Thursday, 28 July 2011

Aves, Insecta and Reptilia! and a crime writer

Sunny, 24º, light N.

Marymead to Winterbrook then along the Thames to the 4 Arches and back.

A single Mute Swan on the Thames and around 40 Canada Geese, 8 Red-legged Partridge and a family group of 7 Grey Partridge (2 ad + at least 5 young).
6 Great-crested Grebe on the river and a single Grey Heron.

A Hobby seen carrying prey, 9 Kestrels in several locations and a Sparrowhawk near Church road.
Around 40 Black-headed Gulls loafing on the school playing field and 2 flying upstream along the Thames.

4 Lesser Blackback Gulls following a plough near Cholsey Hill and a singleton flying up river.
A first for me this year in Cholsey were 2 Common Terns fishing along the Thames near Winterbrook. Do not think they have ever bred in Cholsey but I usually see them along the river late summer, they may breed in Wallingford or Benson!

Quite a few Stock Doves along the river (c12) but very few Swifts seen today and up to 6 Kingfishers seen. Green Woodpeckers appear to be very vocal at the moment with 10+ seen or heard and only 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker seen.

More than average Swallows seen today virtually all family groups feeding or resting along the course of the river.

Cholsey Marsh quiet, noise wise, only a brief song of a Sedge Warbler heard Blackcaps, Whitethroats (several family groups), Chiffchaffs and a single Lesser Whitethroat seen. A few Goldcrests in with some of the Tit flocks and the odd Treecreeper.
Several Jays heard on the opposite bank of the river.

The walk to Winterbrook by the side of the “Bunkie Line” produced 20+ Linnets, several Greenfinch, 2 Reed Bunting and 6+ Yellowhammer.
Other species: Mallard, Pheasant, Red Kite, Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Skylark, House Martin, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Wren, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch.

Only Mammals seen were 2 Brown Hares and several Rabbits.
Almost tripped over a Grass Snake at Cholsey Marsh looked down and one was passing between my feet, not quick enough with the camera unfortunately. Yellow collar very conspicuous and was around a metre long, probably a female.

Brown Hawker dragonflies very common today with Common Darter, Common Bluet and Banded Demoiselles also seen.
A good quantity of Butterflies around today of 15 species, Small Skipper, a single Large Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Small Tortoiseshell, a single Small Copper, Common Blue, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Ringlet.

Also several 6-spot Burnet Moths and a lot of Ladybirds (2-spot, 7-spot, 10-spot and Cream-spot), Meadow and Field Grasshoppers common!
As I am writing this (16:00 BST) a Sparrowhawk just took a Starling in the garden! Starlings are scarcer than Sparrowhawks in the garden.

In garden recently, male and female Great-spotted Woodpecker and Treecreeper frequently and a confrontation between 2 Carrion Crows and 3 Mallards! Mallards won.
A Green Woodpecker twice in the past few days, in addition Tawny Owls quite vocal at night in the meadow and garden.


                                     Grey Heron

                                          Kestrel

                                           Swallows

                                          6-spot Burnet Moth

Plaque on “Agatha Christies” old house in Winterbrook, Cholsey, just passing and took the pic.

                                  Sparrowhawk with Starling.

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