Thursday, 18 January 2018

Bunk Line & Green Lane

A few sunny periods, 5°, light W.

An afternoon walk along the Bunk Line and Green Lane………..was heading for Bow Bridge but left it too late.

Not a great deal out there………………a Long-tailed Tit flock with a Goldcrest accompanying them and a few Blackbird and Song Thrush along the hedgerows. A Flock of Fieldfare, Redwing and Starling feeding and a Mistle Thrush in song.

A Kestrel noted and the “Tail-less” Red Kite seen soaring distantly over the village with a couple of others.

100+ Black-headed Gull around the Cholsey treatment works and a few Pied Wagtail.

Mammals: Roe Deer.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

5 Red Kite, a Buzzard and a Raven found dead in Pyrton

A press article from today’s Oxford Mail by Pete Hughes:

A POLICE investigation has been launched after five red kites, a raven and a buzzard were discovered dead in a village in Oxfordshire.

The birds were discovered by a family on Sunday, September 17, near the village of Pyrton, on the edge of the Chilterns, who reported them to the RSPB.

All the birds were recovered and X-rayed by a local vet. The X-rays revealed no signs of shot.

However, the birds have now been sent off for toxicology testing by Natural England as part of the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS), to see if the birds have been poisoned.

All birds of prey and ravens are protected by UK law, making it illegal to kill or harm them. Those found to have done so could face six months in jail or an unlimited fine.

Thames Valley Police, Natural England and RSPB are now working together on a joint investigation and are appealing to the public for information.

If you have any information relating to this incident, call Thames Valley Police on 101.

With their six-foot wingspan, red kites are Britain’s third-largest bird of prey and feed mainly on carrion.

If you find a wild bird which you suspect has been illegally killed, contact RSPB Investigations on 01767 680551, email or fill in the online form:


Why is there still no word on the toxicology report from Natural England?

Too close to home - Pyrton is just north of Watlington and only 11 miles from Cholsey.


Cloudy with a biting wind, 4°, mod SW.

A Stonechat on the Cholsey Marsh area today found by Gerry Sexton.

Photo courtesy Gerry Sexton.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Litter & Birds

A chilly day, cloudy with some sunshine, 5°, light WSW.

A visit to Cholsey Marsh this afternoon and the key volunteers for BBOWT were busy doing a litter pick, namely Phil, Ed and William (all local Cholsey residents).

Over the course of today they managed to fill at least 10 bin bags of litter from the reserve. So come on folks, if you see someone littering let them know its not on!!!!

Also met Gerry Sexton down on the marsh who has reported seeing 2 Lesser-spotted Woodpecker near Bow Bridge about 10 days ago.

Any local birders birding near the Bow Bridge area please keep a look out for these as the last record of Lesser-spot in Cholsey was around 1984 and Bow Bridge was the last place they bred and we need to verify this sighting! Thanks.

Anyway back to the birds etc today, a Little Grebe and Grey Heron spotted by Ed, a Sparrowhawk (Gerry) and a Kingfisher and Great Crested Grebe (Gerry and Phil).

A few Mute Swan around today and a flock of 7 seen recently in flight. A few Geese heard, Canada and Greylag and between 3-7 Cormorant.

Approx. 100 Corn Bunting in the roost this evening and up to 80 Meadow Pipit and 10+ Reed Bunting.

A single Water Rail heard and a few Fieldfare and Redwing present.

A large number of Corvids seen again over towards South Stoke.

A Brambling still being seen in a garden near Waterloo Close. Per MA.

Little Grebe
Some Bracket Fungi on the opposite bank.
A fraction of the litter retrieved today by the volunteers.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Grey days

Cloudy and misty, 7°, light SE.

Another grey day and pretty quiet out around Lollingdon today.

Good numbers of Gulls still around with c150 Black-headed Gull, 80+ Lesser Blackback Gull and a flock of 80’ish Lapwing and many more Gulls out towards Aston Tirrold and around the pig farm on the downs.

