Friday, 28 January 2011

Thames, 28th Jan

4 Arches – Cholsey Marsh – Bow Bridge
Sunny, cold wind, 0º, standing water ice covered.
4 Mute Swan in sheep field near the marsh, c100 Canada and 1 Greylag Goose downriver.
Many Mallard, 4 Tufted Duck and 10 flyover Teal.
5 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Little Grebe, 12 Cormorant and 2 Grey Heron.
Several Red Kites, 3 Buzzards, 1 Kestrel.
Moorhen common and 4 Coot, 1 flyover Lapwing, usual 2 Gull species, 2 Stock Dove and many Wood Pigeon.
2 Great-spotted Woodpecker with one drumming. Small flock of Winter Thrushes (Fieldfare and Redwing) and 1 Mistle Thrush, several Song Thrush and a few Blackbird.
Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie and 2 Jay. Good nos of Goldfinch incl a flock of 18 at the marsh along with 12 Siskin feeding in the Alder trees. Chaffinch, Bullfinch and Greenfinch also.
Several Reed Bunting on the marsh.
A few Snowdrops noted coming into flower.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Cholsey west & north, 27th Jan

Overcast, fresh northerly wind, 2º.
9 Mute Swan (incl 2, 1st years) in field close to Wallingford bypass,
The odd Pheasant or 2, 16 Red Kite, 1 Buzzard, 3 Kestrel & 1 Sparrowhawk.
Several Moorhen at 3 different sites, a small flyover flock of 15 Lapwing, and again lots of Black-headed Gulls cruising fields and 100+ at Cholsey Sewage Farm. Approx 50 Lesser Blackback Gulls on a flood near the Lees and quite a few more flying onto the Downs.
4 Stock Doves and the usual large nos of Wood Pigeon & a couple of Collared Doves. 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker heard calling and a distant Green Woodpecker.
4 Skylark, 2 Meadow Pipit and c20 Pied Wagtail at Cholsey Sewage Farm. Several (4) Song Thrush, 5 Mistle Thrush, 200+ of each Fieldfare and Redwing and 50+ Blackbird.
Many Corvids, Rook and Jackdaws common, 20+ Carrion Crows and around 10 Magpie but the highlight was 2 Ravens, first heard calling and then seen flying east near the Bullshole (Bob Wyatt had seen these earlier in the month near the Thames).
Quite a few Chaffinch seen along with 20+ Goldfinch, a small flock of 23 Linnet, 2 Greenfinch and 4 Bullfinch, 2 Reed Bunting and 5 Yellowhammer.
Also seen: Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, House Sparrow and Starling.
6 Roe Deer.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Thames, 25th Jan

4 Arches – Cholsey Marsh – Bow Bridge – Winterbrook
Overcast, light rain showers, 7º.
2 Mute Swans in field near 4 Arches, 20-30 Mallard along river, also 3 Tufted Duck and 2 Teal on Cholsey Marsh.
Around 100 Canada Geese between the arches and the marsh.
6 Great-crested Grebe on river, looks like they are almost in territories.
18 Cormorant spread along river and 4 Grey Heron.
5 Red Kite, 1 Buzzard, 2 Sparrowhawk and 1 Kestrel.
1 Water Rail, 20+ Moorhen and 8 Coot. Coot back on river now that the flow is almost back to normal.
A few Black-headed Gull cruising the river and several Lesser Blackbacks overhead.
2 Stock Dove and many Woodpigeon, 5 Great-spotted Woodpecker and 2 Green Woodpecker.
2 Song Thrush and a flock of around 50 Redwing. Several Tit flocks and a Treecreeper. A fair number of Rook, Jackdaw, 6 Magpie and c 10 Carrion Crow around.
30-40 Goldfinch and same with Chaffinch, 2-4 Bullfinch, 2 Greenfinch, 6 Reed Bunting.
5 Roe Deer and 1 Fox (probably )

2 Grey Squirrel now coming to garden!

Monday, 24 January 2011

Cholsey Marsh at dusk, 24th Jan

Light rain showers, 6º.

Another attempt to get some idea of the importance of this area as a winter roost site for Buntings.
Again approx 150 Corn Bunting came into roost, plus around 60 Reed Bunting and 6 Meadow Pipit. Why the increase in Reed Bunting nos?
Also 2 Song Thrush there and 5 Yellowhammers flyover.
1 Buzzard, c50 Fieldfare and 100+ Redwing.

