All records are from Avon Meadows Wetland.

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.

28 December 2017

BIRDS:  Extensive flooding at today, mainly covering the north meadows emanating from Piddle Brook.  Some icing and generally cold and sunny.  44 species this week so a good way to end the year.  Water Rail was heard on several occasions and Cetti's Warbler just once.  There was a good number of Meadow Pipits and we found 3 Stonechats.  The flood water had brought in a lot of Pied Wagtails and just one Grey Wagtail.  The gulls were all the common one; Black-headed, Lesser Black-backed and Herring.  It was 3 smaller birds that provided the star turn today, Goldcrest, Coal Tit and Lesser Redpoll.

Since the last count on 21st a Great Crested Grebe was found on the river bring our species count for 2017 to an excellent 100 - a new record for us.

21 December 17

BIRDS:  A grey day but mild with little wind saw us record a total of 46 species.  Highlights were; Water Rail heard several times, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers seen, a flock of 37 Meadow Pipits and both Grey and Pied Wagtails, the latter on the scrape.  There were just a pair of Stonechats this week both in the area of recently cut reeds.  This was another week with a lot of Mistle Thrushes, 8 this week.  The Cetti's Warbler called once and was seen near the main entrance.  The most exciting records for us were 3 Goldcrests, 2 Coal Tits and 2 Treecreepers all of which are scarce on Avon Meadows.  Large flocks of Fieldfares flew over throughout the morning.

14 December 17

BIRDS: Weekend snow has battered the reeds down giving the Wetland a very open look.  The thaw is under way but still tricky walking on the paths.  Birds were more difficult to find today but we managed a total of 41 species.  Highlights were 10 Cormorants, a Water Rail called once, at least one Common Gull flew over (there has been one on the ice on the main pool with Black-headed Gulls during the week), 2 Stock Doves, 3 Skylarks flying over, 3 Meadow Pipits in the south meadow, 3 Stonechats today,  Once again plenty of Mistle Thrushes around, a lot of Redwings in the meadows and a reasonable number of Fieldfares flying over.  An overwintering Blackcap was found in the north hedge.

7 December 17

BIRDS: A high count today of 49 species!  The morning started off really dull but brightened up later bringing the birds out.  Highlights of the morning were; a flock of Golden Plovers flying over, 2 Water Rails calling, Common Gull flying over, Cetti's Warbler called once and a Treecreeper in willows beside Piddle Brook.  We recorded 6 Mistle Thrushes today, an unusually high number for us.

30 November 17

BIRDS: Today was a sunny, frosty morning but the birds were hard to find and we only managed 42 species.  The surprise of the morning was of a Peregrine Falcon flying over; our second record for 2017.  We did see two Sparrowhawks and both the Water Rail and Cetti's Warbler called.  There were two drake Common Teal on the main pool in spite of thin ice with Black-headed Gulls, Coot and MoorhensRedwings and Fieldfares were scarce but there were plenty of GoldfinchesCommon Snipe were seen landing on the scrape where they disappeared in the grass around the edge.

23 November 17

BIRDS:  A good morning in spite of quite strong wind saw us count 47 species.  The bird of the morning was a Great White Egret seen flying south.  A Common Kingfisher was seen on the scrape together with 3 Pied Wagtails.  We only found the male Stonechat today but all 3 birds of prey; Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and Kestrel.  Two Common Snipe flew over as did a large flock of Lapwings.  Two Common Gulls were picked out flying over as was one Raven.  A male Bullfinch was seen near the main entrance in a similar position to last week.  Song & Mistle Thrushes and Redwing were all seen and Cetti's Warbler called just once.

MAMMALS:  A recently dead Water Shrew was found beside the main path.

16 November 17

BIRDS:  It was a sunny morning with a light wind allowed us to log 45 species today.  Two Water Rails were heard and not far away a Cetti's Warbler called.  Two Common Snipe flew over as did a SkylarkPied and Grey Wagails flew over and up to 8 Meadow Pipits were recorded.  Both male and female Stonechats were present and several flocks of Fieldfares flew over.  A Coal Tit was seen in the NW corner which is a scarce species on Avon Meadows.  A male Bullfinch was seen near to the main entrance.

BUTTERFLIES: A Red Admiral was seen on the wind in the sunshine, a new late record for us.

9 November 17

BIRDS:  Benign November weather allowed us to record 47 species this week.  Most of the regulars turned up for us to get a good total, but less usual species included; 50 Lapwing and 100 Golden Plover were seen flying towards Lower Moor,  Fieldfares seem to have finally arrived in number, we recorded 106 in 3 flocks during the morning and 2 Mistle Thrushes showed well too.  Our pair of Stonechats are still present but quite mobile moving between the S meadow and the scrape.  Another unusual record for us was for 2 Treecreepers beside Piddle Brook, our 4th record for this species in 2017 involving 5 birds (5 records and 6 birds in 2016).  Finally a lovely male Bullfinch showed in the N hedge.  We heard Water Rails but not Cetti's Warbler.

BUTTERFLIES:  Two late Red Admirals were seen in the sunny periods.

5 November 17

BIRDS:  A Barn Owl was seen hunting around 17h00 this evening over the meadow just N of Piddle Brook.

