Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year

2012 End of year.
As previously mentioned in an earlier post the year started with drought conditions and is now finishing with floods. This year is now the wettest on record and is ending on a wet and windy note also along with silly winter temperatures of 12ºc!
A steady year species wise but disastrous for many breeding birds with the wet spring causing a lack of insect food etc, also butterflies had a bad year due to the weather conditions.
One hundred and twenty bird species noted in the parish this year a little down on previous years, twenty mammals, three reptiles, three amphibians, twenty three butterflies and fourteen dragonflies (that I know of); I do not have figures for other species.
Most other wildlife was on a par with previous years, a few more sites for Common Lizard found and amphibians seemed to do well. An interesting note of a Smooth Newt found swimming around in a bowl of water put out in a garden for a pet dog.
A good autumn passage of Common Redstart that turned out to be county wide and quite unprecedented in modern times, as opposed to a protracted autumn passage of Northern Wheatear that was disappointing.
A Turtle Dove and a Tree Sparrow were noted for the first time in a few years but only briefly.
Several highlights (for me) were the six White Storks that arrived on Cholsey Hill on the 26th April, a Great Grey Shrike out Lollingdon way on the 21st December and a pair of Cetti’s Warbler possibly breeding on Cholsey Marsh, first time since the mid-90’s.
The Storks were the first record for Cholsey and the Shrike was the third record (1966 and 2002 being the previous), neither stayed around for very long in Cholsey. However the Storks stayed in Oxfordshire for a time and many local birders managed to see them and the shrike may still be somewhere in South Oxfordshire.
The Storks were first seen on the 17th April near Abberly in Worcestershire; at that point, there were nine White Storks, then 6 seen near Colwyn Bay and Holywell in North Wales before tracking back and being seen on Cholsey Hill. From there they were tracked over Moreton, Didcot and Abingdon before settling down in the Newbridge/Standlake area where unfortunately one of them died after hitting some power lines.
They were then seen in East Sussex (Sidlesham) and tracked across Hampshire to Dorset and seen over Weymouth and Portland (the day after I left Portland) and then flew to Mordon Bog in Dorset on 6th May. I have no further information from that point.
Thanks to all who have contributed to the blog in 2012, Tony Williams, Tony Rayner, Brian Wyatt, Roger Wyatt, John Lucas, Michael Pocock, Badger, Richard Broughton, Ben Hobbs, Gerry Quinn, Bob Dryden, Paul Rainsden and a few I may have missed,
Cheers everyone! Have a good 2013.

One of the following you will find in Oxfordshire in 2013......which one?

The top one is Salvin’s Albatross and the bottom one is Campbell Albatross both pics taken in Kaikoura NZ a couple of years back.

Salvin's Albatross http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=3962

Campbell Albatross http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=30007

The middle pic taken by Roger Wyatt........ Cheers mate!

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