Thursday, 30 June 2011

Recent Cholsey sightings

Recent Cholsey sightings: (per RB).

28/6 Cholsey Hill, late evening - no quail, but 7 Corn Bunting, and also Reed Bunting and Yellow Wagtail breeding in the crop, Kingfisher on Cholsey Brook, and the Moorhens still have at least one half-grown young.

29/6 Bunk Line - still no quail, but 3 Green Woodpecker at the sewage works, fox hunting in a meadow, Brown Hare, Linnets breeding along the line, c.500 Rooks & Jackdaws at Wallingford Rd.

30/6 - dead male Green Woodpecker picked up on Wallingford Rd (will be sent to NHM Tring). Kestrels probably breeding at Manor Farm (as last year).

Male and Female Sparrowhawk bathing several times in Cholsey Brook.

(per TW)
Oystercatcher seen flying down river at Cholsey marsh mid May, also Cuckoo over Lollingdon Hill around the same period.


Sunny spells, 18º, light NW.

Getting quiet now bird wise.

A Sparrowhawk seen over the playing field in Cholsey and a Grey Heron seen feeding in the spring at Lollingdon.

Lollingdon Hill was reasonably quiet except for the hundred or so sheep that are grazing there.

3 Corn Buntings singing, several Yellowhammer, a Yellow Wagtail and 2 Mistle Thrush there, a Kestrel hunting over the north side of the hill.

A Tit flock comprising mainly Long-tailed Tits also had 2 juvenile Chiffchaffs with it. Both Green and Great-spotted Woodpeckers seen and several (8) Stock Doves.

NO Willow Warblers seen or heard recently, suggests they have all passed through to breed elsewhere. Only place not checked so far is on Cholsey Downs. Maybe the odd pair may be breeding there?

The past few days have been good for butterflies with Marbled White, Gatekeeper, Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Small White, Red Admiral, Ringlet, Meadow Brown all seen today.

Only Dragonfly today was a Blue (Southern) Hawker seen in a garden in West End.

A complete lack of Damselflies in the Cholsey area recently, this is also borne out by another observer!

A Kestrel in the meadow this morning feeding on insects.



                                   Marbled White

                                   Meadow Brown

                                    Corn Bunting

                                   Long-tailed Tit

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Birds, Butterflies and Litter!

Sunny spells, 20º, light W.

Cholsey Marsh and Bow Bridge.

Decided on a walk this afternoon so drove down to Cholsey marsh and took a leisurely walk to Bow Bridge and back.

On arrival, the usual Sedge Warblers song is the first thing you hear, their scratchy song coming from various points on the marsh.
Then hearing the odd Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Reed Bunting and today, also a Lesser Whitethroat. At one point, it went very quiet and on looking around, I saw a female Sparrowhawk circling over the marsh. She eventually flew off west, being shepherded by a few Swallows. Within a few moments, the marsh returned to its normal volume.

The Mute Swan pair have lost one of the cygnets as only three were with the adult birds today. Also a couple of Great-crested Grebe on the river.

A Grey Heron and a single Cormorant seen also. (Grey Heron seen yesterday flying over Cholsey Hill).

Moving a little further upriver there is a wild flower meadow and a hedgerow that was full of butterflies, mainly Meadow Brown along with Large and Small White, Large Skipper, Red Admiral, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, singles of Small Copper and Holly Blue and 2 to 3 Silver-washed Fritillaries.

The only Dragonflies seen were about a dozen Banded Demoiselles.

On the way back I encountered a flock of a least 18 Long-tailed Tits, there were certainly more as I could hear them calling from the opposite river bank as well.

A Hobby circled overhead for a few minutes being mobbed by Swallows, House Martins and Swifts and unusually a single Sand Martin.

A few Greenfinch, Linnet, two Bullfinch and Goldfinch in the riverbank hedges.

A Grass Snake seen briefly, I was not fast enough to get a good angle and focus on it before it became aware of my presence and shot off. The Pyramid Orchid is still in flower. There are also some Bee Orchids nearby.

A Great-spotted Woodpecker now a daily visitor to the garden, along with three Grey Squirrels, two adults and a juvenile.
Tawny Owls heard over the past two nights calling.
Also a Pipistrelle Bat hunting in the garden tonight.

A Pied Wagtail collecting food in the meadow this afternoon.

On another note, what’s with all the rubbish being left along the river bank and Ferry Lane, beer and cider cans, coke cans, portable bar-b-q’s, plastic drinks bottles and other assorted litter and even a bloody wheel chair. There was also a double mattress dumped last week that has since been removed.
  Take it with you!!!! Please.

 Grass Snake, could not get a good angle on it before it shot off!

                                   Silver-washed Fritillary

Monday, 27 June 2011

Ups and downs!

