at yacht club. And the Cuckoo still calling.


26/5/20 – 10 Sanderling (found by AM - thanks !) on the shore by Lagoon 2 at HT. And a Barn Owl reported on the yacht club common last week and regularly before that in late evenings. Also a Little Grebe on the lake.


      Lagoon 3 has a mass of Oxeye Daisies along the path (thanks to scrub being cut back by OPS grounds maint.) and Lagoon 1 has the white cattle on it.


      A Dunnock that has just left the nest and was calling continuously.


22/5/20 – A Hobby, 7 Swallow and 2 Sand Martin struggling across estuary in strong W wind. AM reported a Lapwing at Pillhead Gout and RL reported a Hummingbird Hawkmoth by the pond next to Lagoon 2.


20/5/20 – A Cuckoo calling from Lagoon 3. (Last heard on 9th.)


18/5/20 – Adult feeding juv. Coal Tit in small wood on mound in SW corner of Lagoon 2. (Looking back at my records they first bred on-site in 2017 and have bred every year since. But they were also regularly seen in 2016 & 2015. In the 11 years before that, back to 2004, I only had 5 records of single birds !) Some video of a bird begging, giving high-pitched calls, but also an adult calling 'teea'.


17/5/20 – The first Moorhen chicks on the lake.


16/5/20 – The Little Grebe was doing its 'trilling' call on the lake and 3 Roe Deer still around. A Whimbrel with 2 Curlew at Shepperdine was only sign of any migration. AM reported 15 Ringed Plover at Shepperdine over HT.


15/5/20 – MP reported the Peregrine low on the nest ledge and a pair of Oystercatcher mating. MS confirmed the Whitethroat eggs (from photo on 9th) have hatched.

      Photos by MS and MP - thanks !


14/5/20 – A pair of Little Grebe on the lake, with a Mute Swan. 30 Stock Dove feeding on newly ploughed (and probably seeded) field by yacht club. And a pair of Canada Goose with 8 gosling on the estuary.


13/5/20 – A Red Kite flew low (virtually over my head !) to NE along the shore at Shepperdine at 1pm. And a female-type Marsh Harrier reported by BD, rose up from Lagoon 3 and flew inland. (And also reported on 11th.) Very quiet over the High Tide on the estuary, just: 1 Mute Swan (upriver), 7 Black-headed Gull and 1 Oystercatcher (the only wader).
(NB. Another Red Kite was reported along the road between Thornbury and OPS 'in last 2 weeks'.)

      LP has emailed to say she found these Water Rail feathers on what looked like a raptor kill along the bridleway to the shore ! (Most probably a Peregrine night-time kill on a very late migrant, on 11th.)



 ----- Coronavirus Lockdown ended -----


12/5/20 – 55 Stock Dove feeding in newly ploughed field by yacht club. The pair of Little Grebe on the lake, giving 'trilling' calls.


9/5/20 – The Cuckoo reported by MS singing in the evening. MS (@mattscottphotos) found and photographed nests of Whitethroat and Song Thrush, and also recorded the Cuckoo singing in the evening.


8/5/20 – A pair of Little Grebe nest building on the lake. The Canada Goose pair with 8 goslings were on the estuary today. The Cuckoo still singing and a Siskin over. 32 Stock Dove reported in ploughed field near yacht club. Also a nice male Wheatear, posed for a photo.



7/5/20 – The 2 Greenshank still on shore between Lagoon 3 and yacht club this morning, then flew to Pillhead Gout as tide came in. Also, 3 Common Sandpiper, 12 Grey Plover, 40 Dunlin, 18 Ringed Plover, 5 Whimbrel, 6 Yellow Wagtail over to NE and the Hare in ploughed field behind yacht club. A large Salmon was leaping in the estuary.




