Thursday, 29 March 2012

Wall to wall sunshine.

Sunny, 19º, light NNW.

Quiet day today, Lollingdon hill had the usual (for this week), 2 Pied Wagtail and 30+ Meadow Pipits.

4 Mistle Thrush on the playing fields, also a Song Thrush and a few Blackbirds, a Chiffchaff singing in the meadow most of the day and both Green and Great-spotted Woodpeckers heard.

Blackbird collecting food in garden today, maybe nest nearby with young? Also there sounds to be some young in the Rookery!

2 Orange Tip butterflies in garden today and several Brimstones.
A Raven seen over the Lees this week (per Tony Williams).

                                          Meadow Pipit

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

A bitty day

Unbroken sunshine, 20º, very unseasonal, light E.

Had a call this morning to say there were 5 White Storks flying over Farmoor, possibly heading for Otmoor. Decided to drive to Otmoor to have a look, to no avail.

Did not stay long as I had a busy day ahead, on the way back dropped into a garden centre to get some plants and spent the afternoon in the garden.

Little Egret, Curlew, Redshank, loads of Golden Plover and Lapwing on Otmoor.

The garden has potentially 2 Blue Tit pairs in nest boxes, not sure if they have decided to settle in yet.

Great-spotted Woodpecker in garden and Coal Tit and Goldcrest nearby and a flyover Sparrowhawk.
A Chiffchaff singing in the meadow.

Lollingdon Hill was very quiet, 2 Pied Wagtail, am guessing the clear skies and light winds are responsible for migrants carrying on as far as they can and with no adverse weather conditions to force them down?

2 Hedgehogs in garden this evening.

A Holly Blue seen in a Wantage garden yesterday.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012


Sunny, 19º, light E.

Another warm sunny day, the usual farmland birds present for this time of year, Linnet, Yellowhammer, Chaffinch and a few Reed Bunting.

8 Chiffchaffs heard singing along the route and a Blackcap heard.

Meadow Pipit numbers up again on Lollingdon Hill with 50+, they still seem to be passing through (most numerous migrant at Portland recently), also 4 Pied Wagtail feeding with them.

The western end hosted 20+ Corn Bunting and 2 Yellowhammer, 2 Blackbirds on the hill had me looking hard, they were into the sun and for a brief time thought they may have been Ring ouzels but wrong shape and were actually a male and female Blackbird.

A few Great-spotted and Green Woodpeckers heard and interestingly no Winter Thrushes seen or heard.

Cholsey Marsh.

3 Chiffchaff and several Reed Bunting singing and loads of people around, this weather certainly brings them out!

3 Roe Deer seen, also Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone and Peacock seen.

The garden Blackcaps all appear to have left now, the female Mallard, and 2 drakes turned up this evening and one of the males was quite aggressive to the other and eventually chased him off.

A Moorhen seen in Cholsey brook and a Pheasant in the meadow, and a Song Thrush serenading the sunset this evening in the garden.




Monday, 26 March 2012

Cholsey & 1066

Sunny, 19º, light E.

4 Pied Wagtail and around a dozen Meadow Pipits on Lollingdon Hill but not much else.

Brimstone and Small Tortoiseshell both seen.

1066, Drayton.

40’ish Teal, 4 Shovelor, 6 Wigeon, 2 Grey Heron, 30 Lapwing and 3 Redshank.


A Ring Ouzel seen in Juniper Valley on Saturday (per Tony Williams).
                                    Redshank @ 1066


                                          Small Tortoiseshell

Friday, 23 March 2012

Wheatear still

Sunny, 18º, light ENE.

Still 1 Wheatear on the hill, Meadow Pipit numbers down to around 30 and 20+ Corn Buntings with several in song.
Male Blackcap still visiting the feeder, the 2 females and the other male appear to have gone!
Treecreeper singing in the garden.
Brimstone, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies all on the wing today.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Cholsey 22nd March

Sunny, hazy, 16º, light to fresh E.

Farmland species dominated today, with Linnets, Chaffinches, Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers in most hedgerows and plenty of Skylarks in the area, approximately 20 Stock Doves seen in total and a Little Owl seen. 2 Kingfishers along the brook near the Lees.
4 Chiffchaffs heard singing.

Still around 30 Meadow Pipits on Lollingdon Hill and 6 Corn Buntings, no sign of Wheatears but could still be present.
Several Red Kites, Buzzards and singles of Sparrowhawk (m) and Kestrel.

Very few gulls recently, 7 Black-headed Gulls flew over the church, a single sickly looking Lesser Blackback in the centre of a large field and a Herring Gull flew east over the Lees.
Very few Fieldfares (apparently a lot on the downs) seen and no Redwings and around 8 Song Thrush seen/heard.

Several Peacock butterflies and a lot of Frog spawn noted. Water levels quite low in all areas.

Another visit to Lollingdon Hill this evening produced a single Wheatear, also run into Tony W and Roger’s dog on the hill and started discussing what could turn up this year, as you do!

20+ Yellowhammer at the western end and 10+ Corn Bunting.
                                    Little Owl

                                   Reed Bunting


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Farmoor and Cholsey

Sunny, 16º, warm, light E.

