22/3/18 – A Knot was all alone at Shepperdine; 2 Wheatear (an adult male by the jetty and a 1st-w male - still showing some light brown feathers - at the yacht club); a Chiffchaff singing by the lake; the 4 Bar-tailed Godwit still and 2 Grey Plover. (Only 32 Dunlin left today.)
21/3/18 – Nice view of a Jack Snipe as it flew from the saltmarsh at the yacht club, in the sun. And 4 Bar-tailed Godwit with the Curlew roost at the yacht club. Atleast 1 Cetti's Warbler has survived the cold spell and was singing. Plus a Red Admiral and a Tortoiseshell butterfly on Lagoon 2.
Bar-tailed Godwits with a Curlew, and some cream coloured eggshell - Woodpigeon, I would guess ?
20/3/18 – This morning: 2 male Wheatear at the yacht club, a Chiffchaff singing by the entrance, a Grey Plover at Shepperdine and 4 Ringed Plover (on seawall by Lagoon 1 again). Also Common, BH, LBB & Herring Gulls moving upriver into wind in flocks less than 20. And a Common Gull sat on the top of the sea-wall, let me approach within 3 yards. A pile of feathers nearby suggest it was hit by a Peregrine. DP reported the Peregrine pair were about.
19/3/18 – This morning in -3 deg C and snow: a 1st-winter/female-type Black Redstart on the sea-wall by the jetty,
2 male Wheatear with c 35 Meadow Pipit along the sea-wall towards Lagoon 1, and a Chiffchaff following the fence between Lagoon 1 and shore.
All looking a bit desperate. Also, c1,200 Common Gull on the Tidal Res., with c300 Black-headed Gull, sitting out the bad weather.
AM reported, at HT (WeBS count): a third Wheatear at the yacht club, 120+ Meadow Pipit along the shore, 4 Ringed Plover (on seawall by Lagoon 1), 1 Jack Snipe, 22 Snipe, 6 Lapwing, 60+ Curlew, 33 Redshank, 18 Teal and 112 Wigeon
Black Redstart and Wheatear in the snow.
18/3/18 – MP reported 9 Golden Plover and a Ruff flying downriver this afternoon. (That is the 100th species at OPS in 2018 ! With my own total on 95.)
17/3/18 – 16 Stock Dove in the muddy field over road from lake.
16/3/18 – A Sandwich Tern flew down the middle of the river at 5:40pm. (Earliest record at OPS & for S.Gloucs..) (In recent years similar such sightings were: 30/3/17 6 downriver, 1/4/17 1 downriver, 28/3/16 1 downriver, 6/4/15 6 upriver, 6/4/13 4 upriver.)
15/3/18 – 10+ species singing this morning, inc. a Chiffchaff (along the road by the lake) and a Mistle Thrush (Anchor Inn car park), and 2 Bar-tailed Godwit with 150+ Curlew.
Lagoon 1 flooded on 10th March, when no greenery showed - greening nicely.
14/3/18 – A male Gadwall on the lake, and 4 Redwing flew in to roost in hedge at yacht club this evening.
13/3/18 – A male Wheatear heralded in Spring at the yacht club this morning ! And 2 Lesser Redpoll feeding on weeds at Lagoon 2. Also 13 Magpie looking at each other close together in a field - a parliament !
12/3/18 – CL reported, in afternoon: An adult male Black Redstart on top of the cooling towers and a summer plumaged Mediterranean Gull flying NE up middle of estuary.
2 Chiffchaff this morning - one singing on Lagoon 1. And the Coal Tit again on the feeders.
Redshank (with a Wigeon) and a Green Woodpecker. (Photos by CL.)
Daffodils in the orchard and Pussy Willow (Lagoon 2).
10/3/18 – A nice male Yellowhammer in hedge at SW end of Lagoon 3, then flew inland. And a poor bedraggled adult Peregrine sat on the seawall by the jetty, unable to fly as too wet. The resident pair were sat on the towers above it, so presumably they had forced it into the Tidal Res. in an attack.
The mighty Peregrine !
9/3/18 – At the yacht club, over HT: 4 Golden Plover on the saltmarsh, 1 Grey Plover on the shore and JS reported 3 Bar-tailed Godwit with the Curlew flock. Also another Chiffchaff in the hedge by the small wood on way to yacht club. On the lake, the Mute Swan pair were fighting with the Canada Goose pair, and a dead Shelduck under the power lines. AM reported a Coal Tit on the fat-balls by the orchard.
