Tuesday, 31 July 2012


Overcast, few sunny spells, 22º, Showers, light to fresh S. Warm and wet!

What was striking today was the numbers of just a few species around, in roughly 3 hours I counted 500+ Swifts passing through all heading in a southerly direction feeding as they went. There were mainly small flocks of between 6 to 50 but one large flock of over 100 went over!
Also, gull numbers have increased again with another field being ploughed and 800+ gulls in the area, again a similar mix of species with the majority being Lesser Blackbacks, c 20 Herring Gulls and 30-40 Black-headed Gulls.

Large numbers of corvids (400+), mainly Rooks in the area of the pig farm and mixed in with the large gull flock in the field being ploughed. A flock of around 50 Starlings at the pig farm also.
2 Kestrels hunting over Lollingdon hill and looked as if they were catching insects. Several Buzzards around and a juvenile noted, also plenty of Red Kites.

A couple of small Tit flocks (Long-tailed, Blue and Great) and a couple of Chiffchaffs with them. An adult Reed Warbler and 2 juveniles also several Sedge Warblers along the “reedy ditch”.
Swallows and House Martins feeding near Manor Farm and a Mistle Thrush there.

When not raining the air temperature was still warm enough for butterflies to be on the wing, Large and Small Whites, Fewer Ringlets and Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Small and Large Skippers, also a Banded Demoiselle seen (2km from the river) and a couple of Common Darters.
Quite a few Froglets noted in one area.

A Sparrowhawk shopping at Sainsbury’s in Didcot, or rather hunting the pigeons that inhabit the Orchard centre!
Stock Doves still visiting garden but a lack of small birds, only a Robin, Wren and a couple of Dunnocks (residents) this week.

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