Upper Thames Waders


Snipe                                                                                    –  Richard Tyler

To Banbury (in driving rain) for a meeting with the neighbours – the Banbury Ornithological Society, on whose pattern NCOS was formed nearly 30 years ago.

The occasion was a talk by Charlotte Kinnear from the RSPB’s Otmoor reserve – great place for an office! – on ‘Upper Thames Waders’, part of their Futurescapes project. This project has been running for several years, and looks at the fortunes of four wader species in areas of wet meadows in central England. The area includes the Thames near Lechlade, parts of the Windrush, Evenlode, Glyme, Thame and Cherwell valleys, and Otmoor itself.

In the far west of the study area we have a couple of Society members contributing data from the water-meadows on the Sherborne National Trust estate, notably on Lapwing, which bred well there this year and contributed to a small rise in their overall numbers.

Snipe, it appears, are seen everywhere but are only found breeding at Otmoor. Curlew are drifting gently down in number, and Redshank had a good year after several undistinguished ones. Mostly the species under scrutiny had a lousy year in 2013 because of the wet spring.

Come and Talk about Birds in the Pub

Join us on Wednesday 15th October at the Golden Heart, Nettleton Bottom from 7:30pm.

As well as catching up on the gossip, we’ll be talking about common birds and how well we feel they’re doing here in the Cotswolds.  Sure, it’s unscientific, but it might pop out a couple of questions about species that we should look out for or survey more rigorously.

The Golden Heart is here on the A417 between Cirencester and Gloucester (thanks OpenStreetMap). For satnavs the post-code is GL4 8LA and map ref SO943137.

Golden Plovers

Golden Plovers, October Richard Tyler

Golden Plovers, October                                              Richard Tyler

This weekend (11-12 Oct) sees a census of Golden Plovers across Europe co-ordinated by the British Trust for Ornithology. It’s a repeat of surveys done in 2003 and 2008.

Although they breed much further north, Golden Plovers pass through and stay in the UK in large autumn and winter flocks, so this is an ideal time to count them.

Looking at The Birds of Gloucestershire’s winter distribution map, the birds can turn up in most places in this county – on the high wolds, down where the dipslope rivers broaden out, or in the Severn Vale itself.

Should you see any this weekend, the BTO asks that you record their number and location on BirdTrack. Otherwise, email NCOS and we’ll make sure your sightings get submitted.

One question posed about a year ago is where they all go at night. Wardens at the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust at Slimbridge report flocks feeding there in the Severn Vale, but moving off eastwards as dusk falls. So there may be hundred-strong flocks sleeping somewhere up in the Cotswolds in addition to the numbers we already see here during the day. Keep your eyes peeled this weekend.


Cheltenham Bird Club’s indoor meetings start again on October 6th. As ever, they have put together an interesting mixture of speakers for these Monday night events.

Three that particularly caught my eye were Graham Martin returning with more on bird sight, his speciality at Birmingham University; Mervyn Greening, a ringer from the Forest of Dean talking about nest-finding; and Tom Mabbett, a local boy now with Naturetrek.

Contact the Club here.