Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Cold and frosty.

Sunny, 14º, light to mod NE.

A cold and frosty start at Cholsey marsh this morning with the mist rising off the Thames.
Arrived there just after 05:00 and Sedge Warblers were singing in abundance with nineteen counted on the marsh with more down towards the 4 Arches and several on the opposite bank, eleven Whitethroat, five Chiffchaff, two Lesser Whitethroat, a single Willow Warbler, two Blackcap, three Song Thrush, eight Reed Bunting and many Wrens. A Kingfisher and two Jay also on the other side of the river. Notable absentees were Cuckoo, Reed Warbler and Garden Warbler but hope these will arrive soon.

A visit to Lollingdon hill after found two Wheatear, two Whitethroat, a Chiffchaff two Yellowhammer, four Linnet and six Corn Bunting.
Later in the day I went to Bury down where a Dotterel had been seen but no luck just three Wheatear and six Whitethroat.

Dropped back in to Lollingdon hill on the way back and very much the same as earlier but with a few Swallow around and a lot warmer.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Update on the plant thief.

Sunny, 14º, light to mod SW.

I have received an email from BBOWT (the local wildlife trust) to say that the Loddon Lily is not covered under the “wildlife and countryside act”, the only way that the police can get involved is if the land owner makes a complaint, so we are trying to track down the owner of the islands and inform them and hope they will take some action. Also contacting the “Environment Agency”.

Though according to the "Plant life" website it is illegal to uproot plants! Confused? I am.

One point we have not considered is that the alleged thief maybe the landowner???? However I doubt it.

Thanks to all who have contributed to this topic, keep it coming so as we can get to the bottom of this.

Lollingdon hill was very quiet today with just a single Wheatear and a Whitethroat present.

Spent most of today gardening, a singing Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Goldcrest, Blackcap and Chiffchaff in the meadow and a few Swallow and House Martin overhead and a Great-spotted Woodpecker visiting the nut feeder.

A Yellow Wagtail in the meadow briefly on Sunday. Tawny Owls quite vocal in the meadow tonight.

A Dotted Bee-fly (Bombylius discolor) discovered in a Cholsey garden on Saturday, probably the first record for this species for maybe 50 years and a very localised scarce species. It is a UK Biodiversity action plan priority species.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

The plant thief

“This person was watched for around 15 minutes digging up handfuls of lilies (using his paddles as spades) and taking them from the island in his kayak. He was going mental at the incubating Canada Geese, which were just standing at their nest and hissing (not approaching or attacking him) – he was the one approaching them to take swings with his paddles. He was with a woman and a red-headed toddler who were sitting on the far bank of the river.”
Thanks to the birder who witnessed this and for the photos, the person was not challenged as he appeared agressive. Anyone know him?

If anyone has a name please let me know and I will notify the authorities. I will also make the photos available to the local wildlife trust and police.


More Wheatears, 27th Apr

Sunny, rain, hail, 10º and a chilly wind.

Another visit to Lollingdon hill for a couple of hours today but very little passing over, a lone Lesser Blackback Gull was all. Twelve Wheatear (8 & 4) on the hill along with a Fieldfare and a Whitethroat in a nearby hedge, a pair of Linnet briefly and a couple of Swallow. A few showers of rain and hail made it decidedly cooler than of late.

A Lesser Whitethroat reported somewhere in Cholsey.

A couple of Hedgehog frequenting the garden this past week.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Another Redstart

Sunny spells, showers, 12º, moderate SW, cooler today.

Another visit to Lollingdon hill on the way home, as I arrived a Sparrowhawk was flying along the face of the hill and therefore initially nothing was seen. After around five minutes the first Wheatear appeared from a Rabbit dugout and eventually six were located. A little after I heard a familiar call from one of the Hawthorn bushes on the hill and located a Redstart. She tended to always sit on the leeward side of the bushes and was virtually always out of my line of sight but I could see her flitting around in the back of the bushes, I managed to get some distant shots when she was on the deck under a bush at around a hundred metres, I couldn’t even see it in the viewfinder and had to guess the location. A lone Swift drifted over (my first of the year), a single Lesser Blackback Gull flew north and around a dozen Swallow flew over.
A couple of Buzzard and Red Kite soaring over the hill and two Grey Partridge noted.

An email from another birder today who saw the Harris Hawk again along the river hunting Moorhens.

A Whitethroat in a garden in Church road.

There was a kayaker on the islands by the 4 Arches digging up Loddon Lillies and shouting and swearing at incubating Canada Geese and swinging his oar at them, both very dubious activities and at least one if not both are illegal. There is a photograph of this person and if I can get a copy I will publish it!

A few pics of the Redstart from a cropped close up to the original.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Yellow Wagtails

Sunny, 18º, light SW.

Another sunny day stuck inside but no worries, made a visit to Lollingdon hill on the way home and located ten Wheatear, two Yellow Wagtail and the Fieldfare again. 


Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Lollingdon hill

Sunny spells, 18º, light SW.