West Cholsey, 24th Jan

Overcast, 6º
At least 6 Red Kite and 1 Buzzard.
3 Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk.
2 Moorhen, 11 flyover Lapwing,
600+ Gulls, mainly Lesser Blackbacks with a few Black-headed. Most flew in off the downs and settled by a flood area for a time. Then most flew off heading towards Didcot area.
2 Common Snipe, 5 Stock Dove, 2 Green Woodpecker and 4 Great-spotted Woodpecker with 2 of them drumming.
2 Skylark, 7 Pied Wagtail, 5 Song Thrush, 8 Mistle Thrush, many Blackbird (c50) and Redwing (150+) but just a handful of Fieldfare.
5 Corvid species, Chaffinch common, c20 Goldfinch, 6 Greenfinch & 2 Bullfinch.
8 Yellowhammer, 1 Corn Bunting and 1 Reed Bunting.
Less flooding in in area.

4 Roe Deer - Cholsey Hill

Friday, 21 January 2011

Thames, 21st Jan

Cholsey Marsh – Bow Bridge - Winterbrook
Bright, 0º. Sharp frost.
River level dropped but field flooding more extensive.
Usual flock of Canada Geese around, 2 Tufted and several Mallard on river with 5 Teal in a small creek. 5-6 Gadwall towards Winterbrook.
1 Great Crested and several Little Grebe.
8 Cormorant in usual spot.
5 Grey Heron, 8 Red Kite, 1 Buzzard, 2 Kestrel, 2 Sparrowhawk.
Moorhen common and 2 Coot, a few gulls overhead.
4 Stock Dove near Bow and several Tit flocks in that area. Also Kingfisher, Green and Great-spotted Woodpecker.
4 Song Thrush and many Redwing. Quite a few Siskin flyovers, possibly 20+ birds. 2 Reed Bunting on the marsh.
2 Roe Deer still present on the marsh and a lot of subterranean Mole activity along river bank. Is that reflecting the rise in the water table?

Sallow begining to bud on the marsh and looks quite impressive with all the white/grey silky buds showing.

                                    Great Crested Grebe


                                              Red Kite

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Circular farmland walk, 19th Jan

Sunny, frosty, 4º. Stream levels high and a lot of partial flooding.
Highlight today was a Jack Snipe, only the 2nd one I’ve seen in Cholsey. Nearly trod on it before it flew and gave a rather quiet short call. It flew about 15m away; I saw where it landed but could not relocate it!
2 flyover flocks of Lapwing comprising 32 birds in all.
Also seen:
3 Buzzard
5 Red Kite
1 Sparrowhawk
1 Kestrel
Good numbers of Redwing and Fieldfare, several Song Thrush (with 2 in song) and 7 Mistle Thrush.
Several Reed Bunting and Yellowhammer.
2 Bullfinch, 6 Greenfinch, 20+ Goldfinch and many Chaffinch.
2 Stock Dove.
6 Skylark.
Several Pied Wagtails on some floods. Corvids abundant (Rook, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow and Magpie).
A Few Black-headed and Lesser Blackback Gulls overhead.
2 Roe Deer resting in field margin.

                               Pied Wagtail on playing field.

A small number of Black-headed and Lesser Blackback Gulls loafing by the floods near Cholsey sewage farm. Will keep an eye on them over the next few days as we might find Cholsey's 1st Yellow-legged Gull!!! I live in hope.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Insomniac Wood Pigeon! 18th Jan

01:45 this morning, tipping down with rain and a Wood Pigeon starts up 10m from my bedroom window! What’s that all about?

[My comment about a Wood Pigeon singing on the night of 18th Jan 2011. Has a strange coincidence with a record of WD (Bill) Campbell. He noted a Wood Pigeon singing from 23:45 to 00:00 on Jan 23rd 1951 during a full moon. My record is the day before a full moon and it was raining. I now live within 25 metres of Bills house where he used to live in Cholsey! Almost 60 years to the day.]

