For some weeks now, water levels at both Coombe Hill and Ashleworth have been unusually low for the winter months, and water bird numbers have been low: we really need a small flood!
No change in conditions today: light frost, mist early on, much of the water surfaces iced over, rather more birds at Ashleworth than at Coombe Hill.
At Coombe Hill, practically all birds were round a hole in the ice on the Long Pool: 2 Mute Swans; 2 Canada Geese; 1 Shelduck; 40 Wigeon; 60 Teal; 15 Mallard; 10 Shoveler; 2 Grey Herons; 1 Coot on the Long Pool, five on the canal; NIL Lapwings or Snipe; finally succeeded in finding two Stonechats alongside the footpath.
At Ashleworth, good numbers of birds right in front of the hide: 2 Mute Swans; 61 Greylags flew in (so they haven’t all departed to the breeding grounds); 200 Wigeon; 700 Teal; 20 Mallard; 2 Pintail; 15 Shoveler; 25 Snipe. While we were pouring over our telescopes, carefully counting ducks and Snipe, we missed a Marsh Harrier flying past at some height, which was photographed by one of the keen cameramen: the picture looked altogether convincing.
Why do people buy takeaway meals then leave the debris on the roadside at nature reserves?
Boddington: about 200 Lapwing, shared between sheep grazed and cereal fields just south of the Gloucester Old Spot Inn. So that’s why there are none at Coombe Hill or Ashleworth.