Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Winter Gloucestershire

11 Dec - An early walk at Shorncote on a fine morning, productive as usual. Great White and Little Egrets seen, Water Rails calling, Curlew over and no less than 4 Green Sandpipers in flight/calling. A female Stonechat feeding along the hedge line, 2 Grey Wagtails on the stream, 6 Cettis’s Warblers singing, 9 Siskins flying over, Goldfinches a good Shorncote record. Kingfisher in flight and no less than 9 Roe Deer in the reeds. Cirencester Park this autumn has very good numbers of Bramblings and once more a drive through the minor roads was punctuated by birds flying up from the beech mast where they are feeding. Despite their bright colors they are amazingly camouflaged when on the ground, but their white rumps are conspicuous amongst the Chaffinches when in flight.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Sawbills and Shorties

10 Dec - A fine winter day, and a look at the Lower Mill area - no less than 26 Goosander, including 16 smart males, on Pit 41 - with a further 4 birds on Pit 65. A scattering of Goldeneye, with over 40 Red-crested Pochard on their regular haunt at Pit 44. In the afternoon, I visited Blakehill as the wind had dropped and the Short-eared Owl was out hunting well before sunset, ranging on both sides of the main track and giving nice backlit views against the setting sun. Of note, there are currently good numbers of Bramblings in the beech woods on the northern side of Cirencester Park. I plan to try to photograph them while the winter light is better during the current fine spell.....

Sunday, 9 December 2018


9 Dec - A sunny day though still windy, and a look at Slimbridge at the weekend. The numbers of Bewick’s Swans are building with over 50 birds now present, mostly feeding on the Tack Piece during the middle of the day. Large flocks of Lapwings and Golden Plover swirling over the floods, and good numbers of duck, both dabbling and diving, in evidence, colours glowing in the low sunlight. 3 Snipe from Martin Smith hide and a scurrying Water Rail, but no sign of the Jack Snipe today. Nothing exceptional but the sheer number of wintering birds is always impressive.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

A sparkling morning

4 Dec - At last, a fine sunny morning with a touch of early frost. A magical sunrise over the Shorncote reedbeds, with a lot of early activity - Redwings and Fieldfares moving, Water Rails and Cetti’s Warblers calling, and Reed Buntings feeding on seed heads - also a couple of flocks of Bullfinches, elusive as always. No Great White or Little Egrets today, but Shoveler, Snipe and a party of Teal logged, the usual Grey Wagtail along the stream, and Buzzards enjoying the chance to stretch their wings - nothing exceptional but a beautiful winter morning. Elsewhere, a couple of groups of Bramblings with Chaffinches in the beech trees around Cirencester Park - good numbers seem to have arrived locally this year. Always a smart and exciting bird to see.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Egret central........

2 Dec - Currently there is an extraordinary gathering of Egrets at Cleveland Lakes in the CWP, I paid a visit today and I counted 4 Great White Egrets with no less than 62 Little Egrets....a constant feeding frenzy going on in the reed-fringed shallows. Grey Herons also in attendance but in the minority - a reversal of fortunes over the last decade or two, when the Egrets used to be very much the rarities. Also flight views of two Kingfishers.

Saturday, 1 December 2018


1 Dec - An afternoon visit to Slimbridge after the rain, amazing views of up to 3 Water Rails from Willow Hide. Large numbers of Lapwings and Golden Plovers circling over the Tack Piece. Good to see over 40 elegant Bewick's Swans now back on site, amazing to think about the arduous migration that they have undertaken. Whitefronts feeding S of Zeiss hide, and the usual large numbers of duck present. Snipe, Redshank and Black-tailed Godwit also seen. Beautiful low winter light when the sun appeared between the shower clouds.

Friday, 30 November 2018

Cotswold odds and ends

30 Nov - A cycle from Ciren to Winstone and back on the usual circular route. At least 4 Bramblings with the Chaffinches among the Beech mast, 30+ Yellowhammers, Fieldfares and Redwings in the hedges, and a Little Egret feeding in the stream at Daglingworth. Several Buzzards soaring in the fine although breezy weather, also a Sparrowhawk.