Friday, 21 September 2018


Cloudy with a few sunny spells and squally showers, 15°, a gusty moderate to fresh SW.

3 Wheatear on the hill today keeping mainly to the areas of the Rabbit dugouts, 2 Kestrel also around the hill and a handful of House Martin and a single Swallow over.

Nearby around 8 Chiffchaff and singles of Blackcap and Lesser Whitethroat.

An evening visit by a Sparrowhawk but no casualties today.

Dragonflies: 1 Migrant Hawker and 4 Common Darter.

Butterflies: 3 Large White, 1 Small White and 3 Speckled Wood.



Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Wheatear & Whinchat

Cloudy with sunny spells, 21°, fresh SW.

Ventured out today not expecting much in the windy conditions. The hill was very windy, however 2 Wheatear and a Whinchat present, initially along the fence line. The Wheatear spent most of their time sheltering in Rabbit dugouts keeping out of the worst of the wind and I could not locate the Whinchat again.

11 House Martin and 4 Swallow over struggling against the wind and 5 Meadow Pipit.

Elsewhere, a Yellow Wagtail overhead, approx. 10 Chiffchaff (incl 1 singing at the Bullshole). Also several Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting and Jay nearby.

Butterflies: 5 Large White, 1 Small White, 1 Red Admiral and 6 Speckled Wood.


 Wheatear & Whinchat
Garden Spider (courtesy Alan Dawson)

New Bees on the Block

The Ivy Bee was first recorded in the UK in 2001 and is now found in Southern England and Wales.

As their name suggests they feed and collect Ivy pollen and nectar on Ivy flowers.

The males emerge in late August and the females later in early September. The females are quite a bit larger than the males and the male’s only task in life is to mate!

The males will cluster around the female until one has mated then all fly off.

The Bees will be on the wing until mid-November if weather conditions are right.

They are solitary bees but in suitable conditions they will nest in large colonies in sandy or similar soil.

The males Bees do not have a sting and the females an ineffective one likened to a nettle sting.

The Bees were noticed by Alan Dawson today in Cholsey and the following photos were taken by Alan.

Under all the cluster of Bees is a female as can be seen in some photos!

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Sparrowhawk strikes again

Cloudy and windy, 22°, moderate to fresh SW.

Noticed a Sparrowhawk around the garden this afternoon sitting in one of the trees above the feeders and about 10 minutes later he struck.

A case of you feed the birds you feed them all!

Monday, 17 September 2018

Raven & Red Kite

Cloudy at first then brighter, 21°, breezy SSW.

Fairly quiet on the hill today with 123 House Martin over in a 1 hour period, 3 Meadow Pipit and a Skylark.

A Raven being mobbed by a Red Kite but it did not seem to deter the Raven that spent a good couple of minutes over the hill before flying off to the south east.

Elsewhere, 1 Blackcap, 8 Chiffchaff, 3 Reed Bunting and approx. 12 Yellowhammer.

Dragonflies: 1 Southern Hawker and 5 Common Darter.

Butterflies: a handful of Large White and Small White, 1 Green-veined White and 3 Speckled Wood.

 Raven & Red Kite

Speckled Wood

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Garden bits

12-16 Sep.

A busy time at home this week so not been out. The garden however has still been somewhat busy with good numbers of Goldfinch and Greenfinch visiting.

A roaming flock of Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit and Blue Tit visit at least once per day and have had the odd Coal Tit, Nuthatch, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Chiffchaff accompanying them.

Overhead there are still a few Swallow and House Martin in the area and a Hobby went through on Saturday and a regular Sparrowhawk around.

2 adult and 2 well grown young Moorhen visiting daily and the usual pair of Stock Dove.

During the hours of darkness a Grey Heron and a couple of Tawny Owl heard regularly.

A Southern Hawker and Common Darter in the garden almost daily and Large White, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood.

 Young Moorhen

Tuesday, 11 September 2018


Mainly cloudy with the occasional sunny spell, 21°, breezy SW.

