Folk Walks – Birds of Alney Island

Gloucester Civic Trust & Gloucestershire Naturalist Society
The Folk of Gloucester 99-103 Westgate Street, Gloucester, GL1 2PG

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To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Gloucestershire Naturalist Society and the exhibition of the winners of the Photography exhibition at The Folk of Gloucester, Andrew Bluett of GNS will take you on a tour of Alney Island.

Alney Island Nature Reserve is a plot of land to the west of the city between the east and west arms of the Severn from the Upper to the Lower Partings, covering an area of just over 56 Hectares / 140 acres taking in Town Ham, Oxlease, Port Ham, Little Meadow, Mean Ham and Castlemeads. The landscape is a mixture of old common grazing (unimproved grassland), wet meadows, woodland and rough shrubbery, ponds, marshland and the riverbanks with Willows, Poplars, Alders and other trees which provides a home for a range of wildlife. The reserve is owned and managed by the City Council who periodically graze Old English & Gloucester cattle on the site.

Two birdlife surveys are carried out on Alney Island; during the spring & summer, breeding birds are recorded and consist of several species each of Finches, Warblers and Tits, together with Crows, Rooks and Jackdaws, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and occasional Kestrels, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, wetland birds including Grey Heron, Little Egrets, Coots, Moorhens, Ducks, Water Rail and Reed Bunting and the more common garden birds, Blackbirds, Thrushes, Robins, Dunnock and Wrens. In past decades, the Withy beds were inhabited by Marsh Warblers and Nightingales, both of which are now extinct as breeding species on the site. Throughout the year, Wetland Bird Surveys account for some of those already mentioned and in addition, during the winter months, variable numbers of ducks including Teal, Wigeon, Shoveller, Mallard and occasionally Pintail and others.

Andrew will take you on a tour of the island highlighting nests, features and birds along the way, the area is uneven so suitable footwear is suggested and unfortunately the tour is not suitable for visitors with limited mobility. The Meeting point will be the Folk where a short briefing will take place before ​the walk.