2 Egyptian Geese flew up from one of the streams making a heck of a racket and flew off north.

Around a dozen Yellowhammer on the hill, a singing Corn Bunting nearby and 2 Reed Bunting along one of the hedgerows.

A couple of Bullfinch on the way back and a Raven on one of the pylons before flying off south.

Lots of Fieldfare and Redwing around.

A male Sparrowhawk made at least 3 unsuccessful forays in to the garden.

Mammals: Brown Hare & Roe Deer.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Spring?......No Way!

Mainly sunny, 10°, light W.

A change in the weather today with some sunshine and spring like weather, warm enough in some spots for a flyby Red Admiral butterfly (first butterfly of the year). Don’t be fooled though as we are only a third of the way thru January!

A flooded field out at Lollingdon hosted c200 Black-headed Gull, 40’ish Lesser Blackback Gull, 3 Herring Gull and 2 Common Gull. Also 9 Lapwing and 7 Teal.

Lots of the usual thrushes around with c300 Fieldfare, c100 Redwing, 3 Mistle Thrush (in song), 30+ Blackbird and 8 Song Thrush.

2 Raven flew east over the hill calling as they went and a rather grey looking Buzzard seen out there for the first time.

A Kingfisher regular out at Lollingdon. Per TW & DM.

A Chiffchaff and 2 Goldcrest in the school nature reserve by Bunk Bridge.

2 Little Egret around Cholsey at the moment with 2 seen on the Church road flood recently and 1 on Cholsey brook out at Little Lollingdon. (several observers).

4 Blackcap (2m & 2f) frequenting a garden in West End. Per TW.

Mammals: Brown Hare & Roe Deer.

Butterflies: 1 Red Admiral.

 Fieldfare & Redwing ↕

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Scarce Garden Visitor

Another grey day with light drizzle, 4°, light SE.

A scarce garden visitor turned up today first noticed by Loren and stayed long enough to get a few pics.


Monday, 8 January 2018

Dusk on the Marsh

An overcast and dull day, 4°, light ENE.

A very grey and cold day today not the sort of weather you want to go out in but needs must!

Approx. 120 Corn Bunting in the roost this evening along with 20+ Meadow Pipit.

Very little else see or heard, a Grey Heron flew in, a Mute Swan on the river and a Green Woodpecker and 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker flew over.

A large gathering of Corvids in the direction of South Stoke with 1000+ birds noted distantly, Mainly Rook but also good numbers of Jackdaw. Not sure if there is a roost site there or a pre-roost gathering area?

Mammals: Roe Deer and unfortunately a dead Fox!

There has been some fly tipping on the marsh again with 2 containers of what could be oil just dumped plus a load of wood and the usual plastic drinks bottles and cans with many of these discarded within 10m of the rubbish bin. BBOWT have been notified.

All I can say is that there are some irresponsible B*****ds around!

Some of the Corn Buntings arriving πŸ‘

 Some of the rubbish dumped on the Marsh πŸ‘Ž

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Tail-less Red Kite

Cloudy, 4°, light NE.

"The Tail-less Chilterns Red Kite in OX10 has survived into 2018 (over a year without a tail), but its odd shape seems to wind up the local Rooks, who mob it more than other Kites". Per Richard Broughton.

A male Brambling with c20 Chaffinch in a garden near Waterloo close. Per Mike Amphlett.

Both Song Thrush and Mistle Thrush heard singing early morning.

Photos courtesy Richard Broughton.

Friday, 5 January 2018

Soggy Walks

Sunny spells, 9°, light to mod SW.

Very wet underfoot with more flooding out on the farmland around Lollingdon.

Subsequently good numbers of Gulls around, a brief count of c400 Black-headed Gull, 150+ Lesser Blackback Gull and 4 Herring Gull in surrounding fields with several more flocks distantly towards the Downs.

Up to 500 Fieldfare, 250 Starling, 100+ Redwing scattered around the fields.

3 Corn Bunting near the hill but apart from that it was fairly quiet.

A single Mistle Thrush out on the playing fields.

