January Warblers on a Welly Test

A planned pre-dawn run out this morning got of to a bad start when I left the house to find that it was raining. When will I ever learn not to trust the forecast. So my first stop at Blakehill to see if the SEO’s would be flying first thing was binned. Therefore it was straight to South Cerney where I parked at the recreation ground to walk over to Shorncote. Getting out of the car I was greeted by three singing Song Thrushes. I had already heard another three from the car on the drive down. A small flock of Fielfare were in the trees by the road. Having crossed the road I headed over the fields towards the hide. The flooded footpaths here were to be the first test for my new wellies. The first thing I noticed was the rank smell in the area around the first gate. I guess overflow from the sewage farm across the way. Not nice. There were plenty of small birds in the hedgerow with Reed bunting, Goldfinch and various Tits seen and the first of many Cetti’s heard. Two Little Egrets flew over and landed in the field to my right. Reaching the flooded part I was soon over halfway up the boots and IMG_1327 (1024x682)IMG_1325 (1024x681)moving slowly to avoid a bow wave developing. Teal could be heard from the pit on the left and a Water Rail squealed from the reeds. Stopping just before the first hide a look along the stream found me my first Chiffchaff of the year. There were loads of insects on the wing for them to feed on. Over my visit I saw at least six. A few minutes in the first hide got me a good view of a Cetti’s and the same of a Siberian Chiffchaff. One of a couple that have been around here for a few days now. I reckon that there were at least ten Cetti’s in the area with there calls being heard almost constantly. Other species seen amongst the thirty-five total were Grey Wagtail, Goldcrest and Treecreeper. My next stop was Eysey where the high water levels seemed to have moved most of the birds away. The highlight was a Green Sandpiper. Mallard, Canada Geese and Mute Swans were the only others seen. I then carried on towards Kempsford to check out the floods for the two Ruddy Shelduck that were reported yesterday. They were soon found just along from Wetstone Bridge near to the turning for Down Ampney. Also here were two Egyptian Geese, many gulls and some Teal and Wigeon. Unfortunately all just in Gloucestershire although just a few dozen yards from being in Wiltshire. Then it was time to head off for home. I had intended going out to Blakehill in the afternoon but an overunning Pasty making session stopped that from happening. IMG_1333 (1024x665)Instead I took the dog for a late afternooon walk at Coate Water. The main lake was very quiet with just four Goosanders of note. unusually there were no gulls of any sort to be seen. A first I think. On the other lake there were a few duck around including a flock of seven Shelduck, the most I have seen together at Coate.


2 responses to “January Warblers on a Welly Test

  1. Richard Williams

    Thanks Malcolm. Interesting to see the state of play at Shorncote so I wonder if Kim will take us there on Sunday as he did last year. Hopefully the waters may recede a bit by the week-end. I see you are nearly at 100 already!

    • With the rain tomorrow you may be needing waders rather than wellies!!
      A bit closer to 100 after today. It is a lot easier when work doesn’t get in the way as you well know.

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