4 November 17

BIRDS:  More work party sightings!  Two Lesser Redpolls near the new boardwalk and a pristine Blackcap.  The Redpolls are the 97th species for 2017, equalling our previous highest  count.  Also, a Tawny Owl was heard before dawn on the same day.

2 November 17

BIRDS:  A cool morning with little wind and dry!  We finally managed 43 species, a Water Rail called as we were about to leave.  A number of the smaller birds are forming loose flocks so watching can be exciting if you come across one.  There were 8 Moorhens and 2 Coots on the main pool and Cetti's Warblers were occasionally calling from the reeds.  A Common Snipe flew over but the ground is too dry and hard at present for them to stay.  The Stonechats are still present and a single Skylark and Meadow Pipit flew over.  We came across a flock of 17 Long-tailed Tits near the main entrance and there were two Bullfinches in the mixed flocks.

Starlings are beginning to gather in flocks of up to 2000 from 4:00pm onwards on most evenings.  Note that they do not stay aloft for very long, perhaps only 10-15 minutes.  Tonight there were about 2000 and they gave a brief display before dropping down into the reed beds to roost.  It was all over by 4:25pm.

28 October 17

BIRDS:  A flock of Fieldfares flew over this morning during our work party.  The first record on Avon Meadows this autumn.

26 October 17

BIRDS:  Better weather this week, dull with drizzle but no rain saw a total of 42 species logged.  Highlights were 6 Water Rails, they seemed to be everywhere.  The Cetti's Warblers (2) were calling regularly.  Grey and Pied Wagtails flew over as did our first Redwings of the winter.  There are now two Stonechats on the site, a female on the scrape and a male in the south meadow.  There were lots of Blackbirds, numbers we believe boosted by immigrants from Europe.

19 October 17

BIRDS:  The dry start to the morning soon deteriorated to steady rain in line with the forecast.  We did manage 32 species before running for cover cutting our usual count short by 1½ hours.  The single Coot continues to occupy the main pool together with 2 Common Teal.  A Great Spotted Woodpecker did not seem to mind the rain and there seemed to be plenty of Meadow Pipits on the scrape clearly benefiting from its recent clearance.  A mobile male Stonechat was seen on the scrape and the reedbed to the south.  The other species of note was a male Bullfinch near the main entrance.

12 October 17

BIRDS:  A lovely autumn morning saw us find 40 species.  The highlight of the morning was watching a female Sparrowhawk consuming its catch on a garden fence on Cherry Orchard.  A female Stonechat was found on the scrape and 4 Pied Wagtails flew over.  Water Rails and Cetti's Warblers were both heard and we saw both woodpeckers, Green and Great Spotted.  Our first Common Snipe of the winter was recorded, the ground is too dry at present to tempt more snipe in.  A nice surprise was a European Treecreeper calling on the north path.

6 October 17

BIRDS: First Common Stonechat of the winter on the scrape this morning.

BUTTERFLIES:  Plenty of butterflies about today including Green-veined White, Red Admiral, Comma and Speckled Wood.

DRAGONFLIES:  Dragonflies were enjoying the sun too with several Migrant Hawkers and plenty of Common Darters flying.

5 October 17

BIRDS:  A nice morning if a bit windy turned in 40 species.  There were 2 Common Teal skulking on the main pool and Water Rails were heard several times during the morning.  A Coot present on the main pool was the first we had seen since 27 July.  A Common Kingfisher flew past at speed along the river.  A singly Skylark flew over as did a Pied Wagtail.  Two Goldcrests were heard on the north path..

28 September 17

BIRDS:  A lovely sunny morning brought out 42 species today.  Highlights were Little Grebe, Common Teal, Water Rail (heard), Skylark and Mistle Thrush flew over as did 2 Pied Wagtails.  Much of the scrape has been cleared so Meadow Pipits can be seen there and a Kestrel hunts over it from time to time.  2 Ravens flew over early in the morning.

BUTTERFLIES & MOTHS:  Several Red Admirals were seen and a Silver-Y moth (this is a common migrant species from Europe).

DRAGONFLIES: The dragonflies enjoyed the sun and 3 species were quite obvious; Migrant Hawker, Southern Hawker and Common Darter.

21 September 17

BIRDS: 38 species this morning, and "acceptable" total. A noteworthy record of Peregrine Falcon this morning flying over and putting up all the pigeons from the wood on the other side of the river.  A Grey Wagtail flew over (they have bred in the drainage channel near ASDA!  A Jay was an unusual sighting for us, it is really a woodland species.  Blackcap and Chiffchaff were both present.

14 September 17

BIRDS:  37 species today and quite hard going.  Birds of note were; Great Cormorant (returning after the summer), Grey Heron (3 today), Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and Kestrel, Meadow Pipits have arrived and a Willow Warbler passing through.

7 September 17

BIRDS:  We are definitely in that "in-between" period for birds between summer and autumn when summer birds are beginning to move off and the winter visitors have yet to arrive.  For coastal sites this can be a time of high excitement as lots of stragglers get blown in but for us we have to make do with what is left.  All this is a way of introducing a relatively low count this week of 34 species.  Not all without interest and a Common Pheasant was heard and I have had a reliable report that one did breed on the Wetland this year.  Tits and the remaining warblers are forming into loose flocks tumbling through the hedges foraging.  Away from these flocks bird numbers often seem low.  For example we had a flock with at last 17 Long-tailed Tits, a dozen or so Blue Tits and a number of Great Tits along Piddle Brook.  Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs seem to be the only warblers remaining, both of which usually overwinter in small numbers.  Reed Buntings are present but hard to find.