3 of the 4 Golden Plover.
8/3/18 – 3 pairs of Tufted Duck on the lake.
7/3/18 – Over High Tide at yacht club: 5 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Black-tailed Godwit with 150 Curlew in fields and 4 Grey Plover on shore then upriver.
6/3/18 – Lots of signs of Spring this morning. The first Chiffchaff of the year in hedge on NE side of Lagoon 1; a Carrion Crow building a nest, Buzzards mating; 3 pairs of Stock Dove; and a Skylark singing above a field. Also some signs of northerly migration: 5 Pintail (a male and 2 females at Shepperdine and a pair at the yacht club), 3 Skylark over to NE, c20 Rook flying across the estuary and a Sparrowhawk doing the same. Also 2 Grey Plover at yacht club. (60 species today - highest so far this year.)
5/3/18 – A Mistle Thrush over to NE. (Strange how all those Fieldfare and Redwing have just disappeared since the snow started to melt !) 2 Ringed Plover with c300 Dunlin at yacht club over HT. 5 Tufted Duck on the lake (3m, 2f) and 4 Stonechat on shore.
The 2 dead Golden Plover are still on Lagoon 1 by large bramble bush. Seems they just died from lack of food/cold.
4/3/18 – Sadly, 2 dead Golden Plover found lying next to each other in the snow on Lagoon 1 yesterday - id'd from photo by dog-walker (thanks). AM reported this morning: a Golden Plover (flushed from the seawall by jetty), a male Shoveler on the lake, 110 Wigeon and a possible Woodcock on Lagoon 2 again.
3/3/18 – MP reported this afternoon: a Woodcock flushed from Lagoon 2 and landed at north end, a Golden Plover in field over road from lake, and a Muntjac deer on left of track to hide - videos of Muntjac and Golden Plover. (Thanks Matt.)
This morning: 4 Fieldfare and 4 Redwing with c200 Dunlin on the saltmarsh over HT at Shepperdine. 3 Water Rail seen out on the snow - one by lake and 2 on Lagoon 3. And a Shrew running on top of the snow.
Snow lying along the shore and one of 2 Snipe on Lagoon 1.
Lake not frozen completely and the Swans chased the Canada Geese off the water.
1/3/18 – 3 Golden Plover landed in field by green gate (along main rhine) in a snow storm. (Properly cold this morning; -4 deg C with about -10 wind chill below that!)
Some Blackthorn flowering on the first day of Spring !
28/2/18 – An adult-winter Mediterranean Gull on the shore of the Tidal Res. this evening, and c1,000 Common Gull in the roost. After a heavy snow shower passed through.
Winter Mediterranean Gull and snow on the track to Lagoon 3.
The hard working Wombles continue to clean the tideline !
21/2/18 – Ten Little Egret 1 mile inland of OPS along the rhine by Severn Drainage offices.
20/2/18 – A Grey Plover on the shore.
17/2/18 – A Greylag Goose flew downriver early morning. And 3+ Great Spotted Woodpecker; 2 males (with red at back of necks) eyeing each other up in trees at south end of Lagoon 2, and then a female (no red on head) drumming in the nest tree from last year, which I got a nice video of here - it also shows a metal ring on her right leg.
Some nice February flowers: Red Dead Nettle and Germander Speedwell.
16/2/18 – AM reported this morning: 1st-winter Little Gull, a Jack Snipe (flushed from saltmarsh at Shepperdine), 42 Snipe, 1 Gadwall, 2 Ringed Plover (roosting on Seawall off Lagoon 1), 540 Dunlin, 28 Redshank, 210 Curlew, 55 Turnstone, 44 Teal and 117 Wigeon.
15/2/18 – A Redpoll on Lagoon 2 this morning.
14/2/18 – An adult-winter Mediterranean Gull (different to yesterday's) in the roost on the Tidal Res. this evening. And a 1st-winter Little Gull moulting into summer. A video in poor light here - shows the differences between the bird and BH Gulls with it: light (almost white) mantle, very dark 'shoulder' of wing, slightly smaller and more slight (bobs around in waves more). Rather than a head cap of a 1st-w, it is moulting to summer so has partial black hood.
Winter Mediterranean Gull and 1st-w Little Gull.
13/2/18 – An adult Mediterranean Gull moulting into summer plumage, was feeding in the muddy field over the road from the lake, with 100+ other gulls. A short video here. The evening gull roost on the Tidal Res. held 2,500+ birds, including: 1,500+ Black-headed Gull, 500+ Common Gull, 100+ Herring Gull, c50 Lesser Black-backed Gull and 8+ Great Black-backed Gull.