 One of the footpaths

Thursday, 4 January 2018

A Message from Canada

"Hi Paul,

I visit your blog with some regularity. I was a student of Mr. Campbell’s. Our house was 9 Church Road, about 200 feet from Mr. Campbell’s back yard, where so many of your photos are taken.

We have been having very cold weather here (Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada), dipping almost to -30C at night over Christmas and the New Year. So I was waiting by my front window for a plumber to arrive (some problems with my well and water supply – who would have thought??). As I waited, I saw a Downy Woodpecker on my bird feeder, and then became aware of the Pileated Woodpecker some 70 feet farther back knocking a hole in the base of a spruce tree. Grabbed the camera and got photos of them both, and then while still waiting for the plumber, the Hairy Woodpecker also showed up. All in the space of about 10 minutes.

Anyway, this is just a little give-back for the pleasure you give so many of us with your blog. It reminds me of “home” and the many hours I spent rambling as a kid, over most of your favorite birding locations.

By the way, there was great excitement here in New Brunswick just before Christmas when a Mistle Thrush showed up in Miramichi. A first ever record for this province (perhaps for Canada), and astonishing when you think it had to cross the Atlantic. I hate to think how the poor little thing is managing in this cold.

Very best to you, and please keep shooting and posting pictures!"

Thanks Malcolm and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Cholsey Marsh and The Thames

Very windy with occasional sunshine, 9°, moderate to fresh W.

After my visit to Benson I popped down along the river at Cholsey Marsh. The river is slowly rising with all this rain and the Thames path is manageable but getting worse.

A good flock of Geese near the 4 Arches with Canada Goose, Greylag Goose and a couple of Egyptian Geese present.

1 probably 2 Great Crested Grebe near the islands.

A Cetti’s Warbler seen on the marsh and several Reed Bunting.

At least 2 Water Rail heard and 2 Jay flew across the river and several Redwing and Fieldfare present.

2 Cormorant flew down stream and a single Mute Swan near Bow Bridge.

 Geese on a choppy river

Loren has been making some "energy balls" for the birds recently and they have been going down a treat. The following is a photo of one of the Nuthatches enjoying one.

Yellow-browed Warbler in Benson

Very windy with occasional sunshine, 9°, moderate to fresh W.

A venture outside of Cholsey today to the far flung reaches of Benson!

Tom Stevenson (The Benson birdman) found a Yellow-browed Warbler on New Year’s Day adjacent to Benson treatment works so I decided to pay a visit today. Not the best viewing conditions in the strong wind but managed several sightings of the bird as it fed along the hedgerow.

This tiny warbler breeds in Siberia and turns up in the UK on its migration south and on occasions the odd one will winter in the UK.

Also approx. 3 Chiffchaff, 4 Goldcrest and 14+ Long-tailed Tit along the same hedgerow.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Just adding to the year list

Light to heavy rain, 9°, light W.

A dismal old day with almost constant rain.

A few hours out along the Bunk Line and Green lane today looking for a possible Firecrest that was reported just prior to the new year but unfortunately no luck. However a Chiffchaff seen near to Cholsey treatment works was of note and 3 Common Snipe on floods nearby.

A little later a walk out to the Lees just catching up with species for the year and brought the year list up to 54 bird species.

Good numbers of Gull around with c250 Black-headed Gull, 100+ Lesser Blackback Gull and 5 Herring Gull in total and a much scarcer, single Great Blackback Gull.

A flock of 50+ Golden Plover seen distantly on Cholsey Hill and a couple of flyover Lapwing.

Both Kestrel and Sparrowhawk briefly.

Mammals: Grey Squirrel, Rabbit, Brown Hare and Roe Deer. Probaby the last time Rabbit and Grey Squirrel will get a mention on the blog this year as I see them every time I'm out.

No DSLR photos from today as I do not like using the camera in wet Weather so just a few phone camera shots.

 A distant shot of Cholsey Hill and the Church from near the Lees.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Little Egret

Showers and Sunshine, 6°, Light W. 

Little Egret on the flood pool in the cattle field next to the Bunk Line/Bridge Church Rd, plus 3 Herring Gull.

Sighting and photo courtesy Richard Broughton.