Friday, 30 November 2012

A walk in the village

Few sunny spells, 4º, no wind.
After the visit of a few Waxwings this week I thought I would take a walk around the village to see if any were hanging around. Unfortunately, none were seen and very few berry bearing shrubs or trees were noted for any future reference!

The walk proved quite interesting as it turned out the village has quite a reasonable population of House Sparrow, the only place lacking them appeared to be the Queens Road area. Also quite a few Starling noted either singly or in flocks of up to twenty feeding in and around gardens.
Other species noted were Blue and Great Tit, Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Blackbird, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and singles of Coal Tit and Great-spotted Woodpecker. I did not cover the whole of the village but a good proportion of it. Obviously, there will be more species noted on the peripheral areas of the village, as there are more trees, open areas and other variable habitats. I wonder if this is representative of other villages in the area.

On another note, there were two Magpie in the meadow briefly today before being chased off by the ever present pair of Carrion Crow still maintaining their anti-corvid policy!

Thursday, 29 November 2012


Sunny, 4º, little or no wind.

Finally got our share of the Waxwings this week, a belated record of three in a private garden for one lucky observer!
Went in to Wallingford again today and the river level has dropped by around ten centimetres so providing no more rain it should continue to drop, although the water table is saturated that will take some time to even out......... More rain due for Sunday apparently!

A brief (one hour) visit to Lollingdon hill today just before dusk, a single Buzzard on the south side was about it but the hedgerow on the west and north side held over twenty Blackbird, five Song Thrush, three Redwing and a single Fieldfare finishing off the diminishing supply of haws and berries.
Three Corn Bunting and two Yellowhammer flew over and a single Jay seen, the Linnet flock was down to around fifty and ten plus Chaffinch present, also a small tit flock comprising Long-tailed, Blue and Great around twelve birds in all.

Forgot to mention quite a few Starling (c200) also feeding around the periphery of the various flooded areas yesterday.
          Common Buzzard, there briefly then off.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

November Rain.

Overcast, 6º, light NW, chilly!

Managed to get out today to blow some cobwebs away, very muddy and wet underfoot and quite a few fields with small to large areas flooded and the Thames is just above the level of July 2007 and has burst its banks but well short of 2003 levels.
The Thames path is under water virtually all the way from the Four Arches railway bridge to Wallingford.

A rather soggy walk out to Lollingdon, plenty of Fieldfare and Redwing around plus several Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush and fifty plus Blackbird, Redwing numbers on a par with Fieldfare today.
Good numbers of Meadow Pipit (100+) and Pied Wagtail (50+) around the flooded fields, several Common Snipe in the fields and a single Woodcock flushed from a ditch near Lollingdon.

A single Golden Plover flew north over Lollingdon hill and flew towards Cholsey hill where it probably joined the flock around the floods at South Stoke. The Linnet flock on Lollingdon hill numbering around eighty at the moment.
A lot of Gulls around the floods, Lesser Blackback Gull being in the majority with five hundred plus, two hundred plus Black-headed Gull and a single Herring Gull noted.

The fields between Aston Tirrold and the Lees were very quiet, a few Carrion Crow, Skylark and a single Buzzard.
A Sparrowhawk around Cholsey church and Fourteen Buzzard and ten Red Kite seen on the walk.

Cholsey marsh is mostly under water and not much seen there apart from several Mallard and a couple of Teal.
Twelve Roe Deer seen in total in various places.

The view from Cholsey hill towards South Stoke was bustling with Gulls and Plovers, no accurate counts as too distant but Lapwing and Golden Plover noted, probably up to three thousand birds in the area at max times with many Gulls augmenting the totals stopping off for a wash and brush up before flying to roost.

A rather large Hedgehog in the garden on Monday night cleaning up under the bird feeders and two Stock Dove feeding in the garden still.
Tony Williams had a Kingfisher by the moat at the Manor house in Lollingdon today.

Some pics of the local floods.

