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Gloucestershire

Magpie Pica pica ©Ashley Beolens Website

Birding Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire, on the English border with Wales, is a many faceted jewel of a County set in the very heart of rural Britain. None of its several towns and cities (Cheltenham, Cirencester, Gloucester, Stroud and Tewkesbury) are so large that the countryside cannot be reached within a couple of miles or so. In Gloucestershire's 1,000 square mile area there are many wildlife-friendly habitats, which include: The bird-rich beautifully scenic grass covered chalk and limestone hills of the peaceful Cotswolds [a high plateau patch-quilted with mature beech woods] in the East. Deep, quiet ravines of ancient woodland in the Wye Valley. The (almost sea level) floodplain of the estuarine Severn Valley where waders breed and migrant wildfowl over-winter. The upland of Cleeve Hill (1,000-foot altitude). The easily accessible wooded, wild hills and valleys of the 35 square miles of working forest that make up the (one-time Royal hunting preserve of the) Forest of Dean in the West.

In this last environment the mixture of mature broad-leaf forest and managed young coniferous sections produce a variety of habitats that include ancient woodlands, open meadows of acid grassland, grass-clumped bogs and broad heathland - a diversity of bird and other wildlife that is an almost guaranteed recipe for good birding.

Top Sites

Ashleworth Ham

Satellite View

On the West bank of River Severn 6 miles north of Gloucester - Bewick's Swan, Bittern, Cormorant, Gadwall, Goldeneye, Mallard, Pintail, Pochard, Shelduck, Shoveler, Teal, Tufted Duck, Wigeon.

Avon Valley

Satellite View

Anywhere along the Avon after Tewkesbury - Bewick's Swan, Coot, Dunlin, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Pochard, Redshank, Reed Bunting, Shoveler, Teal, Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Willow Tit.

Aylburton Warth

Satellite View

On the West bank of River Severn 6 miles north of Gloucester - Black headed Gull, Kestrel, Lapwing, Mallard, Meadow Pipit, Raven, Redshank, Skylark, Tree Sparrow.

Bourton Pits

Satellite View

At Bourton-on-the-Water. Canada Goose, Coot, Dipper, Great Crested Grebe, Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, Little Grebe, Kingfisher, Mallard, Mute Swan, Reed Bunting, Tree Sparrow, Tufted Duck.

Chedworth Woods

Satellite View

South side of River Colne - Barn Owl, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Corn Bunting, Dipper, Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Grey Partridge, Grey Wagtail, Jay, Kestrel, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Little Owl, Mallard, Mandarin Duck, Nuthatch, Pheasant, Red-legged Partridge, Sparrowhawk, Tawny Owl, Tree Sparrow, Treecreeper, Woodcock, Yellowhammer.

Cirencester Park

Satellite View

Near Cirencester - Bullfinch, Buzzard, Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Jay, Kestrel, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Little Owl, Long-tailed Tit, Marsh Tit, Nuthatch, Sparrowhawk, Tawny Owl, Treecreeper, Willow Tit.

Coombe Hill Canal

Satellite View

On the East bank of River Severn 6 miles north of Gloucester - Bewick's Swan, Bittern, Cormorant, Gadwall, Goldeneye, Mallard, Pintail, Pochard, Shelduck, Shoveler, Teal, Tufted Duck, Wigeon.

Cotswold Water Park (Gloucestershire/Wiltshire border)

Website

Satellite View

Canada Goose, Coot, Dipper, Great Crested Grebe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, Kingfisher, Little Grebe, Mallard, Mute Swan, Red-crested Pochard, Tawny Owl, Tree Sparrow, Tufted Duck.

Dowdeswell Reservoir

Satellite View

Near Cheltenham - Bullfinch, Coot, Goldcrest, Great Crested Grebe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, Jay, Kestrel, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Little Grebe, Mallard, Marsh Tit, Nuthatch, Pied Wagtail, Sparrowhawk, Tawny Owl, Treecreeper, Willow Tit.

Forest of Dean

Satellite View

(Forest area encircled by towns of Cinderford, Monmouth and Lydney) [Places of birding interest: RSPB Nagshead reserve (OS: 5909); Woorgreen's Lake (near Speech house); Cannop ponds. (OS: 6010); Soudley ponds. (OS: 6611) & New Fancy view] - Blue Tit, Buzzard, Coot, Cormorant, Dipper, Goldcrest, Great Tit, Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, Hawfinch, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Little Grebe, Long-tailed Tit, Marsh Tit, Nuthatch, Peregrine, Pied Flycatcher, Raven, Redpoll, Siskin, Sparrowhawk, Stonechat, Tawny Owl, Treecreeper, Willow Tit, Woodcock, Yellowhammer.

