1-31 October 2008 blog and sightings from Gloucestershire and beyond

31 October 2008 A morning walk around the N end of the WWT reserve for me today and the rest of the day working in the garden. Some migration was in evidence, on the estuary a 1w Great Crested Grebe flew in from the S and rested on the water. A very unseasonal Oystercatcher in ‘cut throat’ winter garb flew upriver calling. A Yellow-legged Gull was the only other notable bird. A Rock Pipit, a few Fieldfare, Chaffinch, Redpoll (3) and Redwing flew over. More Redpoll and Redwing were noted in the hedges. The first four  E. White-fronted Geese arrived today, very late.

Whitminster Wildlife Watch
4 Fieldfare, 6 Redwing, Meadow Pipits and 2 Buzzards all flew over.

30 October 2008 Popped down to WWT to see the 1W Eider, unfortunately it was moribund (see WWT website for details). Also spent the afternoon aboard the magnificent SS Great Britain, a brilliant way to spend some time on this very interesting ship. I last went to see it up close as a child in the early eighties after a visit in the seventies and how it has changed. It was nice to have a coffee with Bob Evans who was on the Anser trip to Scilly and is currently nominated for an award as he works on this Bristol Icon, fingers crossed for Bob. The timber yard/sawmill where my Grandad Cooper worked opposite the ship is now stylish apartments, the whole area is looking very nice, well worth a visit. Link below.


Gilded Mute Swan, Bob tells me that it is a Cob and Pen that adorn either side of the ship near the stern. I bet a long list of seabirds have been seen from this ship, trips to San Fransisco, Australia, through Antartcic waters and of course the Falklands where it rested for so many years would have added so many.

Merlin and Stonechat, WWT 100 Acre MJM

29 October 2008 A few walks about WWT today produced a few birds. A late Garganey, female Merlin, 5 Song Thrush, 2 Stonechat and 20 Snipe were all of noted around the 100 Acre. A Water Pipit was on the scrape in front of the Holden Tower.

28 October 2008
Whitminster Wildlife Watch
A Red Admiral in the garden.

26 – 27 October 2008 Nothing to report.

25 October 2008 I was looking forward to heading down to watch Bristol Rovers today when the bank statement arrived. I spent the day putting up fencing instead where a few Meadow Pipit and Skylark were noted overhead. It was a great game, certainly not one to miss, Rickie Lambert scored all the goals in a 4-2 win over Southend. http://www.bristolrovers.premiumtv.co.uk/page/LatestNews/0,,10328~1432128,00.html

The Little Blue Heron has not been seen today but a Green Heron has been found in Kent. The mass arrival of so many American birds this autumn has been impressive. What is lurking in Britain, it could be in you garden?

24 October 2008 A Common Darter dragonfly and Black-necked Grebe were at Frampton Townfield Lake while we were out walking.

Whitminster Wildlife Watch
After hearing a Red-legged Partridge calling from my garden and seeing it from the upstairs window I went out with Maisie to see it. This species has been introduced to the the UK for hunting and is often called the French Partridge. I often see it on my travels around the Mediterranean, it prefers to run away rather than fly and is a bird of the dryer hillssides and scrub. I used to see them regularly as a teenager in N Bristol and were partially responsible for my interest in bird id. Lots of birds now using the feeders. A Greenfinch and two Goldfinch, Dunnock, Wren and 3 Blackbird joined the 20+ Starling, 20+ House Sparrow and Blue Tits. Image of the RLPartridge below, it is just W of the school. A great sunset too!

Common Goldeneye, WWT Slimbridge, Top New Piece MJM
This species has occured twice on this scrape recently, the higher water level managment has surely encouraged this as it is possible to see Pochard and Tufted Duck in flocks here nowadays. The bird took flight when the digger appeared around the front of the hide but as we returned to our willow cutting work I heard it flying. The wings make a whistling noise hence the old name of ‘Rattlewing’ . This was as the bird took off from the South Finger settling pool and headed back to the flash. This makes it 196 species of bird on the reserve this year and we still have two months.