Later in the day:
Song Thrush singing at dawn.
Approx 20 Redwing, 2 Mistle Thrush in meadow. Several Greenfinch in garden with usual Great, Blue & Long-tailed Tits and several Chaffinch.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Cholsey Marsh at dusk, 17th Jan

Overcast, 7º
Decided to see if there was still an active roost at Cholsey Marsh as I’ve not done that for a long time and I was pleasantly surprised.
Arrived at 15:45 and left at 17:00
As I arrived a party of 24 “Greylag” types flew downstream towards the 4 Arches. Fieldfare and Redwing were prominent, several hundred of each presumably flying to roost sites nearby?
1 Redpoll flew overhead and Green & Great-spotted Woodpecker heard.
Corn Buntings were flying in from all directions in groups of 2 to 24. A total of 145 counted coming in to roost. Along with 10 Meadow Pipit, 2 Pied Wagtail and 9 Reed Bunting.
2 Little Grebe on the river.
Approximately halfway between Cholsey Marsh and Bow Bridge there is a large corvid roost, Rooks and Jackdaws, in excess of 500 birds. They were roosting in the large trees on both sides of the Thames.
2 Buzzards and a Red Kite roosting nearby.
Pheasant, Red-legged Partridge and Canada Geese heard as it got dark.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Bridleway Cholsey to Lollingdon

Overcast, 12º
Plenty to look at today, once out of the village Yellowhammers became quite common with at least 3 flocks and a lot of Finches. One field was heaving with birds. Fieldfare, Redwing, Starling, Mistle Thrush, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Yellowhammer & Corn Bunting.
3 Red Kite
2 Buzzard
3 Kestrel

2 Red-legged Partridge
100+ Fieldfare
120+ Redwing
6 Mistle Thrush (3 in brook meadow)
2 Song Thrush
50+ Blackbird
120+ Starling
18 Greenfinch
60+ Chaffinch
1 Brambling
20+ Goldfinch
48 Yellowhammer
6 Corn Bunting
1 Meadow Pipit

1 Pied Wagtail
7 Stock Dove
2 Great-spotted Woodpecker
4 Skylark
1 Treecreeper
Also many Tits, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw & Wood Pigeon.
Several species singing today include Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Treecreeper and Corn Bunting.
Lots of partial flooding in most fields

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Thames, Cholsey 13th Jan

4 Arches – Cholsey Marsh – Bow Bridge - Winterbrook
Showers, 12º. River running a bit higher, faster and murkier.

Some of the fields that are flooding appear to be attracting gulls, so far only Black-headed Gulls, approx 200 along with 50+ Rooks and 20+ Jackdaw.
Up to 80 Canada Geese in same area.
A few Starling flocks seen today, these are not very frequent along this patch. 50+ Redwing seen but no Fieldfare today and 1 Song Thrush. Several small flocks of Siskin and Goldfinch flyovers and 4 Greenfinch. Good numbers of Blue, Great & Long-tailed Tits and 2-3 Reed Buntings.
5 Grey Heron, 3 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Tufted Duck, 20+ Mallard and 6 Cormorant.
I am assuming that Cormorant numbers are down because the river is somewhat murkier and flowing faster than usual and as Cormorant are visual hunters their vision would be impaired?
Also seen 3 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 4 Bullfinch, 3 Jay and 2 Pied Wagtail. 3 Buzzard, 7 Red Kite, 1 Kestrel.
A Kingfisher at Bow Bridge again.
The damp and milder conditions at the moment appear to be causing some Fungi to fruit with some fungii found (possibly Velvet Shank) and also some Turkey tail seen.

                                         Velvet Shank ?

3 Mistle Thrush in Brook Meadow today and one in song for most of morning.

Just looking at my notes for January 1981 in the same area and had Lesser-spotted Woodpecker, Tree Sparrow, Merlin, Redpoll and 200 Corn Bunting at Cholsey marsh roost. How things change!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Cholsey, a quiet day