6/5/20 – 2 Greenshank on shore between Lagoon 3 and yacht club as tide coming in this evening, a Great Crested Grebe at HT on Tidal Res. and a Hare in ploughed field between Lagoon 3 and yacht club. Plus the Cuckoo still calling and a Mistle Thrush in the paddocks to S of Lagoon 2. And the female Peregrine was on the towers with a fresh kill (Crow sp.), with the male begging loudly right next to her. She was 'mantling', holding wings out and crouching over the kill to stop the male nicking it ! Video of it. Also reported at Pillhead Gout: 1 Whinchat, 8 Whimbrel, 100 Dunlin and 27 Ringed Plover.


 Hare and Blue Azure Damselfly.



5/5/20 – The vismig continued this morning into a cold E wind: 13 Grey Plover highish upriver, c100 Dunlin, c30 Ringed Plover and 2 Whimbrel on shore; 35 House Martin (inc. flock of 25), c40 Swallow, c20 Sand Martin and c15 Swift low upriver. A pair of Canada Goose with 8 small gosling at Oldbury Pill sluice and the Cuckoo is still calling.


4/5/20 – Good visual migration late afternoon into E wind, while watching tide come in: 42 Grey Plover flew highish upriver (14 + 28); c180 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plover and 3 Whimbrel on shore; and c70 Swallow and 50+ Sand Martin in continuous movement upriver, but only 2 House Martin. Also 35 Swift low upriver and 2 Yellow Wagtail to NE.


3/5/20 – A pair of Gadwall on the estuary then on the lake. In a newly ploughed field by yacht club, c90 Woodpigeon and c25 Stock Dove feeding.


2/5/20 – Best count this year of 9 Lesser Whitethroat (7 singing), and 2 singing Meadow Pipit are the first here since 2017. c100 Herring Gull and c40 Lesser Black-backed Gull, mainly immatures, loafing on the sandbanks. 3 Wheatear and 4 Whimbrel.


1/5/20 – A Willow Warbler still singing on Lagoon 2. MS found and photographed the nest of a Linnet.


29/4/20 – A pair of Grey Wagtail by the waterworks and a pair of Sparrowhawk displaying, with slow wing-beat flights. The Mallard nest was empty of eggs.


28/4/20 – In continuous rain this morning, a Cuckoo heard and seen at SW end of Lagoon 3, and a flock of 25 Bar-tailed Godwit flew high downriver, then turned and thought about landing on shore, before flying back up river. The Mallard is still on the nest.


27/4/20 – The female Mallard was back on the nest by the jetty ! 20+ Whimbrel at yacht club.


25/4/20 – An Arctic Skua low upriver - it had a lighter brown body and no black cap, so an immature I think. But same dark brown wings and long thin tail as adult. The Cuckoo calling on Lagoon 3 and then later on Lagoon 1/2 (may be two ?). 3 Whimbrel at the yacht club over HT. The trilling call of a Little Grebe heard on the lake. And a dog-walker showed me a Mallard nest in a most bizarre place - under the pipe on the seawall by the jetty ! It has 10 eggs in it. The female was on it yesterday, but no sign today. Also reported: the female Black Redstart on the jetty again, but may be sick, as seemed very confiding. And another 8 Whimbrel at Shepperdine.


24/4/20 – A Cuckoo calling on Lagoon 3, and a Tree Pipit there on ground and in bushes - tail bobbing when perched. At yacht club over HT: 11 Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin and 11 Bar-tailed Godwit. 15+ Reed Warbler, 10 Sedge Warbler, 8 Lesser Whitethroat and 7 Whitethroat singing around the site.


23/4/20 – A female Marsh Harrier flying upriver, then quartered Lagoon 3, where it stayed for half hour before flying off highish inland to East. At Shepperdine over HT: 22 Whimbrel, 8 Dunlin, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit. And a Little Grebe on the lake in breeding plumage. (The goslings and adult Canada Geese have all disappeared from the lake.)


 Grey-patched and Orange-tailed Mining bees. (And a Small Heath butterfly seen.) (Photos by MP.)


22/4/20 – A Cuckoo calling from Lagoon 1 and the first Swift over to NE. Plus, The Canada Goose pair have 7 goslings after the female sat on the nest for 30 days.


21/4/20 – The male Garganey still feeding on the lake this morning.


