Friday, 3 July 2020

A quiet one

Cloudy with a few sunny spells, 19°, breezy SW.

A little breezy today with butterflies etc sticking to sheltered spots. A shorter than average walk today along the bunk line/Green lane area.

Apart from good numbers of Swallow and House Martin and the odd Swift and a couple of Sand Martin, not a lot else going on.

Usual species present.

Dragonflies: Banded Demoiselle and Southern Hawker.

Butterflies: Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Large White, Small White, Red Admiral, Peacock, Marbled White, Meadow Brown and Small Heath.

 Southern Hawker
 Peacock (underwing)
Essex Skipper
Red Admiral
 Common Whitethroat

Thursday, 2 July 2020

A local rarity and some regulars

 Cloudy with some light rain (heavier later), 17°, light SW.

A completely unexpected find today of a Woodlark at 06:45 this morning. Seen on a path briefly out near Little Lollingdon before being flushed by a dog. Flew off west and called several times. Unfortunately no photo.

This species bred on Cholsey Downs in the 1950’s & 60’s but only 3 records of individuals since.

Yellow Wagtail and 5 House Sparrow nearby.

Little Owl seen again, a Lesser Whitethroat and several small Starling flocks passing thru.

The hill was relatively quiet, Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, ChiffchaffReed BuntingYellowhammer and Corn Bunting all noted and a Kestrel hunting.

Overhead, around 80 Swift passed south along with several Swallow family groups and 10 House Martin.

Approx. 10 Lesser Blackback Gull frequenting the pig fields on the other side of the A417.

Treecreeper in the garden again.

Mammals: Brown Hare.

Butterflies: 2 Meadow Brown.

 Little Owl
 Young House Sparrow
 Adult male House Sparrow

Young Swallow (courtesy Alan Dawson)

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Robber Fly & Demoiselle

Didn’t get out today but Alan did and found another Beautiful Demoiselle. The species being found increasingly in Cholsey now since spreading from the Upper Thames area. Wonder what is driving that?

Also yesterday he found what we believe to be a Kite-tailed Robber Fly? Not sure if this insect has been recorded in Cholsey before? Six Robber Flies species are found in Britain and are all voracious predators of other insects. The only other one we have recorded is the larger Hornet Robber Fly which is seen locally in most summers.

Also the first Gatekeeper butterfly of the year. Per Alan Dawson & Tom Pittaway.

Photos courtesy Alan.

Hornet Robber Fly from last year.

Tuesday, 30 June 2020


Overcast with light rain, 15°, light SSW.

An early walk out to Lollingdon and back.

The Black-headed Gull cruising the Millennium field and nearby areas this morning and a Grey Wagtail near the Bullshole.

There has been 2 BHG’s noted in the area and 3 more joined them one evening last week. Per AM & JW. The 3 may have been passing thru?

The one or two have been present for the last couple of months and maybe are non-breeders. They usually breed in wetlands. i.e. coastal, reservoirs, lakes, marshes etc. and are a colonial breeder. They have not bred in Cholsey to my knowledge but a few are seen along the Thames in summer. However there is an outside chance they may?

2 Little Owl seen out at Lollingdon and 18 Lesser Black-back Gull flew north east over the hill.

A Kestrel hunting over the hill, several Swift feeding overhead and 2 Mistle Thrush briefly and all the usuals present.

A Yellow Wagtail overhead Little Lollingdon.

Alan walked the Bunk line this morning with good numbers of Swallow, House Martin and Sand Martin around. And also saw a Hornet Robberfly.

2 Common Sandpiper flying down river yesterday. Per Paul Rainsden.

A Treecreeper and a Chiffchaff in the garden this afternoon

Mammals: Brown Hare.

Butterflies: a single Meadow Brown noted.

Not one but two Little Owl
 A pair of Common Whitethroat scalding me this morning and I realised I was too close to their nest site. So moved away post haste!

 Brown Hare

Grey Heron (courtesy Alan Dawson)

Friday, 26 June 2020

A little of everything

Another sunny day, 28°, light SSW.

June is generally a quiet month out at Lollingdon. Our resident birds and summer visitors are busy rearing young and any mammals are difficult to locate in the high crops.

Insects appear in numbers this time of year but as it is farmland and not managed environmentally the diversity is not there unfortunately.

