1-30 September 2008 sightings and blog

Garganey, WWT South Lake and Black-necked Grebe, Townfield Lake
Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ28


Pectoral Sandpiper, juvenile WWT Bottom New Piece MJMcGill
Both images Nikon Coolpix 995/Swarovski 30x WA  x 65mm plus DCA Adapter

30 September 2008 Again I saw the Pectoral Sandpiper but with the small waders which were mobile around the Dumbles. I also counted  juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, 5 Little Stint, 10 Grey Plover and 39 Golden Plover were also seen with 65 Dunlin and 22 Ringed Plover. It was interesting to note that the Pec was very immobile and fed amongst vegetation until a Ruff joined the flock, it then became very active and confident. See the WWT site for more details. A scan through the Teal revealed 2 Garganey on South Lake with one being very close to the obs at lunchtime. On the way home I called in at Frampton on Severn’s Townfiled Lake to have a look at a bird for Gareth Bradbury. It was indeed a Black-necked Grebe. http://www.wwt.org.uk/news/213/sightings.html

29 September 2008 The Pectoral Sandpiper was refound by Mike Cox but was highly mobile around WWT today. It accompanied a Ruff and was flushed several times by Sparrowhawks on different scrapes.

Green Sandpiper WWT MJMcGill Nikon Coolpix 995/Swarovski 30x WA  x 65mm plus DCA Adapter
One or two remain around the Rushy (back pond and front and Tack Piece).

28 September 2008 Despite near zero visibilty for much of the day at WWT still some good birds were to be seen. Best of all was the fem/imm Hen Harrier that flew close to us when I was guiding a early morning walk. An Arctic Skua also flew overhead when we made our way along the summer walkway. More sightings on the WWT website. Up to five Golden Plover were off Middle Point.

Click on the link http://www.wwt.org.uk/news/213/sightings.html

27 September 2008 I birded around WWT in the morning with NRS, we logged 200 Meadow Pipit, 3 Siskins, 2 Redpoll, 5 Whinchat, 2 Wheatear, a new juv Spotted Redshank, 1 Ruff, 5 Yellow-legged Gulls inc a head streaked bird, 3 Sedge Warblers, a few Reed Bunting.

26 September 2008 A walk along the Glos to Sharpness canal at Frampton only produced a Whinchat and of note here Coal Tit.

Spotted Crake WWT Top New Piece marsh 25 September 2008

images MJMcGill. This species probably occurs every year but this species is very much a skulker. We prepare areas to make our chances of finding one from the hides easier and this has worked a few times. Nikon Coolpix 995/Swarovski 30x WA  x 65mm plus DCA Adapter

25 September 2008 Decided to clean the tractor windows as I had another day mowing, this was a good move as I noticed a Spotted Crake fluttering in front of the wheels at 1230. It dissapeared immediately so I carried on mowing until I stopped at 1330 and waited to see if I could see it again. It showed briefly but was being chased by the Moorhens. At the end of the day when heading back in I saw Mike King who had seen it again and before long it showed a few times until 1645 at least. It was more settled, feeding and ranging into the open. It does not appear to have a whitish throat and has lead grey tones to the supercilium and paler parts of the head. The bill is quite bright too suggesting adult. It does have fine spotting on the breast though. At least 4 Whinchat were also in or around the field feeding onthe cuttings plus a Redpoll over and a Sedge Warbler.

22-24 September 2008 Most of my time was spent behind a tractor steering wheel/on a strimmer or heavy roller, all too noisy for birding by call. It is good that we are finally able to get a hay cut off the Top New Piece at WWT.

20-21 September 2008 I was on Cricket tour in South Wales but a Pectoral Sandpiper was on WWT South Lake on the Sunday, nice that the Sunday morning regulars all got to see it.

19 September 2008 A quick visit to Townfield Lake, Frampton on Severn and a moulting adult Black Tern was present. At home looking up I managed to log 6 Buzzard, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 1 Hobby, a Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker and a day flying (1045) Bat, probably Daubenton’s ? A Migrant Hawker was also present all day. An hour at Coaley Peak did not produce the desired Honey Buzzard.

18 September 2008 At lunchtime I sat in the Martin Smith Hide where a Garganey was present among the Teal. At least three Reed Warbler were in the vicinty.

Reed Warbler, WWT Robbie Garnett Hide MJM Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ28

Barn Owl, WWT, a close up of facial disk MJM Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ28

Juvenile Tutnstone WWT Middle Point MJM Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ28
This bird has been here for a while.

