Worcestershire Record No. 26 April 2009 pp. 48-56

NOTES ON BIRDS IN THE SEVERN AND AVON VALES (THE ďSEVERN HAMSĒ), GLOUCESTERSHIRE AND SOUTH WORCESTERSHIRE. JULY Ė SEPTEMBER 2008

(This edited version concentrates on birds associated with wetlands. Most other records have been removed leaving only species of particular interest, for example: rarity, population change)

Mike Smart

General introduction

The main sites are (from the north):

Along the Severn in Worcestershire, a series of well-watched gravel workings attract many water birds, notably waders; these are (from the north): Holt and Grimley (on the west bank just north of Worcester), Clifton (on the east bank just south of Kempsey); Ryall (on the east bank opposite Upton); new pits just south of the M50 at Ripple; and Mythe Hook, just in Gloucestershire. Upton Warren Nature reserve, north of Droitwich, is outside the area covered by the present report, but is occasionally mentioned as it attracts many significant birds.

Powick Ham, just south of Worcester, the flood meadows where the Teme flows into the Severn.

Upton Ham (Worcs), the Upper Ham, a hay meadow south of the town, is an SSSI and is the best conserved of the riverside hams in botanical terms; south of the old railway embankment is the Lower Ham.

Longdon Marsh (Worcs), a nearly enclosed basin north of the M50 motorway, flowing via the Longdon Brook to the Severn, just above the Mythe north of Tewkesbury; the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust has a major reserve south of Marsh Lane.

Avon Meadows (on either side of the Avon, going north from Tewkesbury), along the border between Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, and including: the restored gravel pits at Bredonís Hardwick (Worcs); Upham Meadow (sometimes called the ďGreat Hay MeadowĒ) and Summer Leasow at Twyning (Glos); Rectory Farm Meadows, across the Avon from Upham Meadow (Worcs); Strensham Pits, sludge pools below the waterworks at Strensham (Worcs); further north along the Worcestershire Avon is the Gwen Finch Worcestershire Wildlife Trust Reserve near Nafford (Worcs), an area of shallow lakes by the Avon; between Pershore and Fladbury is Lower Moor, and just to the north Throckmorton tip, where the lagoons sometimes attract water birds. Just to the east of Bredon is Kemerton Lake (Worcs), a restored gravel pit in the valley of the Carrant Brook, which flows through Cowfield Marsh into the Avon just above Tewkesbury.

The ďSevern HamsĒ between Tewkesbury and Gloucester, in which the main wetland areas are: Ashleworth and Hasfield Hams; Coombe Hill Canal and Meadows, including Cobney Meadows at the western end (Coombe Hill Canal is a long disused and overgrown canal, which runs through the centre of Coombe Hill Meadows); and the Leigh Meadows alongside the River Chelt and Leigh Brook above Wainlodes; Barrow Ponds are created by the artificial damming of a small tributary of the Chelt, east of the A 38. Ashleworth Ham and Coombe Hill are Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust reserves, and are particularly well-watched. This area also includes: the Severn Ham at Tewkesbury; the Severn between Lower Lode and Haw Bridge; and the Severn from Wainlodes, past Ashleworth Quay and Sandhurst, to Gloucester. The River Leadon flows into the Severn just above Gloucester, and its valley extends north past Newent. At Sandhurst, Maisemore and at Walham Pools near Gloucester there are a number of abandoned overgrown riverside brick-pits, artificial excavations in the floodplain.

Maisemore Ham is now largely converted to arable farming.

Sites on the edge of urban Gloucester, once flood meadow: Port Ham, Castlemeads and Over Ponds on Alney Island, Sudmeadow, and the Gloucester Landfill Site (GLS). Port Ham has recently been restored and some shallow scrapes dug; at the southern end of Port Ham is Lower Parting where the two arms of the Severn meet again; Sudmeadow is immediately south of Lower Parting; GLS attracts large numbers of gulls, and has a pond attractive to passage and some resident waterbirds; a little further south, near the Gloucester-Sharpness Canal, is the small Quedgeley Local Nature Reserve.

Minsterworth Ham, on the west bank of the Severn below Gloucester.

Walmore Common, on the west bank of the Severn below Gloucester; also the little marsh at Rodley (Wilmore Common), west of Walmore, along the stream west of Boxbush Farm.

Elmore Back, on the east bank of the Severn below Gloucester, opposite Walmore.

Most of these sites are marshes which flood when the level of the Severn is high (either because of water coming down from North Wales, or because of high tides downstream; or more often a combination of both), thus preventing local streams from reaching the Severn, so that they back flood. When there is a major Severn flood, with water coming over the flood-banks along the river (a ďriver floodĒ), there may be extensive floods over the whole floodplain area. The major Severn tributary, the Avon, does not have flood-banks in many places and so floods easily above Tewkesbury. The River Chelt holds running water, and is small enough to have muddy edges and mud banks.

Weather and flooding: general

All areas of UK experienced a second successive wet summer; July and August were very wet, though not as rainy as summer 2007, and the summer rains culminated in serious flooding in Wales, the West Country and north-east England during the first week of September.

July opened dull, with constant cool fronts coming in from the west; there were fairly heavy showers from 3-8 July and rain all day on 9 July; then cool cloudy weather followed with odd showers and bright periods from 15 July onwards; summer weather at last broke out from 21 July as the European high pressure zone extended over the British Isles, preventing the arrival of Atlantic fronts, with light easterly winds and temperatures in the mid and upper twenties. Nationally August was remarkable for its rainfall (65% above average at national level, 79% above normal in SW England and South Wales) but also for the amount of cloud; nationally it was the second dullest August on record. The weather for the first three weeks was dominated by a series of fronts coming in from the Atlantic and bringing constant wet, unsettled weather; rainfall was unusually high, though the rain was steady rather than torrential. Just for a few days, especially from 28-30 August, the European high pressure zone gained the ascendancy and winds went light and south-easterly; but Atlantic fronts and rain returned on 31 August, and cyclonic weather in the first ten days of September (especially September 5 & 6) brought more Atlantic fronts with heavy rain, so that September rainfall totals were above average, even though there was little rain later in the month (average for SW England and S Wales 111% of the average 1971-2000); from 10-16 September, rainfall decreased and there were ridges of high pressure between the fronts, bringing high cloud and some sunshine; an Indian summer occurred in the second half of September, as a more permanent area of high pressure extended from Europe to the Azores, briefly interrupted on 22-23 September by a front moving through (but not bringing much rain) from the northwest; anticyclone strengthening from 25 September with thick autumnal fog in the mornings of 27 & 28 September; cooler and clearer with westerly winds on 29-30 September.

Though there was no repeat of the July 2007 summer flood, there was a river flood (with the Severn and its tributaries breaking their banks) in early September, an altogether unaccustomed time and more reminiscent of February; this is the fifth river flood in 18 months: March, June and July 2007, January and September 2008. The latest September flood looks like being just as damaging as the summer 2007 floods, with flooded grassland causing waters to become black and anaerobic, and a smell of rotting vegetation everywhere, with mats of dead vegetation and of unbaled hay covering the fields after the flood receded.

