Wednesday, 29 July 2015


Overcast, rain showers, 16°, light NW.

A Common Redstart (juv or ♀) found on the hill today along a hedgerow to the east of the hill and possibly a 2nd bird present. Unfortunately too distant for a photo but it was calling frequently.

Not a lot over the hill today, 5 Swift, c50 Swallow, 6 House Martin and a single Sand Martin.

Little else of note apart from a Hobby seen.

Butterflies: not a lot quantity wise given the weather, Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Large White, Small White, Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown.

Archive photo

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Not a lot going on

Cloudy, 17°, breezy W.

Another windy day on the hill with virtually no movement, 2 Swift, 2 House Martin, 11 Black-headed Gull and 5 Lesser Blackback Gull over.

Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Whitethroat of note, Corn Bunting and Yellowhammer but little else.

Butterflies: a few sheltered spots hosted, Large White, Small White, Holly Blue (in garden), Brown Argus, Common Blue, Red Admiral, a rather washed out Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown.

 Brown Argus ?
 Red Admiral
 Speckled Wood
Common Blue

Monday, 27 July 2015

Over the Hills and Far Away

Overcast with very few sunny spells, 17°, fresh WSW.

A breezy day on the hill.

A steady movement of birds over the hill today with c40 Swift, 50+ Swallow, 20+ House Martin, at least 3 Sand Martin, 34 Lesser Blackback Gull, 57 Black-headed Gull and a single Curlew, all moving in a roughly southerly direction.

I wonder if these diurnal migrants are using hills as navigation markers in their migration as Wittenham Clumps, Cholsey Hill, Lollingdon Hill and Lowbury hill are in a rough north south route?

3 Kestrel on the hill, a Hobby drifted over and a few Red Kite and Buzzard present.

Nuthatch still visiting the garden.

Fewer insects around in the overcast and windy conditions.

Mammals: Muntjac Deer, Brown Hare.

Dragonflies: Brown Hawker.

Butterflies: Large White, Small White, Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Ringlet.

Sunday, 26 July 2015


Prolonged rain, 15°, light to mod SW.

Another rather damp day but tempted out by a Red-backed Shrike that had been seen out at Churn just a few kilometres away.

Went out for it this morning but the rain too heavy so decided to try later and a call from TW around 13:00 got me out again. Unfortunately the rain persisted so had to wait around 3 hours before it eased enough for the shrike to show itself.

Alerted by a Whitethroat and Blackcap giving alarm calls, the shrike eventually appeared on the top of a nearby bush. It then flew to another nearby (c80m away) bush were it stayed for a time allowing the couple of us there to see it reasonably well and for me to get a few record shots.

Other species noted were Red Kite, Buzzard, Lesser Blackback Gull, Curlew, Mistle Thrush, Starling, Linnet, Yellowhammer, and Corn Bunting.

Individuals of 3 butterfly species seen braving the weather, Large White, Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown.

A rather damp looking Green Woodpecker in the meadow this evening.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Rain stops play....for me at least

Rain all day, 15°, light W.

A thoroughly wet day but we did need some rain.

Needless to say I did not get out to play today, however a lot of activity in the meadow behind the garden with numerous visits by Black-headed Gulls that were passing through then invariably being chased off by the resident pair of Carrion Crows who are now teaching junior how to look for food and who to tolerate on their territory.

A Green Woodpecker, various Blackbird, a Song Thrush and Wood Pigeons.

Moorhen, Mallards, Stock Doves, Collared Doves, Great-spotted WoodpeckerRobin, Dunnock and Wren in the garden and the usual Blue and Great Tits on the feeders along with Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Goldfinch and a couple of House Sparrow.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Brief visit to the Hill

Mostly cloudy with a few light rain showers, 17°, breezy SW.

A brief visit out to Lollingdon today, a few small mixed flocks of Swift, Swallow and House Martin passing overhead, up to about 100 birds involved.

A few Black-headed Gull and Lesser Blackback Gull passing through.

A Kingfisher also seen of note and the regulars present.

Treecreeper and Nuthatch in the garden again.

Butterflies: Large White, Small White, Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Ringlet. All but disappeared when the sun became obscured.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Blue & Green

Cloudy with sunny spells, 24°, breezy WSW.

Little going on today, a Hobby drifted along the hill and a couple of Kestrel present.

Approximately 40 Swallow feeding for a time over fields adjacent to the hill and a handful of Swift over.

Green Woodpecker, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch in garden and 4 Black-headed Gull frequenting the meadow this evening.

Dragonflies: Southern Hawker.

Butterflies: Small Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Ringlet.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Raven, Vulcan & Red Arrows

Cloudy with a few sunny spells, 23°, light to breezy SSW.

On arriving out at Lollingdon 4 Raven (2ad, 2 juv) flew over moving south, managed to get the camera out of the car just as they were off over the hill.

The usual out around the hill today with only Skylark, Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting in song.

2 Hobby mobbing a Red Kite again and once the Kite had moved away it was then mobbed by 2 Kestrel. One of the Kestrel appeared to stray in to Hobby territory and was seen off by the 2 Hobby rather quickly.

Blackcap, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff also noted.

Around 50 Swift passed over the hill along with 6 Swallow and 6 Lesser Blackback Gull.

Dragonflies: Blue-tailed Damselfly and Brown Hawker.

Butterflies: Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Large White, Small White, Holly Blue, Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Ringlet. (I am possibly seeing Essex Skipper but unable to ID without catching one!).

Lots of Ladybirds seen today, 7-spot and 10-spot, and a Common Wasp nest found.

A brief encounter with the Red Arrows flying over the hill and a flypast by a Vulcan bomber.

