Thursday, 17 September 2020

Quiet on all fronts

Sunny with high cloud, 20°, light ENE.

Very quiet out along the Bunk line today but good to see both Tony Williams and Brian Wyatt out there birding.

A small flock of Hirundines out near Green lane comprised around 20 Swallow and 5+ House Martin.

Several roaming flocks of Starling, a Kestrel, 5-6 Chiffchaff, 2 of each Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail. A single Mistle Thrush and a Blackcap and that was about it! Apart from the usual large flock of Corvids.

Dragonflies: several Southern Hawker and Common Darter.

Butterflies: as usual several Large and Small White and a single Small Tortoiseshell.

Meadow Pipit

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

A bit quiet

Hazy sunshine, 24°, light NE.

A few birds on the hill today with Yellowhammer (c14), Reed Bunting (2), Linnet (c20) and Greenfinch (5) and a light passage of Meadow Pipit (c25), Pied Wagtail (c15) and Skylark (c20) overhead.

2 Blackcap, 5 Chiffchaff and a Great-spotted Woodpecker and Sparrowhawk also present.

Very quiet elsewhere.

Dragonflies: Common Darter.

Butterflies: several Large and Small White and a single Red Admiral.


Meadow Pipit (courtesy Alan)

Thursday, 10 September 2020

Early start

A sunny day, 18°, light N.

An earlier than usual start today to make for Lollingdon Hill.

2 Wheatear present in a ploughed field on the lower slopes of the hill, 2 Blackcap, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Common Whitethroat and 2 Chiffchaff along one of the hedgerows. A single Yellow Wagtail overhead and up to 20 Meadow Pipit over and a few Skylark.

4-5 Kestrel hunting around the hill. And a lot of Lesser Blackback Gull loafing in various fields in the area.

3 Spotted Flycatcher in the cattle field along with another Blackcap.

6 Yellowhammer still out at Little Lollingdon and a single Swallow seen.

A Hobby flew south over the garden just after midday.

2 Wheatear at Silly Bridge along with several Meadow Pipit, Skylark and a few Yellow Wagtail and c20 House Martin along the Bunk Line. Per Alan.

Dragonflies: a single Southern Hawker and a lot of Common Darter.

Butterflies: as usual of late, a number of Large and Small White and 2 Red Admiral.

Blue Tit & Spotted Flycatcher ↕

One of the Wheatears from today (courtesy Alan)
Peregrine Falcon (from yesterday, courtesy Alan)
Spotted Flycatcher (from yesterday, courtesy Alan)
Lesser Blackback Gulls

Wednesday, 9 September 2020


Sunny spells with variable cloud, 19°, light NNW.

Alan took the long hike today, initially the Bunk line and then Silly Bridge and onto Lollingdon.

The Bunk line was fairly quiet this morning but a Hobby seen.

3-4 Wheatear (at last) around the Silly Bridge area and moving along to fields near Westfield road.

3 Spotted Flycatcher out at Lollingdon and a Peregrine Falcon nearby.

I didn’t get out until this afternoon and hiked out to the Lees then back along the Bunk line.

The Lees area was fairly quiet with a few Yellow Wagtail and Chiffchaff around and a Tawny Owl heard.

The Bunk line was also fairly quiet but as the weather closed in Hirundines started to appear with a large flock of 100+ House Martin over CSW. Then for the next hour or so good numbers of Swallow and more House Martins and then when the sun appeared again it all went quiet.

A few more Yellow Wagtail seen, a possible Hobby and a flock of 120+ Starling feeding in the fields.

Mammals: Brown Hare and Roe Deer.

Dragonflies: Southern Hawker and Common Darter.

Butterflies: Both Large and Small White and a single Speckled Wood.

Than you Alan for the Wheatear pics. Peregrine and Flycatcher pics later.

Wheatear ↕
distant shot

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

One of those days πŸ‘

Cloudy, 21°, light WSW.

A walk out to the Lees area today and turned out to be one of those good days!

Firstly a subdued song coming from the corner of a maize field turned out to be a Reed Warbler. I began to suspect a Reed Warbler but it was not until about 30 minutes later the bird appeared on the edge of the field briefly before disappearing again.