As there were very few lengthy periods of fine weather, apart from the short spell in the second half of July, hay-making was very difficult; in August there were few periods of settled dry weather so that little of the hay remaining uncut from July could be brought in. The ground was saturated, and river and ditch levels were quite high in late August; following the heavy rain in the first week of September, the Severn threatened to break its banks on 6 September and did so from 7-10 September, as rainwater from North Wales moved down the catchment; with river levels high, levels in the meadows also rose (because of water spilling over the flood banks and inflow coming from tributaries like the Chelt) from 8 September onwards (level of 11.00m at Haw Bridge); from 11 September the Severn dropped rapidly (9.40 at Haw Bridge on 14 September, 7.74 on 18 September, 7.02 on 25 September); but flood levels dropped more slowly in the meadows, because of the limited number of outlets to the Severn.

Conditions at the main sites

Upham Meadow, Twyning: Hay cutting was no more advanced on 11 July than in late June; a little more hay cut by 18 July, but much grass still remaining uncut.

Longdon Marsh: Moderate flooding on 13 September provided a refuge for some water birds from heavy flooding elsewhere.

Ashleworth/Hasfield Hams: Still very little hay cut on the SSSI had been by 8 July; some cutting of better hay on higher fields of the reserve was done by 15 July, when SSSI fields at Hasfield were being cut. Hay on most of the rest of the GWT reserve was cut in early August, but could not be collected because water levels rose in the second half of August; on the Hasfield section of the SSSI even the very wettest field on Hasfield Ham was cut in mid August. Sheep were grazing many of the fields in late August and early September, but most had to be removed when the fields started to flood on 6 September. With the Severn breaking its banks on the west bank from 7/8 September, water levels in the meadows rose rapidly and the Ham Road was closed from 8-13 September, with the hide inaccessible. The Ham Road was open again from 18 September, but waters dropped much more slowly on the meadows, because of the limited number of outlets (inland ditch at Haw Bridge on 10.08 on 13 September, 10.02 on 14 September, 8.63 on 18 September, 8.22 on 20 September, 7.70 on 25 September); the dropping flood left mats of dead grass, smell of rotting vegetation and stretches of shallow water with an oily film on the surface and some dead worms in puddles till the end of September.

Coombe Hill: No hay was cut on the GWT reserve and surrounding farms before 8 July, but all higher GWT fields north of the canal were cut on 13 July, and lower fields on 22 July; in late July and early August these were grazed by cows, which had to be removed because of the wet ground in late August. The hay on the Southern Meadows was not cut at all. Water levels had increased sharply by 6 September, when water was over the board walk; with both the Severn and Chelt breaking their banks, water poured into the meadows from 7/8 September, and the flooding almost reached the Wharf car park; water levels on the meadows were much higher on 9 September and dropped only slowly (9.65 at Parish Drain outlet on 8 September, 10.10 on 9 September, 10.30 on 10 September, 9.28 on 16 September, 6.98 on 25 September); the towpath was still impassable on 16 September, the towpath was open but hides were inaccessible from 18 September, when grass on fields free of water was brown and dead; water flowing out to the river was black and lacking oxygen; hides accessible from 22 September.

Leigh Meadows: No new hay cut between 29 June and 10 July, but hay had just been cut on 23 July. With the Chelt at a very high level, it began to break its banks and flood riverside meadows on 6 September; by 8 September, with the Chelt still overflowing its banks, flooding was more extensive; by 9 September water levels on the meadows were at the same level as the Chelt, and on 10 September the course of the Chelt could no longer be seen; levels dropping on 16 September, sharply down on 18 September. Red Lion road closed from 7-17 September.

Walmore Common: Light flooding on Common and agricultural land on 8 September, more extensive on 14 September, dropping on 19 September with long grass showing through; floods completely gone by 29 September.

Bird records

Observations in July confirmed the impression from earlier months that numbers of breeding waders and Sedge Warblers were very low; the June and July 2007 floods had clearly affected the waders, but the drop in Sedge Warblers may reflect a more long-term decline. From July to September, there was a small but steady movement of migrants through the Vale (moving from the Wash or Humber to the Severn?), particularly waders (the highlight being a Stilt Sandpiper at Coombe Hill in mid-August) but also two records of Spoonbill; and there were strong movements of several tern species in early September. The early September flooding attracted large numbers of passage hirundines, and from about 20-27 September, there was a fine spectacle of water birds, including up to 1,000 ducks, mainly Wigeon and Teal, plus a variety of waders, notably Black-tailed Godwits, on the falling flood in Gloucestershire, perhaps coming up from the estuary. Huge numbers of Black-headed Gulls appeared on the flooded meadows, apparently gorging on worms and invertebrates drowned by floodwater - not a good sign for next yearís breeding season.

Little Grebe: at Kemerton, where they had bred, 14 were seen on 2 September and 16 on 26 September.

At Ashleworth, one on several dates in the last ten days of September. No sign of nesting on the scrapes at Coombe Hill this year; one from 12 July onwards, probably a juvenile which had moved in from outside; one on 9 August and one or two from 22 to 30 September. On Alney Island, Gloucester, they did however breed successfully: four (with two juveniles) on 9 July, a single on 8 August.

Great Crested Grebe: At Bredonís Hardwick, four on 17 August.

At Coombe Hill a juvenile on floodwater on 20 September.

Red-necked Grebe: Extremely rarely recorded in the area, even in winter; but one in summer plumage was noted at Clifton Pits on 30 August.

Cormorant: Most records refer to birds moving up and down the Severn and Avon, to and from their preferred loafing and fishing site at Bredonís Hardwick, where 16 were noted on 17 August, though up to seven also stayed throughout the period to loaf at Gwen Finch reserve, a little further up the Avon. But there was no repeat of the large numbers recorded in summer 2007 on electric pylons, looking for stranded dead fish as the floods receded. At Upham Meadow, one flew north along the Avon on 18 July. At Ashleworth, one in flight on 23 August; two perched on pylons in floodwater on 18 September, and two, one on the water, on 21 September. At Coombe Hill, one landed briefly on the scrapes on 19 July; one flying over on 19, 26 August; one landed on scrape and fished actively on 4 September, one on floodwater on 16 September. At Wainlodes, one flew over on 17 July. At Barrow Ponds, three perched on trees on 10 September. At Alney Island, 11 on 29 September.

Little Egret: This species is now recorded almost daily at sites such as Grimley, Bredonís Hardwick and Coombe Hill, but at many other sites too, with the highest number of records and individuals in August, numbers dropping off in September.

In Worcestershire: at Grimley, a juvenile from 7-17 July; then practically every day from 24 July, with maxima of seven (one colour-ringed) on 30 August and five on 31 August, numbers a little lower in September, maximum of three from 20 to 22 September. At Clifton GP, there was a single on 3 August, but five on 30 August. At Ryall GP, singles on 18 July, 7 & 20 September. At Longdon Marsh, one was present on 3 & 20 August. At Lower Moor, one on 25 September. On the Avon at Gwen Finch reserve, one flew past on 12 August, while one flew south over Strensham Lock on 20 July. At Bredonís Hardwick, an adult and a juvenile were present on 10 July, with records for the rest of the month, with a maximum of six (roosting in willows on the evening of 27 July); the August maximum was seven on 19 August, with roosting birds noted on two occasions, and less regular records in September (maximum of two on 5 & 6 September). At Kemerton Lake, one to five birds were present on many dates from 12 July to 2 September.

In Gloucestershire: several birds were seen regularly throughout July at Coombe Hill, with a maximum of nine (one adult and eight juveniles) on 29 July; throughout August, with a maximum of 13 on 9 August; and throughout September, with a maximum of nine on 23 September. There were fewer records from Ashleworth, just singles on 16 July and 23 September. On Alney Island, Gloucester, singles were noted on 8 & 13 August and on 3 September. At Walmore, one on 23 & 29 September.