                                   Outskirts of Cholsey at Church road
                                   Cholsey Marsh
                                  Ferry road
                                  Thames path at Bow Bridge
                             The Thames is actually to the left of the hedge.
                                  View upstream from Wallingford Bridge.
                                   View downstream from Wallingford bridge
                                  The Boathouse pub/restaurant
                                        On a par with the July 2007 flood
       above/below view of the floods at South Moreton from Cholsey Hill

Friday, 23 November 2012

South Moreton

Sunny, 8°, light variable.
Brian Wyatt checked out the flooded area at South Moreton today,
Three Dunlin, approx five hundred Golden Plover, one thousand Lapwing, fifty Common Snipe, amazing what a bit of water can attract!
My news of two Stock Dove feeding in the garden with Wood Pigeons.

Birds massacred in the Lebanon!

Check this out, it's a bloody disgrace!

Thursday, 22 November 2012


Few sunny spells, 13º, fresh to strong SSW gusting up to 35 knots, weather deteriorating as the evening progresses.

A walk out to the Lees to see if the Stonechats were still present but no sign of them this week. Not much in the air in the strong winds, a few Meadow Pipit, Yellowhammer and Skylark but little else until a huge flock of birds appeared over Cholsey hill.
Well over one thousand birds seen in the distance over Cholsey hill, a mixed flock of Gulls and Plovers that had been put up for some reason from the flooded area at South Moreton.

After a short time, the flock broke up into sub flocks of approximately two to three hundred of each Golden Plover and Lapwing and the rest being Black-headed and Lesser Blackback Gull, if there was any other species with them I could not tell, as they were distant.

A flock of approx fifty Linnet on Cholsey hill.
A Tit flock in the millennium wood, fourteen Long-tailed, five Great and six Blue Tit and two Goldcrest, two Bullfinch also. Quite a few Fieldfare and Redwing around and widespread and quite a lot of Blackbird (c50) in various hedgerows along my route.

Great-spotted Woodpecker in the garden again.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

More rain and a garden tick!

Light to heavy rain, fresh to strong variable winds, max 11º.

Attempted to go for a walk but twenty minutes out I realised I was on to a loser so came back home, light was poor and rain was heavy.
The rest of the day spent listening to Led Zeppelin’s new CD and viewing the Bluray of “Celebration Day” also looking out into a very autumnal looking garden and meadow and watching the feeders .....and this eventually paid off with two Lesser Redpoll, a new garden tick! (72 species to date).

There has been a max of nine Goldfinch; eight Chaffinch and two Greenfinch at the feeders on and off most of the day and early afternoon saw the two Redpoll present for around five minutes before flying off into the meadow hedgerow.
Also six Collared Dove and ten plus Wood Pigeon feeding as well as the usual visiting tits, also two Blackbird, a Great-spotted Woodpecker, a Wren, two Dunnock and a Robin.

                      An autumnal looking garden. (can you spot the Chaffinch)



Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Rain, rain, rain.

Overcast, rain, 12º, light to fresh SW.

A very wet and windy day and not very conducive to birding etc. The only birds of note were approximately fifty Golden Plover on Cholsey hill this morning, possibly part of the flock that BW had on the floods at South Moreton yesterday.
Four species of Tit in the garden today, Long-tailed, Coal, Great and Blue and a slight increase in Goldfinch numbers.
A good influx of Waxwings into the UK recently and there have been a few Waxwings seen in Oxfordshire last week (Oxford and Otmoor) so worth keeping an eye out, feeding on Rowan and any other berry bearing plant.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Zilch on the hill but plenty nearby

Cloudy, 10º, fresh S

A visit to Lollingdon hill today produced “zilch” on the hill, nearly all the berries have gone and so have the thrushes and just about everything else!
Gulls and Corvids going back and forth over the hill and five Red Kite in the vicinity.

In the east of the village, TR reports twenty Linnet, nine Yellowhammer and a flyover Raven recently.
The garden this afternoon hosted two Grey Wagtail, a Great-spotted Woodpecker, also the two Coal Tit still visiting.

Brian Wyatt has been watching the flooded area in South Moreton (a stones throw from Cholsey hill) and seen the following today, a Ruff, a Dunlin, approx two hundred Golden Plover, three hundred Lapwing and fifty Common Snipe.

A Brambling in a garden in Ilges Lane on the 17th Nov.

