Please note, the Jack Snipe and Common Snipe picture on the final page of the Newsletter (recently distributed) has the birds named incorrectly. The Jack Snipe is the bird on the left, and the Common Snipe is the brid on the right.
22nd May 2013 - Cold blustery northern wind, overcast.
Despite the rather unseasonal conditions, a drake Garganey roosting on the island in front of car park pool brightened the morning and was the first for the year. It and a drake Teal spent a bit of time trying to decide which of them going to grab the best spot to fall asleep in!
There were still plenty of song this morning from all the Warblers with the exception of Whitethroats which seem to have gone a bit quieter, possibly because they are now well on with breeding. There appeared to be a new Garden Warbler in song by the cottages with the bird by the car park still present and likewise the one on the causeway.
21st May 2013 - Cold north-easterly wind, overcast all day until some evening sunlight.
The other half of the crop field was cultivated today and there was a male White Wagtail feeding there in the evening together still with six Lapwing chicks.
Both male Teal and Shelduck were also present in the evening on Car Park Pool and the five cygnets from the Reedbed have now moved with their parents onto Railway Pool but the other two nests appear to have been deserted or predated.
The three Oystercatcher chicks on Railway Pool were being well protected by the parents and there were six adults on site altogether including the two sitting birds on Car Park Pool. Other waders included three Little Ringed Plovers, one Ringed Plover and five Redshanks.
The pair of Great Crested Grebes on Car Park Pool still have three chicks but the pair on Railway Pool appear to have failed. There were six adults on site altogether.
20th May 2013 - Mostly overcast, warm and still.
Relatively little of note. The Cuckoo was again around Siden Hill Wood and at least 40 Swifts were feeding over the site.
19th May 2013 - Sunny intervals, north-easterly changing to north-westerly wind.
Not a great deal out of the ordinary today. There was a Raven over Siden Hill Wood and the Oystercatcher pair on Railway Pool have now hatched out three young. The Great Crested Grebes on Car Park Pool have hatched out three as well and there was a new brood of Lapwing chicks on Railway Pool.
The drake Teal reappeared and there was a female Shelduck on Railway Pool as well.
In the warmer periods there were plenty of butterflies on the wing, including 20 Orange Tips, four Peacocks and two Brimstone butterflies.
A Shrew species was found in Car Park Hide, but soon got out.
18th May 2013 - Sunny intervals, cold start, light north-easterly wind.
The weekend’s highlight was the year’s first Marsh Harrier which came in low from the south-west, flew over the crop field oaks and away to the north-east at 8.30 a.m. It was a sub-adult.
Yesterday’s Cuckoo was singing away, roving between Siden Hill Wood and the Railway Hide area, as before. There was also a single Dunlin which joined the resident Ringed Plover and three Little Ringed Plovers. A Hobby was also seen in the morning. Much of the attention turned to breeding birds and information on these, together with counts are as follows: six Cormorants, two Herons, five Great Crested Grebes, three Little Grebes, the Black Swan, seven Mute Swans with a brood of five on the Reedbed, 20 Greylags and four broods (six, eight, five, five, all on Car Park Pool), 13 Canadas and a brood of five on Railway Pool, 19 Mallard and a brood of four on Car Park Pool, drake Teal, 14 Gadwall, 38 Tufteds, 20 Coot, two Moorhen, six Oystercatchers, 22 Lapwing and at least four broods (a two and a three on Car Park Pool and two plus two in the crop field), 334 Black-headed Gulls, three Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 26 Common Terns, of which at least 21 are now sitting.
Last, but not least, there were five Redshanks of which one is sitting.
17th May 2013 - Sunny intervals, light north-westerly wind.
A Cuckoo was in fine voice all morning, commuting between Siden Hill Wood and the area around Railway Hide. A single Dunlin fed along the shorelines of Railway Pool and at 9.20 an adult Mediterranean Gull flew in and then roosted for much of the morning on Tern Island, and was present until 3.30 p.m. when it flew off. A Hobby was also seen and there were good numbers of Swifts and Hirundines, including at least 50 Swifts and 20 House Martins.