Great White Egret: One reported in error from Coombe Hill on 14 July.

Grey Heron: A heron chick, marked at the nest with a wing tag carrying the letters GA, ringed at Frampton in May 2007, had been seen at Ashleworth in July 2007, in the Cotswold Water Park in September 2007 and February 2008, before being recorded through April and May at Kemerton, then from June to September at Bredonís Hardwick.

At Upham Meadow, two on 18 July. Higher numbers round dropping flood in late September (e.g. nine feasting on marooned fish at Lower Moor on 13 September), but no concentrations of 50 or more as in June 2007. At Longdon, seven on 13 September. At Ashleworth, singles in late August and September, three on 18 September, eight on 21 September, two on 25 & 27 September. At Coombe Hill, the July maximum was five on 24 July; singles in August, but seven on 20 September and 20 on 25 September, suggesting a concentration to search for prey on drooping flood. Singles at Leigh Meadows in July and September. At Walmore two were present on 8 September, but nine on 13 September at the height of the flood.

Spoonbill: At Coombe Hill, a single bird appeared briefly on 28 July, but was disturbed by hay making activities and did not stay. There was a second record on 3 September, when an adult and a near adult were seen, both present until midday on 4 September; one of them remaining until 6 September.

Mute Swan: Pairs which had bred remained with their cygnets, usually asserting precedence over any autumn gatherings of non-breeders that began to form. On the Avon by Upham Meadow, a pair (ringed G91 & G 30) had five cygnets on 11 July, four on 18 July, when a second adult was present with four cygnets. At Ashleworth, a pair on the scrape had five cygnets on 10 July, while another pair had two cygnets on the Hasfield side on 26 August and 6 September; both pairs present on dropping floodwater in late September (one of the four cygnets had disappeared on 25 September). At Coombe Hill, the breeding pair of 3AY and mate from the Wharf was on the canal with seven cygnets from 8 July to 25 September; four non breeders were on the scrapes in July, nine on 20 September. At Wainlodes on 17 July, 3OJ and mate with three cygnets were on the Parish Drain. At Leigh Meadows, one on the Chelt on 10 July, three on 8 September. At Walmore, nine (one cygnet) in September.

Geese

Greylag Goose: Small numbers in midsummer, though increasing numbers breeding in Worcestershire; but by mid-August, a flock of up to 70 was in residence (generally roosting) in the Ashleworth / Coombe Hill area, moving about quite widely in North Gloucestershire and south Worcestershire and increasing to 150 in late September.

At Longdon ten or more through the morning mist on 13 September. At Kemerton, 101 were noted on 2 September. At Coombe Hill (in addition to the pair of broken winged birds noted throughout the summer), four were seen on 23 July, 25 on 7 August, 64 on 19 August (one carrying a plastic ring J16), 119 on 20 September, 150 on 23 September. At Barrow Ponds, 70 (no doubt birds from Coombe Hill) were present on 10 September.

Greylag x Barhead hybrid: At Coombe Hill, one in Greylag flock on 19 & 26 August and 25 September

Greylag x Canada hybrid: Two throughout the period with the roaming Canada flock in Worcestershire.

Canada Goose: As for Greylag, small numbers bred, but there was an influx from mid-August, the flock ranging widely, but often roosting at Coombe Hill.

At Longdon Marsh, 12 on 13 September. At Kemerton, 285 on 2 September. At Bredonís Hardwick, 55 on 8 September.

At Upham Meadow, 25 non-breeding adults on 18 July. At Coombe Hill, a single adult with a brood of five nearly full grown young on Long Pool on 8 July; three broods with flying goslings on 19 & 23 July, two of which must have flown in from outside. Flocks began to grow in August: 80 on 7 August; 89 on 19 August, 135 on 26 August, 156 on 6 September, 290 on 20 September, 325 on 22 September, 350 on 23 September; the September birds perhaps the same as the ones from Kemerton?

Brent Goose: A (lost!) juvenile of the Pale-bellied subspecies (which normally winters in Ireland) was near Clifton on 21 & 22 September, found again on 27 & 28 September. A first record for Worcestershire.

Barnacle Goose: A group of about 12 seems to be centred at Tirley Court Lake (where several pairs bred last year) and to wander in small groups about north Gloucestershire and southern Worcestershire.

At Tirley Court, eleven moulting and one on lake on 19 July; on 19 August, 12 adults moulting and no sign of young birds, so they clearly have not nested this year; none on 8 September. A single was seen with the Canada Goose flock in August and September at Coombe Hill and at Ashleworth. At Bredonís Hardwick, eight were noted on 23 August, five on 25 August, seven on 30 August and three in mid-13 September, while all 12 were at Kemerton on 2 September. At Lower Moor, one or two throughout the period.

Egyptian Goose: Two noted at Bredonís Hardwick (but nowhere else!) on many dates between 15 July and 10 September, were no doubt the birds seen several times at a variety of sites last winter.

Ducks

Shelduck: At Longdon, where ducklings had been seen in late June, the pair amazingly hatched eleven young ten of which fledged in August; five (including three in juvenile plumage) were seen there on 13 September. Other odd juveniles noted at various sites (e.g. one at Lower Moor on 12 August) were perhaps from this brood, as breeding was not proved at any other sites. At Grimley, a juvenile on 11 July, three (age unclear) recorded on 30 August. At Ashleworth, an immature on 28 September.

Adults (which do not usually occur on floodwater until the New Year) appeared on the September flood: at Coombe Hill, six on 18 September, apparently adults, seven on 23 September. At Walmore too, an early bird on 19 September.

Mandarin Duck: At Longdon Marsh, one on 24 August. On the Avon at Birlingham a female on several dates from 12 to 27 July.

Surface-feeding ducks

At the height of the September flood, many ducks moved - as they often do - to Longdon Marsh because floodwater lower down the Severn was too deep. Numbers of ducks were unusually high in late September; the main species were Wigeon and Teal, which (no doubt attracted from the estuary by the rich feeding on the declining flood) increased sharply from about 20 September, moving back and forth between Coombe Hill and Ashleworth, but departed as quickly when the floods dropped.

Wigeon: A single female summered at Ashleworth and was present throughout July and until 19 August; at Kemerton, the first returning bird appeared on 14 July; an eclipse male was at Coombe Hill on 30 August and five there on 3 September. The first autumn flock of any size was of 30 on floodwater on 13 September at Longdon, where they seemed to be taking refuge from deep flooding elsewhere. At Kemerton there were ten on 15 September. At Ashleworth 140 were recorded on 21 September and 20 on 28 September. At Coombe Hill, the first sizeable flocks appeared as the floods dropped: 60 on 18 September, 220 (no doubt the same birds as at Ashleworth) on 20 September, 335 on 22 September, 430 on 23 September, 271 grazing by the scrapes on 25 September. At Walmore, two on 10 September, 25 on 23 September, just one on 29 September.

Gadwall: Worcestershire: At Longdon, three on 13 September. At Kemerton, two on 28 September.

Gloucestershire: At Ashleworth, an eclipse male on 19 August; then eight on 21 September. At Coombe Hill, one throughout July, three on 4 September, 16 on 22 September. At Walmore, two on 8 September.

Teal: Worcestershire: At Longdon Marsh, 62 on 20 September, 200 on 22 & 26 September as the floods dropped. At Kemerton, nine on 2 September.

