Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Tits and other stuff!

Overcast, 17º, rain showers, light NNE.

A cool and damp few hours on the hill today.

2 Redstart still on the hill, the ad , assuming it is the same one it has been present now for 6 weeks!

At least a dozen Long-tailed Tit working along the hedgerow, 4 Chiffchaff a single Yellow Wagtail flew over and landed with the cattle, a Raven flew south towards the downs as did a single Hobby and 2 flocks of Martins flew over, predominately House Martin, 100+, with at least 3 Sand Martin and a single Swift all drifted south.

C50 Linnet in the area, 3 Red Kite, 2 Buzzard, 2 Kestrel and c300 Lesser Blackback Gull, c50 Black-headed Gull, c200 Rook and c50 Jackdaw scattered around fields to the south.

A single Small White butterfly noted.

Long-tailed Tit

Buff Tail (Loren)
Brown-lipped Snail ? (Loren)
22-spot Ladybird (Loren)

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Eastender news

On Thursday I was out in our meadow all day whilst haymaking. During the day and had great views of Hobby. Firstly there were two that seemed to be hunting together, then later in the day had two further sightings of a single bird. The impression was that they came in from the Hillgreen/Hithercroft direction and moved away towards the Thames.

Rachel Seymour tells me that the second broods of Swallows at her East End Farm failed this year. Our local Hobbies are usually after these birds. Also I noticed our local Swifts left rather early this year - last ones noted on 31st July.

Now we are hearing Tawny Owls most evenings and by day Yellow Wagtails flying over. Today heard both Willow Warbler and Whitethroat singing briefly beside the Bunk line.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Cooler & Quiet!

Cloudy, 14º, a few light showers, breezy SSW, a cooler day than of late.

Very little of note today other than 2 Redstart on the hill and a few Chiffchaff.

A nearby field was being worked and had attracted c100 Black-headed Gull and c50 Lesser Blackback Gull.

Dragonflies; several Common Darter & 3 Southern Hawker.

Butterflies; several Small White, Small Tortoiseshell & Speckled Wood.

 Lesser Blackback Gull

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Hobbies on the move?

A few sunny spells, 16º, light to fresh WNW.

A few hours spent on the hill today, the walk out was uneventful with a few Yellowhammer and Chiffchaff present and a Hobby flew past me heading south. This was the first of 4 that appeared as on the hill a couple of hours later 2 more Hobby flew in from the east, caught a thermal, gained altitude and the flew off south over the downs then around 40 minutes later another Hobby flew over the hill again heading south.

The Redstart still around and calling frequently still, 2 Common Whitethroat and a few Chiffchaff also several small parties of Swallows moving through totalling approx 35 in all and 2 Yellow Wagtail also flew over.

Several Red Kite, a Buzzard and c4 Kestrel in the area.

TW had a Wheatear a few days ago, the first of the autumn.

Dragonflies; Several Common Darter, 2 Migrant Hawker, 2 Southern Hawker and a Brown Hawker.

Butterflies fewer; Several Small White and Speckled Wood, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Red Admiral, 1 Common Blue and another Clouded Yellow.

The Clouded Yellow was difficult to track down as it kept disappearing when it clouded up, eventually tracking it down in a field of stubble. When the sunshine appeared it flew off strongly south!

A Southern Hawker hunting in the garden late afternoon and the Tawny Owls active in the garden tonight. 

 Clouded Yellow
                                           Common Darter 

Monday, 18 August 2014

Sunshine & Showers

Sunny with showers, 17º, light to breezy WSW, cooler.

A walk out to the hill today and a juv Green Woodpecker near the garden, a 20+ strong Tit flock in the Millennium wood with at least a dozen Long-tailed Tit present and a couple of Chiffchaff, also a family party of at least 5 Wren and a Blackcap at the Bullshole.

A flock of c40 Chaffinch feeding in a recently harvested field along with a few Yellowhammer.

The Redstart still present on the hill and calling frequently, also 5 Common Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, 7 Chiffchaff, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Kestrel and a juv Green Woodpecker working along the top fence line.

A lot of (c300) Lesser Blackback Gulls around the pig farm area.

Nearby 8 Yellowhammer, 2 Hobby, a Jay, a Grey Heron and a Kingfisher.

Fewer insects around today.

Dragonflies; several Common Darter.

Butterflies; 1 Small Skipper, several Small White, Speckled Wood and Small Tortoiseshell, 5 Red Admiral, 1 Meadow Brown and 1 Comma.

The garden dominated by finches at the moment with 6 Greenfinch, 7 Goldfinch and 10+ Chaffinch at least and fewer House Martin and Swallow overhead.

 Green Woodpecker
 Redstart again!

Saturday, 16 August 2014


2 Hobby on lane, W of Waterloo bridge, to Cholsey station; one flew low and abruptly S over railway line, very sharp-winged raptor, so assumed Hobby. Seconds later, saw another definite flying high and N toward Cholsey. This bird then began soaring with (and mobbing) ... a male Harris Hawk!. (per MA).

Probably the same 2 Hobby that were over the garden/village yesterday.
This Harris Hawk has been around for a couple of years now. This pic taken over Cholsey Marsh in 2011.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Yellow & Red

Sunny spells, showers, 19º, light to moderate SW.

A couple of hours on the hill today and my first Clouded Yellow butterfly of the year. Rain then stopped play.

3 Redstart (1 & 2 1stw) on the hill today, there have been Redstarts on the hill for over a month now with at least 5 different birds present.

Also today were up to 8 Chiffchaff, a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Common Whitethroat, 1 Yellow Wagtail, c50 Linnet, c 20 Yellowhammer (2 flocks), 2 Kestrel and at one point there were 3 Red Kite, 2 Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk in the air together.

TW noted a Raven over the hill this morning.

2 Hobby over the garden this afternoon and c30 House Martin and c20 Swallow nearby.

Dragonflies; 1 Southern Hawker, 2 Common Darter.

Butterflies; 1 Clouded Yellow, several Small White, Speckled Wood and Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Meadow Brown, 2 Gatekeeper, 2 Red Admiral, 2 Large White, 1 Common Blue.

 Clouded Yellow

 Yellowhammer (Loren)
 The rain on its way (Loren)

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Quite quiet!

Sunny, light showers, 20º, breezy WNW.

Sunnier and a little warmer than yesterday but still breezy.

Redstart still on the hill and feeding along with a couple of Common Whitethroat in close attendance, not sure what’s going on there as the Whitethroats are following every move the Redstart makes.

3-4 Kestrel on the hill and a small flock of 8 Swallow flew SW but that was about all.

Dragonflies; several Common Darter.

Butterflies; 2 Large White, several Small White, Speckled Wood and Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Red Admiral, 2 Common Blue and 4 Meadow Brown.