The Spotted Flycatcher pair breeding in Cholsey appear to be doing OK.

Unfortunately, the two House Martin chicks in the photos from 22nd June were found dead close to their nest site on Sunday.

Also a Blue Tits nest about 4 metres from the nest site was found abandoned with nine eggs in.

No idea why!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Cholsey Marsh, 23rd June

Showery, 15º, light to blustery W.

Rain showers today prevented much photography as water and cameras do not mix well. However the few sunny spells allowed some.

Sedge Warblers are still singing on the marsh along with a few (2) Reed Warblers, (3) Whitethroats, (2) Chiffchaff and (6) Reed Buntings.

2 Kingfishers active along the Thames by the marsh and a couple of Pied Wagtails feeding on the opposite bank.

Whilst sheltering under a Blackthorn hedge during a rain shower I realised I was sharing it with a pair of Bullfinch that did not seem too concerned with me being there, also Linnet, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Chaffinch seen close by.

The Mute Swan pair still has 4 cygnets and they have moved upriver about a kilometre and a small flock of Canada Geese on the river near Bow Bridge.

Grey Heron seen and a couple of Great-crested Grebes but no young!

Quite a few Swallows, House Martins and Swifts feeding along the river, possibly feeding on the mayflies that were on the wing.

The only dragonfly seen was one Banded Demoiselle. Several butterfly species around included Small Tortoiseshell, Large and Small White and a few Large Skippers.

In addition, an Orchid found but not sure of ID, I think it is a Pyramidal Orchid - Anacamptis pyramidalis

Tracking Cuckoos to Africa – The BTO has attached tiny radio transmitters to 5 adult male Cuckoos in East Anglia with a view to tracking their return to their wintering areas in Africa.

Adult Cuckoos leave breeding areas earlier than their offspring who are still developing with their adopted parents.
                                   Large Skipper

                                   Pyramidal Orchid

                                   Mute Swan and four cygnets

                                   All I could get of a Kingfisher

              View of the Thames looking down river from Bow Bridge

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Marymead House Martins

Marymead House Martins, one of the two nest sites. The second nest appears to have young as well.
2 young in this nest being fed on average every 5 minutes today.

A Water Shrew seen in the brook today (RB).

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Scarlet Tigers

13 Scarlet Tiger moths (some mating) in a Church Rd garden yesterday. Seems a good year for them;

Also a Whitethroat ringed today at Cholsey Marsh. 2 hrs ringing this morning produced a Grasshopper Warbler, 3 Whitethroat, 2 Chiffchaff and a Blackbird. Adults and juveniles were caught, none yet showing signs of moult.

The Sparrowhawks seem to be defending an area of the school nature reserve area.  They might have (re-)nested in the tall trees.

The Brook Moorhens still had 2 young on Sunday.

40 Starlings and c.100 Rooks and c.50 Jackdaws were at a roost at Causeway House.

Thanks to Richard for the above information and the first two photos.

Scarlet Tiger Moths appear to have done well this year. Reports from Hagbourne, Cholsey and Wallingford. I wonder if this is representative of the wider area?

I can hear a Tawny Owl calling whilst typing this and 2 Hedgehogs in the garden.

                                           Scarlet Tiger  © (RB)

                                   Whitethroat  © (RB)

                    Scarlet Tiger, found in Wallingford on Sunday in my daughters car and several seen in her garden.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Lollingdon, 16th June

Showers, 17º, fresh SW.

A walk to Lollingdon Hill and back.
As I left home there were 5 Buzzards soaring over the meadow and 7 Red Kites around with 4 settled on the football pitch. Also on the football pitch were 2 Mistle Thrush and 2 Pied Wagtails feeding. 2 Swallows also feeding over the pitch and a Song Thrush* singing by the edge of the brook in Jubilee wood.

*(in a tree by the brook there’s a song bird that sings).
The Moorhen still has at least 2 young with her seen in the brook that runs along the meadow. Coal Tit and Goldcrest heard on the other side of the meadow.

As I got into the farmland, Yellowhammers became apparent with around 5 to 6 singing in total. Several Whitethroats (4), Blackcaps (3) and Chiffchaffs (3) also 2 to 3 pairs of Yellow Wagtails in the area.
Singles of Hobby and Peregrine Falcon seen.

Lollingdon hill had 2 singing Corn Bunting and a few Linnets and around 4 Swallows and several Swift flocks feeding over the hill, including one flock of approximately 50 Swifts.
43 species seen.

2 Roe Deer seen resting along the edge of a field of wheat.
A Small Skipper butterfly seen along with quite a few Small Tortoiseshell, several Meadow Brown and both Large and Small Whites.