17 September 2008 A few new waders today at WWT but very low numbers. DBP had a Marsh Harrier in the 100 Acre this am. The Barn Owl was nice to see up close. It was caught in one of the wildfowl breeding aviaries and released by Duane Green.

16 September 2008 See the WWT site for today’s list.

Avocet over the Severn MJM Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ28

Hobby (first summer) WWT MJM
Nikon Coolpix 995/Swarovski 30x WA  x 65mm plus DCA Adapter

15 September 2008 Highlights today, apart from the arriving wildfowl.. 1300 Teal on site were 4 Avocet that flew around the estuary a few times before heading off S over high tide. A Buzzard on the saltmarsh that was being a nuisance may have put them off. A list of birds noted are on the WWT site.

Garganey (head to head) WWT South Lake MJM
Nikon Coolpix 995/Swarovski x30 WA x65MM with DCA adapter.

14 September 2008 A very foggy start to the day made viewing birds very difficult at WWT. A couple of walks from 0700-0900 and 1200-1400 gave up a variety of species, highlights were 2 Garganey, Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Little Stint and the Black-necked Grebe again.

13 September 2008 Mating Migrant Hawkers in the garden, butterflies and a Yellow Wagtail over East, the Swallows and House Martins are still here…Glorious weather. On the East Coast the fall has begun, 50+ Honey Buzzards arrived this morning, at least 18 were over Minsmere!!! Graham Clarkson is on the East Coast at Flamborough where he has seen 2 Honey Buzzard and Great Snipe by midday.

12 September 2008 A pre lunch visit to Townfield Lake, Frampton on Severn and 3 juvenile Black, adult and 1st winter Common and 1st winter Arctic Terns were all seen.

Turtle Dove juvenile WWT Canoe safari MJM

11 September 2008 I went birding before work and headed for the Holden Tower, settling in here was a good move, the Garganey was still present and I was soon scoping three Black Tern over the estuary. The were using a floating log and picking food off the estuary surface. Nearby I picked up the/a Black-necked Grebe floating out and making short flights, it was very agitated and continued South. The waders were good on South Lake, as water levels were high and few birds are using it we cut vegetation in front of the Tack Piece hides and cleared the drainpipes to get the water down for a last throw of the dice for waders here. We have flood conditions on the reserve and it is very hard to get rid of it. In a month or so we will be wanting to flood it up again. The final highlight of the day was going to have a look at an interesting dove at the canoe safari trail that Paul Daunter had found, he was right to raise awareness as it was a juvenile Turtle Dove, now a scarce bird in Glos. I saw a Common Whitethroat  this evening whilst locking up the Holden Tower, Lesser Whitethroat, Reed and Cetti’s Warbler were also here along with 8  Blackcap and 30 Chiffchaff this morning. See the WWT site for a full list.

10 September 2008 The Black-necked Grebe was still present and a sharp increase in Black-tailed Godwit numbers to 117 at least, there was only a juvenile limosa type on it’s own when I did the rounds.

Black-necked Grebe MJM  Despite being annual in Gloucestershire this was only the second for the reserve, the first was found by Mike King on the tidal pool on the North edge of the reserve, I cannot remember the year. It is not viewable from any hides.

9 September 2008 More rain and flooding, very hard to see much or have anything showing in the rain but 4 juvenile Curlew Sandpiper (first of the year) were new in among the small waders off Middle Point, otherwise 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Knot, 15 Sanderling and less than 80 Dunlin/Ringed Plover were around. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was just N of Middle Point, 5 Wheatear were around the reserve. A late check after work to see if I could relocate the Grey Phalarope drew a blank but 3 Common Sandpiper, a Greenshank and my second reserve record of Black-necked Grebe on a ditch made it worthwhile. It was being hounded by Little Grebes though.

8 September 2008 After spending Friday afternoon searching for one, a Grey Phalarope has finally turned up in Glos, after just about every other county scoring, many with multiple sightings after a wreck f these ocean going waders, one was on the shore at Awre this evening (JP). Two more Long-tailed Skua headed W past Goldcliff today suggesting that they repeated the pattern and behaviour of Saturday’s bird, these birds must be flying in from the Wash, Trent, Avon, Severn corridor. Not much else was new today. I did see this nasal tagged Teal again on South Lake and have heard back that it was marked on the N French coast on 11 August 2008. It reads C on the front and J+ on the side. I did an extensive search of the Dumbles for the Dotterel as it was reported at 0930 (per Birdguides) but only found 2 Wheatears in the area it favoured prior to flooding.