Gloucestershire: At Coombe Hill (where a couple of birds had been seen throughout June), there were seven on 8 July, then one to four for the rest of the month; numbers increased to 45 on 19 August, 60 on 4 September, 103 on 6 September. Unusually large numbers for the time of year were moving between Ashleworth and Coombe Hill as the floods dropped from 20-25 September: at Ashleworth, 620 on floodwater on 21 September, at Coombe Hill 400 on 22 September, 735+ on 25 September, 420 on 27 September. At Walmore, 10 on 8 September, 12 on 13 September, 80 on 23 September, 20 on 29 September.

Mallard: At Longdon Marsh, 30 on 13 September.

At Hasfield, a female with seven ducklings on 10 July. On the Avon near Upham Meadow, about 30 in eclipse on 11 July. At Ashleworth, monthly maxima reached 128 on 23 August, 125 on 23 September. At Coombe Hill, 15 on 23 July; numbers increased to 150 in late August; unusually high numbers occurred in September: 615 feeding on flooded grassland on 4 September, 550 on 6 September, down to 100 on 25 September. At Walmore, 80 on 8 September, 300 on 10 September, 80 on 19 September.

Pintail: Worcestershire: Along the Severn - at Clifton Pits, up to six in the last ten days of September, and at Longdon Marsh, 18 on 22 September. Along the Avon: at Throckmorton Lagoons, one on 17 September; at Lower Moor one on 20 September; at Bredonís Hardwick, an eclipse drake on 10 September; at Kemerton, two on 26 September.

Rather larger numbers in Gloucestershire, birds appearing as usual on the dropping flood: at Ashleworth 12 on 21 September, at Coombe Hill: 22 on 20 September, 40 on 22 September; five on 25 September.

Garganey: At Coombe Hill, among the big flocks of Teal, two from 22 to 26 September, one on 27 September. At Walmore, one on 23 September.

Shoveler: At Kemerton, the first four returning birds were seen on 24 July; five on 15 September, 20 on 26 September.

At Coombe Hill, some birds returned early: one on 8 and 29 July, four on 19 & 23 August, two on 28 August, 20 on 4 September, 25 on 20 September and 15 on 25 September. At Ashleworth, 35 on 21 September. At Walmore, one on 8 September, six on 10 September, 15 on 13 September, five on 23 September.

Diving ducks

Pochard: A pair bred successfully at Kemerton, raising a family of six by 15 August. A few were recorded on floodwater in Gloucestershire during September: at Ashleworth, two on 21 September; at Coombe Hill, eight on 18 September, one on 20 September, up to four from 22 to 24 September.

Tufted Duck: Breeding was confirmed at three Worcestershire sites: three pairs at Kemerton, five at Throckmorton, three at Lower Moor. At Longdon Marsh, one female on floodwater on 13 September, one on 30 September.

Gloucestershire: Once again, breeding was confirmed at Coombe Hill, where up to four adults had been seen throughout July; a female with five tiny ducklings was at last seen on 23 July and on many dates until 26 August, by which time the young were full grown; 12+ on floodwater on 18 September, as many as 51 on 20 September, 26 on 23 September. At Ashleworth, four on 23 September. At Port Ham, three on 8 August.

Red-crested Pochard: The group of 12 that appeared at Clifton GP on 17 August dispersed over several Worcestershire sites in the following weeks, though none reached Gloucestershire: at Grimley, one on 12 September; at Clifton at least one female on 19 August, two on 23 & 24 August, three on 30 & 31 August, one on 7 September. At Throckmorton Lagoons, one on 9 September. On Kemerton Lake, two on 2 September.

Ruddy Duck: A male on floodwater at Longdon on 13 September.

Raptors

Red Kite: All records from Worcestershire: at Grimley, one on 10 July; near Kemerton, one over Beckford on 12 July; one flew over Holt on 24 August; at Clifton GP, one on 27 September.

Osprey: Of several autumn records of birds moving south in Worcestershire, the only one in the area covered by this report flew south over Clifton Pits on 21 September.

Merlin: One Worcestershire record of a returning bird: at Clifton GP, one on 27 September.

Hobby: The large number of records suggests that this summering falcon must have bred fairly widely: there are records of adults, and of flying juveniles, which generally call very noisily for food after leaving the nest.

In Worcestershire: at Holt, one on 6 September; at Grimley, singles recorded on three days in July (with two on 26 July), on three days in August and five in September (a definite adult on two days), last date 20 September; at Severn Stoke, one on 24 August; at Clifton GP, one on 13 July, 17 August and three days in September; at Hanley Swan, one on 29 August; at Ryall GP, one or two on several dates in July and August and on 14 September; three on 20 September included a juvenile, which was seen again on 27 and 28 September; at Throckmorton Lagoons, singles on five days in the second half of July (two on 24 July) and on three dates in August, last on 17 September; at Lower Moor, singles on 8 July, 15 & 23 August and on six dates from 1 to 15 September; at Birlingham, singles over the Avon on many dates in July (two on 26 July), one on 27 July, four on 15 August and three on 26 August: at Gwen Finch, one on 6 & 11 August; near Eckington, one on 20 August; finally at Bredonís Hardwick, one on four days until 14 September.

In Gloucestershire: a nest had been suspected from mid June in the Ashleworth area; one or two adults were well seen on several dates in July, the nest was found and three young ringed on 2 August; up to four birds (adults and young) were seen and heard (they were very noisy) through August and until 23 September (last date). At Coombe Hill, singles were seen on 12 July, 6 & 21 August. At Longford, one took a House Martin on 2 August. One flew across Port Ham towards Sudmeadow on 1 July. At Walmore a juvenile was seen on 10 September.

Gamebirds and Rails

Grey Partridge: At Ryall Pits, one on 21 July.

Quail: Following a spate of May and June records, one was still singing at Ashleworth/Hasfield (probably because of the late hay cut) on the evening of 2 July, and on 8 & 15 July; heard briefly early in the morning of 22 July. No records from other sites where the species had been heard earlier this year

Water Rail: At Gwen Finch birds were calling throughout the period and juveniles seen between 24 July and 7 August; at Lower Moor, the first returning bird on 28 September; at Kemerton, males calling throughout July; one on 15 September.

At Ashleworth, one heard on 27 September. At Coombe Hill, one on 2 & 13 July; one calling on 25 September. At Alney Island one on 1 August (Port Ham), one on 3 September (Over Ponds).

Waders

Following a poor breeding season, most nesting waders (Oystercatcher, Little Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Redshank and Curlew) had departed by the end of June. As usual, the return passage of waders through the vales was noticeable, even though numbers were small; the most numerous species was Green Sandpiper (which had already begun to show in late June), with smaller numbers of Greenshank and Common Sandpiper and the much scarcer Wood Sandpiper, plus a steady trickle of Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Black-tailed Godwits, and a few Little Stint and Ruff, with some species more characteristic of the estuary such as Grey Plover, Knot and even (most unusually) two American waders, Pectoral and Stilt Sandpiper. In Gloucestershire, there was a rush of records in July (probably reflecting passage of adults which had finished breeding); in Worcestershire (especially at gravel pits like Grimley, Clifton and Ryall) the birds were also present in August, reflecting passage of birds of the year; the movements tailed off in September.

Avocet: In addition to records at Upton Warren where the species again bred successfully, one flew over Lower Moor on 7 July.

