A fun day-listing trip with my partner Fliss, housemates and fellow naturalist Nicholas Gates saw a good range of species seen across Gloucestershire and Somerset, with 91 species in total.
07:00. Parkend Village, Dean, Gloucestershire.
One Tawny Owl started the day.
07:30: Cannop Valley, Dean, Gloucestershire.
A exceptionally early roding Woodcock over the road. The north Cannop pond held Mandarin as well as common waterfowl species.
08:00: Woorgreen’s Lake, Dean, Gloucestershire.
Close to eighty common snipe and two Jack Snipe were put from the lake edge (51.812395, -2.539760).
Large aggregations of siskin and lesser redpoll filled the birches, and thirteen goosander put on a fine display. Top prize went to much activity from common crossbills, with several over and a vocal pair showing well in sitka spruce (51.812395, -2.539760). Crabtree Hill was less productive with no great grey shrike observed.
09:30: Speech House, Dean, Gloucestershire.
A superb family of wild boar, a female and four half-grown piglets, fed right next to the car, providing yet more proof of the endearing ferocity of this UK-certified ‘dangerous’ animal as the group regenerated the ecosystem for a new generation of flowers this coming season.
10:15: Crown Lane, Parkend, Dean, Gloucestershire.
Sunflower seed had been put down for Hawfinches below yew trees in this traditional parkland area for the species, and three birds obliged superbly (51.768942, -2.561630). Poor weather closed in and after a few unsuccessful stops, we moved across the Severn estuary via Gloucester and south to Slimbridge.
12:45-14:30: Slimbridge, Gloucestershire.
A productive spell of birding provided the spectacle of a Peregrine harassing large flocks of lapwing and golden plover. Russian White-fronted Geese grazed the Tack Piece. Bewick’s Swans were observed at the Rushy Pen. On the Dumbles, a red-breasted goose of dubious natural origin showed well (51.743219, -2.409867).
16:00-16:40: Shapwick Heath, Avalon Marshes, Somerset.
A swift drive down to finish the day paid off, with a roosting Marsh Harrier, Water Rail, Cetti’s Warbler and a good dusk find of a male calling Firecrest beside the car park (51.154215, -2.790708). Noah’s Lake held 3 roosting great white egret (51.157262, -2.811770) and on the walk back, a bittern flopping overhead provided a good end to the day.