Thursday, 19 September 2019

White Storks

I received a report from Gerry Sexton of 15 White Stork flying north over Cholsey at dusk yesterday.

Again these are more than likely from a release scheme from the Surrey/Sussex area.

Keep an eye peeled as they may still be in Oxfordshire somewhere?

Seems like Cholsey is attracting released birds lately. 😀

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Wheatear & Stonechats

Sunny, 20°, light NNE.

The first Stonechat of the autumn on the hill today but disappeared down the NW side of the hill, a Wheatear also present for a brief time. A Blackcap and several Chiffchaff, 2 Reed Bunting and 3 Yellowhammer also on the hill and a few Meadow Pipit overhead.

A single Swallow flew south over the hill and a single House Martin over Church road.

Another Stonechat found by Alan this afternoon along the Lollingdon track.

2 Herring Gull with a flock of Lesser Blackback Gull in a nearby field and still 100’s of Gulls around the pig fields along with many Corvids and a few small flocks of Starling.

Dragonflies: Common Darter.

Butterflies: Large White, Small White, Red Admiral, Comma & Speckled Wood and a Small Copper found by Alan.

Stonechat (courtesy Alan)
Small Copper (courtesy Alan)

Tuesday, 17 September 2019


A Wheatear seen and photographed by Alan near Silly bridge today.

And a Bullfinch

Monday, 16 September 2019

A little quieter

Overcast and light rain, 19°, light NW.

A quiet day out there today, 5 Chiffchaff, 6 Yellowhammer and a flock of 18 Mistle Thrush on the hill and little going on elsewhere.

A Great Blackback Gull flew over the hill, part of a large numbers of Gulls flying towards a field that was being ploughed near the pig fields. Approx. 700 Gulls present in the area.

A flock of around 30 Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting near Little Lollingdon and 5 Kestrel seen between the village and Lollingdon and a few more Meadow Pipit around.

Mammals: Brown Hare & Short-tailed Vole.

Dragonflies: Common Darter.

Butterflies: just a few Large White & 1 Speckled Wood.

A report passed on to me by Alan from and observer who saw a Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary on Cholsey Marsh in June. It was roughly around the time of the Marsh Fritillary sighting. As it is a very unlikely sighting in these parts we wonder if someone locally is breeding Fritillaries and releasing them?


 Buzzard, Red Kite & Carrion Crow

Sunday, 15 September 2019

White-tailed Eagle

A juv White-tailed Eagle reported flying over Cholsey Church a short while ago pursued by 6 Red Kite. The bird was heading south and more than likely one of the birds from the Isle of Wight release scheme.

17th Sep:  It has been confirmed from sattelite data that the White-tailed Eagle on Sunday was one of the juvenile birds from the IOW scheme. Ring no G393.

A pic from a mobile phone shows a large bird and several small birds (Red Kites). Thanks to Claire Humphreys for the photo.

Friday, 13 September 2019

Migrants still on the move

Sunny, 20°, light NE.

A lovely autumnal day with wall to wall sunshine.

6 Spotted Flycatcher out at Lollingdon, with 4 around the paddocks and 2 in the cattle field and a singing Goldcrest, 2 Blackcap and several Chiffchaff nearby.

The Common Redstart still present on the hill and 2 Common Whitethroat, 3 Blackcap and a number of Chiffchaff.

2 Kestrel still hunting around the hill and a light passage of Hirundines. I wonder if Hirundines are still passing through on days like today but at a higher altitude and therefore not visible to the naked eye?

Mammals: Brown Hare.

Dragonflies: Southern Hawker & Common Darter.

Butterflies: Large White, Red Admiral (2), Painted Lady (1), Speckled Wood. A belated record of a Clouded Yellow on the Station road allotments a few weeks back. Per TW.

A lot of the field edge conservation strips where I walk have recently been cut, therefore no plants for butterflies, hence the paucity of butterfly records this week!

 Spotted Flycatcher ↕

 Spotted Flycatcher ↕

Common Whitethroat

Roesel's Bush Cricket

A video and photos of Roesel's Bush Crickets courtesy Alan Dawson.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

The long walk

Cloudy with sunny spells and a light early rain shower, 22°, light to mod SW.

A walk out through the Lees, skirting Aston Tirrold on to Lollingdon and back to Cholsey. The farmland out by the Lees was very quiet just a few flocks of Rook and the odd Carrion Crow. A small flock of Reed Bunting at the far end of the long ditch.

A Common Redstart still present on the hill but not easy to see as it was sheltering on the leeward side of the Hawthorns at the top of the hill and was only visible when it dropped down to take an insect. Also good numbers of Chiffchaff in all areas (20+), nearly all roaming with Tit flocks.

Again a good passage of Hirundines with Swallow far outnumbering House Martin today.

A single Raven, Little Owl and Sparrowhawk seen.

Mammals: Roe Deer & Brown Hare.

Dragonflies: Southern Hawker, Migrant Hawker & Common Darter.

Butterflies: Large White, Small White, Red Admiral (9), Comma (1) and Speckled Wood.

Long-tailed Tit ↕

Reed Bunting
Common Darter
Robin's pin cushion,
also known as rose bedeguar gall, is an abnormal growth caused by a species of gall wasp (Diplolepis rosae). The adult wasp lays eggs in the buds or developing leaves during mid-summer period. The eggs hatch into small white larvae that secrete chemicals that cause the abnormal growth.

Instead of buds developing into normal shoots and leaves, they are converted into hard woody structures that have an outer covering of moss-like leaves, which are either reddish pink or yellowish green. The internal part of the gall contains a number of chambers in which the grubs develop. The galls are fully developed during August and the insects overwinter inside the galls as pupae. During the autumn the outer covering of moss-like leaves tends to decay and this leaves the hard woody centre exposed.

This insect is more frequently found on wild roses or sucker growth but it does also occur on some of the rose species grown in gardens. The feeding activities of the gall wasp grubs do not have any real adverse effect on the rose, apart from creating the galls.

Thank you to RHS for the info.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

A dull start

Overcast, light rain, 19°, fresh WSW.

Dull conditions and a blustery time on the hill this morning and another good passage of Hirundines passing over with approx. 200 birds moving.

An alarm call from a passing gull caused me to look up, only to see a female Peregrine Falcon pass swiftly overhead and head off south east and putting up a flock of around 100 Gulls resting in a nearby field.

4 Spotted Flycatcher still present but have moved up the north side of the hill to a more sheltered location and again quite a few Chiffchaff around.

Short-tailed Vole & Brown Hare.

Butterflies: a few Large White, Small White (1), Red Admiral (1), Speckled Wood (3).

Ivy Mining Bee: first found in the UK in Dorset in 2001 and are now spreading slowly north.

The last solitary bee of the year to appear and coincides with the flowering of Ivy, their food plant. They nest in dense colonies with the males appearing in August and the females around a month later.

 Males clustering around a Female

Male (l) & Female (r)

Photos & video courtesy Alan Dawson