Another brief visit to Lollingdon hill and it hosted eight Wheatear (3 & 5) today, also a single Fieldfare present. One Buzzard flew along the hill calling and another settled briefly before flying off. Usual Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer and Skylark present.

The garden has quietened down lately the Chiffchaff and Blackcap still visiting the garden trees in song but the Blackcap not feeding on fruit now. Song Thrush and finches (Gold, Green and Chaffinch) still visiting the feeders.

A couple of Tawny Owl visited the garden tonight.

Wheatear with a caterpillar

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Work gets in the way doesn’t it?

Sunny, 20º, light wind, a lovely day.

Unfortunately I missed most of the day as I was working!!!
A quick visit to Lollingdon hill on the way home produced five Wheatear and a Redstart. If, which I think it is the same has been there for five days now which is unusual for a spring migrant. I went there yesterday and met another birder who had been along the hill and had not seen anything so I didn’t bother as the weather was pretty rubbish. The Redstart seems good at disappearing for long periods as I experienced on Sunday. At least three Corn Bunting in song.

To qualify my earlier statement, yes I’ve been volunteering for SOHA this week  and visiting various senior communities around South Oxfordshire and advising them on using technology and combining it with their particular interest, albeit natural history, collecting things, craft etc and has been very rewarding. However it does detract from my normal birding especially at this time of year but I’ll make up for it.

Hedgehog frequent in the garden recently.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Lollingdon hill, Cholsey

Sunny spells, 12º, light to moderate SW, a bit cooler.

The Redstart still present this morning but then not seen for approx forty minutes before I left so may have moved on?
Two Wheatear (2) on the hill and a single Fieldfare and a Raven over, a Blackcap heard singing several Linnet, two Swallow, five Corn Bunting and a few Yellowhammer around.

Up to five Buzzard overhead and a single Red Kite.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Lollingdon hill

Sunny, 16º, light SE, a pretty nice day!

Over four hours spent on Lollingdon hill today, few birds but good quality (for Cholsey).
A Redstart still present along with five Wheatear (2 & 3), three flyover Yellow Wagtail and a Tree Pipit were the best of the bunch.

Two Meadow Pipit, a Great-spotted Woodpecker working the Hawthorn bushes (that are just coming in to leaf), a Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and four Yellowhammer and four Corn Bunting nearby and in song were the supporting cast.

Michael Pocock had two Fieldfare and three Whitethroat and five Wheatear (1 & 4), on the hill this morning.

Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies regular.
Bob Wyatt was on the downs not too far away and had twenty five plus Wheatear, a Whinchat, a Stonechat and several Whitethroat.

Tony Williams visited Cholsey marsh this morning and states there are a few more Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat and Blackcap that have turned up, also a flock of six Goldcrest and a few Long-tailed Tit near the 4-arches railway bridge.

The pair of Mallard still in the garden after dark - 21:30!


Friday, 19 April 2013

Wheatears & a Redstart

Cloudy, a few sunny spells, 12º, light to moderate NW.

Cholsey marsh still very wet and still draining in to the Thames and still a few Common Snipe there, they have not bred there for a few years so wait and see if any are drumming soon. A few more Sedge Warbler in with eight heard singing, three Whitethroat, four Blackcap, seven Willow Warbler, ten plus Chiffchaff and six Linnet and a pair of Bullfinch there.
Three Lesser Blackback Gull flew west, a Sparrowhawk over and a Kingfisher along the river.

Lollingdon hill hosted eight Wheatear (5 & 3) and a cracking Redstart, unfortunately the Redstart stuck to the hawthorns along the top fence line so was always fairly distant.
Also two Wheatear on Cholsey hill.

First Small White butterfly of the year seen today along with more Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell.
The Eastender is still getting several Lesser Redpoll visiting his garden along with several Blackcap being of note. Also an impressive count of one hundred and fifteen Slow Worm and a few Grass Snake, pretty good considering the weather this year.

The Blackcap still visiting the garden along with a regular Song Thrush, Stock Dove, Moorhen and a pair of Mallard. The Mallard are quite amusing as they tap on my neighbours back door to let them know that they are there waiting to be fed and after they sit and chill out in the garden for a while!
 Both keeping and eye on a Buzzard passing over

5 of the Wheatear


Thursday, 18 April 2013

A little less

Sunny, showers, 14º, still bloody windy!

Cholsey marsh was not as good as yesterday as presumably some birds had moved on!
However, three Willow Warbler, ten plus Chiffchaff, a Whitethroat, two Blackcap, four Sedge Warbler, a Reed Warbler, two Common Sandpiper on the opposite bank of the river, a Cormorant flew down stream and three Lesser Blackback Gull flew south.

Lollingdon hill, although still very windy held six Wheatear (4 & 2) and a Buzzard flew over.
Again Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies seen.

Blackcap still visiting the garden and feeding on apples.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Migrants arriving

Sunny spells, 16º, fresh SW.

