Thursday, 24 February 2011

Cholsey, 24th Feb.

North to Winterbrook, then back along the Thames.
Sunny, mild day. 12º, light to fresh westerly.
4 Mute Swans now left on farmland and 6 Tufted Duck on the river. 4 Teal on a farm pond and 3 pairs of Grey Partridge seen.
A Little Grebe seen fishing in a fast moving brook and 8 Great Crested Grebe on the river also 3 Cormorant.
20+ Red Kite, with 4 seen drinking and bathing in a small flooded area, also 10+ Buzzard and 2 Kestrel.
6 Lapwing seen showing some signs of territorial behaviour.
Very few Gulls seen, 4 Stock Dove in 2 locations and 2 Kingfishers noted. 5 Green and 3 Great-spotted Woodpecker.
Around a dozen Skylark seen all in song flight and 8 Song Thrush noted and 4 Mistle Thrush all in song.
Less than 20 of each Fieldfare and Redwing seen and Blackbird numbers lower.
Several Goldcrest heard and 4 Treecreeper in song. A Siskin also in song (part of a small flock of 6), also 8 Greenfinch and 4 Bullfinch. Plenty of Reed Bunting (20+) appearing to have taken up territory as well as Yellowhammer (10). 14 flyover Corn Bunting seen also.
Mammals seen were 2 Roe Deer, a Hare and a few Rabbits.
Other species seen: Canada Goose, Mallard, Pheasant, Moorhen, Coot, Black-headed and Lesser Blackback Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Wren, Great, Blue, Coal and Long-tailed Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch.
The garden feeder has been host to a female Great-spotted Woodpecker recently.
A flock of c20 Redwing, 2 Mistle Thrush and 2 Song Thrush in the meadow today.

                              Little Grebe on Bradford Brook

                                             Siskin in song

                                               Red Kite

                     Female Great-spotted Woodpecker on feeder

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Friday, 18 February 2011

Cholsey, 18th Feb.

Cloudy, 5º, light easterly

8 Mute Swans, a few Canada Geese and Mallard, 3 Tufted Duck and 1 Gadwall.
A Red-legged Partridge, several Pheasants, 2 Little Grebe and 5 Great-crested Grebe, 8 Cormorant, 2 Grey Heron.
10 Red Kite, 5 Buzzard, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel.
Moorhen and Coot common, 2 Stock Dove, 6 Great-spotted and 5 Green Woodpecker, 1 Kingfisher, 10 Skylark, 2 Meadow Pipit.
c30 Pied Wagtail and 1 Grey Wagtail at CSF, 5 Song Thrush, a few small flocks of Fieldfare and Redwing, several Goldcrest, 4 Tit species and 4 Treecreeper.
6 Siskin, 2 Yellowhammer and 6 Reed Bunting.
Other species seen: Black-headed and Lesser Blackback Gull,  Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Dusk at Cholsey Marsh. 17th Feb.

Sunny, 8º, (felt warmer), light north easterly.
2 Mute Swans, several Canada Geese and Mallard on the river. 3 Great-crested Grebe and 1 or 2 Kingfisher.
The roost consisted of c128 Corn Buntings, 20+ Meadow Pipits and 30 ‘ish Reed Buntings including some resident there. 4 Yellowhammers also present and some Siskin heard.
2 Song Thrush, very vocal and small numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing.

Also a short walk today.
A short walk to the Lees and back thru Manor Farm.
Not much seen, a few Skylarks in song, Greenfinch quite vocal and plenty of Goldfinch still around and a few Siskin.
2 Stock Doves around the farm.
A Moorhen in the brook, the odd Red Kite overhead, Song Thrush and a small flock of Redwing.
Goldcrest heard.