Secondly, happened to notice a butterfly on Dandelions near some farm buildings that turned out to be a Painted Lady. My first for the year!

Thirdly, walking back towards Manor farm I heard an alarm call of a falcon. Then next a small falcon shot by being pursued by a corvid. I managed to get onto the falcon and it was a juvenile Merlin. The birds had come from the direction of Cholsey hill, they shot by me and disappeared over the main railway line towards Lollingdon.

It was only then as the corvid broke off the pursuit I realised it was a Raven that had been chasing the Merlin. The Raven then flew back overhead and moved off towards Cholsey hill and was joined by another.

Then walking thru by the Church I saw a Sparrowhawk take a Greenfinch out of the sky. No matter what the finch did the hawk tracked it with precision and caught it.

Other birds seen were Chiffchaff (5), a Blackcap, Reed Bunting (3), Yellow Wagtail (4), 2 Raven, and a Kestrel.

A light movement of Swallow and House Martin (c100), fizzled out by midday.

Alan was out on Lollingdon Hill today: 1 Lesser Whitethroat, several Meadow Pipit (first of the autumn) and an amazing number of up to 15 Kestrel around the hill!

Dragonflies: several Southern Hawker, a Four-spot Chaser (egg laying) and several Common Darter.

several Large White and Small White, 2 Red Admiral, 1 Painted Lady and 1 Speckled Wood.

Painted Lady
A pale Buzzard that frequents the Lollingdon area. (courtesy Alan). ↕

Monday, 7 September 2020


Sunny at first then clouding over, 18°, breezy SW.

A few bits on the hill today, a nice Whinchat present along with a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Common Whitethroat and a couple of Chiffchaff.

3 Kestrel also present and being harried frequently by passing Rooks.

A good passage again of Hirundines with 200+ over the hill and Alan had quite a few along the Bunk line this morning an almost equal mix of Swallow and House Martin.

A look around the cattle field found a Willow Warbler, several more Chiffchaff, 2 Common Whitethroat, a Blackcap and 5 Yellowhammer.

A 100+ Lesser Blackback Gull over the hill as well and all joining the Gull flock in the pig fields.

A couple of Jay heard along the Bunk line near the Jubilee field.

Mammals: a Stoat hunting Rabbits and disappeared down a Rabbit hole not to be seen again!

Dragonflies: 3 Southern Hawker and several Common Darter.

Butterflies: several Large White and Small White, 2 Red Admiral and 1 Speckled Wood.

Whinchat ↕

 Red Fox (courtesy Tony Rayner)
Lesser Blackback Gull (courtesy Alan)

Ivy Bees

A video and some photos of Ivy Bees courtesy Alan Dawson.

Sunday, 6 September 2020


Sunny spells, 19°, light W.

A good passage of Hirundines today with Alan seeing a flock of up to 400 House Martin along the Bunk line this morning and between us both we have seen a good passage of both Swallow and House Martin this afternoon, possibly 1K hirundines thru today.

Little else seen other than several Yellow Wagtail, the Common Redstart being very elusive a Kingfisher and a Blackcap.

A family of Mute Swan (2 ad & 2 young) parked up in Green lane, then they walked all the way along the railway line but could not get thru the fence so they trudged all the way back again.

2 Grey Wagtail in the garden this morning.

Dragonflies: Brown Hawker, Southern Hawker and Common Darter.

Butterflies: several Large White and Small White.

A few of the House Martins (courtesy Alan)
Swallows & House Martins (courtesy Alan)
 Mute Swan family
They missed the Train πŸ˜„
Grey Wagtail

Saturday, 5 September 2020

Bunk Line

Sunny spells, 17°, breezy WNW.

A walk along the Bunk line this morning with one of the Diesel locos on the line and a few workers maintaining and checking the rails.

Could not find the Redstart so carried on along to Green lane and very little there. 1 Blackcap and a couple of Chiffchaff so was not expecting much.

On the way back the train and workers had moved back to near Green lane and I just happened to catch a movement in a hedgerow to the north of CSW.

A scan along the hedge found 3 Spotted Flycatcher and a/the Common Redstart about 100m away. All still present when I left.