31 August 17

BIRDS:  This turned out to be a pleasant sunny day during which we recorded 38 species.  It was hard work but we got both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers and found a flock of at least 13 Long-tailed Tits.  There were two juvenile Goldcrests in the hedge in the NW corner of the Wetland (a breeding record) and a Pied Wagtail flew over.  There were 3 Buzzards overhead and a Sparrowhawk was in the area.  There are still a few Reed Warblers and Common Whitethroats present.

25 August 17

MOTHS:  We ran a single trap this evening and recorded 40 species of  which one micro-moth was new, the well named Beautiful China-mark.

24 August 17

BIRDS:  We recorded 39 species on a nice summer morning.  The most interesting record was for 3 Coal Tits.  This is a scarce species on Avon Meadows as it is primarily a woodland bird that only wanders after breeding.  After missing last week, we saw 3 Common Swifts today.  All 3 common birds of prey were seen today; Northern Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard and Common Kestrel.  We found no Sedge Warblers and only a single Reed Warbler but others were reasonably plentiful, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler.  We managed to find a single Chaffinch this week too! 

23 August 17

BUTTERFLIES: Records for today's transect were: Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell and Comma.

17 August 17

BIRDS:  The morning started out cloudy but gradually brightened resulting in a slightly better count than last week, 36 species.  Once again the Elder berries on bushes near the main entrance helped the count along considerably.  It looked as though birds of prey would be absent again until a Sparrowhawk flew gracefully by in late morning.  Numbers of Swallows and House Martins are building up as young birds take to the wing.  Birds found in and around the Elderberry bushes were; Wood Pigeon, Blackbird, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blue Tit and Great Tit.  A nice surprise further along was our second Coal Tit of this year.  Sedge and Reed Warblers are still present although they tend to skulk and are difficult to see.

MAMMALS:  A dead juvenile European Water Shrew was found on the path beside the scrape this morning.

11 August 17

MOTHS: The weather stayed find for the night and although we only ran one trap we recorded 47 species.  A new species for us was Yellow-barred Brindle.  A moth with the longest name, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing was present together with its cousins, Large and Least Yellow Underwings.  Among the micro-moths there are a number that are larger than small macro-moths, one such is Mother of Pearl of which there were plenty.  There were good numbers of Ruby Tiger and Setaceous Hebrew Character too.

10 August 17

BIRDS:  A nice day but not so many birds, we managed 35 species only.  Great Cormorants have reappeared and today we saw 2 Grey Herons.  Black-headed Gulls have returned after breeding and are beginning to lose their black heads for winter.  We could not find any Sedge Warblers but Willow Warblers were still present as are Common Swifts.  Starlings and House Sparrows are present in quite large numbers.

3 August 17

BIRDS:  In spite of winds gusting to Force 7 38 species of birds showed enough of themselves to be identified and counted.  Bird of the morning was undoubtedly Eurasian Treecreeper, we found one in the hedge along the northern boundary (last seen on 3 Feb 17).  All 3 common species of bird of prey appeared, Common Buzzard, Eurasian Sparrowhawk and Common Kestrel.  Much of the other interest was in the large Elder bushes near the main entrance whose berries are ripening and causing great interest among warblers.  There we found Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and nearby Goldcrests and Long-tailed Tits.

27 July 17

BIRDS:  We logged 44 species today between the showers!  Notable species included a Great Cormorant (the first for some weeks), a Hobby (first for 2017), Great Spotted Woodpecker (juvenile indicating local breeding), 5 Common Whitethroats, 2 Blackcaps, Coal Tit (first since April 17) and 2 Ravens.

MAMMALS: There have been recent reports of two European Otters and a kit on the day of the River Festival and a pair of Roe Deer on the scrape last week. 

13 July 17

BIRDS:  Another steady day with nothing particularly unusual to report.  The morning turned into a pleasant warm one and we eventually managed 40 species.  Notable records were for 7 Moorhens on the main pool plus 4 tiny chicks.  Recently it has been difficult to actually see Moorhens!  A female Sparrowhawk flew over with a small bird in its talons.  It has young to feed too.  It was very pleasing to see a number of young Blackcaps and Common Whitethroats indicating that they are having a successful breeding season.  We also found a pair of Common Linnets although they were not apparently holding territory.

7 July 17

MOTHS:  There were good numbers of moths this evening but the variety seemed to be less than on the previous session.  A total of 48 species included one new one for Avon Meadows, The Clay but otherwise it was all old friends.

6 July 17

BIRDS:  A sunny hot morning made the bird lethargic but 42 species showed up to be recorded.  There was a Grey Heron on the main pool standing in the middle of the pond weed and a Water Rail called once.  We found 2 Common Whitethroats and 3 Blackcaps but otherwise there was little to report.

28 June 17

BIRDS:  Overcast cool weather almost 20°C cooler than the previous week seemed to have left the birds rather quiet.  We managed 38 species even so.  The Water Rail and Cetti's Warbler were heard each once only but at least they are present.  The Mute Swans on the main pool seem to have given up on breeding but there are 2 new Coot chicks on the main pool.  There are quite a lot of young Reed Wablers moving about in the reed beds.  A Raven flew over for the first time in 6 weeks but little else to report.