A trip to Farmoor to see a Black Redstart that had turned up.
Lollingdon Hill still had 2 Wheatears and 50+ Meadow Pipits feeding near the sheep and a small flock of 20 Fieldfare, 2 Redwing and 8 Starlings feeding along the Hawthorns at the top.

18 Corn Bunting flew in and settled in the trees at the western end and 12 Stock Doves on an adjacent field.

2 Blackcaps still visiting the garden and a flock of c30 Fieldfare over.
Woke up this morning at 04:30 to hear a Blackbird and a Wren singing in the garden and at least 2 Tawny Owls vocal! A good hour before daylight, soon back to sleep though.

A Song Thrush belting it out this evening.
 Black Redstart @ Farmoor and the 2 Wheatears on Lollingdon Hill.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Wheatears again

Sunny spells, 13º, light W.

Lollingdon Hill.

Around 60 Fieldfare, 5 Redwing and 20 Starlings on the hill, a single Pied Wagtail and several Meadow Pipits over and 10 Corn Buntings with 3 singing.

A different picture there this evening on a second visit, 2 Wheatear, 50+ Meadow Pipit feeding there, 42 Corn Bunting present on the western edge of the hill, with some dust bathing in an adjacent field along with several Skylark.
In addition 3 Robin, 2 Buzzard, 2 Yellowhammer and 2 Long-tailed Tit.

Cholsey Marsh.
4 Chiffchaffs (3 singing) and a few Reed Bunting in song, also 2 Buzzards displaying overhead.

1066 (Drayton).
12 Shovelor, 16 Wigeon, 50+ Teal, 2 Gadwall, 2 Redshank, 25 Lapwing, 3 Common Snipe and 2 Redshank.

There appears to be a movement of Meadow Pipits today as I heard them at all 3 sites passing over, also TW reported a movement of Common Gulls on the downs today.
A male and female Blackcap still coming to the feeders in the garden today.

Both Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies seen today.
                                   Lapwings @ 1066
                                 Northern Shoveler @ 1066

                              Canada Goose on the Thames

                                   Collared Dove in garden.

                                Blue Tit investigating a nest box

                                          and inside


                                   Meadow Pipit

                                  Skylarks dustbathing

                                  Common Buzzard


Monday, 19 March 2012


Sunny, 12º, light WNW.

2 Wheatears on Lollingdon Hill this morning, 23 Corn Bunting on the western end and a Chiffchaff singing in Jubilee Wood.
Thanks to Tony Williams for the info.

I dropped in on the hill around 13:00 on my way back from being away at the weekend and all had gone! Always tomorrow.

Also a Chiffchaff singing along Church rd on Saturday.

Thanks to RB for info.

Both the male Blackcaps still visiting the garden and a pair of Blue Tits frequenting one of the garden nest boxes!.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Lollingdon Hill and garden.

Overcast, 8º, light SW.

Still quiet on the hill and a bit cooler, 3 Red Kite around, a flock of 107 Fieldfare, 5 Redwing and 23 Starling flew over, also a Mistle Thrush and a Pied Wagtail.

Several Skylarks, 1 Yellowhammer and 2 Corn Buntings singing nearby.

5 Roe Deer seen in the vicinity.

Having said earlier this week I had not seen any Blackcaps for a few days in the garden.
I have now had 4 (2m & 2F), 2 female and 1 male have been present for a fair bit of the winter and today another male has turned up. I saw a female and a male yesterday and 2 males and a 2 female today.

                                   Blackcap (F)


Thursday, 15 March 2012


Sunny, hazy, 10º, no wind.

Working in the garden for the past 2 days 34 species seen and/or heard.

A Kingfisher still present along the brook, heard call several times, and a continuous noise coming from the Rookery, possibly eggs laid by now.

The 2 Mallards were waiting on the apex of the roof hoping I would go in but they plucked up enough courage to come down whilst I was still busy.

2 Blackcaps still around (1m, 1f) and taking sultanas, Greenfinch (c6), Goldfinch (c4) and Chaffinch (c8) feeding regularly in the garden.

A Song Thrush often feeding in the garden and in song, nearby 2 Mistle Thrush in the meadow and very few Fieldfare and Redwing around.

A pair of Blue Tits checking out a nest box and 2 pairs of Great Tit regular, in addition a pair of Long-tailed Tits sticking to the trees and not coming to the feeders.

Treecreeper heard singing again and both Great-spotted and Green Woodpeckers heard. Also, Coal Tit heard singing and Goldcrest seen and heard.

A Sparrowhawk seen several times a day over the meadow along with at least 2 Red Kite and a Buzzard.

A Hedgehog present for the last two evenings, a Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly today and quite a few 7–spot Ladybirds and Buff-tailed Bumble Bees.

Lollingdon Hill still rather quiet, anticipating returning Wheatears but nothing yet. Just a couple of Meadow Pipits present and 2 Corn Buntings singing nearby.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Local stuff & 1066

Overcast, 9º, no wind.

Lollingdon Hill.

2 Pied Wagtail and a Meadow Pipit on the hill and a Sparrowhawk and Red Kite over.

Cholsey marsh.