6 Roe Deer, Cholsey Hill.

                                           Long-tailed Tit

                                   Male and Female Mallard

                              Sunset, going down at the Marsh

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

34 Years ago! Thames, Winterbrook. 20th Nov 1977.

I came across this whilst reviewing some old notes and thought it could do with an airing.
Robin. vs. Kestrel.
An extract taken from my field notes on the above date.
On returning along the Thames bank from Bow Bridge I noticed a bird swooping down to the river. On viewing the bird through binoculars I identified it as a Kestrel and first thought it was after a dead fish on the surface. Which would be unusual as it is! As I got closer I realised it was a small bird on its back, wings spread floating on the surface. I watched the Kestrel swoop, on what I could now see as a Robin, several times and each time the Robin raised its legs in a presumed defiant or somewhat protective gesture. I was about 25m now from the scene and the Robin then suddenly left the water in a flurry of wings but suddenly dropped back in as the Kestrel swooped again. These actions were repeated another 3 times before the Kestrel appeared to give up and flew to a nearby tree, where it sat and watched the Robin. After a short time the Kestrel decided to abandon its potential prey and flew off downstream. At that point the Robin again took off from the river surface and flew to a small bush on the bank where it shook itself and then flew off in to another bush apparently no worse off for its experience.
That’s where I left it. I assumed the Robin was forced in to the river by the Kestrel? Or took deliberate evasive action to avoid capture?
The Kestrel denied a meal and the Robin apparently no worse off for a bath!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

15th Feb. Signs of spring?

Overcast, light rain, 6º.
Winterbrook to Bow Bridge.
Had to go into Wallingford this morning so I thought I’d take a walk to try and find a Woodcock (per TW) that had been seen on 2 occasions over the week end but no luck.
A few signs of spring though. 2 Great-crested Grebe in courtship display and 2 Kingfisher with one offering a small fish to the other!
Other species seen: Canada Goose, Mallard, Pheasant, Little Grebe, 2 Grey Heron, 8 Cormorant, Red Kite (7 in the air together), 2 Buzzard, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Blackback Gull, Wood Pigeon, Green Woodpecker, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Redwing, Fieldfare, Blackbird, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Bullfinch and Reed Bunting.
A Vole seen briefly, looked very much like a Field Vole?
At least 6 Goldfinch and 4 Greenfinch on the garden feeders with other regulars.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Not Cholsey, But!

14th Feb.
A 1st winter Oriental Turtle Dove has been found in a Chipping Norton garden. News of the bird was released today and will probably attract some 1000+ twitchers.
It is of the sub-species “orientalis” of which there have been only 3 records in the UK. There have been 9 records of Oriental Turtle Dove in the UK and most have been of the sub-species “meena”. This is the first time this species has been recorded in Oxfordshire.
This bird was first seen in mid December of last year but did not come to light until our county bird recorder (Ian Lewington) was shown some photographs of the bird but unfortunately it was not seen again until it turned up in another garden in the town and the owner happened to be a bird watcher.
This bird should be wintering in South East Asia but has done a reverse migration and arrived in the UK. They are very hardy birds and it obviously has survived our winter. They breed in the Central Siberian Taiga, east to Kamchatka, China and Japan.

Please see the Oxon bird log for further details.
Don’t believe all that you read in the national press in reference to this bird and the circumstances!
A couple of photos taken thru the patio windows.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Short walk near village. 11th Feb.

Light rain, 9°, dull.
A few species seen today in a brief walk, 2 Song Thrush singing, 1 in Whitehead meadow and 1 near Millennium wood also 2 Coal Tits in song and several Greenfinch nearby. 2 Yellowhammer singing and 2 Stock Dove south of the Bullshole, Also 2 Mistle Thrush, several Fieldfare, Redwing and 1 Buzzard seen. More activity later near garden, with 50+ Redwing in Whitehead meadow and more Goldfinch on feeders with other regular visitors.
Other species seen, Red Kite, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Blackback Gull, Pied Wagtail, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Starling, and House Sparrow.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Garden observations, 10th Feb.

Light to heavy rain, 10º.

