Monday, 13 August 2018

A little more going on!

Mainly cloudy with a little light rain, 23°, breezy NW.

A Peregrine seen whilst walking out to Lollingdon this morning perched high on one of the pylons.

A Kingfisher along Cholsey Brook and 2 Siskin flew overhead.

6+ Spotted Flycatcher out at Lollingdon, quite spread out in a large garden, also a flock of 30+ Goldfinch and a flock of 24 Swallow present.

3 Raven flew over and headed in the direction of Cholsey Hill and several Jay still in the area and a female Sparrowhawk overhead.

Mammals: Brown Hare and Roe Deer.

Reptiles: a single Common Lizard seen.

Dragonflies: Southern Hawker and Brown Hawker.

Butterflies: Large White, Small White, Common Blue, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood and Gatekeeper.

Spotted Flycatchers
 Speckled Wood
Common Blue

Possible Bechstein's Bat

Tony Rayner's son Fred has been recording Bats in Cholsey using a sound device and he sent some off for analysing.

You might be interested to read this response from one of Chris Raper's colleagues at the Natural History Museum.

They think that the Bat that I detected might be Bechsteins; however, they do go onto say that some other of the Myotis Group of bats can make short high frequency calls.

Because Bechsteins is an ancient woodland species they go onto say "It’s very much a tree/woodland dweller though, specialising in being able to fly and hunt in quite enclosed environments so that’s not quite the right habitat. Are there reasonable woodlands nearby (including coniferous, they’ve been known to use flaking bark in older conifer stands)?"

Bechsteins is supposed to range 1-2Km from their roost; the question is whether there are woods locally that might meet this criteria?
For your info:

Woodlands containing it may be considered for notification as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and may attract a grant under Natural England’s Environmental Stewardship scheme. On the rare chance one is spotted in the wild, authorities suggest immediately reporting it to a local bat group or the wildlife trust.

Bechstein's Bat courtesy

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Hare Coursing?

Cloudy, rain showers, 18°, light to breezy S.

Some apparent hare coursing out at Lollindon today but fortunately the police had a handle on it.

photos courtesy Alan Dawson.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Wednesday, 8 August 2018


Mainly cloudy with a few sunny spells, 22°, breezy SW.

All quiet on and around the hill today apart for a flock of 50+ Swallow and some unusual behaviour observed.

Whilst the some of the Swallows were flying around aerial feeding or sitting preening on nearby telegraph wires and fences which is the usual behaviour, some were feeding on the ground and appeared to be actively chasing insects and taking prey from the ground.

A feeding strategy? that I do not recall having seen before.

I came off the hill a couple of hours later and the Swallows were still present and was greeted by a few alarm calls. On looking up I could see a Hobby high above the flock, the Hobby circled a few times and then went in to a steep dive as if it had picked out a target. Unfortunately lost to view behind some trees so could not see if it caught anything.

Several Jay still present in the area and a few Common Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffchaff all noted.

Several hundred Gulls loafing out by the pig fields only a few ID’d Black-headed Gull and Lesser Blackback Gull, most were too distant.

3 Common Redstart seen nearby but outside the Cholsey boundary. Per BJW.

Mammals: Brown Hare and Roe Deer.

Dragonflies: Southern Hawker and Common Darter.

Butterflies: very few: Large White, Small White, Small Copper, Common Blue, Red Admiral, Comma, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown.


 Large Yellow Underwing (courtesy Alan Dawson)
Silver Y (courtesy Alan Dawson)

Unexpected Garden visitor

A Jay this afternoon in the garden.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Still a warm one!

Sunny with increasing cloud, 28°, light SW.

Another quiet day out at Lollingdon, a few Common Whitethroat and Chiffchaff and a single Blackcap seen.

3 Jay present and a good number of Yellowhammer still around,

A reasonable passage of Swallows today with 200+ moving south including a flock of c50, a few House Martin with the flocks. 

A couple of Swift still overhead in Cholsey.

Mammals: an unfortunate Mole found dead.

Dragonflies: a few Common Darter.

Butterflies: Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Common Blue, Red Admiral, Peacock, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown.

Not too far away good numbers of Adonis Blue and Chalkhill Blue being found. Unfortunately outside Cholsey's boundary.

 Common Darter (above & below)

Roe Deer (courtesy Alan Dawson)
 A snatched shot of a Jay

Friday, 3 August 2018

Spotted Flycatchers

Sunny spells, 28°, light WNW.

Another warm one out there!

2 Spotted Flycatcher out at Lollingdon today fly catching in a garden and out of view for long spells. The first ones in Cholsey this year as far as I am aware.

A few Yellowhammer still singing and several Chiffchaff, Common Whitethroat and Blackcap around.

A Sparrowhawk seen and a Grey Heron dropped in briefly and several Jay heard nearby and 2+ Bullfinch.

A covey of at least 14 Grey Partridge exploded in front of me on the way back and they all scattered in different directions.

A flock of 20+ Swallow around Lollingdon, feeding overhead and settling on the wires to rest and preen and a few more small flocks seen overhead moving in a southerly direction.