Tawny Owls heard nearby in the meadow last night and the 2nd pair of House Martins are busy rebuilding the nest at Marymead.
                                          Lollingdon Hill

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Cholsey Marsh, 14th June

Sunny, 21º, light SSE.

Mute Swan with 5 cygnets on the river and a Great-crested Grebe with 2 young.
An adult Black-headed Gull flew downstream followed 5 minutes later by a Cormorant.

Cuckoo seen downstream of the marsh and a Grey Heron flew over.
Plenty of Red Kites around, also several Buzzards. A Kestrel flew over pursued by several Swallows and House Martins and a Sparrowhawk flew through.

A Grasshopper Warbler heard briefly and a Lesser Whitethroat seen carrying food at the northern end of the marsh.
A single Garden Warbler, several Sedge and Reed Warblers seen and heard also Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffchaff.

6 to 8 Reed Buntings still singing and a couple of Bullfinches heard.

The Harris Hawk has been seen at 19:30 this evening over Cholsey marsh, so its still around.

47 species.

Several Banded Demoiselles seen and a couple of unidentified dragonflies. Small Whites, Meadow Browns, Speckled Wood, a couple of Large Skippers, a single Red Admiral.

A pair of Spotted Flycatchers are breeding in a garden in the village.

One of the two House Martins nests at Marymead has gone!!! On checking it looks as if part of the nest collapsed. The other is still in business thankfully.

Friday, 10 June 2011

White Kite

Just had a report of a White Kite over Jubilee meadow this afternoon. I know one was seen in Cuddesdon a few days ago. Is this the same bird? Also one near Newbury recently, again is this the same wandering individual or are there several?
Scarlet Tiger moth and a Large Garden Bumblebee (Bombus ruderatus) - an uncommon species) on Church Rd today.
Thanks to Richard for the insect records.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Near miss!

There has been a record of a Spoonbill recently (28th May) to the west of Mackney lane in Brightwell, just a few hundred metres from Cholsey. It appears to have been there briefly.

There has been no record of a Spoonbill recorded in Cholsey in recent times. However, they may have been present several centuries ago.

Yesterday a group of 3 Spoonbills turned up near Drayton and another on Port Meadow, Oxford. A rare species for Oxfordshire!

Have not been able to get out recently so not much news.

As for Cholsey, a Lesser Stag Beetle (Dorcus parallelipipedus) was found along Church road on the 6th and a Lesser Blackback Gull flew south over the village on the same day.

A Great-spotted Woodpecker has been visiting the garden intermittently along with one or two Treecreepers.

Generally the garden has been quieter recently, a pair of Greenfinch and Goldfinch still visiting on a regular basis and two pairs of House Martins have been visiting nest sites regularly but not sure if they are on eggs yet.

2 Hedgehogs regularly in garden.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Odds and Sods

Sunny spells, 22º, light NE.

Kingfisher on the brook at Church Rd last week and the moorhens have 5 new chicks.

Grass snake along the brook, and Great Tit brood fledged from Causeway House’s old letterbox, but two Blue Tits broods nearby did very badly (fledging only 2 and 4, due to food shortage – similar problem with Wallingford boxes).

The Sparrowhawks were taking food into the school nature area but I think they have failed (possibly due to the wind/rain), as no recent activity. Starlings fledged a brood in an old woodpecker hole on the large willow at Church Rd bridge.

Thanks to Richard for the above information.

A Quail heard on Cholsey Hill. I stopped there for a time on my way back from Didcot.

2 Goldfinch and a Bullfinch in the allotments by West End today.

Sat in the garden again this afternoon, usual Blue and Great Tits around and up to 8 Chaffinch in the garden and a Kestrel mobbing a Red Kite overhead.

A couple of Mistle Thrush in the meadow, Song Thrush singing briefly along with a Blackcap.

A surprise was a Spotted Flycatcher that put in an all too brief appearance in the meadow late afternoon. By the time I got my camera, I could not relocate it!

A few visitors to the garden earlier.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Cholsey bird watch week.

Sunny spells, 18º, light wnw.

As part of the Cholsey festival this week is bird watch week. It will be interesting to see the results for this weeks bird watch in Cholsey. I hope to be able to collate all the records to assess what has been seen over this week.
I did notice a few youngsters with their parents ticking off Blackbird and Robin today.

I spent around an hour this afternoon in the garden as I am a little incapacitated at the moment nursing a bad back.
Lots of young Blue and Great Tits being fed by parents and a Coal Tit heard, also a Blackcap and Chiffchaff singing.

Both Blue Tit nests in garden have fledged!

Unfortunately I found a dead young Robin in the garden, looks like it flew into a window.

I was alerted to a Sparrowhawk that flew over by the alarm calls of Swallows and House Martins. Also several Swift overhead.

Hedgehogs in garden again this evening.

More on the bird watch soon!