3 Reed Bunting singing, also Treecreeper, Great-spotted and Green Woodpeckers heard and a Kingfisher seen.

A couple of Roe Deer seen.


30+ Teal, 8 Wigeon, 6 Shovelor a couple of Mallard and 1 Gadwall. 2 Redshank, 6 Lapwing and 10 Common Snipe.


Begining to quiten down now, lower numbers of most species feeding, the 2 Mallards still visiting every day. Have not seen the Blackcaps this week so far!

Treecreeper (2), Goldcrest and Great-spotted and Green Woodpeckers heard frequently, a small family of Long-tailed Tits passed through and a Kingfisher heard again along the brook.

11th March

Thanks to RB.

Completed Dunnock nest (no eggs yet) on Church Rd today, and the male Sparrowhawk was displaying over the school territory - it later took a Starling out of a small flock of c.8 near the school.

Up to 11 Runner Ducks on the brook, although one was also dead further down, possible killed by the dominant male (its father!) that has been beating up the other males recently.

3 Brimstones, 1 Peacock and 2 Small Tortoiseshell today.

(I had quite a lot of Brimstone, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies over the week end and good numbers of 7-spot Ladybirds in Wantage).

Tawny Owls quite vocal in th garden tonight!
                     Church road Rookery (above and below)

                        Common Buzzard over the meadow.

Friday, 9 March 2012


Overcast, 10°, light to fresh SW.
Lollingdon hill very quiet, just a Meadow Pipit on the slope.
30 to 40 Teal, 14 Wigeon, 6 Shovelor, 2 Redshank and 5 Common Snipe. 3 Cormorant and a Buzzard overhead.


Thursday, 8 March 2012

Horse tale

Sunny, 12º, light SW.

A walk along the Thames from Wallingford to Cholsey marsh produced very little, 3 pairs of Great-crested Grebe, a Little Grebe, Kingfisher, Tufted Duck, 4 Mute Swans and 2 Cormorants were the only birds of note.

In addition, I had 3 Sparrowhawk sightings and a fair number of Buzzard and Red Kite in the air today!

A visit to Lollingdon Hill was equally quiet; a small flock of Fieldfare and Redwing, but the peace was short lived as I saw a rider less horse galloping towards me. Not having any experience of horses I was trying to remember what my girlfriend had told me, she is an experienced rider. As it closed on me, I managed to slow it down by talking and holding a hand out and as it got near, I managed to grab the reins and get it to stop. I then calmed her down and started to walk her back along the path, as we got to the end of the path the rider appeared. The horse had been spooked by some sheep, threw her rider and galloped off. A happy ending!

                                          Mute Swans

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Marymead Garden

Sunny, 10º, light SSW.

Working in the garden today and spring is certainly on its way, Great-spotted Woodpecker drumming, Green Woodpecker calling, Treecreeper singing and Blackcap singing. Several Bumble Bees today but no butterflies.

A Kingfisher heard twice along the brook and a couple of Mistle Thrush in the meadow. The usual Red Kites overhead and a Buzzard seen.

A female Sparrowhawk caused some consternation at the Rookery as it passed over and was eventually seen off by 3 Rooks.

A Song Thrush visiting and 2 pairs of Blackbirds appeared to have established territories in the garden, also Goldcrest heard singing most of the afternoon and a Coal Tit infrequently.

I am working on a project in the garden digging out a few new beds, an area for herbs and 2 other areas for flowers, all native plants and will be preparing another area for a small wild flower garden in an attempt to increase the biodiversity of the garden. At this moment it is mainly grass, trees and many non-native plants that are rather drab and do not attract insects etc.

3 Mallards (2m& 1f) turned up in the garden after I had finished for the day.

A couple of amorous Hedgehogs in the garden last night and Tawny Owls heard.


                                   Great Tit

                       Wood Pigeon (dont always get a mention)

                                 Greenfinch and Goldfinch

                                  Blackcap and Blue Tit

                               Blackcap and Blue Tit  


                                  New plant bed

Friday, 2 March 2012

Here and there.

Mist and fog, 10º, hardly any wind.
Approximately 30 Teal, 4 Shovelor, 6 Wigeon, 1 Gadwall and 2 Common Snipe.
There was a Reed Bunting in Sainsbury’s car park Didcot, a rather unusual spot for one!
The scrape at Day’s Lock is very dry, only one small area of standing water!
A Kingfisher seen, a Nuthatch heard and a male Blackcap (sub song heard) at Day’s Lock.
Lollingdon Hill again quiet, 3 Corn Buntings heard singing in the vicinity, but am anticipating returning Wheatears soon.
Garden still an active area with the 3 Blackcaps still visiting, 2 Song Thrush quite regular and 3 Mallards now regular this week, along with the usual visitors.
At least 2 Tawny Owls vocal last night in the garden and meadow and 2 or 3 Great-spotted Woodpeckers around.
The Rookeries in Church rd have started to become very active this week, possibly 30 to 40 pairs nest building.
2 Red Admirals in garden yesterday.

                                   Kingfisher, Days Lock