Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Marymead garden

Overcast, 11º, rain, light S, blustery during rain showers.

Fairly quiet in the garden today, the odd Chaffinch and Goldfinch, a few Blue and Great Tit, a Wren, Robin and two Dunnock, also a Great-spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker and Coal Tit.

A small number of approximately twenty Redwing stopped off in the garden briefly and a few Meadow Pipit heard passing overhead, a couple of Goldcrest heard calling from the other side of Church rd and a Pied Wagtail out in the front garden.

A Blackbird feeding in the garden this evening at 18:45 nearly two hours after dark!

No news from elsewhere in Cholsey today.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Cholsey, 29th Oct

Several Goldcrest on Lollingdon hill today (also a few near the four Arches along the Thames).

A bird not seen in Cholsey for a few years in the shape of a Tree Sparrow seen in association with some Chaffinch along a hedgerow near the hill, also some Corn Bunting in the vicinity.
A flock of approximately five hundred Starling (which I also saw as I came home today) around the hill ranging around the pig farm and nearby fields, also good numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing.

Thanks to TW for the information.
Appears not to have been much in the garden recently as the feeders are still relatively full after my ten-day absence, however a Moorhen feeding at dusk and a Pheasant trying to gain entry to the garden by trying to walk through the fence rather than jump or fly over it!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Friday 26 October, 2012 RSPB NEWS RELEASE


 An appalling combination of fog and winds around England’s coast this week have created terrible conditions for migrating birds, with some fishermen reporting to the RSPB the deaths of many exhausted and disorientated ‘garden’ birds plunging into the sea around their vessels.

 England’s east coast, from Northumberland to Kent, has seen the arrival of many birds, including redwings, fieldfares, bramblings and blackbirds, perhaps numbering in their millions this week. The RSPB believes these birds may be the lucky survivors which have managed to cross the North Sea, but the Society concedes many others may have perished before making landfall.

One such site to experience a ‘fall’ of stranded migrant birds is the RSPB’s Bempton Cliffs reserve in North Yorkshire. Ian Kendall is the reserves manager. Commenting on the sight, he said: “There are birds in their thousands, on the cliffs, in the surrounding fields, hedgerows and along the length of the Yorkshire Coast.

“The birds left Scandinavia in glorious sunshine but as they crossed the North Sea, they flew into fog and rain, so they stopped off at the first bit of land they have come across. The place has been dripping with birds.”
Along England’s south coast, the RSPB has received several reports of thousands of disorientated and exhausted birds drowning in the sea. One respondent, a professional boat skipper, said: “While fishing about 10 miles south of Portsmouth, we witnessed thousands of garden birds disorientated, land on the sea and most drowning. Species included goldcrests, robins, thrushes and blackbirds. The sky was thick with garden birds. I estimate I saw 500 birds die and that was just in our 300-yard sphere. On the way home we just saw dead songbirds in the water: it was a harrowing sight.”

Martin Harper is the RSPB’s conservation director. He said: “The scale of these reports are truly shocking, and it has the potential to adversely affect the status of species which may be declining for other reasons.”
Those exhausted birds which have made it to the UK will be looking for food and may be visiting gardens, especially as the weather is expected to turn with the UK forecast to receive the first icy blasts of winter.
Ian Hayward is an adviser with the RSPB’s wildlife enquiries team. He said: “The first cold snap will encourage many birds to visit gardens increasingly, in a quest for food. Now is the time to start topping up bird tables and feeders. These birds need all the help they can get, so gardeners and farmers can also help birds by not cutting hedgerows laden with much-needed berries.”

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Temporary break

Due to unforeseen circumstances my blog will not be updated as frequently as it has been, maybe some records from the garden or any records from birders in Cholsey over the next month or so.
Hopefully updates will resume soon.
Thank you.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Soggy day.

Overcast, light to heavy rain, 14°, light SW.
Lollingdon hill
A rather soggy dull day, the Wheatear still around and a Chiffchaff and two Goldcrest in a hedgerow nearby several Meadow Pipit, Skylark and eight Yellowhammer in nearby fields also four Corn Bunting on the wires.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Cholsey, 18th Oct

Overcast, 16º, a few showers, light to fresh SW.

A milder day but still showery, a fair amount of rain this week has left streams and ditches running high and some partial flooding of some fields.
Quite a few Mistle Thrush around today, around sixteen seen but only in ones or twos and several Jay heard in a few locations.

Some decent Skylark flocks building up with one consisting of around one hundred birds, also some fair sized flocks of Meadow Pipit and an increase in Pied Wagtails with approximately twenty noted.
The Wheatear still present on Lollingdon hill and two Goldcrest on the north side.