A couple of Tawny Owl around the garden last night and at least 3 (common) Pipistrelle Bats.

 Red Arrows
 The last flying Vulcan in its retirement year.
 Entrance to Common Wasp nest

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Odds & Sods

Sunny spells, 22°, light SW.

Spotted Flycatcher still present in a private garden in the village.

Over the course of a few hours this afternoon approx. 200 Black-headed Gull flew west over the garden with some settling in the school playing fields before moving off again.

Having said yesterday that the Nuthatch may have moved on, it turned up in the garden this afternoon along with a Great-spotted Woodpecker.

At least 14 Swift overhead this afternoon, local breeding birds at this end of the village along with the usual Swallow and House Martin.

Common Tern reported along the Thames in Cholsey.

A dead adult Barn Owl was found by TW last week out at Lollingdon, it had been dead for a week or so but no obvious injury noted. Possibly had ingested poison from an affected rodent?

Dragonflies: a Southern Hawker briefly in the garden.

Butterflies: in garden, Large White, Small White, Holly Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Meadow Brown.

Holly Blue (archive pic)

Friday, 17 July 2015

Swifts still moving through

Mainly cloudy with few sunny spells, 21°, a few light rain showers, breezy WSW.

The long route out to the hill today via the Lees.

Again a light passage of Swift over the hill with 100+ in roughly an hour all moving in a south westerly direction.

A couple of Kestrel hunting around the hill and 42 Stock Dove counted around Lollingdon.

Both Green and Great-spotted Woodpecker noted, quite a few Swallow and House Martin around closer to the village and a few Swallow feeding over the fields out at Lollingdon.

A couple of Yellow Wagtail noted also Blackcap, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Linnet and Yellowhammer.

Several Reed Bunting still singing in Oil seed Rape fields and approx. 20 Corn Bunting counted in total.

According to a regular walker in the area the Indian Peafowl is still at large in the area.

Not seen the Nuthatch for a few days so may have moved on.

Dragonflies: Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker, Emperor, 4-spot Chaser and Common Darter.

Butterflies: Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Large White, Small White, Common Blue, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Marbled White, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Ringlet.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Butterflies rule

Cloudy and warm, a muggy day, 22°, light NNW.

Much the same as yesterday but plenty of butterflies around today.

Lots of Red Kite around (30+) and a few Buzzard in the air probably due to several nearby fields being cut for silage.

2 Hobby seen mobbing a couple of Red Kite and around 5 Kestrel in the vicinity. A Pied Wagtail flew over, the first there since early June.

Around a 100 Swift high over the hill slowly drifting south, could not see most of them without binoculars.

The Spotted Flycatcher still around today (per MP).

Mammals: Bank Vole, Brown Hare.

Dragonflies: Azure Damselfly, Emperor, 4-spot Chaser.

Butterflies: Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Large Skipper, Large White, Small White, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Ringlet.

 Common Blue
Small Skipper

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Spot Fly

Overcast, 18°, a few light rain showers, light W.

The first Spotted Flycatcher seen this year in the village by Michael Pocock this morning, a possibility they are breeding nearby hopefully or just a wandering individual.

Years ago there could be 5 to 6 pairs breeding in the village but nowadays they are very hard to find if at all.

A couple of hours around the hill today, 50+ Swift and 5 Swallow over heading south west, 2 Lesser Blackback Gull west and a Hobby drifted over.

Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting and Skylark heard in occasional song.

A Nuthatch has become a daily visitor to the feeders in the garden now.

Mammals: Bank Vole, Roe Deer.

Dragonflies: Emperor Dragonfly.

Butterflies: Small Skipper, Large White, Small White, Small Tortoiseshell, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Ringlet.

Spotted Flycatcher (archive pic)
 Big Foot

Monday, 13 July 2015

Flying Fluff-balls

Overcast with frequent light rain showers, 18°, breezy WSW.

Little of note around the hill today, a flock of approximately 30 Long-tailed Tit (mainly juvs) with a few Blue Tit and a Chiffchaff working the hedgerows and 2 Lesser Blackback Gull and a single Black-headed Gull over the hill.

A few Swift moving through and a few species still in song.

A Green Woodpecker in the meadow this evening along with a Grey Heron and a Hobby flew overhead whilst we were watching the Woodpecker and the Nuthatch in the garden early morning.

Butterflies: a few on the wing despite the rainy conditions, Large White, Small White, Small Tortoiseshell, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Ringlet.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Agatha Christie Trail

Sunny, 24°, light SSE.

A walk alongside the Bunk line along the Agatha Christie trail today.

At least 2 Sand Martin over Cholsey SF and 16 Black-headed Gull over also.

Whitethroats still prominent along with Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Yellowhammer and Linnet.

Swift, Swallow and House Martin overhead, a Sparrowhawk with prey, 3 Buzzard and the usual Red Kites.

Dragonflies: Common Blue Damselfly, Brown Hawker and Common Darter.

Butterflies: Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Large White, Small White, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Marbled White, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Ringlet. Also a 6-spot Burnet Moth.

A sample of 10 skippers on the Eastenders plot 6 Small Skipper and 4 Essex Skipper.

Sand Martin, Brown Hawker and Essex Skipper all new for the year.

 6-spot Burnet
Meadow Brown

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Much of the same

Sunny, 20°, light NW.

A brief visit to the hill today with little change, a Lesser Whitethroat and a Little Owl being the highlights.

2 Nuthatch in the garden today, seen frequently on one of the feeders and a Treecreeper, also a 4-spot Chaser Dragonfly flew through the garden late afternoon.

Sparrowhawk overhead early evening and plenty of young Swallow on the wing.