24 June 17 - BIOBLITZ

This turned out to be an excellent day and final results are still coming in.  However new species found on the day have lifted the total species recorded for Avon Meadows to well over 1,000!  There will be more information in the next Newsletter but in the meantime:

BIRDS:  A total of 51 species was recorded on the day.  The bird of the day was a Common Tern flying down the river, a first for 2017.  A male Cuckoo was calling which is a new late record for an adult bird for us.  The adult Cuckoos all leave for West Africa about now leaving the young birds to follow on some weeks later.

BUTTERFLIES:  As has been mentioned before the total number of butterfly species in the UK is quite small so our totals are similarly small.  Today's total was a respectable 8 species.

DRAGONFLIES: As with butterflies, the total number of dragonfly species in the UK is quite small so our totals are similarly small.  So our total of 9 species on the day was very good.

MOTHS:  It turned out to be a very good night for moths and we ended up with 85 species of which 13 were new to Avon Meadows.  This influx resulted in our not turning the lights off until 1:30am on Sunday morning!  As is often the case, most of the new moths were tiny micro moths however we did add 4 species of larger moths; Little Emerald, Scarce Footman, Treble Brown Spot and Triple-spotted Clay.  For the first time in a long time we found 2 spectacular Garden Tigers in the trap and we recorded 3 species of hawk-moth, Elephant Hawk-moth, Eyed Hawk-moth and Poplar Hawk-moth.  Note that all moths are carefully released before we leave the site.

PLANTS:  Plants of course do not move about so the challenge is finding them and then identifying them correctly.  We are developing considerable expertise among the Friends resulting in a species count of 127 species of which 3 were new to Avon Meadows.  These were Crow Garlic, Greater Birds-foot-trefoil and Square-stemmed St John's-wort.

22 June 17

BIRDS:  30°C yesterday, 20°C today, a shock for all of us including the birds but we did manage 43 species.  The recent spell of dry weather has mostly dried out the scrape and there is considerable nettle growth on it.  A male Cuckoo was calling most of the morning which is quite late in the season as most will be making their way back to West Africa (latest date on Avon Meadows is 25 June 2015).  Cuckoos seen after this date are likely to be juveniles.  Several Great Cormorants were seen for the first time in several weeks.  Two Water Rails called occasionally leading to expectations that they have indeed bred on the Wetland.

15 June 17

BIRDS:  A weather front moved through early in the morning introducing a distinct cooling of the weather.  Even so we managed 47 species again.  This is not a fix, just the way things turn out!  The surprise sighting of the morning was of a Red Kite flying over which made it a good morning for raptors as Sparrowhawk and Kestrel were recorded too.  Oddly no Buzzard today.  A Water Rail was heard calling just once.  There are lots of young birds about including Coot, Wren, Dunnock, Blackcap, Starling, Sparrow, Greenfinch and Goldfinch.  We found 3 Linnets in the morning and the Reed and Sedge Warblers are busy feeding nestlings.  Our resident Mute Swans seem to be taking no interesting in breeding at all!

12 June 17

FLOWERS:  During the grass identification course today a new species of flower for the Wetland was discovered beside the river; Hemlock Water-dropwort Oenanthe corcata.

9 June 17

MOTHS:  Four new species of moth for the Wetland were found this evening making a total of 46 species; Peach Blossom Thyatira batis and 3 micro-moths Phtheochroa rugosana, Ptycholomoides aeriferana and Gypsonoma sociana.  

See .

8 June 17

BIRDS:  A wet, windy morning did not do much for bird numbers (or bird watchers!) so we only managed 40 species this week.  The Mute Swans are back on the main pool and using the nest at the S end but it is uncertain if they are breeding this time or not.  Speciies with young birds present today on the Wetland were; Mallard, Coot, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Starling, House Sparrow, Greenfinch and Goldfinch.  There are many others breeding simply we did not see their young today.  A Common Cuckoo was calling most of the morning and a second one flew by.  We found one Goldcrest in the Riverside Carpark.

2 June 17

MOTHS: A female Ghost Moth was found beside the path and photographed today.  This species has been found at moth traps over the previous 3 years, always in June.

1 June 17

Check the News & Events tab for details of Avon Meadows Bioblitz 2017 scheduled for Saturday 24 June.  Do come along and see what you can find with help of our experts.

BIRDS:  Another week with a count of 47 species.  The Mute Swans on the river have 2 cygnets but no real sign of any breeding activity from 'our' swans.  The Water Rail has been heard occasionally which is good indicating that they are present during the breeding season.  Cetti's Warbler (2), Sedge Warbler (5), Reed Warbler (6), Lesser Whitethroat (1), Common Whitethroat (4), Blackcap (3), Chiffchaff (7) are all present.  A pair of Linnets were found near the scrape and a Cuckoo is still calling.

Later on the same evening 3 Common Shelduck landed on the scrape.

DRAGONLFIES:  On warm days the dragonfly variety is increasing satisfactorily.  There are good numbers of Banded Demoiselles, Blue-tailed, White-legged, Large Red, Azure, Common Blue and Red-eyed Damselflies have all been recorded recently.  Three Scarce Chasers were seen this week as was our first Emperor Dragonfly of the summer was found on the scrape.

