Monday, 22 February 2021

Staying Mild

Cloudy, brightening up later, 9°, light NW.

4 Stonechat present around Lollingdon Hill today and a Little Egret along the brook near Little Lollingdon.

Good numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing with some flocks sat in the tree tops chattering away as if deciding to start moving north!

4 Yellowhammer in song with several more feeding in fields and at least 2 Reed Bunting present and a singing Corn Bunting.

Alan along the river from Bow Bridge to the Marsh. A singing Chiffchaff and a very vocal Cetti’s Warbler, plus a Sparrowhawk and a Little Egret.

Once the sun came out this afternoon both Alan and myself noticed quite a few Buzzard in the air with at least one displaying out at Lollingdon.

Sparrowhawk courtesy Alan.

Sunday, 21 February 2021

Is Spring on its way?

Cloudy with the odd light rain shower, 12°, light SSE.

Approximately 500 Lapwing in the Cholsey Hill area yesterday. Per Alan. Presumably passing thru after a brief stop as not seen today and a female Brambling in a garden today. Per MA.

First Swallow of the year in Dorset today and a Sand Martin a few days ago and Wheatear in Wales and Kent. So is spring is on its way?

Lapwing courtesy Alan.

Friday, 19 February 2021

Wet and Windy

Overcast with light rain showers, 10°, breezy S.

Pretty quiet along the Bunk Line today.

6 Lapwing still present and 3 Stonechat inside the perimeter fence of CSW.

2 Herring Gull, 8 Lesser Blackback Gull and 100+ Black-headed Gull scattered around.

Several Yellowhammer, a single Reed Bunting and the usual flocks of Starling, Fieldfare and Redwing.

Tony Williams had a Barn Owl hunting there (Bunk line) mid-week and 4 Stonechat around Lollingdon Hill yesterday.

Another sighting of a Little Egret out near Lollingdon, again mid-week.

Alan was out by the river: 2 Stonechat, Teal, Reed Bunting, Treecreeper, a Chiffchaff, 2 Lapwing, the usual Fieldfare and Redwing and a Little Egret on the opposite bank and of course the pair of Blackcap in his garden.

Photos courtesy Alan.

Some Black-headed Gulls beginning to attain their summer plumage.


Tony Williams found a dead Blackbird near West End back in 2019 with a ring on. I forwarded the information to the BTO and we have just received a reply.

“Ringing Scheme: Wilhelmshaven (Helgoland) Ring Number: 7983628 Species of bird: Blackbird (Turdus merula)

This bird was ringed by Wilhelmshaven (Helgoland) as age at least 2 years, sex unknown on 30-Mar-2018 08:00:00 at Spiekeroog, Ostfriesische Inseln, Germany

OS Map reference - accuracy 0, - co-ordinates 53deg 46min N 7deg 40min E accuracy 0.

It was found on 27-Nov-2019 time unknown at Cholsey, Oxfordshire, UK

OS Map reference SU5886 accuracy 0, - co-ordinates 51deg 34min N -1deg -9min W accuracy 0.

Finding condition: Freshly dead - within about a Week

Finding circumstances: Cat predation.

Extra Information: - It was found 607 days after it was ringed, 645 km from the ringing site, direction WSW.”

Some interesting facts discovered from ringing data....

Oldest bird – Manx shearwater, 50 yrs 11 months

Furthest travelled – Arctic Tern from Wales to Australia 18,000 km

Strangest recovery – Osprey ring found in stomach of a crocodile in The Gambia!
(not the dead one) 😊

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Cholsey Marsh

Mainly cloudy with a few rain showers, 11°, light SSW.

Both Alan and I overlapping on the marsh today.

2 Chiffchaff present and several Teal and Mallard in the wooded area.

2 Raven flew overhead and a Grey Heron, Water Rail, several Reed Bunting and a Treecreeper noted along with other regulars.

3 Goose species heard from downstream towards the 4-Arches.

On the way back there were 2 Mute Swan (4 yesterday) on the floods between Cholsey Hill and Mackney along with c100 Black-headed Gull and c20 Lesser Blackback Gull and a singing Yellowhammer.

Chiffchaff & Teal courtesy Alan and the Reed Bunting & Redwing courtesy Dann Turner.

Monday, 15 February 2021

Birds, Mammals & an Insect!

Sunny spells, 12°, light SSW.

