June and July 2014 blog and sightings

All images taken by M.J. McGill copyrighted.

31 July 2014
Black Darter, Forest of Dean
My only dragonfly session of the summer, been too busy at home in the garden to take full advantage of the heat wave and insects. On my few hours out at a favoured site I managed to see Southern, Common or Moorland and Migrant Hawkers, Emperor, Black-tailed Skimmer, Black and Common Darter, Emerald, Azure, Blue-tailed and Common Blue Damselflies.

Black Darter, Woorgreens, FoD, 31-07-14, MJMcGill (14)_edited-1

22 July 2014

Cattle Egrets at Frampton on Severn, Court Lake
A good summer find for Nick Goatman who seems to find scarce egrets for a pastime.
Remarkable for being in full breeding plumage and mating.

Cattle Egrets, Frampton

Albanistic Meadow Pipit with normal mate
John Budd reported this bird to me earlier in the season, I managed to locate it and find out what it was for sure.

Albanistic Meadow Pipit, Dumbles, 22-07-14, MJMcGill (1)_edited-1

Albanistic Meadow Pipit, Dumbles, 22-07-14, MJMcGill (4)_edited-1

Blue-headed Wagtail female
I first spotted this bird in late June and carefully watched it. It had attracted a male and the pair settled down to nest in a recently topped section of the Tack Piece at WWT Slimbridge. Keeping an eye on timings it hatched and successfully fledged young on the predicted dates. The pair could be located when nest building and feeding young but not at all when incubating. A summer success.

Blue-headed Wagtail, female, Dumbles, 22-07-14 (1)_edited-1

20 July 2014

A July rarity at WWT Slimbridge
Spotted Crake
Somebody reported this bird but we do not know who, a good find for summer hinting they may be breeding locally. It did appear after thunderstorms.

Spotted Crake, Top New Piece, 20-07-14, MJMcGill (1)_edited-1

Again appearing this summer with fresh juveniles locally.


Another two more obvious July birds

Oystercatcher chick

Oystercatcher and chick, 15-07-14, MJMcGill (1)_edited-1

and…reedbeds full of Reed Warbler activity

Reed Warbler, 15-07-14, MJMcGill_edited-1

Dunlin on the Severn
July sees the return passage of this familiar wader, it also heralds the first sightings of juveniles.
An adult and juvenile (right) compare plumage and bill length.

Dunlin, Severn Estuary, 14-07-14, MJMcGill (16)_edited-1

Close up head study of an adult Dunlin

Dunlin, Severn Estuary, 14-07-14, MJMcGill (42)_edited-1

July saw many second broods of House Sparrow fledging in my garden. They give me great pleasure and I try to help them as much as possible with feed and nesting sites, once again 9-11 pairs nested on my property.

House Sparrows

House Sparrows, fledging at 6 Holbury Crescent, 11-07-14, MJMcGill (1)_edited-1 House Sparrows, fledging at 6 Holbury Crescent, 11-07-14, MJMcGill (18)

29 June 2014
I was making my back through the WWT Slimbridge grounds when this bird appeared overhead and circled, it looked to land in the African pen but chose to move off NW.

Spoonbill, 23-06-14, WWT Slimbridge, MJMcGill (4) copy Spoonbill, 23-06-14, WWT Slimbridge, MJMcGill (6) copy


22 June 14
Golden Plover on the Severn estuary
An unusual mid-summer record of what appeared to be a female ‘southern race’ apricaria 

Golden Plover, Severn Estuary, 22-06-14, MJMcGill


Meadow Pipit
Another bird who brightens up midsummer with it’s song and display antics

Meadow Pipit, Dumbles, 22-06-14, MJMcGill (1) copy


14 June 2014
Grasshopper Warbler
A male took up territory locally and sang for two weeks.

Grasshopper Warbler, Frampton on Severn, 14-06-14, MJMcGill

13 June 2014
A visit to Strawberry Banks GWT to search for Marsh Fritillary butterflies. It was a hot sunny day albeit late in the season for them but I was fortunate enough to find a few.

Marsh Frtillary, Strawberry Banks GWT, 13-06-14, MJMcGill (10) copy


12 June 14
Glossy Ibis
One of a trio that John Budd had initially discovered on the Dumbles at WWT Slimbridge. Despite feeding conditions looking perfect, they moved on.

Glossy Ibis, Top New Piece, 12-06-14, MJMcGill (6) copy

9 June 2014

Red-necked Phalarope at WWT Slimbridge
I finally caught up with this ‘here today, gone tommorow’ bird

Red-necked Phalarope, Top New Piece, 09-06-14, MJMcGill (4)_edited-1

8 June 2014

House Martin collecting mud pellets for nest.
This individual is sporting a flat fly parasite.

House Martin with flat fly, MJMcGill

Close up of the flat fly.

Flat fly parasite

Goldfinch coming for a drink on a hot day

Goldfinch, drinking, MJMcGill (4) copy

5 June 2014

Garganey male in the Rushy

Garganey, MJMcGill

Looking their best in June.

Oystercatcher head study, 05-06-14, MJMcGill

Heatwaves are good for insects, insects are good for this summer visitor

Hobby, in flight, 05-06-14, MJMcGill


2 June 2014

Reed Bunting
June is full of birdsong, the reedy ditches are home to these smart birds

Reed Bunting, male, 02-06-14, MJMcGill


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