Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Cholsey, 31st Jan

Sunny spells, 2º, light ESE.

250+ Golden Plover over Cholsey Hill, looked as if they were going to settle but did not see where or if.

20+ Siskin Caps Lane feeding on Birch with around the same number of Goldfinch and several Chaffinch.

Lollingdon Hill quiet with a Buzzard and 2 Red Kite over, a Robin, 2 Redwing, a Song Thrush and a Blackbird in the hedgerow below the hill.

BBOWT have started the fencing at Cholsey Marsh! The more cynical amongst us would say they wanted to complete the work before we meet next week! OR do they want to show us what they have achieved?

Topping up the bird feeders this afternoon when I heard several Long-tailed Tits giving alarm calls, a few seconds later a male Peregrine drifted south over the meadow.

Around a dozen Chaffinch and 6 House Sparrows feeding on the deck below the feeders with several Goldfinch and Greenfinch feeding on nyger and sunflower hearts on the feeder and 2 Blackbirds and a Song Thrush feeding on some sultanas I put out.



                                    Red Kite

Monday, 30 January 2012

Hedgehogs still active

Female Blackcap and 2 female Reed Buntings feeding in a West End garden.

Hedgehog in garden again tonight in temp of -3

Potential Wind Turbine on Cholsey Hill

Extract from the “Wallingford Herald”

"A WIND turbine could be built on the site of an Iron Age hill fort near Wallingford.

Sustainable Wallingford, a community group established in 2003, has won a Government grant for £88,000 to carry out home energy surveys for 300 homes in the town.

But the funding also covers the cost of a renewable energy study for the area, including checking out the feasibility of putting a wind turbine on Cholsey Hill, between Cholsey and South Moreton.

Organisers of the group say Cholsey Hill would be a good location because the nearest residents are a kilometre away and would not be disturbed by any turbine noise.

Science writer Sue Roberts, who is leading the group, said: “A wind turbine on Cholsey Hill is potentially quite exciting – some people worry about the noise, but turbines are not very noisy and if the turbine is a kilometre away you would not be able to hear it.

“We will get a professional organisation to come in and assess the possibility of putting a turbine there and we will need to put up a proper test turbine to see if there is enough wind.

“People would buy shares in a turbine company and supply electricity by selling the power to the national grid.”

Ms Roberts said a public meeting would be held in the next two months so residents could discuss the proposal.

She added that Westmill Wind Farm, which has five turbines near Watchfield, could provide information to help them set up.

Sustainable Wallingford also wants 300 residents to sign up for a home energy survey, for advice on insulating their homes and other energy-saving measures.

Ms Roberts’ home is to become a demonstration house for the surveys."

Not convinced, too many environmental pressures on Cholsey at the moment!!!!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Cholsey Marsh

Sunny, a few rain showers, 6º, light SSW

Approximately 70 Corn Buntings at the roost this evening, also a Water Rail heard.

A small roost of Fieldfare and Redwing in the Alders along the river bank that came in late numbering less than 100 birds.

A Sparrowhawk flew along the riverbank, a Kestrel over the marsh and a Grey Heron high overhead.

2 Mute Swans on the river and 40 “Greylag” Geese and 100+ Canada Geese on the opposite bank towards the 4 Arches.

A belated report of a Firecrest in Cholsey towards the end of last year, I spoke to a birdwatcher today who found, unfortunately a dead Firecrest in his garden, having apparently flown into a window.

Lollingdon Hill very quiet today, 2 Pied Wagtail there.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Winter Thrushes and a Woodcock

Overcast, light rain, 11º, light to fresh SSW.

A small flock of 16 Redwing in the meadow and 20+ Chaffinch. 11 Black-headed Gulls on the school playing field.

Lollingdon Hill hosted 1 Meadow Pipit, not surprising as a female Sparrowhawk flew the length of the south side and probably flushed most things. However 5 Red Kite and 2 Buzzard overhead there.

2 Common Snipe and a Woodcock flushed from some ditches in the area, several Great-spotted Woodpeckers seen with one drumming.

A large flock of c600 Winter Thrushes nearby with Fieldfare outnumbering Redwing by a ratio of approx 20 to 1.
6 Song Thrush and 4 Mistle Thrush also seen.