9/2/18 – Late afternoon roost on Tidal Res.: 220+ Common Gull and 300+ Black-headed Gull. AM reported: a pair of Treecreeper, 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker (2 males and a female; lots of drumming and chasing), 2 Stonechat and 4 Tufted Duck (3 males).
8/2/18 – 3 Mistle Thrush over to West, and 25 Snipe on Lagoon 3 (but I can't find any Jacks).
7/2/18 – A Black Redstart fly-catching around the top of the reactor towers in the afternoon winter sun on the, SW side. Looked like a 1st-winter male, but distant and mobile. And a probable Water Pipit called and flew from the water outlet of the waterworks - it flew all the way over Lagoon 3 and beyond.
5/2/18 – A Golden Plover flying around with c100 Lapwing between shore at Lagoon 3 and fields inland. Last seen heading on its own towards yacht club.
3/2/18 – Same numbers of waders as yesterday over High Tide at yacht club, plus a Grey Plover.
And a Lesser Redpoll feeding on Rosebay Willowherb seed heads by the lake.
(An interesting conversation with an ex-Power Station worker, who used to clear the weed and debris from the intakes. They used to throw eels and fish to Herons that would wait on the Lagoons ! This accounted for the highest number recorded - 22 in 1990.)
2/2/18 – 12 metre High Tide at yacht club: 1 Little Egret (1st of year),
8 Rock Pipit (shore between yacht club and Lagoon 3), c250 Curlew and c200 Lapwing (+c30 Lagoon 1). Also, 3 Skylark in fields (one singing) and 5 Stonechat along shore.
AM reported: c200 Wigeon, c80 Teal, c2000 Dunlin, c44 Redshank, 18 Oystercatcher, c60 Turnstone, 21 Canada Goose and a pair of Tufted Duck on the lake.
1/2/18 – 2 probable adult Yellow-legged Gull feeding in field over road from lake, with Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
30/1/18 – 15 Siskin feeding in the Alders next to path on NE side of lagoon 2, this morning when it was -2 degrees C and thick fog.
29/1/18 – The adult male Black Redstart on stoney ground again.
28/1/18 – MP reported: 1 Stonechat, 1 Grey Wagtail, c2000 Dunlin, 12 Oystercatcher, 74 Wigeon (zero Teal !).
27/1/18 – 6 Song Thrush singing this morning, inc. 4 on Lagoon 2, with their characteristic repetition of each phrase 3 times. (I haven't noted any Blackbirds singing yet.) And the Robins have started singing their cheery summer song (rather than the doleful winter song they also have). 3 Tufted Duck (2 male) on the lake.
Snowdrops still not quite open (and a Daffodil flower head in top-left).
26/1/18 – 4 Tufted Duck (3 male) on the lake today.
23/1/18 – 2 Grey Plover the best this morning in rain.
22/1/18 – The adult male Black Redstart on stoney ground 30 yards inside fence again.
21/1/18 – The adult male Black Redstart on stoney ground 30 yards inside fence again, viewed from blue gates by jetty.
20/1/18 – A Corn Bunting feeding on seeds along the tideline on the saltmarsh towards yacht club
(between metal gate and where path goes inland). It flew up to the hedge here and I got some good video, including it alarm calling. It then went back to feeding again,
but unfortunately a dog off-lead came along and flushed it and it flew over the yacht club and on towards Littleton.
(Only 3rd record for OPS; previous in Jan 2009 and Mar 1995.)
Apart from that, very little in continuous drizzle. A Water Rail ran across the path round Lagoon 2 and 2 more heard.
AM reported (WeBS count): 1 Jack Snipe (Lagoon 3), 19 Snipe, 8 Stonechat (4 at yacht club, 2 at Lagoon 3 outfall, 2 at Shepperdine), 32 Blackbird, 47 Wigeon, 7 Teal, 54 Mallard and 146 Curlew.
19/1/18 – An adult and a 1st-winter Kittiwake went slowly upriver at 4:45pm, along the shore of the Tidal Res., in a biting SW wind (continuous but not strong). That is 80 species at OPS for me this year, and 81 for all-comers.
16/1/18 – 3 Raven together, 33 Canada Goose at the yacht club and the female Peregrine with a freshly killed Woodpigeon. Also some welcome early signs of Spring; Snowdrops nearly open in the wood by the lake and I recorded the sound of a flock of Redwing 'chattering' in a hedge (although there seems to be a church bell and a Cuckoo calling, which weren't actually there !!??)