23 October 2008 A few birds around WWT today with a late Garganey on the Tack Piece and although commonly seen in the CWP and small numbers at Frampton our first Goldeneye of the year on the reserve. It was found by DBP on the South flash, Zeiss Hide. Also 4+ Migrant Hawker and 2 Common Darter.

21-22 October 2008 Back at WWT to work but behind a chainsaw much of the time which is not condusive to birding. A few Redpoll and Siskin around, other typical species such as Stonechat (4-5) and Chiffchaff (3-4) were noted today, a Ruff also and 4 Raven over yesterday. 12+ Migrant Hawker and 4 Common Darter.

Red-breasted Flycatcher and Red Admiral, Pool Road, Tresco, Isles of Scilly MJM

16-20 October 2008 I was on an Anser trip to the Isles of Scilly, full trip report on the trip report section will follow soon.

14 October 2008 A change in the weather and Meadow Pipits were passing over home, I decided to go for a walk around the N end of the WWT reserve as I am on holiday. A pair of Stonechat and a few migrants were found. I stood at the gate in the 100/50 Acre chatting to JSL when I heard the sparrow like call of a large pipit overhead, we both strained to hear it and it called three times. A search ensued and we found in the saltmarsh with Meadow Pipits, it was a Richard’s Pipit, it was very flighty but gave good views as is circled and even hovered. I got the scope on it when it was on the ground and we both had a look at it’s head and shoulders before it flew and headed off to Middle Point where we saw it again briefly, this time it flew toward the Dumbles and S along the seawall. I also saw a late Wheatear. Nige Warren had the Pectoral Sandpiper again in front of the Holden Tower this morning.

12-13 October 2008 No birding but hard work in the garden, a Coal Tit was new for home.

1. Team huddle, 2. Joe watching on, 3. League one’s top scorer Rickie Lambert (9 goals so far but not today), 4, David Pipe (my favourite player, 5. Goal celebrating, 6. Phillips stranded, off the bar, 7. Manager, Paul Trollope before being sent to the stands, 8. Great save, 9. A good win.

Joe and me at BRFC V Leyton Orient

10-11 October 2008 A Chiffchaff in the garden on 11th and I saw the Black-necked Grebe both days at Townfield Lake. What a week for weather, better than August. We had an afternoon enjoying another of my hobbies/passions at BRFC in a corporate box. Fantastic views of the game and the right result. We did see 2 Pied Wagtail and a few Black-headed Gulls.

9 October 2008 Foggy till midday so no really very good for birding, some winter migrants appearing though.

8 October 2008 The Hen Harrier showed again as did the Pectoral Sandpiper giving nices views from the Zeiss Hide.

7 October 2008 Best bird was watching a female Hen Harrier fly across the Dumbles pursued by corvids. I landed on the saltmarsh spartina beds. At lunchtime I went out to Middle Point with Nige Warren and saw it again, this time hunting all over the area. My first 3 Redwing of the winter flew over the Rushy.

6 October 2008 Some decent migrants around and my latest Grass Snake ever.

5 October 2008 A Garganey at the Holden Tower was the highlight today, 4 House Martin and 5 Swallow were also of note.

3-4 October 2008 No birding for me.

Grey Heron, Goose House Ground WWT MJM

2 October 2008 At work at WWT from 0715-1700, apart from a 40 minute break looking at the waders on the Dumbles most of the bird’s I saw were from a tractor cab. At least one Pectoral Sandpiper remained with 10 Grey Plover, 32 Golden Plover, 6 Little Sint, 65 Dunlin, 26 Ringed Plover, 4 Ruff, 2 Turnstone and a Snipe. Around the scrapes early in the morning were 5 Ruff, c17 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Redshank and 200 Teal. Migrants included 200 Meadow Pipit, 8 and 1 Redpoll, 3 House Martin, 1 Siskin all S. DBP had at least 5 Stonechat today and a Barn Owl plus 1000 Teal in one of our ditches. I noted a late Common Blue Damselfly and 50+ Common Darter and 20+ Migrant Hawker. Also a late Grass Snake.

Pectoral Sandpiper juvenile WWT MJM
(JSL saw two together on the Dumbles on the 1st)

1 October 2008 See WWT site for details. 4 Goosander S downriver was a good record.




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