Several smaller flocks of winter thrushes also seen, maybe around 1000+ birds altogether, the most I've seen for a while in the area.

A single Reed Bunting seen out on the farmland, several Skylark and a few more Meadow Pipits.

13 Roe Deer seen in 3 separate groups.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Golden Plovers and Treecreeper

About 70 Golden Plover flew onto Cholsey Hill from the east this morning.

Adult and fawn Muntjac prints near Church Rd railway bridge recently.

Thanks to RB for the info.

Hedgehog active in garden again tonight!

The Treecreeper with dodgy legs has been visiting the garden again, still surviving. First seen in November last year.

It appears to compensate for this apparent disability by using its tail more heavily than usual which can be seen angled to the right and never climbs more than a metre up a tree.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Farmoor, Rushey Common and Cholsey.

Overcast, some light rain, 10º, light WSW.

Two rare species have turned up in Oxfordshire this week, a Grey Phalarope and a Temmink’s Stint. Both species have appeared in Oxfordshire before but unusual at this time of year. Probably down to the, so far, mild winter?

Grey Phalarope still present today, also Great Northern Diver still there.

I do not think there has been a Grey Phalarope record in Oxon in january since Aplins time in the 19th century. i.e. Port Meadow Jan 1887.

Rushey Common.
Temmink’s Stint, distant but viewable feeding along a small spit. Thanks to two Cholsey boys for finding this one, Brian and Geoff Wyatt.

Several Bullfinches, a Song Thrush and a Kingfisher seen near the Bullshole.

Reasonably quiet out on the farmland, the Stonechat appears to have gone; maybe last week’s cold snap forced it to move on.

The sheep have moved off Lollingdon Hill and most of the Pied Wagtails that were feeding alongside them. Only 2 Pied Wagtails seen on the hill. A flock of c200 Fieldfare nearby and a small flock of 12 Starlings.

Only 1 Redwing seen with the flock of Fieldfare but a small flock of (c40) exclusively Redwing near Aston Tirrold.

9 Lapwing seen flying towards the downs and 4 Mistle Thrush in the Churchyard.

5 Roe Deer also noted ( 1 buck and 4 Does).

18th Jan there were between 80 to 100 Corn Buntings at the roost and a few Reed Buntings. Thanks to Tony Williams for the info.

Spoke to a chap today who had lost his dog, a giant Schnauzer near the Bullshole, she is black and answers to the name Rosie. If found there should be a phone number on her collar.

14 Goldfinch, 11 Chaffinch and 6 Greenfinch in garden today.
                                   Grey Phalarope

                                   Grey Phalarope

Temmink’s Stint, it is there, behind and to the right of the Coot and Black-headed Gull.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Thames @ Cholsey.

Overcast, 12º, light SW.

Back to the mild weather again after the past 3-4 days of 0º, with a low of -7º overnight 2 days previous.

Extremely quiet, Great-crested and Little Grebes both seen, 7 Cormorants, 2 Kingfisher, 3 Grey Heron and 2 Tufted Duck being of note.

Treecreeper in garden.

County news: Grey Phalarope at Farmoor today.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Cholsey, Friday 13th

Sunny, 0º to 5º, good frost, negative wind.

Back to winter today with a heavy ground frost last night..

Gone less than a mile and already counted 5 Song Thrush and there appears to be more Blackbirds around, whether these are recent arrivals or just more visible I’m not sure but over 40 seen in all, much more than usual. Also 9 Mistle Thrush seen in several different locations. Quite a few Redwing and Fieldfare around but not mixing a lot. Only a few Redwing with the Fieldfare flocks and no Fieldfare with the groups of Redwing seen. Most Fieldfare seen in open country and most Redwing seen in more wooded locations.

20+ Pied Wagtails on Lollingdon Hill and 8 Meadow Pipit, 2 Corn Bunting singing nearby and a flock of 56 Starling feeding on the southern slope of the hill.

A Sparrowhawk flew over, 2 Kestrel around and the usual Red Kites and Buzzards seen.

The Stonechat still present nearby, must be wintering in the area as its been around since mid November last year.

