14 April 2012 Anser Birding outing

The overnight forecast looked good for a fall of migrants so I thought it best to head for Cleeve Hill, Cheltenham to search for Ring Ouzels. Only Roberta was up for todays outing so we both headed for the Cotswolds leaving a damper Severn Vale. First stop was at Dowdeswell Reservoir where the Osprey was circling the lake.  Tom Mabbett had been watching and reporting this bird for a few days, thanks for his updates, this bird may well be visiting Witcombe Res too. It was searching the lake for a fishing opportunity but gave up and drifted off at 0840 as it harried by corvids.

Heading up to Cleeve Common it was nice to see a few Yellowhammers flitting across the road. Windy but dry conditions were found on the common and a walk across to the central part of the hill and valley we saw Meadow Pipits and Skylarks as well as a leucistic Rook. Stopping at a good vantage point I spotted a party of Ring Ouzels. They were feeding on the slopes among the gorse and at least eight were present, my first scan revealed what appeared to be six males, a female and a plainer bird with a shadow of a gorget, maybe a 2cy (second calender year) female. We bumped into Paul Masters who had seen six nearby. Studying the birds from the gorse it appeared that at least two female were present, a full census was not possible as walkers, dog walkers, power walkers horse riders etc were dispersing the birds. Six flew over us and across the valley, seven were seen perched up in tree tops but I think that more were present.

Not a bad morning, quality birds. Returning back down to the vale for a quick look at Townfield Lake, Frampton we watched over 100 Sand Martin and a few Swallows feeding high above the lake. The female Common Scoter was still present. This concluded the morning out.

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