16th May 2013 - Sunny periods, light westerly wind. Showers in the evening.
Passage continued today with five Dunlin in the morning and the drake Teal also reappeared. Only three Dunlin could be found later, one on Car Park Pool and two on Railway Pool, which were joined by a Common Sandpiper. There was also an intriguing record of a pair of Hobbies which quartered the flood plain in the early afternoon and, after being disturbed by a single Peregrine, flew off to the north-west.
There are now two Oystercatchers sitting on Car Park Pool and an un-singing Cuckoo flew from the crop field oaks to the central streamline at c.2 p.m. and proceeded to feed in the oaks there.
Last, but not least, the first Damselfly of the year was on the wing, a Large Red, which was present around the car park area.
15th May 2013 - Wet, cool westerly wind.
Despite heavy overnight rain extending into this morning, there was significant wader passage overnight and into this morning and a record 24 Dunlin and two Sanderling were present at first light, with 20 Dunlin still at 11 a.m., and they had been joined by nine tundrai Ringed Plovers. There have been plenty of other waders at other Midlands locations.
14th May 2013 - Sunny intervals a.m., clouding over p.m., with rain from 2 p.m. Noticeably cool.
At least 12 Common Terns are now sitting, with a count of adults of 30. The first Black-headed Gull chick has hatched out on the Railway Pool islands and there are now three broods of Lapwing with an estimated 11 pairs in total. Redshank numbers appear to be hovering around the level of three pairs, with at least one now sitting.
A male Teal put in a brief appearance on Car Park Pool in the afternoon and evening, along with four Little Ringed Plovers and two Ringed Plovers.
In Siden Hill Wood or in the scrub to the north, a Lesser Whitethroat was in song. Jays have hatched out young and there was also a Tawny Owl seen.
13th May 2013 - Westerly wind, periodic heavy showers, sunny intervals.
With the exception of a single Dunlin, all of the weekends waders have moved on and there was relatively little of note.
The evening work party were rewarded with a somewhat out of season female Goosander which flew over the car park at about 8 p.m. There were plenty of hirundines and Swifts with the latter particularly in evidence in the evening as the temperatures fell rapidly.
Nine attended the work party and achieved a lot of useful tasks including a sweeping out of all the hides, the sorting of the car park container and willow maintenance. Thanks to all those who attended.
12th May 2013 - Overcast but dry in the morning, wet on and off most of the rest of the day, cool westerly wind.
A Turnstone stayed all day and was joined by two summer plumaged Dunlin and two migrant Ringed Plovers, the latter joining the two resident birds, only one of which seems to be regular during the day. There were also two Little Ringed Plovers and in the cool, drizzly conditions, plenty of Swifts and hirundines, with at least 40 Swifts in the morning, far fewer in the later afternoon as the weather deteriorated. Hirundines at lunchtime included an estimated 100 Sand Martins and 20 Swallows but, by 4 p.m., the proportion of Swallows had increased to over 40. There were a handful of House Martins as well.
Last, but not least, a Hobby put in a fleeting appearance at 11 a.m. when it flew over the Dragonfly Pond towards Car Park Pool.
11th May 2013 - Cool, westerly, sunshine and showers.
The bird of the weekend was undoubtedly a summer plumaged Turnstone which was first found by Brian Harris on Saturday morning and lingered all weekend. This is the first record of the species since 2004 which is bizarre considering it was annual between 1999 and 2004 (except for a blank year in 2002), with 13 records, for then there to be none for nine years seems odd.
A Little Egret spent part of the day on Car Park Pool, a male Mandarin was again present and a single Common Sandpiper foraged the margins of Railway Pool.
The cooler conditions meant that Swifts were seen in small groups all day with one group of 12 at 9.15 and groups of five to ten on and off through the morning and the afternoon.