A Common Snipe flushed inadvertently from a ditch and a few Bullfinch around.

5 Grey Partridge seen, 8 Stock Dove, c12 Skylark, several Reed Bunting and Yellowhammer and a few more Linnet around.

40 species seen.

6 Roe Deer seen in total.

Hedgehog in garden tonight in -1º temp

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Winter or Spring

Sunny, 12º, light WNW, still very mild.

Weather still very mild, Snowdrops are in flower which is to be expected but also daffodils. Also Bumble Bees and Butterflies seen on the wing recently, in particular Red Admirals. Averaging 5 or 6º warmer than this time last year.

Lollingdon Hill.

25 Pied Wagtail, 3 Meadow Pipit and a lone Starling feeding with the 30+ Sheep on the hill.

3 Corn Bunting nearby and 1 in song. 200+ Fieldfare and a handful of Redwing overhead, flying towards the downs.

Cholsey Marsh.

Approximately 100 Corn Bunting at the roost this evening, also 5 Reed Bunting and 2 Yellowhammer in vicinity. Quite a few Fieldfare around and a few more Redwing. A Cormorant flew downstream.

Apart from 3 singing Song Thrush and a Great-spotted Woodpecker calling not much else heard.

Just of interest, 9 Fallow Deer seen on the downs above Letcombe earlier in week, (3 bucks, 5 does and a juvenile).

Hedgehog(s) still active in garden, probably reflecting the mild weather we are still having.
                                   Some of the Pied Wagtails

Monday, 9 January 2012

Lollingdon Hill and 1066

Overcast, 12°, light WSW,
Lollingdon Hill.
16 Pied Wagtail and 2 Meadow Pipit feeding with sheep on Lollingdon Hill. A few Redwing around and a Red Kite over.
1066 nr Drayton.
A Green Sandpiper, c80 Teal and 2 Shovelor.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Badger and Blackcap

Foot prints from a small-ish badger today near the bunk line. No setts found locally, and this is the first sign of them I've had around the village, but recall one was seen on the meadow recently?

Before Christmas I was getting up to 6 Goldfinches on my nyger feeder (took them 5 months to find it!), but none since. There was also a Blackcap today at Church Rd bridge.

Thanks to RB for info.

Thursday, 5 January 2012


Sunny intervals, showers, 10º, fresh to strong W. (force 6 gusting to 7 poss 8) 8 recorded near Abingdon today.

Woke this morning to another howling gale (not quite) and a Mistle Thrush singing away in the meadow.

The Mistle Thrush has an old colloquial name of “Stormcock” known for its habit of singing in tree tops during howling winds and inclement weather etc. Why? No idea J.

A Raven seen near Lollingdon Hill yesterday and a Chiffchaff in West End today.

Thanks to John Lucas and Tony Williams for the info.

Collared Doves now up to 6 in garden and Hedgehog again this evening.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Marymead garden.

Overcast, heavy rain then heavy showers, 7º, fresh to strong W (force 6, gusting to 7).

Woken by heavy rain battering the windows this morning at 05:00, strong winds have littered the garden with small twigs and branches. The bird feeding station was at a 45º angle J. Soon put right.

A massive Lime tree (tilia europea) at the far end of the meadow was swaying in the wind.

A Grey Heron was in the meadow at 05:00 about 50m from the garden, lit up by the building lights.

The Treecreeper with the dodgy leg was in the garden again this morning, appears to be surviving despite its disability. Keeping to the lee of the tree trunks in the strong winds.

Drove to Savages in Blewbury to get some sunflower hearts as I had run out, not a pleasant experience with driving wind and rain, also a lot of surface water on the back roads. On the way back I noted part of Hithercoft road in Wallingford was closed by police as a Tractor trailer had lost a load of manure on the Hithercroft roundabout J.

A Sparrowhawk zipped through the meadow this afternoon.

The usual Greenfinches, Goldfinches, Blue and Great Tits on the feeders and a supporting cast of 5 Collared Doves, 3 Wood Pigeon, 2 Carrion Crows, a Robin, a Wren, 2-3 Dunnocks, 10+ Chaffinch, 4 House Sparrows, 2 Blackbirds all feeding on the deck.