The hill was being blasted by a breezy south west wind today so I didn’t expect to find much. Just about the only birds was a single Mistle Thrush and 2 Kestrel.

c250 House Martin over the hill in 1.5 hours, including a flock of around 60 birds that were harried briefly by a Hobby. Unusually no Swallows just exclusively House Martins.

Down around the cow field was a different story and a nice surprise of a Pied Flycatcher.

I had been watching a few warblers when I noticed a Spotted Flycatcher low on one of the Oak trees in the cow field. Higher up in the tree I kept catching glimpses of another bird fly catching and very active. It took about 30 minutes before I got a good view and realised it was a Pied Flycatcher. I watched it for about 30 seconds before it flew out of sight. I then caught sight of it about 5 minutes later in the back of one of the Oaks only to disappear again. The Pied Fly tended to stay in the Oak canopy whereas the Spot Flys were fly catching from exposed perches.

Impossible to get a photo as I wanted to ID it first. I then phoned Tony W and Alan D who both arrived in around 30 minutes but unfortunately it was not seen again.

On what I saw I think the bird was a 1st winter!

Whilst watching the Flycatcher there were also other birds in the vicinity.

At least 3 Spotted Flycatcher (maybe more), 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, 1 Common Whitethroat, 2-3 Willow Warbler and 10+ Chiffchaff.

Reptiles: 5 Common Lizard.

Dragonflies: 1 Southern Hawker and 6 Common Darter.

Butterflies: Large White, Small White, 1 Small Copper and 5 Speckled Wood.

Spotted Flycatcher
Lesser Whitethroat
Spotted Flycatcher
 Common Lizard (above & below)

Small Copper

Monday, 10 September 2018

Toadflax Brocade & Boris the Spider

A communication from Cholsey's foremost moth expert.

A first for Cholsey.

"At the weekend I caught a moth that I had never seen before.
The Toadflax Brocade is a moth until recently as only been recorded in Britain along the south coast. Therefore a suspected immigrant.
The county recorder has never seen one and the foremost expert in Berkshire has never seen one in Britain.
Even more amazing is that by pure chance I have discovered that a woman with the surname Charley also caught one at the weekend, and she apparently lives in Cholsey!"

Toadflax Brocade - A resident species colonizing Englands south-east and central southern coasts, first found around 1950 and it frequents mainly shingle beaches. (courtesy Tony Raynor)
Boris the Spider. Not ID'd yet (probably female). (courtesy Loren)

Friday, 7 September 2018

A short visit

Sunny spells, 17°, breezy W.

A Willow Warbler at the Bullshole this morning giving a few bursts of song and a Lesser Whitethroat and Blackcap nearby.

Not a lot on the hill today, just a single Chiffchaff and 2 Kestrel hunting and a Peregrine soaring overhead eating its prey item that appeared to be a small bird. I was not out as long as usual so fewer birds noted.

Elsewhere out at Lollingdon, another Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap, a single Common Whitethroat and a good number of Chiffchaff.

Swallow and House Martin more obvious today with several flocks passing over, 100+ birds in total and a single Yellow Wagtail overhead.

Mammals: Roe Deer.

Reptiles: 3 Common Lizard.

Dragonflies: Southern Hawker and Common Darter.

Butterflies: Large White, Small White, 1 Common Blue and Speckled Wood.

Southern Hawker

Thursday, 6 September 2018

A few migrants still

Sunny at first then clouding over, 18°, light to breezy W.

2 Whinchat and a Garden Warbler on the hill today. The Whinchats were well down towards the farm and the warbler was in the hedge. A small trickle of Meadow Pipit overhead, about a dozen birds in all.

The central hedge in the cow field was lively again with 5 Spotted Flycatcher, a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Common Whitethroat, 3 Blackcap, 2 Willow Warbler and 10+ Chiffchaff and a brief glimpse of a Common Redstart but unable to relocate it.