Oystercatcher: In Worcestershire there had been June records of (at least attempted) breeding at Grimley, Throckmorton, Kemerton, Rectory Farm and Bredonís Hardwick, though no breeding reports from Gloucestershire. Most records seem to relate to breeding birds lingering in the nesting area, as there are practically no records after mid-July: at Grimley, two on 15 July; at Clifton GP, one on 20 July; at Throckmorton Lagoon (where three young were fledged) four on 2, 8 July, five on 15 July; at Bredonís Hardwick (where two young fledged) three on 10 July, two on 13-15 July. At Coombe Hill, one flew over, calling on 8 July, and one late migrant at first light on 25 September.

Little Ringed Plover: Following nesting attempts in Worcestershire at Grimley, Ryall (where several pairs bred successfully) and Lower Moor, there was a series of records in July but fewer records in August and practically none in September. Along the Severn: at Grimley, nine on 6 July, two (one juvenile) on 15 July, one on 20 July, two on 30 July, one on 31 July; at Clifton GP, three on 13 July, two on 16 July, one on 20 July, then a single on 7 September; a juvenile (probably not locally bred) at both Lickmoor and Longdon Marsh on 11 July; post breeding birds at Ryall GP till mid-August, with maxima of 18 on 4 July and 16 on 1 August. Along the Avon: one at Gwen Finch on 22 July; at Bredonís Hardwick, singles on 16, 17 & 22 July, a juvenile from 16 to 19 August.

In Gloucestershire: at Coombe Hill, where they had not bred this year, after a couple of records of returning migrants already in late June, a steady stream occurred throughout July, with differing numbers of adults and juveniles, and a maximum of six (only one adult) on 23 July; up to four (both adults and juveniles) on many dates in August. No September records.

Ringed Plover: A fairly marked passage occurred in both counties, mainly in the second half of August and to the end of September, usually numbering ones and twos but with one flock of ten in late September.

Worcestershire: at Grimley, a juvenile on 12 August, a single on 20 August; at Clifton GP, an adult on 17 August, two on 7 September, singles on 14 & 27 September; at Ryall GP, a juvenile on 1 August, a single on 17 August, two juveniles on 24 August, four on 31 August; one on 7 September, two on 13, 14 September, four on 18 September; at Throckmorton Lagoons, two on 5 August; at Lower Moor, three on 10 August; at Bredonís Hardwick, two on 12 August, one on 16 August.

Gloucestershire: at Coombe Hill, the first migrants were noted on 16 August, with two on 19 August, four on 21 August and singles on 23, 25 & 28 August; then a flock of ten, seen with stints at Coombe Hill on 22 September and the next couple of days, moved with the stints to the edge of a flooded field at Ashleworth on 25 September; two at Coombe Hill on 27 September.

Golden Plover: Most were seen in late September, either passing migrants or arriving winter visitors. Singles flew over Ryall Pits on 21 September and Throckmorton Lagoons on 28 September, when 25+ also flew over Clifton GP, and 13 over Church Lench; at Lower Moor the first two returning birds appeared on 1 September, building up to 28 on 25 September. In Gloucestershire, an early adult was still in summer plumage when seen at Coombe Hill on 22 July; also at Coombe Hill, three flew south, calling after the mist had cleared, on 27 September.

Grey Plover. An estuarine species rarely recorded in the vales (though there had been one in April). One flew south over Lower Moor on 14 September, the first autumn record for some years.

Lapwing: From July, since breeding birds have already left in late June, all records of Lapwings may be assumed to be post-breeding concentrations or passing migrants. At Ryall GP 120 passage migrants on 11 July; at Throckmorton 70 on 19 July, 80 on 7 August; a leucistic bird at Gwen Finch from 25 July to 11 August; at Kemerton, post-breeding flocks of 150 on 14 & 25 July; 180 on 2 September.

At Coombe Hill, a non-breeding flock of up to 65 from 18 July, increasing to 110 by 24 July, 135 on 12 August, 120 on 23 September. At Ashleworth, a flock of 100 around the falling flood on 18 September, 240 on 21 September. At Walmore, 100 on receding flood on 19 September.

Dunlin: A steady trickle in both counties, rather more in Gloucestershire in July (presumably adult birds); a lull in late August and early September, then another series of records in the late September.

Worcestershire: at Grimley, one on 3 August, one or two from 7-11 August, one on 24 September; at Clifton GP, one on 3 August; at Ryall GP, one on 18 July; one on 7 September, two on 13 & 14 September, one from 18-21 September; at Longdon Marsh, one on 4 August and two on 20 August; at Throckmorton, two on 19 July, one on 25 July; at Bredonís Hardwick, one on 16 & 17 July, one to three on many dates from 4-19 August, a single on 29 August and five on 5 September.

All Gloucestershire records were from at Coombe Hill, where there had already been a couple of early records in late June: two on 13 July, one on 17 & 18 July, one in summer plumage on 19 July, one on 2 August and two on 9 August; two from 22 to 25 September, five on 27 September.

Little Stint: At Grimley old workings an adult on 20 & 21 July. All other records were of juveniles in the second half of September: at Ryall GP, a juvenile from 18-20 September; at Coombe Hill, three from 22-24 September had moved to Hasfield Ham on 25 September; one at Coombe Hill on 27 and 30 September.

Pectoral Sandpiper: An American species, recorded most years on the estuary but most unusual inland: two juveniles at Lower Moor on 19 September.

Knot: Like Grey Plover, an estuarine species rarely recorded inland: after a bird in summer plumage at Clifton in May, one there on 16 August; and at Coombe Hill, one on 22 September, two (one a lame juvenile) on 23 September, one still present on 27 September.

Stilt Sandpiper: The first ever Gloucestershire record of this North American species, very rarely noted in Europe, was at Coombe Hill; the bird was first seen on 15 August, was definitely identified on 19 August and stayed until 21 August.

Ruff: One July and one August record, then a series of late September records of birds on the falling flood: at Coombe Hill, a male on 2 July; two females on 9 August. Then at Ryall GP, there were two juveniles on 20 September, while at Upton one was on the southern Ham on 21 September. At Ashleworth, a ruff and a reeve on 21 September; at Coombe Hill as the floods dropped: two juveniles on 20 September, seven on 22 September, 13 (!) on 23 September, two on 24 September, six on 25 September and five on 27 September. At Walmore, one on receding flood on 19 September.

Jack Snipe: A few early records in late September of this widespread but elusive wintering species: at Ryall GP, three on 27 September, two on 28 September; at Kemerton, the first of the autumn on 26 September; at Ashleworth, an early bird (with Common Snipe) on 27 & 30 September.

Snipe: Some records (mainly in Gloucestershire) of birds reappearing as early as the end of June, with frequent records from July onwards. At Ryall, singles on 2, 10 & 16 July. At Gwen Finch, one on 1 July. In Gloucestershire, after some very early return migrants at Coombe Hill in June, singles there in early July, three on 22 July, five on 26 July, seven on 31 July, up to seven on several dates in August, seven on 6 September. At Ashleworth, three on 4 September.

Numbers then increased after the flood event of mid September: at Longdon, one on 13 September, but 150 on 26 September; at Kemerton, a first autumn record of on 10 September, three on 26 September; at Ashleworth 31 on an old set-aside field on 21 September and 20+ noisy birds on the meadows early on 27 & 28 September; at Coombe Hill, four on 18 September round flood, three on 20 September, 20 on 24 September, at least 45 on 25 September; and at Walmore, 21 on 29 September.

Black-tailed Godwit: Good indications of small migrant flocks passing through in July on their way back from the breeding grounds in Iceland (also at Upton Warren where there were 4+ on 6 July, 11 on 24 July, three from 25 - 27 July and one on 2 August). Then good numbers were attracted (like Ruff) by good feeding conditions in late September.