The Lees.
A walk out to the Lees produced surprisingly little today. 2 Bullfinch at the Bullshole a Reed Bunting and 2 Yellowhammer further on. Out at the Lees were 6 Skylark and a Song Thrush and 3 Red Kite around. Very few Thrushes, less than 50 Redwing and a handful of Fieldfare. 3 Roe Deer in middle of the large field.
4 Arches to Bow Bridge.
Decided then to walk along the Thames from the 4 Arches. This part of the Thames is apparently the longest stretch of navigable river between 2 locks (Benson to Cleeve, 6.5 miles) therefore several rowing clubs base themselves at Wallingford. Wallingford rowing club, Oxford Uni and Oxford Brookes and they were out today. Subsequently very little on the river.
81 Canada Geese and 1 Greylag on the opposite river bank and 5 Tufted Duck on the river near the 4 Arches. Further on 2 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Grey Heron, and 6 Siskin, 3 Goldfinch at Cholsey Marsh and 5 Cormorant near Bow Bridge. The only year tick was a Kingfisher at Bow Bridge.
Certainly more Thrushes along the river, Over 100 of each with Redwing the more numerous.
Other species, 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 2 Red Kite, several Moorhen and 2 Coot.
Also 2 Roe Deer on Cholsey Marsh, first time I’ve seen them there.

River level slowly rising, some low lying areas close to river begining to flood.
A Song Thrush in the garden.

3 Blackcaps (per AS, OOS)

Friday, 7 January 2011

Cholsey Waxwings

10 Waxwings, junction of Crescent way - Station road.

Had a call from TW, saw them fly towards West End but could not relocate them.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Cholsey 6th Dec

A brief walk out to the Lees late this afternoon. A Grey Wagtail at the Bullshole and a Little Egret flushed from another brook near the Bullshole.
Several flocks of winter thrushes about numbering approx 300 birds. A lot of Chaffinch but Goldfinch nos down on normal.
A few small Tit flocks, a Song Thrush, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker a Jay heard and several Magpie around. Also 2 Bullfinch, 1 Skylark, 2 Yellowhammer and a large number of Gulls (500+) heading towards Didcot.
The Brook (whitehead) Meadow this afternoon produced 3 Mistle Thrush, 2 Fieldfare, 8 Redwing, 1 Song Thrush and 14 Blackbirds all feeding. Also 2 Goldcrest and 2 Coal Tit.
Grey Heron in the Brook.
A dog walker said she saw a Kingfisher yesterday along the brook.

No sign of Scaup

No sign of Scaup today. Only Meadow Pipit flyover and Chiffchaff with Tit flock.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Greater Scaup 5th Jan

Greater Scaup reported today on Cholsey Marsh Nature Reserve
Also 3 Lesser Redpoll.
(per TRa)

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Little Egret

1 Little Egret back in the Brook Meadow. Also Grey Heron and 2 Pheasant and several Redwing.

Cholsey, 4th Jan

4 Arches to Winterbrook
Cloudy, 3º
Rather quiet today, 2 Gadwall, 1 Pochard & 5 Tufted Duck on the river along with 3 Great Crested Grebe and 5 Little Grebe. Some winter thrushes around with less than 50 Fieldfare and 100+ Redwing. 3 Jay, 3 Grey Heron, 18 Cormorant (most in the usual tree), 4 Coot and around 20 Moorhen.
1 Green Woodpecker and 4 Great-spotted Woodpecker.
5 Reed Bunting at Cholsey Marsh.
A surprising bird today was an escaped Harris Hawk on the islands by the 4 Arches.

A Fox seen last night in the meadow.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Cholsey, 1st Jan 2011

Cholsey, 1st Jan 2011, cloudy, 6°
51 species to start the year.
Woken at 01:00 by a Tawny Owl calling from the trees in the garden.

I went out around 08:00 towards the Lees.
2 Mute Swans and a lone Wigeon fly over were 2 species I didn’t expect to see over the farmland but everything else was predictable.
Winter Thrush numbers are up, especially Redwing which outnumbered Fieldfare.
6 Roe Deer,
On returning home I had 2 Cormorant fly over the garden.
Then a walk along the Thames from the 4 Arches to Bow Bridge.
A small flock of Siskin at Cholsey Marsh again and a 5 Tufted Duck on the river.
C60 Canada Geese and a Greylag by the islands near the 4 Arches. Also a Little Grebe and a Great Crested Grebe nearby.
Not a lot else on the water other than a few rowing crews.
At around 13:30, just about to leave home when a skein of c50 Whitefronts flew over. They were flying east towards the Thames and maybe South Stoke (same flock)?
A good start to the year with 2 garden ticks. Cormorant and Whitefronts!
Happy new year everyone.

Tony Williams had a Brambling in his garden this morning.