FLOWERS:  Although quite common generally in the county two new species of wild flower were found on the Wetland last week, these were Alexanders Smyrnium olusatrum and Wall Lettuce Mycelis muralis.  

27 May 17

BIRDS:  A find hot day saw a count of 47 species this morning.  A Water Rail was heard just once and Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and Kestrel were all seen at least once.  Warblers are now present in good numbers including; Cetti's Warbler (3), Sedge Warbler (9), Reed Warbler (9), Garden Warbler (1), Lesser Whitethroat (1), Common Whitethroat (5), Blackcap (6) and Chiffchaff (5).  Once more we recorded all 5 of our common corvids; Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow and Raven. One pair of Linnets was located and there are lots of young Starlings and House Sparrows flying to and fro.

20 May 17

BIRDS:  A Common Redshank appeared briefly on the scrape early this morning.  A number of both Common and Lesser Whitethroats were singing and probably 2 Garden Warblers present.

19 May 17

BIRDS:  Male and female Cuckoos were calling this morning as were Lesser and Common Whitethroats.  A Grey Heron was fishing in the main pool (not seen yesterday) and 'our' Mute Swans were once again on their nest at the south end of the main pool.

FLOWERS:  A new flower species was found today, a small patch of Yellow-rattle.  This is one of the plants we want to encourage so this is very good news!

18 May 17

AMPHIBIANS:  There is a good number of Smooth Newts to be seen from the little footbridge to the east of the bird screen.

BIRDS:  Another good count today in lovely weather conditions, 48 species.  The Mute Swans on the main pool seem to be undecided about breeding.  Northern Sparrowhawk (2), Common Buzzard (3) and a Kestrel were all recorded today.  Both male and female Common Cuckoos were heard regularly calling this morning.  There were plenty of Common Swifts overhead and we found a few Sand Martins this week.  Warbler species were one of the highlights; we saw Cetti's Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and the Garden Warbler was singing lustily in the SW corner.  Very surprisingly a Jay flew over and almost as surprisingly we saw a pair of Rooks which are scarce on the Wetland, the first time we have seen Rooks for 2 weeks in succession.  Finally we saw a pair of Bullfinches leading to hopes they are indeed breeding with us.

BUTTERFLIES:  Rather few today, there were male and female Orangetips on the wing, a Small Tortoiseshell and the occasional Speckled Wood.

DRAGONFLIES:  Still quite early for these but we did find a freshly emerged Broad-bodied Chaser and there were some Banded Demoiselles on the river.

FLOWERS:  The Yellow Flag irises are out beside the main pool and the meadows are full of Meadow and Creeping Buttercup.  Cow Parsley is in flower round the edges of the meadows and there is plenty of Red Clover.

MOTHS:  Nothing on the wing but if you look carefully on the paths you may find "woolly bear" caterpillars which are the larva of the spectacular Garden Tiger moth.  Be careful as the hairs on the caterpillar can cause irritation to the skin if touched.

16 May 17

BIRDS:  Water Rail heard in reed bed today, our first record for some weeks.

11 May 17

BIRDS:  The buttercups are out and it was a lovely spring morning; what better way to compliment it that with a record-equalling count of 50 species.  The big news is that a Garden Warbler was recorded for the first time on Avon Meadows where it was seen singing and carrying nesting material.  There is a pair of Common Cuckoos on the site, the male calling all morning. 'Our' Mute Swans are back on the main pool once again, this time attending a third nest not far from the main path beside the pool.  The Coot nesting at the south end of the main pool has chicks, they were still in their nest today but not for long!  Common Swifts are present in good numbers this week.  Cetti's Warbler was heard (and seen) but this week only from one location close to the settling pit whereas Common Linnets were seen at two locations.  Blackcaps, Common Whitethroats and Chiffchaffs are all singing and were found at many locations around the Wetland.  The reed beds are full of Sedge and Reed Warblers and Reed Buntings.

AMPHIBIANS:  There is a population of Smooth Newts in the channel near the bird screen.  These are best viewed form the wooden pedestrian bridge between the screen and the river.

BUTTERFLIES:  Not many butterflies around as yet, Orangetip, Small White and Small Tortoiseshell were seen today.

DRAGONFLIES:  Still early for these insects but there were one or two Banded Demoiselles beside the river.

7 May 17

BIRDS:  Two Little Ringed Plovers were on the scrape today.

DRAGONFLIES:  In the warm weather of this afternoon 3 species of dragonfly were recorded; Banded Demoiselle, Large Red Damselfly and Blue-tailed Damselfly.

5 May 17

BIRDS:  An Osprey was seen flying over the Wetlands at about 18h00 this evening!

4 May 17

BIRDS:  Starting dull and chilly but the sky cleared and the sun came out during the morning although chilled with a brisk northerly breeze.  Thus after a slow start we ended up with a total of 47 species.  Two new records for 2017; Common Swift and Lesser Whitethroat, one of each.  Corvids showed well and we recorded Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Rook and Raven.  House Martins we seen collecting wet mud for their nests from the scrape.  Common Whitethroat were commonly encountered as were Chiffchaff and Blackcap.  There are good numbers of Reed and Sedge Warblers plus Reed Buntings in the reed beds.  A Kestrel made a welcome appearance and we watched a Sparrowhawk being chased by Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  The Cuckoo was singing quite regularly during the first half of the morning.