Frampton Pools

Satellite View

Disused gravel pits outside Frampton - Barnacle Goose, Canada Goose, Coot, Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe, Grey Heron, Greylag, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Little Grebe, Little Owl, Mandarin Duck, Mute Swan, Nuthatch, Red-legged Partridge, Reed Bunting, Ruddy Duck, Treecreeper, Tufted Duck, White-fronted Goose, Willow Tit.

Hailey Wood

Satellite View

Near Cirencester - Bullfinch, Buzzard, Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Jay, Kestrel, , Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Little Owl, Long-tailed Tit, Marsh Tit, Nuthatch, Sparrowhawk, Tawny Owl, Treecreeper, Willow Tit.

National Arboretum - Westonbirt

Webpage

Satellite View

Near Tetbury on A433 - Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Jay, Kestrel, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Sparrowhawk, Tawny Owl, Treecreeper.

Oakley Wood

Website

Satellite View

Near Cirencester - Bullfinch, Buzzard, Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Jay, Kestrel, , Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Little Owl, Long-tailed Tit, Marsh Tit, Nuthatch, Sparrowhawk, Tawny Owl, Treecreeper, Willow Tit. There has been woodland here since way back in the 16th Century but much of it was replanted with Scots pine. There are now large areas of conifer with some broadleaf trees and scrubland mixed in. Warwickshire Wildlife Trust have longer term plans to restore the wood back to native broadleaf trees.

Oversley Wood

Satellite View

Near Cirencester - Bullfinch, Buzzard, Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Jay, Kestrel, , Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Little Owl, Long-tailed Tit, Marsh Tit, Nuthatch, Sparrowhawk, Tawny Owl, Treecreeper, Willow Tit.

Slimbridge

Webpage

Satellite View

Off Junction 13 or 14 of M5 - [Extensive and World renowned captive collection of Wildfowl] - Chaffinch, Collared Dove, Cormorant, Gadwall, Grey Heron, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Lapwing, Little Owl, Mandarin Duck, Meadow Pipit, Moorhen, Redshank, Reed Bunting, Shelduck, Skylark, Sparrowhawk, Treecreeper.

Symonds Yat

Information

Satellite View

On River Wye near Chepstow - Buzzard, Cormorant, Dipper, Grey Wagtail, Herring Gull, Kestrel, Peregrine, Redpoll, Sand Martin, Siskin, Sparrowhawk.

Tidenham Chase

Satellite View

Near Tintern Abbey - Buzzard, Coal Tit, Crossbill, Goldcrest, Kestrel, Nightjar, Redpoll, Sparrowhawk, Stonechat, Tree Pipit, Whinchat, Whitethroat, Willow Tit, Woodcock, Yellowhammer.

Walmore Common

Satellite View

On River Severn near Gloucester - Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Kestrel, Lapwing, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Little Owl, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Redshank, Reed Bunting, Skylark, Sparrowhawk, Stock Dove, Tawny Owl.

Withington Woods

Satellite View

South side of River Colne - Barn Owl, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Corn Bunting, Dipper, Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Grey Partridge, Grey Wagtail, Jay, Kestrel, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Little Owl, Mallard, Mandarin Duck, Nuthatch, Pheasant, Red-legged Partridge, Sparrowhawk, Tawny Owl, Tree Sparrow, Treecreeper, Woodcock, Yellowhammer.

Wye Valley

Satellite View

Near Chepstow - Buzzard, Cormorant, Dipper, Grey Wagtail, Herring Gull, Kestrel, Peregrine, Redpoll, Sand Martin, Siskin, Sparrowhawk.

County Recorder

Richard Baatsen (Gloucs excluding S Glos/Avon)

07879 850196

Richard.Baatsen@gmail.com

Useful Reading

The Birds of Gloucestershire

by Gordon Kirk & John Phillips | Liverpool University Press | 2013 | Hardback | 451 pages, colour photos, b/w illustrations, colour distribution maps, colour tables |

ISBN: 9781846318085

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Where to Watch Birds in Somerset, Gloucestershire & Wiltshire

by Ken Hall & John Govett | Christopher Helm | 2004 | Paperback | 300 pages, 51 line illus, 57 maps |

ISBN: 0713666145

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Useful Information

National Bird of Prey Centre

Newent GL18 1JJ Tel: 01531 820286

Organisations

Cheltenham Bird Club

Website

Beyond our bird feeders and gardens Gloucestershire has an amazing variety of habitats from the Severn estuary and plain to the High Cotswolds in the east and the Forest of Dean in the west. As a result we have an astonishing number of bird species either as resident or summer or winter visitors.