Didn’t venture out birding today as rain was the dominant feature of the weather. Therefore only observations from the garden.
This produced several regular Great and Blue Tits and presumably the regular flock of 10 to 12  Long-tailed Tits that pass through the garden about 3 times per day. 2 Robins in the garden now and both regular at the feeder. The usual bunch of up to 8 Chaffinch, several Goldfinches and 2 Greenfinch also. Several Blackbirds, a Wren, a pair of Dunnock, House Sparrows, Collared Dove and Pied Wagtail.
1 Treecreeper in garden as well moving from one tree to the next and a Song Thrush, probably the same one that has been singing in the meadow most of the day.
4 Mistle Thrush, 10 Redwing and 8 Blackbirds in the meadow.
2 Mallards flew from the brook and several Wood Pigeons, Rooks, Jackdaws and the pair of Carrion Crows sat in the tree tops most of the day in the rain when not feeding. Fieldfares and Redwings flying over occasionally.
The Squirrel has been interesting today, still trying to climb the feeder but the baffle has him or her confused. Unless it had “special forces” training I don’t think it will make it.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Another hike! 9th Feb.

Overcast, 8º, light to fresh southerly.
Village to Winterbrook parallel with the Bunk railway, then along the Thames to the 4 Arches and back to Bow Bridge. Then Caps lane back to the village.
Village to Winterbrook.
8 Mute Swans (incl 2, 1st yrs) in fodder crop near Winterbrook.
6 Grey Partridge, several Pheasants, 6 Red Kite, 1 Buzzard and 1 Kestrel.
7 Lapwing feeding along with a flock of winter thrushes. 3 Green and 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker. Also 6 Skylark, a flock of c50 Linnet and a Reed Bunting.
3 Roe Deer, the buck had a 6 point antler still covered in velvet.  
Winterbrook – Bow Bridge – Cholsey Marsh – 4 Arches, then back to Bow and Caps lane to the Village.
4 Mute Swans on the river, along with c80 Canada Geese, 20+ Mallard and 4 Tufted Duck.
1 Little Grebe, 8 Great-crested Grebe, 12 Cormorant and 1 Grey Heron.
8 Red Kite, 1 Buzzard, 2 Kestrel. Moorhen fairly common and 18 Coot.
2 Stock Dove, 2 Kingfisher, 3 Green and 4 Great-spotted Woodpecker.
3 Song Thrush, 3 Mistle Thrush and numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing.
Coal Tit heard singing.
Goldfinch and Chaffinch regularly seen and 3+ Siskin. 6 Reed Bunting on the marsh.
Other species seen: Black-headed and Lesser Blackback Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Starling, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow.

                          Great Crested Grebes on the Thames.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Cholsey (W) farmland, then the Marsh at Dusk, 8th Feb.

Sunny, 9º (warmer in sun), light north east wind. (-6º last night)
A pair of Mallard flew from a brook. Quite a few Red Kite (c15), 4 Buzzard and 3 Kestrels seen.
1 lone flyover Lapwing.
Many Gulls, possibly around 2000 in 3 locations. As far as I could see all Black-headed and Lesser Blackbacks.
Many Woodpigeons again and 4 Stock Dove, 3 Green Woodpecker and 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker.
11 Skylark, 2 Song Thrush, Many winter Thrush in various locations c200 Fieldfare and c150 Redwing. 7 Mistle Thrush and fewer Blackbirds than usual.
2 coal Tit, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tit common also a Treecreeper singing.
Again large corvid numbers c200+ Rook and same number of Jackdaw, c20 Carrion Crow and same of Magpie.
Chaffinch and Goldfinch numbers good, a few (3+) Siskin, 8 Greenfinch and 2 Bullfinch. 3 Reed Bunting and 12 Yellowhammer.
4 Roe Deer, with the buck sporting antlers.

A Blackcap at the feeder in the garden along with the usual visitors.
1st Bumblebee of the year today in the garden, looked like a Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris).

The Squirrel is now baffled. Got a baffle today and so far he cannot defeat it!!!

Cholsey Marsh, dusk.
4 Mute Swan on river, with c20 Mallard, 4 Tufted, 1 Cormorant, 6 Canada Geese, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Great-crested Grebe and 2 Kingfisher.
Overhead, 1 Buzzard, 1 Sparrowhawk, 10 Skylark, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker and 2 Yellowhammer.
2 Song Thrush in song with another on the Little Stoke side of the river.
Around 12 Reed Bunting already on the marsh with c35 Meadow Pipit and c180 Corn Buntings coming to roost.
Good numbers of Rook and Jackdaw heading for a roost site (500+ birds) and Fieldfare and Redwing around approximately 100 of each.