20/4/20 – A male Garganey reported on the lake. Also, at Shepperdine: 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Whimbrel, 20 Ringed Plover, 52 Dunlin (inc. 10 and 7 up-river) and 2 Grey Plover.


19/4/20 – Good wader migration over the High Tide in NE wind this evening. At 5:40pm a flock containing 22 Whimbrel, 9 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Curlew went highish upriver, then 5 minutes later a flock of 50 small waders flew over the near shore upriver, containing 20+ Ringed Plover and 20+ Dunlin and 1 probable Turnstone. And 10 minutes later a flock containing 3 Whimbrel, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and 10 Curlew went highish upriver. Then at 6:15pm a Short-eared Owl was flushed from Lagoon 1 and flew around the fields to NE of here. And at 6:50pm it flew out over the estuary and went low right over to the far side. Earlier, a Red Kite was inland of the yacht club, seen from Lagoon 3.

 Egg shells of a Blackbird (left) and Song Thrush (right) found recently on Lagoon 3.


 And a Red Mason Bee on the outfall of Lagoon 1.


18/4/20 – A Common Sandpiper by the jetty and 33 Swallow to NE, in rain. A dark morph Arctic Skua went upriver low over Tidal Res. at 5pm. c20 Yellow Wagtail, 2+ 'White' Wagtail and c10 Pied Wagtail on a re-wetted Lagoon 1 after rain. And 50+ Swallow, 7 House Martin and 1 Sand Martin feeding up.


17/4/20 – The earliest ever Whinchat at OPS (beating 20th April in years 2008, 2015 & 2019 !), 4 Wheatear and 5 Whitethroat were reported this morning. Also 26 Wren and 16 Robin. 5 Arctic Tern and 2 Whimbrel reported upriver at 2:45pm. Also this afternoon, over HT: 2 Knot, 18 Ringed Plover, 5 Dunlin and 1 Grey Plover.


16/4/20 – A Tree Pipit flew low to NE, calling, at 7am. And a lovely pair of Garganey feeding on the lake until at least 8am. (Last record in 2017 on shore, and 2013 for lake.)Video of them. Also, 2 Whimbrel on shore.


15/4/20 – A Hobby hawking insects high up (earliest OPS record beating 21/4/2017)and a Yellow Wagtail to NE.


14/4/20 – 2 Barnacle Goose flying low upriver at 6:50 am. And one (probably 2) Coal Tit at far end of main rhine from road.


13/4/20 – A Whimbrel flew downriver, calling, and landed on the shore at Shepperdine.


12/4/20Cuckoo calling at south end of Lagoon 2 first thing, and reported yesterday by dog walkers - earliest OPS record, beating 13/4/2008). 10 Reed Warbler, 5 Sedge Warbler and 2 Whitethroat. A Greylag Goose flew from upriver and landed on Tidal Res. shore. 7 Mallard ducklings remaining on lake with the female and the male still in attendance. A doe + fawn Muntjac Deer feeding by the lake.


10/4/20 – A superb morning's birding. A dark morph Arctic Skua flew along the near shore, upriver at 8am, over the HT at the yacht club, giving an excellent view. Earliest OPS record, beating 17/4/2015. 3 Little Gull upriver at 8:50am (1 summer plumage and 2 winter adults). Video of them. A quite late female Black Redstart was by the jetty, calling 'whit'. A male Yellow Wagtail went low over to NE, calling (earliest at OPS, beating 11/4/2010). 60+ Meadow Pipit on far side of Pill from yacht club. 2 Bar-tailed Godwit upriver. 1 Reed Warbler (Lagoon 3), 3 Sedge Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat and a Whitethroat (hedge on way to yacht club). 60 species seen this morning.



9/4/20 – 1 Reed Warbler (Lagoon 3), 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat (singing by lake - earliest OPS record, beating 10/4/2009).


7/4/20 – 1 Reed Warbler (singing, Lagoon 3 - earliest OPS record, beating 10/4/2011 & 2017). Video, where you can hear it singing, especially after 30s. 2 Greylag Goose over to SW. On lake, 2 Coot and 10 Mallard ducklings with a female and, unusually, a male in attendance.