Cholsey marsh proved a worthwhile visit today with a fair few migrants arriving, Twenty plus Chiffchaff, eight Willow Warbler, five Sedge Warbler, a single Reed Warbler, two Blackcap, two Whitethroat, a Redstart, a Grasshopper Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Common Sandpiper, five Sand Martin and around a dozen Swallow.
Other species were a singing Goldcrest, two Grey Wagtail, two Jay, a Grey Heron, Kingfisher, five Siskin, two Bullfinch, Meadow Pipit, Song Thrush, Water Rail, Reed Bunting, Starling and Green and Great-spotted Woodpecker, Great Crested Grebe, 58 species in total.

Lollingdon hill was very quiet as the wind was buffeting the south face and even the sheep were laying down backs to the wind. Several Stock Dove and Song Thrush in the fields below to the north and three plus Corn Bunting and Yellowhammer around and a couple of Swallow.
A Great-spotted Woodpecker in the garden and a Blackcap visiting and also in song in the hedgerow in the meadow and a Chiffchaff singing.

Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies seen.


Great Crested Grebe

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A Quick one

Sunny spells, 16º, light SW.

A single Blackcap in the garden this morning and still present when I got back this evening, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest singing in garden and a Moorhen and two Mallard feeding.
Four Wheatear (2 & 2) on Lollingdon hill and three of them flushed off by a low flying Red Kite, also a Buzzard present three Corn Bunting and a Lapwing over.

 Corn Bunting
 Oil Beetle
Relaxing in the garden

Monday, 15 April 2013

Even More Blackcaps

Sunny, 15º, moderate to fresh SW.

Six Blackcap in the garden today (4 & 2), had a brief word with Lew and we assume that these are wintering birds from further west moving through and they were feeding mainly on apples and doing a fair bit of flycatching in the sunshine.
This evening a Jay visited the bird table briefly and the year’s first (for me) House Martin over Marymead, a Goldcrest singing nearby and a Kestrel in the meadow.

Two visits to Lollingdon hill today did not produce much, Two Wheatear was about it and they were down on one of the tracks probably in the shelter from the wind that was blowing in to the face of the hill. A couple of Buzzard and Red Kite around, three Swallow and two Chiffchaff.
Cholsey marsh was rather quiet also; five Chiffchaff in song and a couple of Reed Bunting also two Swallow feeding along the river and two Swallows over Cholsey hill.

Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies all seen today.

Hedgehog out and about again clearing up under the bird feeders.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Wheatears & Blackcaps

Sunny, 15º, light to fresh S, getting warmer.

Four Wheatear (3 and a ) on Lollingdon hill and two Swallow flew over, a couple of Meadow Pipit. A Kestrel, a pair of Great-spotted Woodpecker on the wooded side and the fields below held close on two hundred Fieldfare, five Redwing, four Mistle Thrush and a handful of Starling. Eight Stock Dove in the ploughed field to the north.
Four Blackcap (3 and a ♀, all unringed) in the garden today and feeding on both sultanas and apple, the males feeding quite voraciously on the apples. Now, are these winterers or summer visitors?

Four species of butterfly seen today, Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Comma.
Four Mallards (3 and a ♀, seems to be an excess of avian males at the moment) turned up in the garden this evening and a neighbour had put some seed out for them, two that are obviously a pair fed and the male was very aggressive to the other two males and successfully defended her food and her honour.

Another Swallow flew over the meadow this evening.

First Hedgehog of the year seen in the garden tonight.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Garden stuff

Rain, 10º, light SSE.

Still at least three Blackcap visiting the garden feeders (2 & 1), a Chiffchaff singing in the garden also.
A couple of drake and a duck Mallard visiting the garden along with the Moorhen, two Stock Dove, two Carrion Crow and lesser numbers of finches since the weather has changed but still around half dozen of Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Chaffinch. Song Thrush, Blackbird, Robin, Wren and Dunnock all still around.

A Sparrowhawk zipped through this afternoon but did not take anything.

Carrion Crow


Friday, 12 April 2013

More Blackcaps

Light to heavy showers, 11º, variable in showers, WNW.

A couple of visits to Lollingdon hill today proved rather fruitless, Skylark and Corn Bunting in song and the only migrant was a Swallow that flew west, the only gulls seen were three Lesser Blackbacks.

Another Swallow over East End Farm today (per Bob Dryden, ta)

Four Blackcap in the garden today (3 & 1), now are these a mix of wintering birds or newly arrived summer visitors or a mix of both? At least one is a regular but a couple of others are not familiar with the feeders and are exhibiting different behaviours and some flycatching also seen during sunnier spells!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Not the usual garden day visitor

Overcast, rain, 10º, light wind.

Not much time for birding today and a brief visit to Lollingdon hill produced nothing except for the singing Corn Buntings.
A Wheatear on Cholsey hill and a couple of Corn Bunting again.

Singing Goldcrest and Coal Tit at the JR in Oxford.
A surprise daytime visit of a Muntjac Deer in the garden having a nibble of a favourite food, Tulips!

The two unringed Blackcap still visiting and a Carrion Crow hassling the Rookery by Marymead.