Fieldfares and a couple of Redwing from Fri 16th Nov

Saturday, 17 November 2012

The Downs above Letcombe Bassett

Cloudy, few sunny spells, 10°, no wind.
A few hours spent along the Ridgeway above Letcombe Bassett today, a (ringtail) Hen Harrier seen flying west heading roughly towards the punchbowl area, a Kestrel, four Buzzard and five Red Kite also in the area, Several Skylark, Meadow Pipit, fifty plus Linnet.
A Brambling noted with a small Chaffinch flock near the intersection of Gramps hill and the Ridgeway and a lot of Fieldfare and Redwing there. Two Jay in the trees along Gramps hill and a few Tit flocks moving through and a few Goldcrest noted.
A flock of approximately two hundred Linnet in fields along the Hendred straight yesterday.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Birdlife International: massacre of Amur Falcons

This has gone viral on Twitter recently and birdlife international have become involved.............can you help?

Massacre of Amur Falcons in Nagaland India.

Fieldfare fest

Overcast, misty, 8°, no appreciable wind and poor visibility.
A brief look around Lollingdon hill today produced somewhere in the region of five hundred thrushes, again mainly Fieldfare but also a hundred plus Redwing and most of the Hawthorn berries are now gone from the hedgerows so I guess they will be moving on shortly.
Eight Blackbird on the north side, a few Chaffinch, two Great Tit and several Blue Tit, a couple of Jay heard nearby but not seen, four Magpie in the hedgerow to the east along with a small flock of ten Long-tailed Tit and five Stock Dove feeding in a nearby field.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Fifteen minute birding!

Overcast, dull, 10º, no appreciable wind.

Arrived at Cholsey marsh and got a phone call fifteen minutes later and had to leave, end of birding today. However, during those fifteen minutes I saw a Chiffchaff in the vegetation along the riverbank and six Siskin in the Alders. Lots of Fieldfare and Redwing around.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Merlin and Stonechats

Overcast then sunny, 12º, light SE.

A single Lapwing seen flying from near the Bullshole towards Cholsey hill and may have joined a small flock on the other side of the hill in the flooded fields at South Moreton.
Around a dozen Tit flocks noted today between ten and thirty birds in each flock
(Long-tailed, Blue, Great and Coal Tit, plus Goldcrest (20+) ).

Winter Thrushes quite widespread now, Fieldfare in the majority but also good numbers of Redwing and approximately one hundred Blackbird noted, small numbers of Song and Mistle Thrush seen also.
At one point along a track in Lollingdon, a flock of thrushes came whooshing past me low and fast alarm calling and disappeared in to the trees behind me. On looking up to where they had come from I saw a Merlin flying through, it did not look like he was on the hunt but I guess the thrushes were not taking a chance!

Again, several small flocks of Starling seen, also a single Jay, several Meadow Pipit and Skylark and the odd Buzzard and Red Kite. A good flock of House Sparrow around Manor farm and Siskin also heard in a few places.
Two Stonechat also seen but were not allowing a close enough approach for a decent photo unfortunately.

Tony W has seen several Common Snipe recently in some of the flooded fields locally and also the Lollingdon Little Owl.
Two Coal Tit visiting the garden regularly this week.

A rather late Common Hawker dragonfly and a Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell butterfly seen today!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Cetti's Warbler

Overcast, rain, 11º, moderate S.

Lollingdon hill very quiet today in the rainy conditions approximately fifty Fieldfare present and that was about all!

A Pheasant feeding in the meadow at dusk and a Great-spotted Woodpecker in the garden again.
Richard had a Cetti’s Warbler on Cholsey marsh yesterday, possibly one of the birds that was present in the summer, will it winter I wonder?

The two Cetti’s that were present during the summer. Courtesy © Roger Wyatt


Friday, 9 November 2012

Fewer Thrushes

Cloudy, 10°, moderate SW.
Fewer thrushes on the hill today, all Fieldfare plus two Mistle Thrush (negative on Redwing and Song Thrush) all at the western end, five or six Blackbird on the north side.
Two Tit flocks present both around twenty birds and both with at least two Goldcrest present. Approximately fifty Linnet still and a couple of Corn Bunting present nearby, also four Red Kite and a Buzzard.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Thrushes dominate

Overcast, 11º, light WSW.

Lollingdon hill again dominated by thrushes with over two hundred present, mainly Fieldfare but more Redwing (c60) and two Mistle Thrush still also around another hundred in a hedgerow in one of the fields to the north plus approximately fifty Starling feeding with this flock.
When I first arrived on the hill, I could hear some Golden Plover calling but no sight of them!