6/4/20 – Wind from SW this morning. 10+ Common Tern (9 & 1, and another c5 Tern sp. before them, seen late) and a Sandwich Tern upriver at 7:45 - 8:30am, a flock of 5 Little Egret downriver (plus 2 others) and 4 Willow Warbler singing. A Grasshopper Warbler reported singing in main reedbed on Lagoon 2, by small reedbed - earliest OPS record, beating 12/4/2016.


5/4/20 – Warm wind from south. 6 Sandwich Tern upriver at 8:20am, Video of 2 of the 6. (That's the 6th Spring in a row there has been a record here: 22/4/2019 2 downriver, 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.) 4 single Swallow and 2+ House Martin to NE. A Wheatear on Lagoon 3 and a Willow Warbler singing on Lagoon 1.


3/4/20 – The following reported: 29 Chiffchaff, 82 Curlew (most on Oldbury Sands at low tide), 42 Teal, 11 Wigeon, 2 Shoveler (Res. wall, Shepperdine), 17 Redshank, 4 Tufted Duck and a Wheatear by the Squeaky gate.


2/4/20 – Alerted to by Crows and Jackdaws alarm calling and flying into the air in a flock, a juvenile Goshawk came crashing through the low trees/scrub at the south end of Lagoon 2, and fleetingly landed on the path just 10 yards from me ! It immediately flew low and powerfully across the lagoon. Extraordinary !


26/3/20 – An adult winter Little Gull, with lovely dark underwings and white wing-tips, upriver with a flock of 28 Black-headed Gull at 6:50am, in a NE wind. A pair of Shoveler on the estuary and a male House Sparrow chirping on Lagoon 3. 2 Fieldfare still.



 ----- Coronavirus Lockdown -----


23/3/20 – The Coot is back on the lake ! Also 2 pairs of Tufted Duck. A Mistle Thrush on grass by entrance, c80 Linnet on maize stubble field by main rhine, and 4 Peacock butterflies in the warm sun. And the female Canada Goose is sat on a nest on the 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

25/03/2018                         failed                                                           

21/03/2019                         20/04/2019                                         30           7

23/03/2020                         22/04/2020                                         30           7


22/3/20 – Some vismig this cold and sunny morning: 100+ Meadow Pipit to NE (inc. flock of 74 through low at 9:10am), 3 Collared Dove flew along shore past Lagoon 3, 2 Stock Dove and 50+ Woodpigeon. Unfortunatley, I flushed the Peregrine pair from their Woodpigeon meal on the seawall by the waterworks. Looks like they had eaten most of it. And a Mute Swan in the middle of the estuary.


21/3/20 – This morning, a male Wheatear still by Oldbury Pill sluice, 20+ Chiffchaff (15+ singing), a pair of Tufted Duck on the Lagoon 1 flood (!) and 3 Peregrine over the towers - the adult pair and an immature; the female adult was very vocal, but the pair showed little aggression to the young one. I guess it was last year's young, as a bit early for this year's.


20/3/20 – Late afternoon, a Swallow with c25 Sand Martin feeding over the flooded Lagoon 1. (Swallow 4 days later than the earliest ever at OPS from last year.)
MP reported this afternoon, from Oldbury Pill: 10 Wheatear together, 83 Curlew, 1 Sand Martin and a singing Corn Bunting.
AM reported this morning: 42 Sand Martin (flooded Lagoon 1, in flocks of 15, 20 and 7), 33 Chiffchaff (inc. 15+ in the bushes on Lagooon 1), a Blackcap singing along the Bridleway, 45 Woodpigeon (groups heading NE into wind) and 45 Wigeon.

      Swallow and Sand Martin


      Wheatear and Corn Bunting. (Photos by MP.)


18/3/20 – 15 Sand Martin feeding low on Lagoon 1 floods and 15+ Chiffchaff there, in brambles, feeding avidly. Plus c80 Meadow Pipit also downed by the drizzle, in the horse paddock to south of Lagoon 2. On the lake: 2 pairs of Tufted Duck, the male Gadwall again and the Canada Goose pair are nest-building.