At Grimley a single on 6 July flew off high to the southeast; two briefly on 5 August. At Lower Moor, seven arrived in a rain shower on 10 August and were still present at dusk; one more on 13 August. At Bredonís Hardwick, three on 20 August. At Coombe Hill, one on 5 & 7 July; an excited flock of 15 was chased off by a Peregrine on the evening of 8 July; another flock of seven dropped in on 24 July; ones and twos in the second half of August, and from 3 to 6 September.

Then as the September flood dropped, higher numbers were recorded at Walmore, Coombe Hill and Ashleworth: at Walmore, 14 on receding flood on 19 September; at Coombe Hill, 19 on 20 September; at Ashleworth, a flock of 40 on 21 September and no doubt the same 40 birds at Coombe Hill on 22 September, with 63 on 23 September, decreasing to two on 25 September; these high figures in the Severn Hams may well have been birds from Slimbridge (where up to 150 were recorded up to the middle of September but smaller numbers later in the month), moving upriver to feed on the falling flood.

Curlew: The suspicion in June that, despite generally late cutting of hay provoked by poor weather conditions, most Curlews had failed in their attempts to breed and had departed early was confirmed. At Upham Meadow, absolutely none on 11 or 18 July, indicating early departure and failed breeding. At Severn Ham, Tewkesbury, none on 18 July, though little hay cut as yet. At Ashleworth, none noted in the middle of the day on 8 July, nor in the evening of 10 July, nor during a long session from dawn to midday on 15 July; none in the afternoon or evening of 16 July. At Coombe Hill, none noted on territories (occupied in May and June) on 8 July and none coming to roost on scrapes, but one heard in flight giving its normal flight call rather than the breeding bubbling display song. At Leigh Meadows, absolutely none found on 10 July, when young should have been approaching fledging.

One pair however, succeeded in raising young; near Haw Bridge on the evening of 16 July, an adult accompanying two non-flying chicks was found in a field where the hay had been cut a month before, so they must have come from neighbouring fields; they were extremely mobile, having moved across the (very deep) Parish Drain on 17 July, when the chicks were caught and ringed; not present there on 19 July, but the adult was on a cut hayfield at least a mile away and across several deep ditches, still extremely agitated; the adult with one young, still not flying, was seen again even further off on 21 July; not clear whether the young reached the flying stage, or whether the later single at Coombe Hill was the adult which had lost its offspring.

At Coombe Hill, few records in the second half of July, but singles on 18, 23 July (coming to roost in the evening) and 1 & 7 August; a single several times from 21 August to 6 September.

Whimbrel: As is often the case, no records on return passage.

Spotted Redshank: The only record was of two juveniles at Coombe Hill from 3 to 6 September.

Redshank: Most breeding birds had departed by mid- or late June. The pair that bred successfully at Lickmoor was last seen with two fledged juveniles on 7 July. At Gwen Finch the breeding pair was last seen with three fledged juveniles on 3 July. Three passage birds at Ryall GP on 11 July; a single migrant passed through Lower Moor on 14 September. The sole Gloucestershire record was of one at Coombe Hill from 2 to 18 July.

Greenshank: An appreciable number of birds passed through, in Gloucestershire mainly in July but with more August and September records in Worcestershire.

Worcestershire: at Grimley, singles on 20 July, from 8 to 21 August, with two on 4 September; at Clifton GP singles on three dates in August and on 25 September; at Ryall GP singles on five dates from 6 to 31 August; at Ripple Pits one on 16 August; at Longdon Marsh singles on 29 August and 13 September; at Lower Moor, one on 10 August; at Gwen Finch reserve, one from 29 July to 5 August; and at Bredonís Hardwick one on 14 August.

In Gloucestershire, All records were on the scrapes at Coombe Hill; the first returning migrants seen were two on 4 July, with ones and twos regularly until 19 July; fewer records after this date, just singles on 31 July, 9 August, and 3 September.

Green Sandpiper: The first return migrants had already been seen at several sites from mid-June in both Gloucestershire and Worcestershire. This species was continuously present at most of the major sites from the beginning of July until the end of September.

Along the Severn in Worcestershire: at Grimley, recorded practically every day in July, with a maximum of five from 19 - 21 July; likewise in August, monthly maximum of five on 17 August; seen on most days in September, numbers slightly lower, never more than two. At Clifton GP, up to four from 13 July to the end of the month; many records in August, with a maximum of eleven on 30 August; recorded throughout September, with a maximum of five on 20 - 21 September. At Ryall GP, good numbers throughout July with a maximum of 13 on 29 July; up to seven in August, up to five in September. At Lickmoor, recorded only in July with a maximum of 13 on 18 July. At Longdon, three on 11 July; six or seven on several dates in August, five on 22 & 26 September. At Ripple Pits, four on 16 August, two on 21 September. Along the Worcestershire Avon: at Throckmorton one on 2 July, two on 8 & 25 July; at Gwen Finch Reserve, a single on 29 July, up to seven on many dates in the first half of August; at Lower Moor, singles on 4 & 13 August, five on 26 August and one on 25 September; finally at Bredonís Hardwick, one on 5, 16 August.

In Gloucestershire: At Ashleworth, singles on 9 August and 21 September. Several birds present throughout July at Coombe Hill with as many as eleven on 8 July, five on 17 July, at least seven on 24 July and 12 on 31 July; present throughout August, with maxima of seven on 1 August, six on 19 August, eight on 20 August; four on 4 September, but mainly just one or two through September; at Cobney Meadows, one on 18 September. At a newly created pond near at Blackwells End near Hartpury, two on 4 July, three on 24 July. At Port Ham, singles on 13 August and 17 & 18 September.

Wood Sandpiper: In Worcestershire: at Clifton GP, one on 30 & 31 August, and on 11 September; at Ryall GP, one on 31 August, and on 21 September. In Gloucestershire: at Coombe Hill, an adult on 2 July; two birds reported on 13 July; a juvenile from 16 to 30 August; a late one from 25-27 September. At Blackwells End, Hartpury, one on 24 July.

Common Sandpiper: Again, the first returning migrants had already appeared in late June. Plenty of records in July, fewer in August, a reprise in September (mainly in Worcestershire).

Along the Worcestershire Severn: at Grimley ones and twos throughout July, no August records, then ones and twos in a second wave from 10 to 28 September. At Clifton GP, there were up to six in the second half of July, then two on 2 August and five on 24 August, followed by ones and two on many dates from 7 to 28 September. At Ryall GP, two on 1 August, one on 21 September. At Ripple Pits, one on 21 September. Along the Avon in Worcestershire: at Throckmorton singles from 2 to 23 July, none noted later; at Strensham Lock, seven on 20 July; at Bredonís Hardwick, four on 10 July, then singles from 16 to 20 July; at Kemerton, regular in late July/early August.

In Gloucestershire: singles at Coombe Hill on many dates in July, but the only August records were singles on 1 and 2 August; no September records. On Alney Island, two on 28 July (along the Severn in Gloucester), one on 29 September (Lower Parting).

Gulls and Terns

Overland southward movements of terns, crossing England and following the Avon and Severn southwards, no doubt occur most years in autumn, but observers were more successful picking them up this year than in most years, especially from 5-7 September.

Mediterranean Gull: At Grimley, a juvenile with a white ring on 9 August.