Northern Wheatear variation, both birds were at WWT, Middle Point at least 8 were on the reserve today along with 5 Whinchat (see bottom right image). Today’s Manx Shearwater off Middle Point (bottom left) all images MJM


7 September 2008 A call from Jake King to say a Manx Shearwater flew down past Middle Point was enough to look over the tide. NRS picked it up floating back in where it made a couple of flights. See the WWT site for a list of today’s sightings. Other highlights were 41 Knot, 2 Little Stint and an increase in Shoveler and Wigeon.

6 September 2008 A day off from birding but a shame as a Long-tailed Skua made a dash through the county.

5 September 2008 An afternoon walk along the Glos-Sharpness Canal and Saul Warth got me wet for the c10th time this week, my living room is a laundry. 2 Whinchat, 40 Sand Martin, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper and 3 Greenshank were the best.

Black Tern, Townfield Lake Frampton on Severn MJM

4 September 2008 At WWT the rising water levels have brought in some new birds and pushed a few off. The Dotterel remains but is now surrounded by wildfowl. The gales of yesterday had worked, on arriving at Middle Point during our break I spotted a Manx Shearwater living up to it’s name at 1034, JSL got onto a juvenile Little Tern that fed over the spartina and flocks of Knot flew in to join a single Golden Plover, Turnstone, 25+ Sanderling, 2 juvenile Bar-tailed Godwit and 300 small waders. I had a lunchtime look at South Lake, the highest count of Redshank of the year, 126. Two Spotted Redshank, 2 Ruff and 40 Black-tailed Godwit were also present. At the Top New Piece 14 Wigeon, 350 Teal, 1 Garganey, a Greenshank and 5 Snipe were also here. I had news of an adult Gannet on the sands off the Holden Tower late this afternoon. On the way home I called in at Frampton where 2 Black Tern fed.

Green Sandpiper and Purple Loosetrife MJM

3 September 2008 Highlights for me at WWT today were Spotted Flycatcher, seeing a juvenile Ringed Plover on the Tack Piece scrape (unusual here) plus Hobby over the 100 Acre and flashing past the Holden Tower at 1650 only feet away. Sand Martin were about the reserve and I saw a party of 6 heading S. An evening stop at Townfield Lake, Frampton produced 3 moulting adult Black Terns and a walk on the reserve at dusk the best birds were 1st winter Mediterranean Gull, 1 Knot and flushing a Grasshopper Warbler from the grass. The Dotterel was still on the reserve and 2 Manx Shearwater were seen on the estuary at high tide this morning. 2 Spoonbill were seen at Coombe Hill GWT. 20 Ruddy Darter and Southern Hawker were on the wing in the brief sunny spells.

2 September 2008 The Dotterel remains at WWT, whilst counting the wader roost I had an Osprey fly low overhead flushing everything in the area and then head over the grounds. Little Stints, Sanderling and Ringed Plover were all using the scrape in front of the Holden Tower.

Garganey enjoying the autunm sunshine, WWT Slimbridge South Lake MJM

Little (Stint) and large (Teal) WWT Slimbridge Tack Piece scrape MJM

Juvenile Dotterel on the WWT Dumbles, the last and only record for the reserve was in April 1975 MJM

1 September 2008 Not a bad day at work..I went in to WWT early to prepare things for the day as I had a corporate group on a task in the Decoy, this bought me some birding time on the estuary where the rather excellent highlights included good wader viewing until the tide flooded the saltmarsh, this was followed by waders using the prepared roost sites. I scanned across the Dumbles and picked up a juvenile Hen Harrier quartering the Dumbles and Bottom New Piece area, it stayed for over an hour so accompanied by JSL we tried to get images of it. Whilst scanning I saw a juvenile Dotterel fly in and land on the Dumbles, a nice double to add to the great birds around the reserve. See the WWT site for details/counts. Around the scrapes I notched up a good variety of waders including Little Stint and to my delight two Garganey.

On a members walk for the Dotterel this evening (still present to dark) I saw three Little Stint and Dunlin/Ringed Plover in the Holden scrape. Also of note were 100 Swallows on the cross fence at 0130 after the showers.


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