17/3/20 – AM reported: 11 Chiffchaff, 8 Curlew feeding on Lagoon 1, 32 Teal, 57 Wigeon and a Stonechat.


16/3/20 – LP reported a Black Redstart on the waterworks fence and a Comma butterfly. Glorious sunshine this afternoon. The Corn Bunting was sat on a bush at the yacht club common. A Siskin over to North, and a near record OPS count of 17 Buzzard (record is 18). 2 Goshawk circling with 6 of the Buzzards on far side of estuary (i.e. Gloucs.). 9 Chiffchaff singing around the site, a Jay singing and doing amazing mimicry of : Buzzard, Magpie and Rook calls, and a pair of Gadwall at Shepperdine. And the 3 Roe Deer that have been around for some time are so used to me that they just sat as I went past, just 30 yards from them !


15/3/20 – 7 Stonechat together on shore towards yacht club.


14/3/20 – The first signs of vismig this morning: c35 Woodpigeon descended from very high when a shower hit and landed in trees, a Sparrowhawk headed north across the estuary, 2 Meadow Pipit and a Skylark over.
The boat below is the only one that has ever attempted to go upriver between the Tidal Reservoir wall and the green 'Ledges' buoy ! It grounded on the rocks, but was lucky the tide was still coming in and refloated.


13/3/20 – 2 Coal Tit together in Lagoon 2 pines, a pair of Green Woodpecker on Lagoon 3, a Little Grebe on the lake and 3 Water Rail still calling.
AM also reported: 4 Chiffchaff (3 singing), 17 Teal, 34 Wigeon, 65 Turnstone and 21 Wren.

      Mute Swans on the flooded Lagoon 1 and Colt's-foot flowering on Lagoon 3.


11/3/20 – A probable Goshawk flushed c100 Woodpigeon from fields/hedges to SE of Shepperdine, and flew up the valley towards OPS, but intermittent (telescope) view through trees, distant and with heat-haze. Two pairs of Stonechat again by the jetty, and one of the males was SINGING - a first for me at OPS ! And 1+ Little Grebe still on the lake, trilling.

      'Headstarted' Curlew no. '23' from Slimbridge at Shepperdine again (ring last read here in Dec 2019).


10/3/20 – AM's WeBS count: 1 Little Grebe, 2 Tufted Duck, 2 Canada Goose, 29 Mallard, 2 Shelduck, 105 Wigeon, 48 Teal, 66 Turnstone, c100 Dunlin, 7 Snipe, c90 Redshank, c100 Curlew, 1 Grey Plover and 2 Peregrine (on the towers).


9/3/20 – A pair of Little Grebe on the lake, giving trilling call. And 4+ Chiffchaff are new in (one singing by lake and 3+ at south end of Lagoon 2).


6/3/20 – In the Spring-like sun this afternoon, a female Black Redstart still, on the fence on south side of power station buildings, a Short-eared Owl flying around the yacht club common at 3:30pm, and the Corn Bunting started singing its key-jangling song there. Also, an adult winter Mediterranean Gull flew from Tidal res. downriver, and a near-record (which is 14 on 7/3/2017) 10 Stonechat between jetty and yacht club (2 pairs x jetty, 2m1f x shore and 2m1f at yacht club) and 60+ Redwing roosting and chirping in trees along main rhine.


3/3/20 – A female Black Redstart again on the Lagoon 2 fence between waterworks and pond. Also, 6+ Stonechat (2 pairs x Lagoon 2, 1m x waterworks, 1m x Lagoon 3) a Siskin over calling and 2 Mute Swan on flooded Lagoon 1. On the lake were: 5 Tufted Duck (3m, 2f), 1 male Gadwall and 2 Canada Goose. AM also reported good numbers along the main rhine bridleway, and in maize field there: 200 Redwing, 45 Linnet and 25 Chaffinch.


      Another couple of photos of the Black Redstarts today, from AT - thanks !


1/3/20 – CL reported 2 female-type Black Redstart on fence by waterworks/Lagoon 2 at 11am.