The first broods of Lapwings hatched today with two in the crop field and at least three on Car Park Pool. Also, 227 Black-headed Gull nests were counted by Graham Rowling as part of his weekly wildfowl and other counts but despite this, there were 26 Common Terns present and at least seven pairs now appear to be nesting. Other counts included five Great Crested Grebes, four Dabchicks, seven Cormorants, two Herons, six Mute Swans, 25 Greylags with two broods, 12 Canadas with one brood of seven on Railway Pool, 12 Mallard and two broods (two railway and one south-west pond), ten Gadwall, 56 Tufted, 23 Coot, three Moorhen, six Oystercatchers, 31 Lapwing, six Redshank, two Ringed Plover, one Black Swan, seven Lesser Black-backs and 380 Black-headed Gulls.
10th May 2013 - Cool, blustery westerly wind, showery.
A male Teal was a new arrival which was present on Car Park Pool all day, and both yesterdays Dunlin and Little Egret were present again on Car Park Pool, along with a single Common Sandpiper. Hirundines built up as the day progressed although there was some turnover and Swifts (which were not recorded in the log yesterday), were in evidence today. In the morning there were 15 House Martins, 10 Swallows and 20 Sand Martins and a couple of Swifts but, by 4 p.m., Sand Martin numbers had increased to at least 100 but there were probably no more than 10 each of Swallow and House Martin. Swift numbers had risen to at least 15 to 20.
9th May 2013 - Increasingly blustery westerly wind, sun and showers in the morning, increasingly wet in the afternoon and evening.
Birds were fairly similar to yesterday with Little Egret on Car Park Pool in the morning, a Yellow Wagtail on the flood plain and of the migrant waders, there were two Common Sandpipers on Railway Pool and a Dunlin on Car Park Pool.
Needless to say, in the blustery conditions, hirundines were more in evidence with at least 50 Sand Martins, two House Martins and three Swallows.
8th May 2013 - Overnight rain, drizzly first thing, showers, brisk south-westerly.
Four Ringed Plovers were brought down by the rain and were preening and washing between the islands on Railway Pool first thing, but had moved on by mid-morning. Their presence caused the solitary male Ringed Plover to undertake display flight, but obviously with no success. There was a male Yellow Wagtail on the Car Park Pool islands, briefly, but that flew north and the first summer Common Gull was again present with the Black-headed Gulls in front of Oak Hide.
In the blustery conditions there were at least 16 Swallows and 15 Sand Martins.
In the afternoon and early evening, Common Tern numbers had reached 22 with a number already sitting. The Little Egret was on Car Park Pool, but flew to the river, there were singles of Common Sandpiper and Snipe and hirundines and Swifts were much more in evidence presumably because of the weather. 15 Swifts flew through in the early afternoon and, in the evening, there were at least 50 Sand Martins and 15 Swallows.
7th May 2013 - Warm, sunny, light south-westerly wind.
What was presumably yesterday’s Wood Sandpiper put in a brief appearance on Railway Pool early morning but again did not linger. A single Dunlin appeared mid-morning and was joined by a second, and both of these were still present in the evening. Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover and Ringed Plover were all on site at various times during the day and Little Egret moved backwards and forwards from the river.
The drake Mandarin came and went again from Bradnocks Marsh and both first summer Herring and Common Gulls were on the Railway Pool during the morning.
Evening counts included five Great Crested Grebes, six Little Grebes, 41 Greylags and a brood of six, 11 Canadas, two Mallard broods of three and five on Railway, 28 Common Terns, seven Oystercatchers, five Redshanks, a Yellow Wagtail on the Car Park Pool Islands and an overflying Snipe.
6th May 2013 - Sunny, warm, light south-westerly wind.
Despite the clement weather, there was some good passage today with one, possibly two Wood Sandpipers at around 11 a.m., (sadly they moved on very quickly), followed by two Whimbrel at 12.40 which landed on the islands on Car Park Pool. They lingered until 2 p.m. before they flew north.