Further down 2 Common Whitethroat seen, a flyover Yellow Wagtail and Sparrowhawk and that was about it!

Alan had a flyover Peregrine Falcon in the afternoon and the Redstart back where it was on the 2 previous days.

A Coal Tit and Treecreeper in the garden this afternoon.

Butterflies: just a few Whites for me: Alan, Large White, Red Admiral, Peacock and Small Heath.

A few records from Tony Rayner with a Small Copper butterfly, an Orange Swift moth and a Hornet Robberfly recorded.

Common Redstart & Spotted Flycatcher

 Blood Vein (courtesy Alan)
 Orange Swift (courtesy Tony Rayner)
Small Copper (courtesy Tony Rayner)

Friday, 4 September 2020


Cloudy, 17°, light to breezy SSW.

A trip along the Bunk line in the afternoon and managed to catch up with the Common Redstart that Alan found yesterday. It was very actively feeding from the fence line along railway and at times on the rails.

Also seen, a Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, several Chiffchaff and Yellow Wagtail and a Sparrowhawk overhead.

Dragonflies: 2 Common Darter.

Butterflies: a couple of Large and Small White.

Common Redstart ↕

There were 9 Magpie out with the sheep.

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Redstart 2 Wheatear 0

Overcast with frequent rain showers, 20°, breezy WSW.

Where are the Wheatears this autumn? We normally have a good passage thru Cholsey on both hills but apart from 4 seen by Michael P near Silly Bridge last month there have been no other sightings!

100+ Hirundines out at Lollingdon feeding and resting up on wires in the lee of the hill a good 50/50 mix of Swallow and House Martin.

I spoke to the local farmer today who said over the weekend they estimated approx. 300 Hirundines in the same spot when they were out tending to the cattle.

Relatively quiet on the hill today probably down to the weather, 1 Common Redstart, 1 Common Whitethroat and the odd Chiffchaff present.

2 Kestrel hunting and 2 Raven around.

Very quiet on the walk out and back with only a Reed Bunting and a few Chiffchaff noted.

Alan found a Common Redstart along the Bunk line. An excellent find for that area!

Dragonflies: 2 Southern Hawker and a few Common Darter.

Butterflies: 1 Large White, several Small White, a Red Admiral and a Speckled Wood.

 Common Redstart courtesy Alan
Speckled Wood

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Quiet Zeptember start

Sunny with light cloud, 19°, light W.

A visit to Lollingdon this morning, 3 Common Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Chiffchaff on the hill.

Nearby the Little Owl seen, first time in a couple of months and a flock of c60 Swallow overhead.

Along the Bunk line later where I bumped into Alan. Several Yellow Wagtail, a Common Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap and several Chiffchaff and 2 Grey Heron flew over and Alan had a flock of c50 House Martin earlier.

Dragonflies: Southern Hawker and Common Darter.

Butterflies: Large White, Small White. 1 Common Blue, 6+ Red Admiral, 1 Peacock and 1 Gatekeeper.

 Chiffchaff courtesy Alan
 A really duff shot of Common & Lesser Whitethroat
 Yellow Wagtail
Yesterdays Peregrine Falcon courtesy Alan

Monday, 31 August 2020

August ends with a whimper

Mainly cloudy with a few sunny spells, 15°, light E. 

After all the turbulent weather of the last few weeks August goes out with a whimper.

A walk along the Bunk line/ Green lane today and Alan out by the Lees area.

Some good flocks of Hirundines moving thru today with one mixed flock of Swallow and House Martin numbering 100+ birds (c250 in total) and movement ceased around midday.

A Willow Warbler in brief song along Green lane and 3 Blackcap, a Common Whitethroat and several Chiffchaff and 4-5 Green Woodpecker of note.

Quite a few Yellow Wagtail still around (10+) and 6 Pied Wagtail.

Alan managed a Peregrine Falcon and Sparrowhawk out by the Lees.

Dragonflies: 1 Southern Hawker and several Common Darter.

Butterflies: several “Whites” and 1 Red Admiral.

Moths: a Silver-Y.

Yellow Wagtail pics courtesy Alan Dawson.

Red Admiral