Dursley Birdwatching and Preservation Society

Website

The Gloucestershire based Dursley Birdwatching and Preservation Society (DBWPS) was formed during 1953 to bring together local people with an interest in birds and natural history. Many years later it is still the aim of the Society to promote this interest, with a varied programme of outdoor field events, indoor meetings, weekends and social events, which enable many conservation projects to be supported.

Gloucestershire Naturalists Society

Website

The Gloucestershire Naturalists Society (GNS) was formed in 1948 with the aim of promoting an interest in the varied wildlife of the county of Gloucestershire, U.K. At the same time, it assumed the task of recording the county's flora and fauna. To assist in this, the GNS appoints and supports county recorders for all aspects of wildlife - birds, mammals, insects and wildflowers for example…

Gloucestershire Orchard Group

Website

Traditional orchards are a valuable resource and have unique ecological, cultural, genetic, heritage and landscape value that we need to look after. However, changes in agriculture and in the way supermarkets buy and source fruit have meant that about 75% of Gloucestershire’s orchards have been lost in the past 50 years and what was once a familiar part of the landscape is now increasingly rare.

Gloucestershire Raptor Monitoring Group

Website

Between us we hope we have the enthusiasm, skills and contacts to get this group off the ground – but of course to make it work we need you. Our ambitions include having a “species leader” for each species, encouraging more people to get out and find raptor nests, and using technology to track birds as well as produce reports.

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust

Website

The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust was formed in 1961 by local people, including Sir Peter Scott, who wanted a better future for the county`s wildlife. A variety of programmes and initiatives have been developed to help achieve the Trust`s aim of caring for the wildlife and wild places of Gloucestershire.

International Centre for Birds of Prey

Website

The Aims of The National Birds of Prey Centre are Conservation of all birds of prey through Education, Captive Breeding, Research and Rehabilitation. We are one of the oldest, probably the largest and certainly the best known and respected specialist collection of birds of prey in the world. Housing approximately 300 birds of over 80 species, the Centre leads the world in the number of species bred in captivity. To date 55 species have been bred here, with new species laying eggs each year.

North Cotswold Ornithological Society

Website

Welcome to the North Cotswold Ornithological Society (Registered charity number 1127045) Gloucestershire’s only survey-based bird group. We are dedicated to learning more about the birds of the Cotswolds through developing an understanding of their distribution.

RSPB Gloucestershire Local Group

Webpage

The Gloucestershire Ornithological Coordinating Committee runs a winter garden bird survey each year for nine weeks in January and February. We are always on the lookout for additional surveyors as, inevitably, people drop out from the survey each year for one reason or another. Only those living within the Gloucestershire county boundary can take part, I'm afraid.

The Barn Owl Centre

Website

Established in 1997, registered as a charity 2003, The Barn Owl Centre is an organisation dedicated to Education, Wildlife Conservation & Bird Welfare. Our centre also allows us to offer - Owl flying & bird of prey experiences, the manufacture of a range of nest boxes and nature photography days…

Reserves

Abbreviations Key

Accessible Reserves

Webpage

Each of the following links lead to a BFA assessment of the reserve by BFA members and others, using the BFA form. ALL types of mobility problem are assumed so there are details of path surfaces, gradients and distances as well as benches and hide details.

Forestry Commission Symonds Yat

Webpage

Satellite View

Admire the picturesque views of the River Wye and surrounding area from this internationally famous viewpoint. Discover the ancient hill fort, spot birds of prey and enjoy a snack from the log cabin cafe.

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust Reserves

Website

List of reserves and contacts etc…

GWT Coombe Hill Canal and Meadows

Webpage

Satellite View

Coombe Hill Canal and Meadows is an SSSI and a place of vistas and endless skies, of floods and farming, an ancient landscape fringing the Severn. Equally appealing on a frost-bitten winter morning or a glorious summer day, Coombe Hill is an ideal place to revel in the peaceful serenity of the countryside; bring binoculars to bird watch, or simple enjoy the wildlife and scenery on offer.

RSPB Highnam Woods

Webpage

Satellite View

With its carpets of bluebells and primroses, this is an ideal reserve to visit in the spring when the nightingales can be heard…

RSPB Nagshead

Webpage

Satellite View

Nagshead is famous for its breeding pied flycatchers. The nestboxes in which they nest have been monitored continuously since 1948. The wood is also home to hawfinches, buzzards and all three species of British woodpecker…

WWT Slimbridge

Webpage

Satellite View

Eight million people have visited Slimbridge to get closer to wildlife & wetlands since Sir Peter Scott opened the doors in 1946. Some people come to get close to the birds, other people just love the ambience of this haven by the Severn. The birds keep coming back too - more than 20,000 wild birds dropped by last year, some staying for months before starting out on their great migratory journeys.