A good supporting cast included Little Egret (which commuted to and from the river), and Wheatear, White and Yellow Wagtails all of which frequented the disturbed soil on the location of the cattle feeder on the flood plain.
The male Mandarin was again escorting a female Mallard and it was up to no good! If there is an outcome it will be fascinating to see what they look like.
There were also upwards of four Common Sandpipers today but again numbers were difficult to count as birds commuted to and from the river. There was also a late Common Snipe seen on site and two Muntjac were disturbed from the causeway.
Wood Sandpiper appeared briefly for about 10 minutes at 2 p.m., but again promptly disappeared.
5th May 2013 - Sunny, warm, light south-westerly wind.
The male Mandarin remains but just a single Common Sandpiper today. At least two Garden Warblers were in song along the Old Road.
4th May 2013 - Drizzly start, periodic sunny intervals and showers, south-westerly wind.
Today’s bird count yielded exactly 80 species but unlike Upton Warren on 89 and Belvide on 90, we did not benefit to the same extent from passage birds. The latter were limited to one to two Yellow Wagtails, up to six Swifts, three Common Sandpipers and the first Hobby of the year which circled over the tip field before moving off north at 8.30.
57 species had been recorded by 8.30, 66 by 9.45, 73 by 11.30 and 80 by late afternoon, but there were no additions despite some coverage up until dusk.
The last watcher, Dave Scanlan, was however rewarded by good sightings of Badger behind Railway Hide at dusk.
The warm weather meant that there were plenty of butterflies, particularly Orange Tips, Small Whites and Peacocks and both Garden Warblers and Whitethroats are now well in with at least six of the former and possibly as many as 18 of the latter.
Other birds of note included a male Mandarin, Cuckoo, Raven, Meadow Pipit and at least three Lesser Whitethroats, one on the Old Road and two between the north end of Siden Hill Wood and the radio mast.
The full list was as follows:-
Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mandarin, Gadwall, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Heron, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Kestrel, Hobby, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Common Sandpiper, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Common Tern, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Feral Pigeon, Cuckoo, Swift, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Skylark, Sand Martin, Swallow, House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Raven, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Bullfinch, Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting.
A few breeding birds that eluded the watchers included Tawny Owl, Water Rail and Kingfisher and recently departed birds included Wigeon and Teal, the former there the day before.
Provided most of the breeding birds are seen (as in this case), we are dependent on migrants, particularly waders, to swell the number and we were not well blessed this year. There may have been Snipe about but they refused to show despite being seen either side of the due date and other possibles, such as Siskin and Lesser Redpoll, eluded us.
Thanks to all those who attended.
3rd May 2013 - Sunny intervals, south-westerly wind.
Not a great deal of change. The male Mandarin and a pair of Wigeon remained, with increasing numbers of Terns, Garden, Reed and Sedge Warblers.
More butterflies were on the wing today, including at least six Peacocks, a Comma, two male Orange Tips and three Green-veined Whites.
2nd May 2013
A first Cuckoo of the year put in a frustratingly brief appearance and gave only brief song by Railway Hide at about 8.30 this morning, but was not subsequently seen or heard.
A Garden Warbler sang intermittently from the Blackthorn scrub on the central streamline by the orchid field, although it flew towards Oak Hide. It returned to the Blackthorn later in the day and was heard briefly again.
The male Mandarin also put in a brief appearance.
Other records of note included the pair of Wigeon, a Yellow Wagtail, many Orange Tips, a Brimstone Butterfly by Railway Hide and at least one Common Sandpiper and a Snipe.
1st May 2013 - Cool, northerly wind, after a frost. Sunny.
The male Mandarin again put in an appearance and the Lesser Whitethroat had moved from the top hedge of Car Park Pool to sing outside the car park itself. In the evening there were four Little Ringed Plovers, 19 Common Terns, a Mallard brood of seven on Car Park Pool and a significant passage of Lesser Black-backed Gulls totalling 78 between 8.15 and 8.35.
The warmer weather during the day saw the first Orange Tips of the year on the wing, together with two Peacocks.