A Spring like day with a fair bit of bird song heard, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Yellowhammer, Greenfinch and Great Tit to name a few.

A number of small bees (10+) feeding on Mahonia flowers in the garden today. Worker Honey Bee?

The 2 Stonechat still present on Lollingdon Hill and 2 Raven overhead.

A flock of c30 Yellowhammer out at Little Lollingdon and a couple of Reed Bunting present.

An interesting Song Thrush on the hill today with warm brown upper parts and a yellowish wash to the under parts. Made it look quite different to our local birds.

Alan was out along the river today: The Teal are back in numbers on the marsh with 50+, a couple of Kingfisher and Little Grebe, several Reed Bunting, a Nuthatch and a Treecreeper, 50-60 Lapwing overhead, a single Common Snipe, Grey Wagtail, several Cormorant, a couple of Grey Heron and Canada, Greylag and Egyptian Geese. Over the weekend there were several Wigeon on the river and a Peregrine seen. Per Alan.

There were a lot of Lapwing sightings in Oxfordshire over the weekend of birds moving south west escaping the snow and freezing conditions in the east.

A good sighting of 2 Water Vole by Vicky Gilson today along one of the brooks in Cholsey and a Little Egret also noted.

Also an Otter seen on the river this morning by Sasha Norton.

Mammals: Water Vole, Brown Hare, Otter & Roe Deer.

Teal photos courtesy Alan.  
Worker Honey Bee
Teal (m)
Teal (f)

Friday, 12 February 2021

Roll on Spring

Sunny intervals, 0°, breezy E.

Alan out along the river today with the flock of Teal, a couple of Kingfisher and up to 20 Common Snipe between Bow Bridge and Ferry Lane.

I took in the Bunk Line. A large flock of Fieldfare (c200) feeding in one of the larger fields and a scattering of Fieldfare and Redwing elsewhere.

Up to 40 Lapwing distributed around, 2 Herring Gull and approx 200 Black-headed Gull.

The odd Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail and Skylark also noted.

Common Snipe courtesy Alan

Thursday, 11 February 2021


Mainly cloudy, -2°, moderate E.

Alan doing the Marsh again today with 3 Stonechat, 2 Little Grebe, 2 Kingfisher and the Teal arriving a little later, possibly had been somewhere on the river as the Marsh is frozen over.

Loren and I took a mid-afternoon walk out to the Lees. Initially 2 Raven flew overhead and the area between Aston and the Lees held around a 1000 Gulls. With some loafing in the fields and some following a plough.

Most were quite distant with the majority being Lesser Blackback Gull but managed to find 2 Herring Gull, 3 Common Gull, 8 Black-headed Gull and a single adult Yellow-legged Gull. There may well have been others out there but too distant for an ID.

Very little else in the area. A small flock of Fieldfare at the Lees and Loren found a Stonechat on the walk back between the railway and Manor Farm.

If you look hard enough you can see some of the Gulls, Courtesy Loren ↕

Stonechat, courtesy Alan
Song Thrush in the garden ↕

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

The Bunk & The Marsh

Cloudy with sunny periods, 2°, light NNE.

The Bunk Line and Cholsey Marsh covered today.

Teal numbers have increased to 50+ on the marsh today, probably a record count. 5 Stonechat in the vicinity, a Grey Wagtail, Water Rail and a number of Common Snipe.

The Bunk Line was more quantity rather than quality today. 2 Stonechat near the gravel pit and adjacent fields held, 30+ Lapwing, 200+ Rook, 150+ Jackdaw, 500+ Fieldfare, 200+ Redwing, 250+ Black-headed Gull, 100+ Skylark, several Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail, 40+ Blackbird, 20+ Song Thrush, 2 Mistle Thrush, a Grey Wagtail and a Sparrowhawk on the hunt.

Mammals: Brown Hare & Roe Deer.

Teal photos courtesy Alan.

Brown Hare
Church sentinel

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Another cold one

Very light snow most of day and a little heavier PM, 0°, light ENE.

Only Alan out today with more Teal at Cholsey Marsh, at least 15 present, also Water Rail, 2 Stonechat, 2+ Common Snipe and a Sparrowhawk on a mission.

A few from the garden today.

Golden Plover over Cholsey Hill (yesterday) courtesy Alan
Blue Tit

Monday, 8 February 2021

0 degrees

Cloudy with a few rays of sunshine, 0°, breezy NE.

