It’s that place again! We only had time for a local walk and made the most of the morning sunshine by having a walk around the park and up into the woods and along to Purdown with its comms tower.
The sun didn’t appear at all today. It’s a shame it’s so dull at the moment as we are not seeing the autumn colours at their best. We spent the morning and early afternoon in the countryside around Tormarton, Marshfield and Castle Combe (there would have been a few chocolate box photos of this pretty village but we couldn’t find anywhere to park) but we did have a walk through the woods.
We saw large flocks of starling but no fieldfare or redwings which we had hoped to see. There were a couple of raptors (a kestrel and a buzzard) and meadow pipits and a grey wagtail on the wire.
We are not far from Badminton here and we saw plenty of horses on the lanes and in the fields – such beautiful animals.
It was a dull day, but not too cold, for our walk along the Severn Estuary near Arlingham.
As well as lots of gulls on the estuary we came across a male and female stonechat. The female was then replaced by a meadow pipit who continued to “chat” up the male stonechat.
We came home via Gloucester and had a look at the river from the other bank at Newnham.
We had a pleasant walk from New Passage to Severn Beach (or more to the point to Shirley’s café where there is a nice garden to have a coffee) and back even though there was a sharp north easterly wind. We saw a variety of birds on the estuary along the way but were a bit late in the day to see the vis mig (visible migration) of redwings, mistle thrushes and siskins which were reported earlier.
We only had an hour to get out for a stroll but we needed to “breathe” to get over a disappointment of a cancelled holiday in Norfolk next week as a consequence of Covid-19. I’m sure we would have been seeing many more birds in Norfolk than we did in Stoke Park but the few we did see were still a joy and lifted our morale.
As the British Trust for Ornithology says: “Migration is not so obvious in autumn as it is in in spring with summer visitors ‘disappearing’ gradually. Winter visitors tend to arrive over a longer time period and are not in such a rush as spring migrants; the urgency of the breeding season is not there.”
It certainly felt that way at Slimbridge today where there were not so many birds to see, especially as we only walked out to the Severn Estuary and back on our brief visit.
We had hoped to see bearded tits at Westhay Moor as I have seen lots of recent reports (and photos) of them here but we were unlucky (in fact very unlucky as we got caught in a shower too). We abandoned our bird watching and went for lunch at the Sheppey Inn. After lunch we had a walk through RSPB Ham Wall but didn’t see much there either. Never mind, we enjoyed our day out.
I read that the world this year has experienced its hottest September on record. The eleven recently born ducklings I saw on Duchess Pond this afternoon are probably another sign of global warning. It was 15 degrees Celsius and they all seemed very happy and so were we.
Predators rather than the weather are probably their biggest worry. The pair of kestrels we saw in the park didn’t seem very interested though. Perhaps they don’t like water.
With rain forecast for the next few days at least it was wonderful to take advantage of a sunny calm day along the Severn Estuary.
We started at New Passage and immediately saw a couple of little egrets flanked by dunlin fly out into the estuary.
One egret continued its flight across the estuary whilst the other returned to “our” side. The dunlin settled further up the estuary. We then walked to Severn Beach where we saw 8 ringed plover and had a cup of coffee.
When we returned to New Passage the tide had fallen a little too much but we could see a large number of waders on the shore line and enjoyed the beautiful views of the estuary.
I think that will be our last chance for a while.