All records are from Avon Meadows Wetland.

17 May 18

BIRDS:  A count of 50 species this morning in fine but cooler weather.  The big news is that the Mute Swans have just produced 8 cygnets on the main pool.  There are chicks of Moorhen, Coot and Mallard present.  During the morning we enjoyed the extraordinary sight of 2 pairs of Cuckoos arguing over territory!  Gadwall and Tufted Duck are still present.  Three Lesser Whitethroats were recorded, 2 in the middle hedge.  One Rook flew over, a scarce species on Avon Meadows.  Linnets are still present and we found a Goldcrest singing behind Cherry Orchard School.

In the afternoon a Eurasian Oystercatcher was reported on the scrape and a Hobby flew over.

DRAGONFLIES:  Sustained sunny weather has brought the dragons out!  Today we found Banded Demoiselle, Large Red Damselfly and Common Blue Damselfly.

10 May 18

BIRDS:  A very good count in lovely weather - 51 species.  Pairs of Gadwall and Tufted Duck present.  One Cuckoo present.  14 Common Swifts recorded and hirundine numbers beginning to build; 16 Sand Martins, 4 Barn Swallows and 6 House MartinsLesser Whitethroat still present in the middle hedge, 8 Common Whitethroats and good numbers of Reed and Sedge Warblers singing.  Two Willow Warblers were seen and 5 Linnets.

REPTILES:  A Slow Worm was found near the main entrance.  A number of reports have been received of people seeing Grass Snakes swimming in shallow pools.

3 May 18

BIRDS:  Better weather than at the weekend but the birds kept appearing, our morning count today was 53 species, our best yet for a normal morning session!  The bird of the morning was undoubtedly a Whinchat on the scrape, these are scarce spring migrants on Avon Meadows.  Now Mallards and Coots have chicks on the pools and the Mute Swans are still sitting on eggs, expect cygnets later this month.  Other sightings of interest were a Mandarin Duck flying down the river, a Lesser Whitethroat singing in the middle hedge, a Cuckoo was calling early on, Cetti's Warbler was seen (they are rather quiet at the moment) and there are plenty of Sedge and Reed Warblers, Common Whitethroats, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs.  Finally at least 6 Linnets were recorded leading to hopes that at least some of them will nest on Avon Meadows.


BIRDS:  In summary, awful weather, excellent birds resulting in a total of 64 species recorded.  It was dark at 05h00 when we started but Blackbirds, Blackcaps, Song Thrushes, Robins and Reed Buntings were singing.  As it became light a Common Sandpiper appeared on the scrape and a pair of Gadwall was moving around among the Canada and Greylag Geese.  During the day Red Kite, Little Egret and Yellow Wagtail flew over.  By mid-morning more and more warblers were singing including, Reed and Sedge Warblers, Common and Lesser Whitethroats, Chiffchaff and Cetti's Warblers.  There was even a Mandarin Duck on the river!  Although only arriving in small numbers so far this year we recorded, Swift, Swallow, House and Sand Martins and a Cuckoo was calling from 05h20!

26 April 18

BIRDS: A chilly day today with a stiff SW wind reduced our bird count to 45 species.  Hirundine counts still low and only Swallows and Sand Martins present.  A pair of Gadwall on the scrape and a second Mallard brood of 7 chicks cheered things up.  A Cuckoo was singing for much of the early morning and both Sedge and Reed Warblers have arrived in number.  Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs made up the warbler numbers but we only found one Common Whitethroat.  A small flock of 4 Linnets flew around the north meadow.  The Mute Swans are still sitting tight on the main pool.  

20 April 18

BIRDS:  A singly Egyptian Goose was recorded on the scrape early this morning but flew off just after 9;00pm.  It is a new species for Avon Meadows.

MOTHS:  Our first moth night of the season brought in 1 new species for us, The Chestnut.

19 Apr 18

BIRDS:  A lovely morning produced a lot of birds resulting in a record equalling morning count of 50 species!  The scrape held Canada and Greylag Geese, Shoveler and Tufted Duck plus a Common Sandpiper.  Wading birds are quite scarce on Avon Meadows.  Swallows and Martins are still only present in small numbers, we managed 2 Swallows and 5 Sand Martins Cetti's Warbler seems to be singing everywhere it seems although there are only perhaps 2 birds.  Summer warblers put up a good show, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs are present in good numbers, Willow Warblers are still passing through and Common and Lesser Whitethroats have just started to arrive.  Two Linnets were heard flying over.  Resident birds are all breeding now and Mallards continue to produce broods.  A pair of Mute Swans is nesting beside the main pool.

REPTILES:  Grass Snakes now active.  One seen basking in the sun on a pile of sticks in a pool recently cleared of reeds near the end of the boardwalk.

FLOWERS:  Cuckooflower (aka Lady's Smock Cardamine pratensis) out now, esp. in N meadow.  Marsh-marigold now flowering on all its regular locations.