                                 Some of the Gulls around.

                                       An obliging Robin.
                                 Some visitors to the feeder.

The Moon over the Marsh.

Monday, 7 February 2011

New garden feeder

New bird feeder in garden. Peanuts, mixed seeds, sunflower hearts, nyger seed, sultanas and suet balls. Previously just had window feeders with mixed seeds and peanuts. Already had Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Chaffinch, Blackbird and Dunnock feeding in the last hour or so of daylight. Heres hoping for more!


Need a Squirrel baffle though!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

A bit of a hike, Tue 3rd Feb.

Sunny, 9º, light to fresh SW.
Home to the Wallingford bypass parallel with the railway, then to Winterbrook and along the Thames to the 4 Arches, then back to Bow and along Caps lane to home.
Mute Swan, 10 in a fodder field and 2 flying high downriver. Approx 50 Canada Geese, 30+ Mallard, 4 Gadwall and 6 Tufted Duck.
3 pairs of Grey Partridge and a few Pheasants.
6 Little Grebe, 5 Great Crested Grebe, 8 Cormorant and 5 Grey Heron.
Over 30 Red Kites, 4 Common Buzzards, 1 Sparrowhawk and 3 Kestrels.
Moorhen common and 12 Coot seen on river. Usual Black-headed Gull along river with 200+ at Cholsey Sewage Farm again. A few Lesser Blackbacks high overhead.
Many Wood Pigeon and 7 Stock Dove, and around 10 Collared Dove seen.
A Tawny Owl heard but not seen and a Kingfisher along the river between Winterbrook and Bow.
2 Green and 5 Great-spotted Woodpeckers and 12 Skylark (several in song flight). 2 Meadow Pipit, 20+ Pied Wagtail (all at the sewage farm).
3 Song Thrush, good numbers of Fieldfare (100+), Redwing (120+) and Blackbird (c50).
First Goldcrest seen this year and plenty of Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits. Also 6 Coal Tits.
A highlight today was a Nuthatch seen and heard, the first one I’ve had in Cholsey for a number of years.
Corvids very common! 20+ Magpie, 2 Jay, hundreds of Rooks and Jackdaws and 20+ Carrion Crows.
Chaffinch common and a flock of 51 Linnet, 50+ Goldfinch in various locations, 4 Greenfinch, 2 Siskin and 2 Bullfinch.
6 Yellowhammer, 1 in song and 6 Reed Bunting.
Quite a few Grey Squirrel seen. Dead Fox near road by Caps Lane.
77 species of bird recorded in Cholsey so far this year that I am aware of.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

A short walk around the village, 2nd Feb

Overcast, slight rain, 9º
1 Red Kite only, not surprising given the weather. The odd Black-headed and Lesser Blackback Gull overhead, Collared Doves and Wood Pigeon most notable species initially. Dunnocks and Robins heard singing and a few Redwing and Fieldfare over. Blackbirds very frequent, Blue, Great and Coal Tits heard. The odd Magpie and Carrion Crow with Rook and Jackdaw common. Starlings all over and the odd House Sparrow until Cross rd, then around 50 seen. Most common finch is Goldfinch followed by Chaffinch and 10+ Greenfinch.
2 Greenfinch, 6 Chaffinch, small flock of Long-tailed Tits plus Blue and Great on feeders in garden. Song Thrush and several Blackbirds also. Fieldfare and Redwing in the meadow.
2 Grey Partridge near Cholsey Hill.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Cholsey Marsh, dusk, 1st Feb

Bright, 5º
Water Rail heard. Kingfisher and Grey Heron flew upstream and c30 Linnets flew over, also 3 Yellowhammer.
Good nos of Fieldfare and Redwing overhead and 1 Song Thrush.
Roost had 5 Meadow Pipit, approx 30 Reed Bunting and 130 Corn Bunting.
Kestrel and Buzzard also seen.

3 Brambling seen recently near 4 Arches (MA).

             A few of the Corn Buntings just prior to going to roost

2 sightings of an Otter recently?