Two Goldcrest still present on the north side of the hill in the ivy covered trees and an increase in Linnet numbers with around fifty present.
A steady flow of gulls heading north to roost sites.

TW had fair numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing this morning near the Four Arches railway bridge, also a flock of around fifty Goldfinch.
A small flock of Long-tailed Tit in the garden this morning, eight birds in total.

                                   Fieldfare and Linnet
                                   Fieldfares in the setting sun
                                    Long-tailed Tits

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Cholsey, 7th Nov.

Sunny spells, overcast later, 10º, light to moderate W.

The river Thames running quite fast and the footpath very muddy today, a Teal flew from Cholsey marsh and headed down stream and there was at least two more on the marsh but hidden from view most of the time. Two Water Rail heard and several Reed Bunting present, five Bullfinch in the Sallows on the marsh and a tit flock of around thirty birds moving through and crossing the river. A Sparrowhawk soaring over the marsh and a Kestrel hunting there, a single Jay along Ferry rd and several Redwing and Fieldfare present in the taller trees. Twenty to thirty Siskin and twenty plus Goldfinch feeding on the Alders along the riverbank.
Bow Bridge turned up two Blackcap and a Chiffchaff along with another tit flock with a few Goldcrest amongst them, more Siskin heard overhead and a Cormorant on the river there.

A few more Fieldfare (hundred plus) on Lollingdon hill today along with a handful of Redwing and two Mistle Thrush, around six Blackbird on the north side and a flock of twenty five Linnet feeding in the top field.

A few small Starling flocks in various spots around Cholsey.
Tony Williams had four Brambling in his garden yesterday, but not present today.

I would just like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the Doctors, Nurses and Paramedics in the cardiology dept of the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford where I spent several days at the end of last month for their care and understanding, lifesavers!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012


Overcast, rain, 10º, light W.

Far fewer thrushes on the hill today, less than fifty Fieldfare, two Mistle Thrush and a couple of Blackbird.
Just walking back around to the south side of the hill when a Merlin (fem/juv)  flew by fast and low and settled on a fence post about three hundred metres away in another field for a couple of minutes before flying off towards the downs above Aston Tirrold.

A Moorhen feeding in the garden this morning.
                                   More Fieldfares

Monday, 5 November 2012


Sunny, 7º, light NW.

Rather wet underfoot with all the rain recently and quite a few flooded fields in the area, especially between Cholsey, Brightwell and South Moreton and many gulls seen distantly there, may take a look later this week!
Quite a few Fieldfare on Lollingdon hill still, around two hundred in all with six Blackbird, three Song Thrush and at least two Mistle Thrush present feeding on the Hawthorn bushes. Approximately twenty Goldfinch mixed in with the thrushes, also a Corn Bunting present and a Great-spotted Woodpecker.

Tawny Owls vocal in the meadow tonight.


Friday, 2 November 2012

Lollingdon hill

Sunny, 6°, light WSW, chilly!
Have been given the OK from the hospital to drive and more importantly get out and get some birding done (with caution)!
As usual decided on a visit to Lollingdon hill for about an hour, quite a few Thrushes there with a flock of two hundred plus consisting mainly of Fieldfare, approximately twenty Redwing, five Blackbird, three Song Thrush and two Mistle Thrush with most feeding on the hawthorns on the south slope. Amazing how many Fieldfare can fit in one hawthorn bush! Also a flock of around one hundred Fieldfare flew from the northern side and flew towards the downs.
Several Meadow Pipit and Skylark nearby, a single Buzzard a Jay and three Pied Wagtail flew over and a single Chiffchaff still present in a hedgerow along the east side.


Some Fungi, mostly taken in Wittenham Wood. Some ID's may not be correct!
                                  Amethyst Deceiver

                                  Burgundydrop Bonnet

                                   Clustered Bonnet

                                   Clustered Domecap

                                   Dead Mans Fingers

                                  Fairy Inkcap

                                  Green Elfcup

                                  Jelly Ear Fungus

                                   Porcelain Fungus

                                   Shaggy Inkcap


                                  The Deceiver

                                    Velvet Shank

                                           Yellow Stagshorn

                                   Trooping Funnel