15/1/18 – The adult male Black Redstart again this afternoon, on the stoney ground inside the fence, seen from the jetty. A short, but better video here. And a Peregrine persistently attacked the 1,000+ gull roost on the Tidal Res., without success.
Black Redstart and Peregrine attacking Gulls.
14/1/18 – 2 Avocet feeding on the shore by Lagoon 3 this afternoon, and 400+ Common Gull and 600+ Black-headed Gull roosting on the Tidal reservoir.
2 Cetti's Warbler on Lagoon 3 and 4 Water Rail heard (3 x Lagoon 3, 1 x Lagoon 2), the Little Grebe still on the lake with a male Tufted Duck, and a Mistle Thrush in horse padddock.
CL also reported: the 1st-w/fem Black Redstart again on sea-wall by the jetty, another Water Rail on the pond by Lagoon 2, a pair of Stonechat by the jetty, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker in the orchard, 8 Bullfinch and 50+ Fieldfare along the road.
Avocets and Black Redstart (photo by CL).
Stonechat and Blue Tit (photos by CL).
13/1/18 – The adult male Black Redstart was again on the stoney ground 30 yards inside the fence, as viewed from the blue gate by the jetty. (I have looked for it virtually every day since last seen on 2nd.) Video taken through fence in poor light here. 2 juvenile Mute Swan on the Tidal Res. at Shepperdine. Yesterday, they flew upriver and circled the lake several times, but seeing the pair already there they flew back downriver.
Black Redstart (screen-grab taken from video).
12/1/18 – AM reported: 3 Pintail, 260 Wigeon, 120 Curlew, 125 Dunlin, 64 Teal, 2 Green Woodpecker, 2 Raven, 1 Treecreeper, 25 Blackbird, 10 Robin and 2 Peregrine.
11/1/18 – The day got even better at HT this afternoon, with an Egyptian Goose at the point, Shepperdine.
Only the 3rd record for OPS (previous: Feb 02 & Mar 06). Video here, shows no leg rings. (c20 Pintail still there also.)
An excellent morning's birding, with birds brought down by overnight fog (which miraculously lifted by dawn). A Hawfinch flew up from bushes by the reedbed on Lagoon 2, and circled all the way round me, giving excellent views, and then flew up to alight in the tall trees by the small triangular reedbed. Stayed for 10 secs then flew to NE. A record OPS count of 32 Pintail on the Tidal Res. at Shepperdine - 18 males, most displaying and calling. 22 on water + 10 resting on res wall with Wigeon. (The previous best count was 18 on 3rd Feb 2007, also in fog). Video here. Also, 3 single Siskin over and 4 Mistle Thrush (pairs on Lagoons 2 & 3 - one singing !). Also had the first Green Woodpecker and Sparrowhawk of the year, bringing my total species at OPS for 2018 to 77.
Egyptian Goose, Shepperdine over High Tide.
Record number of Pintails on the Tidal Res..
10/1/18 – 8 Lesser Redpoll and 8 Bullfinch feeding in trees by the hide this afternoon, and 4 Stonechat (pairs by jetty and yacht club).
Males of Bullfinch and Stonechat.
I'm happy with my performance in the 'Patchwork Challenge' national birding league ('Estuaries' section) in 2017. 12th out of 37 and the ones that beat me are mainly on RSPB reserves. Not bad for an industrial site.
And this table compares how everyone did this year compared to their average. It was my 2nd best year at OPS regards Patch Score (as no really rare birds found in 2017).
8/1/18 – A 1st-winter/fem Black Redstart led me the run-around along the sea-wall between the jetty and Lagoon 2 this morning (a different bird to the one on 2nd, which I have been unable to refind), and the Little Grebe still on the lake.
7/1/18 – AM reported: 1 Great Crested Grebe flying upriver, 4 Pintail (females, flew upriver and landed in Wigeon flock), 1 Grey Wagtail, 3 Stonechat, 400 Wigeon, 120 Curlew, 1000 Dunlin, 30 Lapwing, 31 Redshank, 17 Canada Goose, 12 Magpie, 40 Fieldfare.
6/1/18 – 4 Rock Pipit and 4 Stonechat between jetty and yacht club.