30 April 17

BIRDS:  A Northern Lapwing, a Whinchat and a Northern Wheatear have all been reported from the scrape this afternoon.  The Whinchat and Wheatear are new records for this year.

27 April 17

BIRDS:  A cold morning revealed 43 species.  A Common Cuckoo passed through early in the morning.  There were 2 Little Ringed Plovers on the scrape and later on a Pied Wagtail.  One of our Moorhens on the main pool has had 3 chicks.  Inexplicably the Mute Swans have moved off.  Cetti's Warbler continues to hold territory and there were 3 Common Whitethroats present.  3 Ravens were overhead all morning.  No Sand or House Martins though.

Later in the day a European Oystercatcher was seen on the scrape and House Martins were wheeling over the main pool.

20 April 17

BIRDS:  We had an excellent count of 49 species this morning in spite of the dull, cool weather.  This resulted from most of the regular birds showing up.  Less common species included Northern Lapwing and Little Ringed Plover on the scrape.  The Little Ringed Plover has been a fairly regular visitor over the last couple of weeks.  The summer visitors have arrived in good numbers now including Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Reed and Sedge Warblers.  The first Common Whitethroat of the spring (a pair) were seen this morning and, as last week, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were singing loudly.  The Common Linnets were seen again in the area we believe them to be nesting.

19 April 17

BIRDS:  The first Common Cuckoo of the year was heard this morning.  A female Bullfinch was seen near the tilting weir carrying nesting material.

13 April 17

BIRDS:  We managed a total of 47 species on a cool spring morning, numbers boosted by the arrival of more summer visitors.  Thus House Martins have finally arrived to join the Barn Swallows and Sand Martins.  Our resident Cetti's Warblers have now been joined by Sedge, Reed and Willow Warblers and plenty of Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were singing.  The highlight of the morning was a pair of Little Ringed Plovers on the scrape.  They were occasionally chased off by Black-headed Gulls but seem to be present most days.  On the downside "our" Mute Swans seem to have moved off and no swans at all were recorded today.  A pair of Common Linnets appear to be nest building in brambles behind the houses on Cherry Orchard.

8/9 April 17

BIRDS:  Reliable records have come in for Linnets, Mistle Thrush and Goldcrest on 8th and  1 Little Ringed Plover (briefly) and 2 in the early evening of the 9th.  The first Sedge and Reed Warblers were reported on the 9th.  The big news is a new species for the Wetland when a Sandwich Tern flew over on 9th.  

6 April 17

BIRDS:  A nice sunny spring day but a northerly wind meant there were no new summer arrivals this morning.  We managed to log 42 species even so.  Common Teal are still present on the scrape as were a Mallard with 7 chicks, the first for 2017.  Our important breeding species were all recorded including Water Rail and Cetti's Warbler, the latter quite vocal.  There were still two Common Snipe on the scrape and 5 Meadow Pipits flew through.  Sand Martin and Swallow are still only present in small numbers so far.  Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Long-tailed Tits were located in several places and there were plenty of Reed Buntings among the reeds (of course!).

BUTTERFLIES:  Although not part of a formal survey, 4 species of butterfly were seen this morning; Brimstone (1), Holly Blue (2), Orange Tip (5) and Speckled Wood (5).

FLOWERS:  The Marsh Marigolds are out now.

MAMMALS:  A single Red Fox watched us for a while in the N meadow.

2 April 17

BIRDS:  Reports have come in from yesterday evening and this morning that there is a Little Ringed Plover on the scrape.  This morning there were 2 Greylag Geese and 3 Common Shelduck.

30 March 17

BIRDS:  Despite a promising weather forecast we were treated to heavy showers with a southerly wind.  However, the wind in particular served to bring in some of our first summer visitors including Willow Warbler, Sand Martin and Swallow.  This all helped to bring in a total of 44 species for the second week in a row.  A Common Oystercatcher was on the scrape and a little later there was a Common Shelduck there too.  Cetti's Warbler, Blackcap and Chiffchaff were all singing and we located a Goldcrest in a fir tree behind the school. 

FLOWERS:  Cuckooflower (Ladies Smock) has  just started coming into flower in the meadows.

23 March 17

BIRDS:  A pleasant day with a cold NE wind saw us count 44 species once more but not all the same ones as last week!  Highlights were a pair of Common Shelduck on the scrape, only our second record for this species and later a female White Wagtail on the scrape too.  This is the European race of our common Pied Wagtail.  Our regular pair of Mute Swans have started building a nest in a sensible safe position on the main pool.  Northern Sparrowhawks and Common Buzzards were overhead on and off all morning.  Common Snipe and a single Meadow Pipit were still present.  Water Rail and Cetti's Warbler can be heard calling occasionally from the reed beds.  Catching sight of either is more tricky!

16 March 17

BIRDS: A huge contrast from yesterday with a cold SE wind but we still managed 44 species.  The best record was for a pair of Black-tailed Godwit flying over, a new early record for the Wetland and our first record since 1 Aug 15.  Our resident pair of Mute Swans have started building a nest quite close to the main path.  It remains to be seen if this is the nest they will finally use.  Upto 3 Cetti's Warblers were heard and one seen reasonably well in reeds beside the main pool.  Both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen and there was a Grey Wagtail on the Riverside Carpark and a Pied Wagtail on the scrape.  A small party of Redwings were present as was a party of Meadow Pipits but our other winter visitor, the Stonechats, seem to have moved off.  There are plenty of Chiffchaffs singing now.