      Black Redstart and a cracking photo of a male Bullfinch by CL - thanks !


29/2/20 – MP reported: 9+ Kittiwake high upriver ahead of a hail shower, and the Peregrine pair flew over to other side of estuary.
Also, a Coal Tit this morning, 5 Water Rail heard (1xlake, 3xLag3, 1xLag2), c80 Turnstone on the shore/seawall before HT, 10 Oystercatcher and 12 Great Black-backed Gull (inc. a flock of 10 circling quite high upriver in high wind).

      Teal and Wigeon looking good in sun between showers. (Photos by MP - thanks !)


25/2/20 – AM WeBS: 78 Teal, 196 Wigeon, 19 Mallard, 9 Shelduck, 2 Tufted Duck, 3 Canada Goose, 30 Curlew, 80 Lapwing, 100 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover, 65 Turnstone (on seawall, rather than green buoy - easier to count), 61 Redshank, 8 Snipe, 2 Knot (first this year), 1 Grey Plover, 1 Water Rail, 2 Stonechat (Lagoon 3, still) and 10 Fieldfare. Also c460 Common Gull; c110 downriver out of overnight roost and a flock of c350 flying up from fields inland.

      4 canoes from the Wye Valley washed up on the shore - all damaged except this one I dragged above tideline. They belong to a company at Symmonds Yat. (I've contacted them, and hopefullly they can recover them.)


22/2/20 – MP reported: c50 Turnstone and 3 Ringed Plover. And a hunting Barn Owl near junction of Foss Lane and Pickedmoor Lane on way back to Thornbury..

      Kestrel and Lagoon 1 very flooded.


20/2/20 – A Chaffinch singing this morning on Lagoon 2. Also singing: 1 Dunnock, 1 Robin, 5 Song Thrush and 5 Wren. MP reported 77 Wigeon and 55 Teal.


18/2/20 – c55 Redwing today.
The river above the sluice at the yacht club burst its banks (well, it spilled over onto the Common) at the weekend. Looking at the River Level information, it had its highest recorded level on Sunday night, beating the record that went way back to 26th Oct 2019 !


17/2/20 – c25 Linnet, 22+ Chaffinch and a Mistle Thrush feeding in the very wet maize-stubble field along the main rhine. And still 2 Blackcap (male + female) in the Anchor Inn car park.

MP has uploaded a video of the Starling murmuration over Lagoon 3 from January.

      A Skylark on the yacht club common - strangely, it was eating a small slug. And a very large branch of a Willow tree has come down, by the newly thrashed hedge along the main rhine.


      The lake is as full as I've ever seen it.


14/2/20 – The Peregrine pair reported courting on Avonbirds..


13/2/20 – Some excellent birds, despite the wintery showers this morning. A Short-eared Owl flew along the bridleway to the shore and turned left along the shore towards Lagoon 3 at 8am. Then at 9:30am an adult male Marsh Harrier went slowly downriver past the yacht club and along the shore towards Littleton. But then at 10:20am it was quartering the reedbed on Lagoon 3, giving superb views until 11am when I left. (Video of it over Lagoon 3.) It flushed c25 Snipe from the reeds, and another 10+ seen along tideline. I also found a Corn Bunting along the tideline at High Tide, by the yacht club. It then perched in the hedge there. (Video of it preening.) It was with c25 Meadow Pipit, 1 Rock Pipit and 2 Skylark.



9/2/20 – 6+ hours spent watching the estuary today (4 in morning, 2+ in eve), but no seabirds blown in by Storm Ciara.

      But here's some more photos by JM. Female Black Redstart by the 'Seal Pit' (from 7th Feb), 2 of 3 Roe Deer in the orchard and a Meadow Pipit.



7/2/20 – A Short-eared Owl flew over the entrance road at 3:50pm, heading for Lagoon 3. A Coal Tit, a Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest in firs in NE corner of Lagoon 1. On the lake: 2 Canada Goose, 3 Tufted Duck (2m, 1f), 1 Gadwall, 11 Moorhen and a Water Rail heard.
JM reported the Black Redstart in the waterworks by the 'Seal Pit' again.