5/1/18 – 5 Mistle Thrush (1xLagoon 1, 1xsmall wood on way to yacht club, 3xAnchor pub car park), 15 Stock Dove at Westend Farm, and at yacht club over HT: c1,100 Dunlin, 7 Oystercatcher and a pair of Stonechat.
The Little Grebe still on the lake.
4/1/18 – A Short-eared Owl was flying around by The Windbound this morning, at High Tide, being hassled by Carrion Crows. Also, a Rock Pipit and a Treecreeper again with a tit flock. (No seabirds, despite high wind.) And a Peregrine attacking a Teal flock flying upriver - unsuccessfully, as they all plunged into the river.
3/1/18 – This evening, I was looking through the gull roost on the Tidal Res. (which only contained c100 Black-headed Gull and Common Gull),
when they all took to the air and a Merlin flashed through my 'scope view, chasing a Dunlin. After a twisting, turning, chase it caught it and took it to the reservoir wall.
In 3 hours seawatch this morning, during Storm Eleanor, the only seabird was a Fulmar that 'sheared' upriver at 9:30am. (Last seen in 2011, when one was recorded on 7th, 8th and 11th Sept - they are the only records at OPS.)
2/1/18 – An adult male Black Redstart on stoney waste ground 30 yards inside the fence/blue gate by the jetty, along 'South Road'. Also a pair of Pintail flew downriver, a juv Mute Swan on the estuary, the Peregrine pair around the towers and 40 Canada Goose at Shepperdine. Plus a Treecreeper with a tit flock in wood by the meadow.
1/1/18 – A Little Grebe on the lake, a Cetti's Warbler singing on Lagoon 3 and a Stonechat.
A total of 158 species recorded at the site from all-comers in 2017 (A new record, beating 154 in 2015). (See 2017 Site Species List for details.) With my personal total for the site in
2017 at 153 species (also a new record, beating 150 in 2015). The result of 274 visits (one short of the 275 in 2015). Average number of species per visit = 44.
Highest number of species on a visit was 64 on 10th Aug (an odd date !) & 26th Sept.. (Highest ever was 74 on 23/4/2015).
Despite the high number of species seen, I did not add any species to my OPS list (remaining on 196 species), but American Wigeon was added to the OPS list (the 226th species recorded at the site). I did add Black-crowned Waxbill to the exotics list ! The same relatively common birds not seen by me this year, as last year : Little Owl (not seen for 4 years now), Barn Owl, Nuthatch and Pochard. Also, no Little Stint recorded at the site.
The highlights through the year, were :
Jan - An American Wigeon flew by the yacht club, an adult male Black Redstart around all month (and 2 one day) and Marsh Harrier seen twice.
Feb - a lovely male Hen Harrier, and a Little Gull roosting on the estuary.
Mar - A flock of 6 Sandwich Tern flew upriver and 2 Great Crested Grebe floated upriver.
Apr - Fly-by Great White Egret and Osprey, and 4 Crossbills perched.
May - 3 Wood Warbler records, a Spoonbill, a Little Tern and a Water Pipit.
Jun - An escaped Black-crowned Waxbill by Lagoon 3 and a Cuckoo from May stayed until 18th June.
Jul - An Avocet and 2 Sanderling at Shepperdine.
Aug - A Green Sandpiper on the lake, Little Ringed Plover at Pillhead Gout, adult Yellow-legged Gull, and a Barn Owl reported at yacht club.
Sep - Guillemot, Gannet and Manx Shearwater delivered by Storm Aileen, a Marsh Tit, 3 Dark-bellied Brent Geese flew downriver, a Spotted Redshank in the pill at the yacht club, an Avocet, and a Garganey at Shepperdine.
Oct - Fly-by Barnacle Goose, Great Crested Grebe, and Goosander, an incredible run of Hawfinch records, 2 male Mandarin Duck on the lake, 3 Great Skuas, a Merlin stayed most of month and 2 Ring Ouzel in the orchard.
Nov - 2 Snow Bunting on Lagoon 3 briefly, 7 Avocet flew downriver and the 5th record of Marsh Harrier for the year.
Dec - 3 Whooper Swan on the estuary.
30/12/17 – A Brambling at dawn, calling for a couple of minutes in roadside hedge by lake (not seen, due to poor light). It is probably with a couple of Chaffinch that were feeding on a new dung-heap in the field over the road from here. Also there: c10 Pied Wagtail, 100+ Redwing, 5 Fieldfare, c50 Common Gull, c50 Black-headed Gull and a Grey Heron.
(since Jan 2004)