12 March 17

BIRDS:  Interesting reports from today including 3 Greylag Geese flying over, 2 European Treecreepers and 2 Skylarks near Piddle Brook, all first records for 2017.  Warblers think it is spring and singing Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff and Blackcap recorded.  A Common Snipe was recorded too.

9 March 17

BIRDS:  This was a beautiful spring day during which we managed to find 40 species.  Some of the winter birds were not present but we did find Common Snipe, Redwing and Common Stonechat (a new latest record for this species).  The bird of the day was the European Golden Plover recorded when a flock of 12 flew by.  This is a new bird for the Wetlands!  They overwinter regularly in the area but this is the first time they have been recorded with us.  Our regular pair of Mute Swans were seen mating on the main pool.  Cetti's Warbler called once or twice and a Goldcrest was heard too.  Ravens appear to be thinking about nesting at Pershore Hall and Starlings have started nesting in holes in the dead trees near the tilting weir.  Common Snipe are present in small numbers, a Sparrowhawk was causing consternation among pigeons.  The scrape was being used by Teal, Shoveler and Grey Heron.

BUTTERFLIES:  The bright sunshine of late morning brought out a few ear;y butterflies; Brimstone (11), Small Tortoiseshell (6) and Comma (1).  Let us hope that there is no more cold weather that kills them off.

2 March 17

BIRDS:  Sunny with cold wind today but even so 43 species showed.  Common Teal and Northern Shoveler are still with us but there were no Common Snipe or Meadow Pipits to see.  Water Rail and Cetti's Warblers both calling occasionally.  A Grey Wagtail was feeding in the meadow near the Riverside Carpark.  There was a Common Gull on the scrape with other gulls and 3 Common Stonechats are still around.  A Common Kingfisher was seen fishing at the S end of the main pool.  A single Goldcrest turned up in the N hedge and once again Long-tailed Tits could be seen, now only in 1's and 2's as they pair off for breeding.

24 February 17

BIRDS:  This week's count was delayed by 24 hours to allow Storm Doris to pass through.  Our delay was rewarded with a nice sunny morning with light winds leading to a total species count of 45.  The scrape held one Little Grebe, Northern Shoveler, Common Gull, Common Snipe and two Common Stonechats.  Water Rails were seen and heard and a Cetti's Warbler called twice.  As last week, Dunnocks and Reed Buntings seemed to be singing everywhere.  We came across a number of parties of Long-tailed Tits and a Goldcrest was located in a fir tree behind Cherry Orchard School.  Further along over the recently cleared drainage channel we found a Common Kingfisher and Common Starlings have begun to nest in the holes in the dead trees nearby.  We also managed to find a Bullfinch in the hedge on our northern boundary.  No woodpeckers, ravens or jackdaws this week though.

16 February 17

BIRDS:  A nice early spring day brought out a good team to count and we achieved 43 species.  The Water Rail provided very good views for everyone from the boardwalk.  Dunnocks and Reed Buntings are singing.  The newly cut area of reeds held a Stonechat and Common Snipe.  The water logged S meadow had Canada Geese and Mallard grazing and Meadow Pipits.  Our original pair of Mute Swans (leg ring number 83C and unnumbered) seem to be setting up on the main pool.  Two Ravens flew over and male Blackcap was seen behind the gardens on Cherry Orchard.  The frame for our artificial Sand Martin Bank has been erected beside the main pool.

9 February 17

BIRDS:  A cold grey day today saw us recording 44 species.  Grey and Pied Wagtails and Meadow Pipits in the S meadow.  A single Common Snipe flew up from the newly cut area of reeds beside the main pool and a Water Rail was heard.  3 Coot were recorded today presumably prospecting for breeding sites.  There were 3 Stonechats, one taking an interesting in the Cherry Orchard building works.  There was a pair of Bullfinches in the N hedge together with a small flock of Redwings.  A single Raven flew over.

3 February 17

BIRDS: The count was deferred this week by one day until Friday due to the poor weather forecast for Thursday.  This seems to work well as we managed another high total of 47 species of which 3 were new for the year.

New species for the year were, Eurasian Sparrowhawk (3 flying over), Common Coot (1 on main pool and the first since Dec 16) and Eurasian Treecreeper (see well on a willow in the Riverside Carpark).

Other notable records were, Northern Shoveler and 5 Common Snipe on the scrape, Cetti's Warbler called once and there was a Chiffchaff on bulrushes near the start of the boardwalk.  Long-tailed Tits showed this week having been missing last week and a pair of Bullfinches were seen behind Cherry Orchard School.

1 February 17

BIRDS: Casual reports for the first of the month included Little Grebe on the main pool, Northern Shoveler on the scrape and Meadow Pipits in the north meadow.

26 January 17

BIRDS:  In spite of its being a bleak, very cold morning we managed a total of 48 species, our best January count.  Among these were 3 new species for the year; Kestrel, Meadow Pipit and Chiffchaff.  Common Teal were moving between the scrape and the main pool and 4 Northern Shoveler flew over.  There were several Common Snipe on the scrape together with the pair of Stonechats.  A Cetti's Warbler called once and we saw a male Bullfinch at the start of the walk.  It was a surprise to see a Grey Wagtail on an icy pool in the area of cut reeds beside the scrape.  Fieldfare and Redwing were found feeding on the ground in a couple of places.