6/2/20 – The female Black Redstart again on the fence of the waterworks by the 'Seal Pit'. And a Reed Bunting chose this morning to start singing on Lagoon 3, in freezing fog and -2 Degs C !

      The Damson is flowering already.


3/2/20 – The female Black Redstart was on the fence of the waterworks, by Lagoon 2, then it flew to the 'Seal Pit'.


1/2/20 – BD (@BirderGinger) reported a Chiffchaff behind the (old) visitor's centre and 3 Raven.


30/1/20 – The female Black Redstart in the waterworks again. It favours the 'Seal Pit' by Lagoon 2, but I am only finding it when it is vocal - calling 'whit' repeatedly. (Today because a sewage lorry was up other end, and last time due to a perched Crow.) And 4 Stonechat still (2 x Lagoon 3, 2 x near jetty).


29/1/20 – A Goshawk 'scoped over ridge on far side of estuary (i.e. Gloucs.). An adult with gleaming white underparts and light grey above. Very distant, but perfect viewing conditions - bright sun from behind me and zero haze. It was soaring and doing some exaggerated slow-flapping display flight, for about 3 mins.. (Recalled SE Owl when slow-flapping.) 4 Buzzard and a pair of Peregrine seen along same ridge in same half hour for size comparison.


27/1/20 – A Short-eared Owl getting hassle from corvids, and went to roost in middle of Lagoon 3 at 3pm. And a Chiffchaff again at south end of Lagoon 2.


25/1/20 – HT at Pillhead Gout at dawn: 236 Curlew, 400+ Dunlin, 13 Oystercatcher (12 was max. count in 2019 !), 5 Ringed Plover and a Grey Plover. And the very light coloured Buzzard (with white head) is still about from last year.
A note from JS on the Curlews: "At the last WeBS count there were 315 at Aylburton Warth and 80 at Guscar Rocks. I reckon there are no more than 650 on the river, down from about 1000 ten years ago."


24/1/20 – 4 Mistle Thrush in paddock to south of Lagoon 2.


23/1/20 – The female-type Black Redstart in the waterworks late pm, and c300 Jackdaw and c200 Rook in corvid roost in trees along road from entrance.


22/1/20 – The adult male Black Redstart was by the most SW building, and very vocal, calling 'whit'. And an adult Mediterranean Gull moulting into summer plumage on the evening roost on the Tidal Res., drifting upriver as tide came in, along with c2,000 Common Gull and 2,000+ Black-headed Gull. .


21/1/20 – A Treecreeper in freezing fog (-3 dec C) this morning. And 2 sightings of Red Kite reported this year - one along road to OPS and one over towers.


20/1/20 – Nice sunny afternoon. 2 Great Crested Grebe flew downriver and landed in middle of estuary off Lagoon 3. (One in winter plumage and the other in breeding, and some display seen.) That is the 80th species I've seen at OPS in 2020 ! The female Black Redstart was down the road looking through the blue gate at jetty. And 8 Stonechat (pair at yacht club, 2 pairs by small wood on way to there, and pair by jetty).


19/1/20 – A male Pintail in middle of estuary and 30+ Snipe - 7 on Lagoon 3 and 23+ flying out of saltmarsh as tide came in at Shepperdine.


18/1/20 – First day of Winter ! -1 Deg C this morning. 4 Song Thrush singing around the site.
AM reported: 6 Gadwall (4 on lake, 2 on river), 60 Turnstone, 6 Oystercatcher, 18 Great Tit (new OPS record !) and 18 Blue Tit.
MP/CL reported late afternoon: TWO Black Redstart fem-type on the jetty (CL) and adult male on towers (MP) (ad m last seen 22nd Dec 2019 !), c5,000 Starling in murmuration, Peregrine on a tower, pair of Stonechat, 2 Cetti's Warbler and 6+ Water Rail calling.

      Excellent photos - thanks Craig and Matt!




17/1/20 – The obligatory photo of Snowdrops in the wood by the lake. Lovely to see.