A few Common Darter seen and one Red Admiral.

     Red Kite with what appears to be some remains of another bird?

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Cholsey, 17th Oct

Sunny spells, 14º, showers, one thundery and a blustery SW wind.

A visit to Lollingdon hill again, the Wheatear still and two Chiffchaff present.
Twelve Buzzard seen, four were in the vicinity for a time but the other eight drifted over the hill and continued south towards the downs. Also several Red Kite, two Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk seen.

At one point, a Raven came over the hill pursuing a Red Kite and after a brief encounter the Red Kite was grounded by the Raven, the Raven then landed about five metres from the Kite and after around thirty seconds flew off towards the downs.
Also a Pied Wagtail visiting a manure heap there.

Cholsey marsh was quiet a few Reed Bunting and a Chiffchaff present, sixteen Siskin flew into an Alder tree and were joined by approximately twenty Goldfinch.
Three Jay flew across the Thames, as did seven Mistle Thrush. Caught the edge of a thundery shower so did not get too much rain and three Swallow flew down river keeping to the edge of the rain.

Further, upstream there were four Cormorant in their usual rest spot and a couple of Great-spotted Woodpecker nearby also a Kingfisher at Bow Bridge.
Six Common Lizard seen and a few Red Admiral, Small White and a Brimstone on the wing several Migrant Hawker and Common Darter.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Lollingdon hill, 16th Oct

Sunny spells, 12º, fresh to strong SW.

A very windy Lollingdon hill saw the Wheatear still present and a Chiffchaff in a hedgerow to the east. Apart from a couple of Buzzard and Red Kite little else there that was showing.

Also a Kingfisher and Chiffchaff at the manor house. (per TW).


Monday, 15 October 2012

Lollingdon hill, 15th Oct

Overcast, 12º, fresh SW.

Quiet up there today as the north side fields were being worked by tractors, rather noisy.
However a Wheatear had turned up and was feeding along the fence line, also a few Meadow Pipits present and a steady stream of Gulls and Corvids passing overhead.

Thursday, 11 October 2012


Rain, 14º, light E.

A rather dull and soggy day, Lollingdon hill was quiet on the south side, two flocks of Hirundines passed over the hill, the first was exclusively House Martin but the second had at least six Swallow with them, both flocks comprised roughly twenty birds, also a Chiffchaff working its way down the hedgerow to the south.
As I approached the north side, fourteen Redwing flew off, also there were five Song Thrush and eight Blackbird feeding on Hawthorn berries and two Mistle Thrush present, there was also a single Jay briefly, the Blackcap still there feeding on Elderberry and three Chiffchaff present.

A Corn Bunting heard in song and three Pied Wagtail in nearby fields along with eight Yellowhammer and several Meadow Pipit, also several Starling (c20) around.
Cholsey Marsh had five Chiffchaff present and a Reed Warbler in bank side vegetation. A flock of approximately thirty House Martin were feeding over the marsh and slowly drifting down river in the drizzly weather, two Siskin flew over and a Treecreeper heard.

Three Jay were in the trees on the opposite bank of the Thames and a Kingfisher flew downstream, also a Green Woodpecker heard.
Two Red Admiral seen on the wing.

Lollingdon hill, 10th Oct

Overcast, 14º, light E.

Quite a contrast from yesterday with hardly anything there, one Song Thrush, three Blackbird, four Greenfinch, a Blackcap and two Robin. Only a single Mistle Thrush flew over being chased by a Crow.
Four Red Admiral and two Common Darter noted.

An interesting note from today’s sightings at Falsterbo observatory in Sweden.

“Another legendary day, but actually rather normal for this autumn ;)
Ringing: 2782 birds ringed (fourth highest), 1952 Blue Tits (fourth highest), 452 Great Tits (second highest) and the season total has passed 25 000 birds for the first time ever, with a month of ringing left!
Mixed migration: about 58 500 Wood Pigeons, 15 560 Barnacle Geese, 4 Black Kites, 1 Richard’s Pipit, 16 700 Blue Tits and last but certainly not least: 4193 Sparrowhawks! A massive record and the first time ever with more than 4000 migrating in one day. Also, today’s 63 300 chaffinch pushed the total for this pair of species above 2 million. Soon the total migration will pass 3 million for the second time in history... :”

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Lollingdon hill, 9th Oct

Overcast, a few sunny spells, 12º, little wind.

No rain forecast so a walk to Lollingdon hill looked on the cards, not much on the way, a few Yellowhammer en route and a three Goldcrest and a single Chiffchaff in Jubilee wood.
Spent a few hours on the hill and it proved worthwhile, three Jay stopped briefly before heading towards the downs, also nine Mistle Thrush, two Siskin and three Pied Wagtail over.