Black-headed Gull: At Ashleworth, 500 on the edge of the flood on 18 September, 1,000 on 21 September. At Coombe Hill, 1,000 on 18 September, 400 on dropping floodwater on 20 September, decrease to 20 on 25 September as flood dropped. At Leigh Meadows, 1,000 on falling flood on 16 & 18 September. At Walmore, 30 over floodwater on 8 September; 1,200 on 16 September. These large concentrations of Black-headed Gulls appear to have been feeding on large numbers of earthworms, leatherjackets and other invertebrates floating on the floodwater.

Lesser Black-backed Gull: At Ashleworth, 35 on floodwater on 21 September. At Leigh Meadows, 20 over floodwater on 8 September, 200 on falling flood on 16 September.

Yellow-legged Gull: At Throckmorton lagoon, seven on 20 July

Sandwich Tern: Two appeared briefly at Bredonís Hardwick on 4 September, and one at Clifton GP on 13 September.

Common Tern: In Worcestershire: at Grimley, nine passed over early in the morning of 30 August, presumably migrants. At Clifton GP, two flew south on 24 August, one on 30 August. At Throckmorton Lagoon, one or two from 15 to 23 July. At Bredonís Hardwick the resident pair successfully raised one chick; three adults and one juvenile on 17 August, up to six on many dates in late August, seven on 2, 5 & 6 September, 16 on 7 September; the larger numbers in late August and September were clearly migrants.

In Gloucestershire, breeding was proved at Coombe Hill, two adults still breeding and chasing off all passing potential predators (including Peregrine) throughout July; young suspected from 8 July and at least one young bird finally seen on 29 July. Then one adult, no doubt a migrant, on 6 September, a day of heavy tern passage elsewhere. At Walmore (where they are rarely recorded) an adult and juvenile on floodwater from 8-13 September.

Common/Arctic Tern: At Haw Bridge, on 6 September a day when terns had been recorded in numbers at Bredonís Hardwick and skuas were seen on the estuary, a flock of 40 Common or Arctic (unusual numbers inland in Gloucestershire), clearly migrants, flying resolutely down river. At Bredonís Hardwick 31 flew high to the south on 7 September between 09h00 and 09h10.

Arctic Tern: At Throckmorton Lagoons, two on 25 July. At Bredonís Hardwick, a flock of 32 (26 adults and six juveniles) on 5 September circled high up in a tight pack, then appeared to fly southwest; 55 there over flooded fields on 6 September before flying south, while 33 flew south through Clifton GP and a juvenile was at Throckmorton on the same day.

Black Tern: In Worcestershire: at Grimley, a juvenile from 15 to 17 September; at Clifton GP, two flew south on 30 August; at Bredonís Hardwick, a juvenile on 18 August, an adult on 5 & 6 September; eight passed through early on 7 September, a juvenile on 17 September.

In Gloucestershire: at Coombe Hill, an adult and a juvenile on 6 September. At Walmore (the second ever record!), two juveniles on 8 September, joined by an adult on 10 September, all three still present on 12 September, but gone by 13 September.

Pigeons and Doves

Turtle Dove: A number of records in July suggest that this sharply decreasing species may have nested in both counties. In Worcestershire: at Holt (near Grimley) one or two on many dates from 13 July to 13 August, heard singing on many occasions. Near Castlemorton Common, two (an adult male and a juvenile) on 7 July. Along the Avon: at Throckmorton Outer Lagoon, one or two from 2 July to 18 August, then four (with two fledged juveniles) on 10 September; at Lower Moor, one on 3 & 4 July and at Atch Lench, near Evesham, one on 24 July.

There had been no spring records in Gloucestershire, but several appeared (for the first time for several years) at Coombe Hill, one singing on several dates from 7 to 26 July (displaying on 7 July; on 19 July, two singing).

Cuckoo

A few late records from Worcestershire: at Grimley, an adult on 5 July; at Lower Moor, a juvenile on 5 August; and at Gwen Finch, a juvenile on 5 & 8 August.

Owls

Barn Owl: In Worcestershire: at Grimley, one on 18 July; two hunting at Castlemorton Common on 14 August (evening); a single bird hunting at Lower Moor on 7 July and 21 August; at Kinsham village, one on 8 and 14 July; and at Sheriffs Lench one on 22 September.

The only Gloucestershire records are of singles at Coombe Hill on 13 July and 21 August.

Little Owl: Remarkably few records of this species, once widespread and common, but which seems to have undergone a catastrophic decrease in recent years. In Worcestershire: At Clifton GP, one on three dates in July. Resident at Lower Moor and Kemerton Lake throughout the period.

Short-eared Owl: A very early record of this species which winters sparingly in the vales: at Clifton GP on 13 September was mobbed by a Peregrine and landed across the Severn.

Passerines

In general, quite heavy passage of passerines (notably hirundines, Yellow Wagtails, Wheatears, Whinchats and warblers) in the last ten days of August and the first week of September. When the floods rose (from about 7 September), the shallow waters seemed to attract large numbers of passing hirundines which fed on dung beetles and other invertebrates.

Skylark: About five pairs had young at Throckmorton Lagoons in early July. At Upham Meadow, ten or more singing on 11 July. At Ashleworth, some song on 15 July; minimal visible migration, only singles on 27 & 28 September. At Coombe Hill, 10+ singing on 8 July; none in late August, but one or two on 4 September; at Cobney Meadows, one on 18 September round edge of flood. At Leigh Meadows, several singing on 10 July. At Walmore, one or two on 29 September.

Sand Martin: At the Lower Lode colony in the banks of the Severn, only about five birds were present, with few occupied nests, on 16 July (summer flooding in 2007 had caused a slight landslip). The riverbank colony just south of Haw Bridge was well established and two ringing sessions were held there in August with about 50 birds (including a few ringed last year) caught; by 22 August the colony was largely abandoned, with just one or two juveniles still present.

At Tirley, two or three passing on 10 September. At Ashleworth, 25+ with Swallows on 3 September; five with migrant Swallows on 6 September. At Coombe Hill, 50+ on 7 July, at least 30 hawking insects over scrapes on 8 July, five on 19 July, all no doubt birds from the Haw Bridge colony, only a couple of miles off. On 19 August, 100+ early in the morning were clearly migrants, on 26 August only two or three, but steady passage of 150+ on 4 & 6 September.

Meadow Pipit: Surprisingly (since the Migration Atlas says that passage begins in mid-July), no sign of passage at Ashleworth, Coombe Hill or Walmore in August or early September, despite use of recordings of song to attract passing migrants. Southward passage was noted over Bredon Hill on 18 September, when 200 birds were seen. At Longdon, two on 13 September. At Ashleworth, two on 3 September, slight passage of five or so on 21 September; about 30 (nine caught) on 27 September, 20 present but none caught on 28 September because of fog. At Coombe Hill, three on 3 September, just five on 25 September. At Leigh Meadows, just one on 16 September, none on 18 September. At Wainlodes, two flying over high on 8 September ten on 29 September.

Yellow Wagtail: Following very limited records of breeding (mostly in arable crops) earlier in the year, the following records are assumed to be of migrants: at Grimley, one or two on many dates from 16 August to 28 September. Near Kempsey, one on 22 September. At Clifton GP, one or two on many dates from 13 July to 13 September, with four (two juveniles) on 17 August. At Ryall GP, two on 14 July, one on 20 July. At Lower Moor, one on 9 September. At Kemerton, two juveniles on 7 August. At Bredonís Hardwick, one on 20 July, three on 7 & 16 August; then a flock numbering 20 on 17 August.