16/1/20 – The Coot still on the lake and now 4 male Gadwall.


15/1/20 – A Black Redstart very briefly on fence by waterworks. And a Chiffchaff at south end of Lagoon 2.


14/1/20 – The Coot is back on the lake ! Also, a Grey Plover and 5 Ringed Plover in the HT roost at Pillhead Gout.


13/1/20 – AM's WeBS count: 4 Tufted Duck (3m, 1f on lake), 3m Gadwall, 174 Wigeon, 65 Mallard, 3 Shelduck, 65 Teal, 300 Dunlin, 75 Curlew, 21 Snipe (19 at Shepperdine, 2 on Lagoon 3), 50 Turnstone, 74 Redshank, 102 Lapwing, 3 Grey Heron, 6 Stonechat, c200 Carrion Crow and 13 Blue Tit.


12/1/20 – Superb Starling murmuration this evening (4:15-4:35pm) over Lagoon 3 - a video showing about 5,000 of them flying into roost in the reedbed, and then you can hear them shifting in the reeds (there is a Water Rail in there). Another c2,000 had already gone into the reeds.


11/1/20 – 3 male Gadwall on the lake this morning, displaying to a female Mallard. (But Tufted Ducks have gone.)


10/1/20 – Good view of an adult female Marsh Harrier in the sun, flying downriver across the Tidal Res., and then going over the hedge onto Lagoon 3 (where lost to view and not refound). (Some video.) Also 2 Chiffchaff seen and calling in scrub at south end Lagoon 2. And the corpse of a Harbour Porpoise on Shepperdine Sands being eaten by Great Black-backed Gulls. Plus 2 male Tufted Duck on the lake, joined a pair of Wigeon and the male Gadwall.

      Marsh Harrier silhouette (Crow below). And GBB Gulls at dead Harbour Porpoise.


9/1/20 – The female Black Redstart again showing well on the fence between waterworks and Lagoon 2. (Some video.)

      The Black Redstart and some Candlesnuff Fungus (just 2cm tall) on a rotting tree stump.


8/1/20 – A female-type Black Redstart showing well on the fence and around the brown tiled building on NE side of power station (viewed from Lagoon 2).


6/1/20 – Good view of a Weasel hunting along the top of the seawall by the waterworks.


5/1/20 – At 12:30pm an Egyptian Goose flew in towards the lake from the direction of the road, and looked like it was going to come down but saw the power-lines and me and veered away to the South. Also, a Grey Wagtail by Lagoon 1 outfall and a Chiffchaff along bridleway to south of Lagoon 2. AM reported at Shepperdine: 34 Wigeon (5 on lake), 39 Teal, 43 Mallard, the male Gadwall on the lake, 44 Lapwing, 86 Dunlin, 37 Turnstone, 6 Curlew, 3 Stonechat and an OPS record count of 16 Great Tit !


4/1/20 – The female Black Redstart in the waterworks again, but difficult to see. (Some video of it.) A Black-tailed Godwit and a Rock Pipit at Shepperdine and 29 Snipe flushed from there.


3/1/20 – Saw the sun for the first time this year today ! A male Tufted Duck is on the lake (last here in October), but the Mute Swans have departed.


2/1/20 – 27 Skylark on the set-aside field inland from yacht club (+ 1 on saltmarsh). Another Blackcap, this one in the car park at The Anchor pub. And a House Sparrow by Oldbury Pill sluice.


1/1/20 – A female Black Redstart was very vocal ("whit") at the waterworks. A pair of Blackcap were eating mistletoe berries in the paddock to south of Lagoon 2, and a Mistle Thrush there. And a Merlin atttacked c300 Lapwing & c600 Dunlin in the HT roost at Pillhead Gout. A male Gadwall on the lake and 3 Stonechat (pair + male). 59 species seen today.


2019 sightings

2018 sightings

2017 sightings

2016 sightings

2015 sightings

2014 sightings

2013 sightings

2012 sightings

2011 sightings

2010 sightings

2009 sightings

2008 sightings

2007 sightings

2006 sightings

2005 sightings

2004 sightings

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