The more wooded north side of the hill held, a Reed Bunting, a Corn Bunting, five Chiffchaff, a Blackcap, a Goldcrest, three Song Thrush, fourteen Blackbird
(Incidentally, they were all ’s), seven Robin, a Great-spotted Woodpecker and a small tit flock of around ten birds.
Usually only a couple of Robin and Blackbird so I guess birds are moving through.

There were twenty-four Starling feeding briefly on the southern side and Yellowhammer, Meadow Pipit and Skylark regular, a few Buzzard and Red Kite and the usual Gulls and Corvids in the area.
Several Small White, Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral butterflies and twenty plus Common Darter dragonflies seen, however these soon disappeared as the afternoon got cooler.

I dropped in briefly on the hill yesterday during the rain, only a single Chiffchaff and a party of six Swallow flew over.
A large finch flock near East Hendred numbering several hundred birds, as I was driving I did not ID the birds but would assume most were Linnet?

Also another two Jay seen in Wantage at the weekend.
At least three different Hedgehog in the garden recently.


Sunday, 7 October 2012


The first Redwing of the autumn, a flock of twenty five to thirty seen, also eleven Egyptian Geese on the Thames near Cholsey Marsh.

Thanks to Richard for the info.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Jays and Chiffchaffs

Sunny spells, showers, 14º, light to fresh WSW.

After two Jays in the garden yesterday, several more seen today, two or three near the four arches, four at Bow Bridge and two plus south of Lollingdon hill.
Chiffchaffs still frequent also, three on Cholsey Marsh, two at Bow with a largish (c40) tit flock and another two on Lollingdon hill.

Cholsey Marsh also produced a flyover of five Siskin and a flock of fifty Starling feeding in a nearby field.
The tit flock at Bow bridge consisted of twenty plus Long-tailed Tit and the rest Blue and Great Tit, two plus Goldcrest and a Treecreeper.

Several Bullfinch present and a Cormorant near the river.
Other than mentioned above, a single Goldcrest on the north side of the hill.

Approximately one hundred and fifty Lesser Blackback Gull feeding in a field being worked by a tractor.
Very light hirundine passage today!

Red Admiral, Large and Small White, Small Tortoiseshell and Speckled Wood all seen and quite a few Migrant Hawker and Common Darter noted.

Three Common Lizard seen basking in the available sunshine, several Roe Deer and a single Brown Hare.

                                   Some of the garden Goldfinch

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

3rd Oct

Sunny spells, 14º, fresh SW.

Two visits to the hill today, neither turned up a lot, this morning saw four Pied Wagtail fly over towards the downs, and approximately fifty Swallow flew south. A Goldcrest, two Chiffchaff and a Blackcap on the north side and three Mallard flew over.
This afternoon very similar with several more hirundine flocks this time mainly House Martin.

A Buzzard and a Kestrel on the hill and around a thousand Gulls loafing in distant fields with several Lesser Blackback Gull passing over.
The garden busy today with at one point twenty five Goldfinch and ten Stock Dove feeding in the garden, a Jay was in the garden and another in the meadow at one point, until chased off by the two Crows. Two Chiffchaff, Great, Blue, Coal and Long-tailed Tit all present on and off, and a Grey Wagtail briefly.

A couple of Red Admiral and Small White seen today.

An interesting figure I read from a report of 87,400 Blue Tit moving south at Falstebro bird observatory, southern Sweden yesterday, amongst many other migrants!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

2nd Oct........

Sunny spells, showers, 16º, fresh SSW.

At least seven Chiffchaff on Lollingdon hill, mainly on the sheltered north side, also a Blackcap present.
Several hirundine flocks passing through, two hundred plus birds altogether and again mainly House Martin with quite a few Swallow.

Two Kestrel still present and hunting over the hill and a Red Kite present, several Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Yellowhammer and Skylark and a single Pied Wagtail in the vicinity.
Coal Tit and Great-spotted Woodpecker in garden along with the other regulars.

Red Admiral, Speckled Wood and Small White still on the wing and several Common Darter around.

Monday, 1 October 2012

1st Oct, quiet!

Overcast, 16º, fresh SW.

A brief visit to Lollingdon hill proved rather quiet, two Buzzard, a Kestrel and a Red Kite overhead, around eighty Hirundines flew over heading into the wind, mainly House Martin and a few Swallow, Two Mistle Thrush and a high flying Great-spotted Woodpecker headed for the downs. A dozen Yellowhammer and a couple of Skylark also present in the area.
The north side had a small tit flock and a Chiffchaff with them and a few Lesser Blackback Gulls loafing in nearby fields.

A single Red Admiral and several Small White on the wing.