14 April 18

BIRDS:  The first Cuckoo of the year was heard this morning.  Spring is here!

12 April 18

BIRDS:  A dull wintery day today, 8°C with showers later.  However the birds did not seem to mind and we logged 48 species.  Mute Swan and Coot are sitting on their nests beside the main pool.  Tufted Duck are still present on the main pool.  Both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were recorded today.  Only 2 Swallows present although House Martins and Sand Martins have been seen during the week.  There are a few Meadow Pipits still present and a Skylark flew over.  Warblers are still providing interest.  The first one or two Sedge Warblers can be hard chattering in the reed beds.  Willow Warblers continue to pass through and Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps continue to arrive for the summer.  Cetti's Warbler is singing regularly and the Water Rail can be seen occasionally looking down the channel cut in the reed beds near the far end of the boardwalk.  Three Linnets flew over mid-morning.

FLOWERS: A clump of Marsh Marigold Caltha palustris has appeared in an area of cut reeds near the far end of the boardwalk.

10 April 18

MAMMALS:  A Muntjac deer was disturbed from near the school today.

9 April 18

MAMMALS:  A Weasel was seen near the river today.

5 April 18

BIRDS:  A lovely early spring day after the floods brought out birds, butterflies and bird watchers!  49 species were recorded including a Hawfinch, which is new for Avon Meadows.  You may have read that there has been a huge influx of Hawfinches from the Continent this winter.  Spring is with us as far as the Mallards are concerned and a brood of 9 chicks is present on the scrape.  New arrivals include Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Sand Martin and Swallow all in rather small numbers so far.  We found a drake Mandarin Duck just north of Piddle Brook and a Kingfisher was using the brook in preference to the river which was still in spate.  Pairs of Water Rails and Cetti's Warblers have been recorded during the week raising our hopes of breeding again this year as they clearly have survived the winter.  A few Meadow Pipits are still with us but the winter thrushes have all gone.

BUTTERFLIES:  Several early butterflies were on the wing including Brimstone and Comma.

29 March 18

BIRDS:  Not very spring-like weather today but we did manage to log 41 species.  A European Oystercatcher flow over, our 77th species for 2018.  There are up to 2 Little Grebes on the main pool occasionally joined by a pair of Tufted Ducks.  The Tufted Ducks spend some time on the scrape where there is also a pair of Teal.  Today was characterised by the bird of prey whereby at least 3 Sparrowhawks and 5 Buzzards were cruising over for most of the morning.  A pair of Grey Wagtails was seen on the boardwalk and an early Chiffchaff is singing beside the main pool.

FLOWERS:  The Blackthorn blossom (aka Sloe or May - Prunus spinosa) is just coming out.

22 March 18

BIRDS:  Overcast with a chilly breeze from the SW but we recorded 48 species none the less.  One of our original Mute Swans with the orange leg ring number 83C was on the main pool.  A Water Rail was heard and seen after several weeks missing.  A Red Kite flew over early on.  A flock of 31 Meadow Pipits were around Piddle Brook and a flock of ~100 Fieldfares flew over together with a few Redwing.  2 Chiffchaffs were our first spring arrivals.  At least 2 Treecreepers were found in the N hedge together with a female Bullfinch.  A Rook flew over which was a new bird for 2018.  

21 March 18

BUTTERFLIES: A single Red Admiral seen flying on a sunny morning chancing its luck with the weather.

15 March 18

BIRDS:  Sunny periods and less wind today resulted in a count of 46 species.  The undoubted highlight of the morning was an adult Iceland Gull flying over, and uncommon winter visitor in Worcestershire and the first record for Avon Meadows, our 124th species.  Other notable records included a Little Grebe and 6 Tufted Ducks on the main pool.  A Jay was recorded beside the river and a Goldcrest found in the north hedge.  No spring arrivals yet but our Common Stonechats were last seen on 9 March.  A Treecreeper was seen in willows along the northern boundary.

FLOWERS:  Spring is around the corner!  The Lesser Celandines (Ranunculus ficaria) are coming out on the Wetland.

8 March 18

BIRDS:  Better weather this week although still  a stiff breeze to keep the smaller birds down.  A count of 40 species cheered us all up!  Several species of wildfowl are using the scrape to roost in the evening; Canada Goose, Shelduck, Teal and Shoveler.  Rather more dramatically a roost of ~300 Pied Wagtails have been reported in early evening!  We recorded a single Pied Wagtail flying over this morning!  Land clearance for building for a site just to the north of Avon Meadows has brought in a lot of gulls.  Today we recorded 150 Black-headed Gulls, several Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls and an adult Common Gull.  Three common birds of prey were recorded during the morning, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and 3 Common Buzzards.

FLOWERS:  One or two clumps of Snowdrops have appeared in an area where the brambles have been cleared, a new species for us!