2 Kestrel and 5+ Jay seen and a Coal Tit heard.

Another Whinchat on the hill this afternoon. Per AD

Forgot to mention a Barn Owl seen out in Lollingdon yesterday. Per TW.

A few Swallow and House Martin still around the Church road area and may still be feeding young.

Reptiles: 3 Common Lizard.

Dragonflies: Southern Hawker and Common Darter.

Butterflies: a single Clouded Yellow flew through, Large White, Small White, 5 Common Blue, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Meadow Brown and Speckled Wood.

Migrant Hawker (courtesy Alan Dawson)
Spotted Flycatcher
Well worn Brown Argus (courtesy Alan Dawson)

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Warblers & Flycatchers

Mainly sunny, 20°, light to breezy N.

A single Whinchat on the hill today along with a Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler and a Reed Bunting.

The area around the 2 Oak trees and the central hedge in the cow field was rather lively, with up to 5 Spotted Flycatcher, a Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Common Whitethroat, 3 Blackcap, 2 Willow Warbler 10+ Chiffchaff and a Treecreeper.

Again a few Swallow and House Martin moving through but most at a higher altitude and just picked up by hearing them calling.

Also noted were 2 Kestrel, 3-4 Jay and a Raven heard calling.

Mammals: Brown Hare.

Reptiles: 1 Common Lizard.

Dragonflies: Southern Hawker and Common Darter.

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

 Spotted Flycatcher (above & below)

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

The day after

Sunny intervals, 21°, light NNW.

A quieter day than yesterday’s flurry of migrant activity, I’m assuming that with a relatively clear sky and a tail wind most of them lifted off overnight to continue their migration south.

7 Mistle Thrush on the hill and 11 Corn Bunting and a Yellow Wagtail over.

Off the hill there were 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Willow Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 5 Common Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler and a lot of Chiffchaff.

A couple of Kestrel in the area and a Raven and a Grey Heron heard calling but not seen.

Reptiles: 3 Common Lizard.

Dragonflies: Southern Hawker and Common Darter.

Butterflies: Large White, Small White, 2 Common Blue, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and several Speckled Wood.


 Common Blue
Common Darter

Monday, 3 September 2018

A Good Day

Sunny with hazy cloud, 22°, light N.

A good day by any standards out at Lollingdon today.

The walk out was reasonably quiet with the Bunting flock present around the Little Lollingdon area with 20ish Yellowhammer and a handful of Reed Bunting, plus a few Blackcap and Chiffchaff in the hedgerows.

All the action on the hill today was in a relatively short area of hedge with 2 Whinchat, a Wheatear, a Willow Warbler, a Lesser Whitethroat, a couple of Common Whitethroat and Blackcap and a few Chiffchaff.

The north side of the hill had 2 Jay and Great-spotted Woodpecker and Green Woodpecker present.

Off the hill there were 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Redstart, one of which was a cracking male, a couple more Blackcap and Common Whitethroat and several more Chiffchaff and a Hobby flew over.

A few Hirundines overhead today but were all flying over quite high.

On the return walk, 2 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Raven flew over, 2 Kestrel and 2 Bullfinch near the Bullshole.

Also watched a Buzzard have a tentative strike at a Hare but the Hare retaliated and put the Buzzard off the attack.

A visit by TW & AD later turned up 2 more Spotted Flycatcher (5 total), another Willow Warbler and a Garden Warbler.

Try as we might we could not get a pic of the Redstarts, one went off along the lane and the male was very active and had a tendency to stay in cover!

Mammals: Brown Hare.

Reptiles: 5 Common Lizard.

Dragonflies: Southern Hawker and Common Darter.

Butterflies: Large White, Small White, 1 Common Blue, 1 Brown Argus, 1 Red Admiral and several Speckled Wood.

 Whinchats (above & below courtesy Alan Dawson)

 Lesser Whitethroat
 Willow Warbler
 Brown Argus
Spotted Flycatcher