Mammals: several Brown Hare around and a Weasel run across the path ahead of me.

Dragonflies: Banded Demoiselle, Azure Damselfly, Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker, Emperor and Common Darter.

Butterflies: a Clouded Yellow flew across the track and continued on without stopping. Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Common Blue, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown.

 Spotted Flycatcher (above & below)

 Grey Heron
Brown Hare
Volucella pellucens (courtesy Allan Dawson)
 Another shot of the Weasel
Swallows again

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

A quiet start to August

Sunny intervals, 22°, breezy SW.

A real struggle to find anything of interest out there today. A couple of Whitethroat on the hill and a few Chiffchaff around.

Several Brown Hare.

Only 1 Dragonfly seen and that was a Southern Hawker.

Butterfly numbers are well down, 1 Large Skipper, a single Brimstone, plenty of Large White, a few Small White, 20+ Common Blue, 3 Red Admiral, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Comma, 20’ish Speckled Wood, 5 Gatekeeper, and 2 Meadow Brown.

Large Skipper
Common Darter (courtesy Alan Dawson)
Brown Hare

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Hornet Robber Fly

Mainly sunny, 22°, breezy SW.

A Little Egret out at Lollingdon today seen flying over the tree line and landed presumably in one of the streams out of sight.

A female Sparrowhawk flew over causing a certain amount of panic among a flock of Swallow that were passing thru.

2 Kestrel on the hill and 100+ Lesser Blackback Gull around the pig fields and several Black-headed Gull overhead, and the Jays still around.

A Hornet Robber Fly found on the hill and a Silver-washed Fritillary seen nearby.

Dragonflies: Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker, Emperor and Common Darter.

Butterflies: Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Common Blue, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Silver-washed Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown.

Other insects: Hornet Robber Fly.

Hornet Robber Fly (quite harmless, unless you are another insect)

 Moorhens catching the early morning sun

Monday, 30 July 2018

After the rain

Mainly cloudy with a few sunny spells, 22°, breezy SSW.

A bit of a wet week end but little impact made as the ground is still very dry. 

Around 150 Swift south over the hill today and several Swallow and House Martin with them.

4-5 Common Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap and a couple of Chiffchaff present in the hedgerows and several Yellowhammer nearby.

Several Jay heard between the village and Lollingdon.

A Nuthatch in the garden this morning and an adult Moorhen with 3 young visiting.

Butterflies: few present: Large White, Small White, Common Blue, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown.


A lot of Goldfinch around feeding on the thistle heads.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Kites eye view.

Friday was another hot day and earlier on the hill I watched a couple of Red Kite and Buzzard rising up on the thermals around the hill, there was little else going on apart from a couple of Kestrel.

Shortly after coming off the hill I noticed a paraglider come over the top of the hill and steadily gain height.

I eventually lost sight of him as he headed north.

I guessed who it was and a day later I had an email from Bryan Regan.

Bryan reached 3500 feet (1067 meters) in approx 7 minutes after take off and he headed north eventually coming down in Banbury. A distance of around 63 kilometers in a time of 2 hours 38 minutes.

Bryan also managed to get a few photos as he was thermalling up and up.

 Cholsey 18 minutes after take off
Lollingdon Hill 3 minutes after take off.

June 2017 Soaring with the Kites

Photos courtesy Bryan Regan.

Friday, 27 July 2018

Let there be rain!

Cloudy with sunny intervals, 28°, light SW.

Another warm one but it started raining just prior to 16:00 and a few claps of thunder but what little there is, was evaporating rather quickly! Let’s hope there is more on the way.

Approx. 200 Swift over the hill today in an extended flock moving south and 2 Kestrel on the hill.

6 Mistle Thrush nearby and a Yellowhammer feeding young in a nest. Several Yellowhammer still in song and 2 Blackcap singing still and a couple of Jay making a racket.

Dragonflies: Azure Damselfly, Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker, Emperor and Common Darter.

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

 Silver-washed Fritillary from earlier this month (courtesy Tony Raynor)

Thursday, 26 July 2018

30° and counting!

Another hot day, sunny, 30°, light SSE.

A walk out to the Lees again today and far fewer butterflies present than of late and “whites” dominating the butterflyscape! The warmest Cholsey day this year. 

Anyone know what the record temp (both high & low) has been recorded in Cholsey?

A Peregrine Falcon and a Sparrowhawk both seen carrying a prey item and a Kestrel hunting.

A Chiffchaff working its way along the dyke and 5-6 Reed Bunting and 2 Sedge Warbler present.

A few more Sedge Warbler and 2 Reed Warbler along the reedy ditch at the end.

A few Swallow, House Martin and Swift feeding overhead. 

A Nuthatch heard calling from the trees in the meadow.

Dragonflies: Banded Demoiselle, Brown Hawker & Common Darter.

Butterflies: Small Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Common Blue, Holly Blue, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Dark Green Fritillary (per TR), Silver-washed Fritillary (per TR), Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown & Ringlet.

Common Darter
Dryad's Saddle (a bracket fungus)