In Gloucestershire: at Staunton, where breeding had previously been suspected, none found in July. At Tirley, one on 10 September. At Ashleworth, one flew over to south on 23 August. At Coombe Hill four on 2 July, one on 7 July and one flying over on 24 July must have been migrants that had bred elsewhere; one on 19 & 21 August and three on 6 September.

Grey Wagtail: Bred at Lower Moor and Nafford Lock. At Ashleworth, one flew over on 15 July, one on 30 September. At Port Ham, one on 18 September.

Redstart: One of the local specialities of the Severn and Avon Vales is the Redstarts that nest in the boles of pollarded willows, instead of the oak trees generally favoured elsewhere. In Worcestershire, they do not appear to nest in the Lower Moor area, but post-breeding birds appear in the river meadows in the first week of July; 10-20 birds at a conservative estimate remained in the old hawthorn hedges until the first week of September. This habit is also noted in other old riverside hedges at places like Longdon Marsh, Gwen Finch and Bredonís Hardwick.

At Holt near Grimley, two adults on 13 July; at Grimley, a juvenile on 14 July, two adults on 20 July, a juvenile on 21 July, one on 23 July, adult on 31 July; one or two from 6 to 30 August; at Ryall GP, two on 11 July; a male on 2 August, singles on 16 & 25 August; at Castlemorton Common, one on 12 September; at Longdon Marsh, as many as ten on 29 August. At Bredonís Hardwick, a juvenile on 21 July, five (including three juveniles) on 22 July; one on 24 July; up to five on many dates between 1 and 27 August.

In Gloucestershire, breeding in willows is well established at Ashleworth through ringing operations: a juvenile seen on 13 July; one adult caught and four juveniles on 15 July; on 23 August four caught, one on 30 August, two on 6 September; also at Coombe Hill, one seen on 31 July, four on 25 & 28 August; at Sudmeadow, the first of the year caught on 8 September; at Walmore, two on 10 September.

Stonechat: No records of breeding, but many records of arriving wintering birds in September: at Holt four on 21 September; at Grimley a male on 26 September; at Clifton GP one on 14 & 21 September; at Hollybed Common five on 8 September, two on 19 September, three on 28 September. Post breeding build up of 14 along the slopes of Bredon Hill on 29 September. In Gloucestershire, A single record of one at Walmore on 29 September.

Whinchat: As usual, more records in autumn than in spring: at Grimley, one on 30 August; at Clifton GP, one on 11 & 17 September; at Ryall GP, an early juvenile (presumably a migrant rather than a locally bred bird) on 23 July and one on 13 September; at Longdon Marsh, two on 29 August and three on 26 September. At Gwen Finch, one on 27 August; on Bredon Hill, one on 25 September.

In Gloucestershire; at Hasfield, two on 6 September; at Coombe Hill, one or two from 3 to 6 September; and at Walmore, an early bird on 13 July, two more on 10 September.

Cettiís Warbler: A male of this Mediterranean species present throughout the period at Eckington.

Sedge Warbler: Late birds at Kemerton on 15 September and Gwen Finch on 22 September..

At Upham Meadow, one or two singing on 11 July, only one on 18 July. At Ashleworth some song on 15 July, but only seven caught (five juveniles) which indicates that local production has been very poor; unusually, none caught on 23, 30 August, but one juvenile, last of year, on 6 September. Production of young in summer 2007 was very low because of the June and July flooding. However analysis of the results of the Constant Effort Site ringing at Ashleworth since 1998 suggests that there has been a steady and continuous decline in numbers of adult Sedge Warblers caught at Ashleworth from 60 in 2004 to less than 20 in 2008; numbers of juveniles caught have also declined steadily. The decline noted this year seems therefore to stem more from a continuous decrease than from the effects of summer floods in 2007.

At Coombe Hill, still some song on 8 & 16 July, one or two singing on 19 July; one seen on 4 September. At Walmore, one seen on 23 September.

Reed Warbler: Late birds on 26 September at Grimley and Kemerton, and another on 28 September at Gwen Finch.

At Upham Meadow, one was still singing on 18 July. At Coombe Hill, two singing by day on 8 July, and one at dusk. Near Abloads Court, Sandhurst, one singing on 2 July.

Spotted Flycatcher: Indications, through July records (including juveniles), of breeding at many sites in Worcestershire (though none in Gloucestershire). The eighth year of John Clarkeís study of the nesting of this species in Bredon Hill villages located 22 pairs and 37 nests (including replacements and second broods), the last two broods fledging on 16 and 18 August. Distinct through passage in late August and September. Other records of possible breeding: at Grimley, two adults with two juveniles on 1 & 2 July; two on 26 July. At Lickmoor, three on 11 July. At Birlingham, seven along the Avon on 25 July.

Migrants in Worcestershire: at Grimley, one on four dates from 8 August to 9 September; two juveniles on 10 September. Near Clifton village, one on 25 August. At Hollybed Common, two on 19 September. At Longdon Marsh, two on 29 August. At Gwen Finch, five on 1 August, one on 8 August, three on 14 August, two on 22 August. At Bredonís Hardwick, two on 7 August.

And in Gloucestershire, some birds on passage: at Coombe Hill, two on 28 August, two on 4 September, one on 6 September. At Upper Rea Farm, Hempsted, below Gloucester, two on 29 August.

Great Grey Shrike: At Ashleworth, an adult in fine plumage on 30 September, recalling the one recorded there at the same time last year.

Raven: In Worcestershire, small numbers can be seen in the Severn and Avon areas on most days; twenty in the area of the Throckmorton tip on 28 September. In Gloucestershire they are also widespread: at Tirley, two on 10 & 20 September. At Ashleworth two on 25 September, nine flew over on 27 September, two on 28 & 30 September. At Coombe Hill, one on 29 July, 12 August; three (including two juveniles) on 23 August; two on 6 September, nine (here too) on 27 September. At Walmore, one on 8 September.

Reed Bunting: At Upham Meadow, five on 11 July, one still singing on 18 July. At Ashleworth, this species seems (unlike Sedge Warbler) to have had a good breeding season following the wash-out in the June and July floods of 2007; over the whole of the season of ringing at the Constant Effort Site, a record number of just over 100 juveniles was caught (previous maximum of just under 60 in 2004). Good numbers caught in July, with 35 (nearly all juveniles, presumably locally produced) on 15 July; as usual numbers caught decreased after the breeding season: a single new juvenile on 23 August, three on 30 August, three (two retraps) on 6 September; four or five seen on 21 September; 15 caught, only one adult, on 27 September; 21 caught, again only one adult, on 28 September. At Coombe Hill, good numbers, some singing, on 8 July; still one singing on 24 July; two or three on 20, 25 September. At Leigh Meadows, odd few on 10 July. At Sudmeadow, one still singing on 8 July. At Walmore, one on 29 September.

Corn Bunting: At Ryall GP, two on 2 August. At Throckmorton lagoon, one on 19 July, singing on 20 July, one on 23 July.

At Upham Meadow, usually a stronghold, none found on 11 or 18 July. At Severn Ham, Tewkesbury, a pair with two fledged juveniles on 2 July, three singing on 18 July.

These are unconfirmed records, compiled by M. Smart from his own observations and those of David Anderson, Gordon Avery, Les Brown, Colin Butters, John Clarke, Mervyn Greening, Andy Jayne Rob Prudden and Lawrence Skipp, with some cherries picked from the Gloster Birder and Worcester Birding websites, and from the Worcestershire Record No 25 (November 2008).

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