Forums & Mailing Lists

Glos Bird News

@GlosBirds

Latest news of rare and scare birds in Glos @GlosBirds

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Birding Pal

Information

Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

The Cotswold Birdwatching Company

Guiding

Our day trips are organised to offer the chance to celebrate the area’s amazing wildlife and fantastic scenery. Maybe you have species that you would particularly like to see or would just like a bird-filled day out. Whatever you require, we always try our best to maximise our time in the field. We appreciate that people love to see new species and are delighted to make this happen.

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2017 [02 February] - David Karr - Winter Migrants

PDF Report

Winter Migrants at Slimbridge, Gloucestershire and North Norfolk - I took advantage of a stop-over flight from Amman to New York to touch down at London for a weekend birding from 17-19 February. My goal was to find wintering migratory species that had thus far eluded me in Europe (I being from Australia). I was also conscious that with the milder weather, the weekend might be one of the last for the season before the migrants departed north again.

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

New House Farm

Accommodation

New House Farm is a 64 acre working farm ideally situated between the Cotswolds, the Wye Valley and the Forest of Dean. The property is set in a commanding position on the hillside of a quiet valley with far reaching views towards the Malvern hills.

Blogs

Birds & Nature in the Forest of Dean & Beyond

BLOG

Bob Philpott - Cotswold Water Park Birds

BLOG

This site publishes records from the Cotswold Water Park of all species (irrespective of county boundaries or rarity). Records are forwarded to the CWPT Database and then on to Local Record Centres.

Colin Butters - Natural History Diary

BLOG

This is the Gloucestershire and, from April 2016, the Herefordshire Natural History Diary of Colin Butters and was initially created in June 2002. From 2009 it will contain all of my natural history sightings including those from out of these two counties.

Graham Watson - Sea & Sky Birding

BLOG

Started birding over 50 years ago in Devon and Cornwall but only just kept it going through the work/children years in Gloucestershire. Returned on retirement becoming known as the "Great Dipper" having just missed so many birds. Mike King's Glos Birds one of the best sites out there. Enjoyed photography - had a few published. After a brief sojourn in the Devon homelands have returned to the bosom of the family on the Glos/Worcs border.

Mike King - The Gloster Birder

BLOG

County news, sites to visit, trip reports and other information about birds in Gloucestershire and beyond, since 2000.

Other Links

Anser Birding - Martin McGill

Website

Birding diary, images and travels of Martin McGill, a Gloucestershire based birder and WWT Slimbridge Warden. Also Birding holidays, identification courses and day trips. Trip reports section from all holidays and a gallery…

Naturenet

Website

List of reserves etc…

Severnside Birds

Website

The web site for anyone with an interest in the birds of the Severn Beach area on the mid-Severn Estuary. Severn Beach is a coastal village in South Gloucestershire and situated at the top corner of the Bristol Channel, England. The web site is dedicated to all birders, past and present, who have visited the patch on a regular basis…

The Birds of South Gloucestershire

Website

The Birds Of South Gloucestershire (TBOSG) was launched in November 2005 with the primary objective of providing a point of reference with easy access to information about rare and scarce birds, both full species and forms, seen in 'S. Glos'. It is by no means authoritative nor exhaustive but it does capture the essence of modern 'birding' in this extremely important region…

Photographers & Artists

Artist - Jackie Garner

Gallery

I'm a Gloucestershire-based artist, who originally concentrated on British wildlife art as well as making occasional forays into still life and portraiture. Since then my wildlife art has been inspired by the wildlife of the Falkland Islands, and my latest venture is illustrating research into the wildlife art found in ancient Egypt…

Artist - Martin Ridley

Gallery

A Creative Process Revealed: Wildlife Art Description - Gallery of wildlife and wilderness art depicting birds and other animals, paintings in oils and watercolours with accompanying original sketches by artist painter / illustrator Martin Ridley. View how sketches, preparatory drawings and a gallery of wildlife paintings are evolved from initial field encounters, detailed information about creative working methods with wildlife watching tips, painting stages from initial brush stroke to completion, oils in progress. Services include e-Cards, wildlife artwork screensavers, forthcoming wildlife art events calendar, selected art, conservation and wildlife links and search facility to source images.

Bob Bushell's Wildlife Photography

Gallery & Blog

Birdwatching information, gallery, and daily photo reports from the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, England maintained by and for disabled and housebound birdwatchers.

Photographer - David J Slater - DJS Photography

Gallery

Photography by David J Slater Based in the Forest of Dean & Wye Valley…

Wildfowl Photography

Gallery

This website includes wildfowl photographs taken at Slimbridge which is home to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in Gloucestershire, UK and which was founded by Sir Peter Scott.