19 January 17

BIRDS:  It has been an eventful few days bird-wise over the Wetland.  Today we recorded 38 species again but of a different mix.  The best bird was certainly Common Pochard, new to the Wetland and our 120th species!  Additionally we added 3 more species to the year list, Northern Lapwing, Kingfisher and Green Woodpecker bringing our total to date for 2017 to 53 species.  We recorded at least 3 Water Rails and a Cetti's Warbler called.

The weekend produced several interesting records.  On Saturday morning, during a work party, 3 Goosander were seen flying down the river and 6 Common Gulls were seen on or over the Wetland.  On Sunday, two Little Grebes were seen on the river beside the Wetland and there were 4 Northern Shoveler on the scrape.

12 January 17

BIRDS:  In spite of a poor weather forecast the morning started dry and we only got light rain later.  Three of us managed to find 38 species which brings the annual total to 45.  A Common Pheasant called, 2 Stock Doves flew over, we found a Grey Wagtail on the carpark and 2 Ravens flew over.  There were 13 Common Teal on the main pool and we found a Water Rail in a field margin to the northeast of the Wetland together with 4 Moorhens.  Common and Herring Gulls were moving between the main pool and the scrape.  We only found one pair of Stonechats today on the scrape but there were plenty of Redwings feeding in the field to the north of Mill Cottage. 

5 January 17

BIRDS:  Another lovely winter morning, no wind and bright sunshine.  There was a good turnout of recorders and we managed a total of 41 species to get 2017 off to a good start.  Two flocks of Canada Geese flew over and Common Teal were flying around looking for some water to land on that was not frozen.  The frozen pools did move the Moorhens and Water Rails into the open.  Common Snipe were making use of the scrape as were Song Thrushes, Stonechats and Pied Wagtails.  There were a couple of Common Gulls seen over the morning, one on the main pool and one on the scrape, the gulls do not mind standing on the ice.  A male Goldcrest turned up in a fir tree behind Cherry Orchard School and a Long-tailed Tit (two more later) appeared nearby.  A male Bullfinch showed for the third week running in the NW corner of the site and Reed Buntings could be seen flitting among the reed heads.

29 December 16

BIRDS:  The last count for 2016.  Frosty weather but beautiful sunshine, we started out at -1°C although it warmed up a little later, mercifully there was no wind.  Three of us turned out and we logged 40 species in total.  Interesting records were Common Snipe (at least 8 on the scrape), Water Rail (called once), Common Gull (1 with Black-headed Gulls standing on the ice on the main pool), Grey Wagtail (in the willows at the S end of the main pool), Common Stonechat (at least 4 present), Cetti's Warbler (called once), Common Bullfinch (a pair found in the NE corner).

22 December 16

BIRDS:  Colder this week although nice and sunny.  We started off at +1°C but managed 40 species altogether.  We recorded one Rook, only the second time one has been seen this year.  The Common Teal really like the scrape and this morning there were 6 Mute Swans there too, two adults and 4 young birds which turned out to be our original family which bred this spring.  Meadow Pipits were also using islands on the scrape.  If you visit, check the areas where the reeds have been cut paying special attention to the edges adjoining uncut areas, with a bit of luck you will see one of our Water Rails there.  A Goldcrest was found in ivy behind Cherry Orchard School and some Dunnocks were singing!

15 December 16

BIRDS:  A total of 39 species this week.  The highlight was definitely a pair of Bullfinches which are scarce on the Wetland.  Small flocks of Common Teal have started using the scrape now it has plenty of water.  Fieldfare and Redwing were plentiful.

8 December 16

BIRDS:  We had to put up with rain showers early on but the sun eventually broke through on what was a very mild morning at 14°C.  We managed a total of 44 species which was pleasing given the conditions.  The Grey Heron was on the main pool and 2 Common Teal had returned after the freeze up.  A Water Rail was watched preening for some time on the main pool from the boardwalk in late morning.  A Common Gull flew over but no woodpeckers.  There were two Common Kingfishers on Piddle Brook and we did see a pair of Mute Swans on the river for the first time in several weeks.  Two Common Chiffchaffs were seen, these are rather scarce in winter, and for the second week in a row we found a Goldcrest.  There were plenty of Redwings and Fieldfares flying about as well as Jackdaws and we saw one Raven.

1 December 16

BIRDS:  A lovely clear crisp sunny morning with most of the leaves off the trees.  All this helped us to make a count of 40 species.  It is worth noting that all the pools were frozen over.  This keeps the ducks and heron away but allows other species to walk where they can be seen, particularly Water Rails which were seen on the main pool and from the hide screen in the area of recently cut reeds.  Scan the bases of the reeds at the edge of the reed beds.

It was an interesting morning as we saw 3 Water Rails, 5 Common Snipe, 1 Blackcap (an interesting winter record) and 5 Goldcrests searching for insects on the sunny side of conifer trees.  We kept bumping into Common Stonechats but believe there were only 3, rather mobile, birds involved.  Winter thrushes, Fieldfare and Redwing, were to be found eating hawthorn berries.  So no really unusual birds but generally good numbers of those that were present.

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