2 Grey Squirrels also visiting.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Cholsey Marsh

Sunny and the odd shower, 6º, light SSW.

Approx 50 Corn Buntings in roost this evening. Also 40+ Fieldfare Caps Lane. Thanks to Tony Williams and John Lucas!

18 Chaffinch feeding in garden this afternoon.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Cholsey 1st Jan!

Overcast, 12º, light to fresh WSW, rain p.m.

Went out fairly early today and covered a fair bit around Cholsey then off to Farmoor where there is a Great Northern Diver. Also checked out a few other county water bodies. Fairly quiet in places probably due to the mild weather we are having.

A Chiffchaff seen at Ewelme cress beds.

55 species seen in Cholsey (see http://cholseywildlife.blogspot.com/p/2011-cholsey-bird-list-107.html )  and 67 species overall.

The best of the day was a Stonechat seen between Cholsey and Aston Tirrold, fairly sizable flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare around also 4 Song Thrush (3 in song), 8 Mistle Thrush and several Blackbirds.

Bullfinches heard calling in Jubilee Wood and 3 Corn Bunting singing near Lollingdon Hill.

8 Lapwing flew SW over Cholsey Marsh and a Kingfisher along the river bank.

7 Roe Deer and a Muntjac Deer also seen.

Hedgehog active in garden this evening.

                                   Roe Deer

                    Great Northern Diver at Farmoor

2011 birds

125 species of bird recorded in Cholsey 2011, the biggest rarity was a Rough-legged Buzzard that was found on the downs back in March.

Also a belated record of a Firecrest found dead in a garden. (126 sp)

Here are the rest:

 Bird species recorded in Cholsey as at 31st Dec 2011, 125 species.

1.     Mute Swan

2.    White-fronted Goose

3.    Greylag Goose

4.    Canada Goose

5.    Mallard

6.    Gadwall

7.    Teal

8.    Pochard

9.    Tufted Duck

10. Mandarin Duck

11.  Red-legged Partridge

12. Grey Partridge

13. Quail

14. Pheasant

15. Little Grebe

16. Great Crested Grebe

17. Cormorant

18. Little Egret

19. Grey Heron


21. Red Kite

22.Hen Harrier

23.Marsh Harrier

24.Montagu’s Harrier

25.Common Buzzard

26.Rough-legged Buzzard





31. Peregrine

32.Water Rail




36.Stone Curlew

37.Golden Plover


39.Green Sandpiper

40.Common Sandpiper

41. Redshank



44.Common Snipe

45.Jack Snipe

46.Black-headed Gull

47.Common Gull

48.Lesser Black-backed Gull

49.Yellow-legged Gull

50.Herring Gull

51. Great Blackback Gull

52.Common Tern

53.Stock Dove

54.Feral Pigeon

55.Wood Pigeon

56.Collared Dove

57.Ring-necked Parakeet


59.Short-eared Owl

60.Tawny Owl

61. Little Owl



64.Green Woodpecker

65.Great-spotted Woodpecker



68.Sand Martin

69.House Martin

70.Meadow Pipit

71. Pied Wagtail

72.Grey Wagtail

73.Yellow Wagtail




77.Black Redstart




81. Stonechat

82.Song Thrush


84.Mistle Thrush



87.Ring Ousel

88.Garden Warbler



91. Lesser Whitethroat

92.Sedge Warbler

93.Grasshopper Warbler

94.Reed Warbler

95.Willow Warbler




99.Spotted Flycatcher

100.       Great Tit

101.        Coal Tit

102.       Blue Tit

103.       Marsh Tit

104.       Long-tailed Tit

105.       Nuthatch

106.       Treecreeper

107.       Magpie

108.       Jay

109.       Jackdaw

110.        Rook

111.         Carrion Crow

112.        Raven

113.        Starling

114.        House Sparrow

115.        Chaffinch

116.        Brambling

117.        Linnet

118.        Lesser Redpoll

119.        Goldfinch

120.       Greenfinch

121.        Siskin

122.       Bullfinch

123.       Reed Bunting

124.       Yellowhammer

125.       Corn Bunting

·       Harris Hawk (escape)