Anyhow, 2 Kestrel were hunting the hill today and 2 Raven flew south east over the hill and a few Swift Feeding over the area and a Hobby seen flying towards Aston.

The adult Black-headed Gull still around and foraging in the Millennium field area most mornings.

Dragonflies: Banded Demoiselle, Azure Damselfly and Emperor Dragonfly.

Butterflies: Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Speckled Wood, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Small Heath.

Moths: Silver-Y and Cinnabar. And a Five-spot Burnet in a Cholsey garden. Per Alan Baker. 

 Banded Demoiselle
 Corn Bunting
 Small White
Meadow Brown

Also a new moth for Cholsey recorded recently. A Hornet Clearwing. Have requested permission to post a photo on Cholsey Wildlife and credit the finder but no response as yet and apparently the county recorder for moths in Berks, Bucks and Oxon is interested in this record as it is a scarce species.

The photo is of one from last July in Wallingford. Courtesy Alan Dawson.

And another new moth, a Yarrow Plume caught by Tony Rayner last week and following on from one in Aston Tirrold before that. Per VG.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Bunk Line

Sunny and humid, 30°, light ESE.

A walk along the Bunk line/Green Lane before it got too hot.

Plenty of butterflies around with Meadow Brown being the most frequently seen.

A few family groups of Swallow moving thru and a couple of House Martin and at least two Sand Martin.

Some of the young Swallow were resting up whilst the adult birds were hunting and bringing food back for them.

Song Thrush, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Common Whitethroat and Yellowhammer still churning out some song.

The meadow by the gravel pit was being cut today and had 30+ large BOP’s overhead, 3-4 Buzzard and the rest Red Kite. Swooping down every now and again to pick up something. The cutting of the meadow would probably expose or kill, insects, small mammals and any nesting birds which are then easy pickings.

Dragonflies: 1 Beautiful Demoiselle, 3 Banded Demoiselle, 1 Southern Hawker.

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

 Common Blue
Red Admiral
 Swallows (6 pics)

Wednesday, 24 June 2020


Sunny, 31°, light ESE.

A warm day out there and in some parts the hottest day of the year so far.

The Lees:

Both Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler still giving a brief song every now and again. Also Several Reed Bunting, a couple of Yellowhammer, a single Corn Bunting, 2-3 Yellow Wagtail and a Chiffchaff and Blackcap.

Most of the birds were keeping to shaded areas today and even a lot of insects were keeping out of the full sun.

Interesting to watch 2 species of dragonfly in the same territory with little or no interaction. A length of ditch had 4 Emperors and 4+ Chasers hunting/holding territory and they seemed to tolerate each other’s presence. Maybe they have different feeding strategies?

Dragonflies: Banded Demoiselle, Azure Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Emperor Dragonfly, Four-spot Chaser and freshly emerged Common Darter.

Butterflies: Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Holly Blue, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Speckled Wood, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Small Heath.

 Freshly emerged Common Darter
 Four-spot Chaser ↕

Azure Damselfly

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Tony & Alan's stuff

Sunshine, 26°, light to breezy SSE.

A communication from Tony Rayner today regarding his garden:

“Now seeing lots of butterflies - Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Ringlet, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Small Heath, Large White, Small Copper, Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Brimstone to name but a few.

Still hearing Corn Bunting and Yellowhammer in the distance.” 

Tony has also been catching a few good moths lately including the following.

Eyed Hawk Moth
 Large Emerald Moth
200+ Pyramid Orchids growing in Tony's garden.

Alan found an Essex Skipper yesterday. Difficult to tell apart from Small Skipper. Small Skipper is similar but lacks the black tips to the antennae. 

And a Hedgehog is a regular visitor to Alan’s garden.

Monday, 22 June 2020


Sunny, 21°, light SSW.

The adult Black-headed Gull still foraging over the Millennium field and adjacent areas and the Little Owl seen briefly out at Lollingdon.

All the usual suspects present and a Kestrel hunting over the hill, a few Swift feeding overhead and several Swallow family groups flying south.

Mammals: Brown Hare.

Dragonflies: Banded Demoiselle.

Butterflies: Large Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Speckled Wood, Marbled White and Meadow Brown.

Common Buzzard
 Large Skipper ↕

 Comma (underwing showing the comma)
 Small Tortoiseshell
 Kestrel (5 photos)

 Marbled White
 Song Thrush
 Meadow Brown ↕ (upper and underwing)