3 March 18

BIRDS:  Plenty of snow cover today but little wind and the birds were quite active.  This report is a summary of several observers' visits during the day.  The three species from 1 March (Lapwing, Snipe and Fieldfare) were still present.  The scrape held a Common Gull, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail and 3 Stonechats.  A Grey Wagtail stopped briefly on the icy part of the main pool.  Two Linnets flew up off the scrape, our first record for this species in 2018.

1 March 18

BIRDS:  Challenging weather today (-4°C, NE wind Force 4-5 and snow showers) so we only managed about an hour and a quarter during which time we logged 32 species.  The main interest was species that have been uncommon on Avon Meadows this winter but were quite numerous today.  These were Lapwing, Snipe and Fieldfare.  This is apparently a country-wide phenomenon. There was on Common Gull with the Black-headed Gulls on the scrape.

22 February 18

BIRDS:  A cold wind today giving a hint of the icy wind promised for next week.  A total of 43 species were recorded today.  Less frequent sightings for us included Canada Geese, Common Teal, Common Snipe, Common Gull and Skylark.  There were 3 Stonechats present and we found both Green Woodpecker and Buzzard today both of which had been absent for several weeks.

15 February 18

BIRDS:  Better weather this seem with sunshine but a chill wind and the temperature stayed below 8°C.  The count was 40 species again.  Looking at last week's highlights below, the Water Rail and Ravens were recorded again this week but the others were replaced with Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pied Wagtail, Cetti's Warbler (called briefly) and Treecreeper.

8 February 18

BIRDS:  A bleak windy day but we managed 40 species this week.  The undoubted highlight was 4 Bullfinches all in the same bush (beside the mini football pitch), 3 males and 1 female.  It is unusual to see more that 2 on Avon Meadows.  There were 3 Common Teal on the main pool and the Water Rail could be seen on the margins in the same place as last week.  We are due to raise the water levels quite soon so the Water Rail is likely to get pushed back into the reed beds then.  A single Common Snipe flew over as did a small flock of Meadow Pipits.  Three Ravens flew over at different times.

1 February 18

BIRDS:  Although sunny there was a cold wind which kept the birds down resulting in a count of a modest 36 species.  Notable observations were; a Water Rail showing well at the base of the reeds on the main pool, a pair of Sparrowhawks displaying early on, 3 Stonechats, 1 Cetti's Warbler seen and a Lesser Redpoll.

25 January 18

BIRDS:  A good count of 47 species this week in the face of a cold southerly wind offset by sunshine.  With the river in spate there was a pair of Kingfishers on the Wetland today providing excellent views.  With the water level on the main pool lowered for reed cutting a Water Rail can occasionally be seen on the margins.  There were 3 Sparrowhawks around today including a male on the scrape which put up a Snipe.  A single Common Gull flew over as did a Great Spotted Woodpecker.  The Pied Wagtails no longer inhabit the wet meadows but are to be found in hedges and on houses around.  There was one male Stonechat in the S meadow.  A pair of Goldcrests were seen displaying in the sunshine.  Jackdaw and 2 Ravens flew over as did a female Bullfinch.

18 January 2018

BIRDS:  Only 43 species this week but some interesting ones included in the count.  Three Sparrowhawks today, 2 females fighting over a male.  7 Teal on the main pool looking very smart.  Two Common Gulls flew over and a Water Rail was heard calling.  Long-tailed Tits appeared for their first Thursday record this year.  There was one Lesser Redpoll feeding on Great Willowherb seeds beside the main pool.  Most exciting of all was a female Brambling found in a mixed flock of finches and tits.  This is only our second record for this species the previous one being in January 2013.

11 January 2018

BIRDS:  Better than expected weather with good visibility and little wind helped us to record 48 species today.  Key species were Teal on the main pool and Wigeon and Shoveler on the scrape.  The main pool is low enough now (lowered for reed cutting) for Water Rail to be seen occasionally on the margins.  Both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers showed as did a pair of Cetti's Warblers.  Of the less common passerines Blackcap, Goldcrest, Coal Tit and Yellowhammer were all recorded.  So a very good day with some unusual birds for us on show.

4 January 2018

BIRDS: A pleasant morning turned into a rather blustery one reducing the bird count in the latter part of the morning.  Much of the meadows are water logged which serves to attract Pied and Grey Wagtails together with a flock of Meadow Pipits.  Our eventual count rose to 46 species which is our highest for the first week in January.  The undoubted highlights of the morning were only our 3rd records for Goosander and Greater Black-backed Gull.  There were 2 Snipe hiding in the grass on the scrape.  Water Rail and Cetti's Warbler were both heard.  A Peregrine Falcon flew over and our pair of Stonechats is still present around the scrape.

The Friends of Avon Meadows CIO is a Registered Charity, registered number 1174083

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