A pretty cold trek out to Lollingdon this morning, 2 Stonechat still present on the hill and loads of Thrushes around.

Good numbers of Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail and Skylark in adjacent fields and 20+ Yellowhammer.

200+ Golden Plover on Cholsey Hill and 2 Stonechat, Water Rail, 2 Common Snipe and 3 Teal (m) at Cholsey Marsh. Per Alan.

Around a dozen Redwing and 2 Song Thrush in the garden today feeding on Ivy berries.

Teal courtesy Alan
Redwing ↕

Sunday, 7 February 2021

Sort-eared Owl (deceased)

Cloudy with some sunshine, 2°, breezy NNE.

Vicky Gilson found several bird remains out between the Lees and Aston earlier in the week.

They were all found close to the smaller power line. So it is possible they were victims of a power line strike.

One was identified as a Wood Pigeon and another a Corvid (probably Rook), the 3rd one was thought to be an Owl species but not much remained, mainly, some feathers.

Neither Vicky nor I were certain of the ID so I forwarded the feather photos onto Ian Lewington who confirmed the identity.

“These look like Short-eared Owl feathers, p8 and p9 from each wing and a couple of secondaries. The sparse, staggered barring on the primaries and the pale tipped secondaries are only shown by SEO.”

Thanks to Ian for the ID.

Short-eared Owl is a scarce visitor to the Cholsey area with less than 1 record per year!

Yesterday there were 3 Teal on Cholsey Marsh and 2 Stonechat around Cholsey Meadows . Per Alan.

Photos courtesy Vicky Gilson.  

Friday, 5 February 2021

A bit samey!

A mix of weather today with mist, cloud cover, rain and sunshine, 8°, light S.

A walk and a paddle out to Lollingdon today with Alan on the other side of the village.

2 pairs of Stonechat noted with the usual pair out at Lollingdon and the again, the usual pair near the gravel pit.

A report from Phil Dyson of several Teal on the flooded Cholsey Marsh on Monday.  

A bit samey all round at the moment but that may change with the weather getting colder and an influx of several species noted on the east coast with birds moving west from the continent. Will wait and see!

Teal (an archive pic from a few years back)

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Bunk & Lollingdon

Cloudy with a few sunny spells, 9°, light W.

Not a lot along the Bunk line today, in fact very little seen. 2 Stonechat near the gravel pit and the usual Starling, Fieldfare and Redwing flocks roaming around and the odd Linnet, Meadow Pipit and Yellowhammer.

Alan had a later start around Lollingdon today with 2 Stonechat still present on the Hill, 2 Raven overhead and 20+ Yellowhammer present.

Alan also found a recently dead Lesser Blackback Gull. No obvious injuries and we are speculating that the bird flew into power cables as it was nearby to them. The gull had 2 rings on with one suggesting the bird was ringed in Belgium.

We will follow this up to figure out the history of this bird.

Goldcrest courtesy Alan
Brown Hare courtesy Alan
Lesser Blackback Gull courtesy Alan

Monday, 1 February 2021

Soggy walks

Overcast and misty, 4°, very little wind N.

Alan out along the Bunk line today and partially along the river as the Thames path is underwater and the river is still rising.

The usual Thrushes present plus 8-9 Reed Bunting and a Water Rail.

A Stonechat near the gravel pit end of the Bunk line and Alan watched a Peregrine Falcon causing panic amongst the flocks of Gulls and Thrushes at the village end of the Bunk line as it took one of the Thrushes.

I took a very soggy walk out to Lollingdon and back. 4 Song Thrush and a Mistle Thrush singing between the village and Little Lollingdon and a Little Egret present out on the floods there.

Good numbers of Yellowhammer, Linnet, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail and Skylark present in surrounding fields and well over 500 Fieldfare and Redwing roaming the area.

2 Stonechat, a Kestrel and a Buzzard present on the hill and 2 Raven flew west.

Loren and I took part in the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch over the week end and logged 47 birds of 18 species.  

Mammals: Brown Hare and Roe Deer.

Stonechat ↕

Reed Bunting courtesy Alan
Peregrine Falcon with prey courtesy Alan

Blackcap dropped in for a meal and a bath ↕

Soggy footpaths out to Lollingdon ↕