Sunday, 5 January 2014

A brief review of 2013

January - Cholsey marsh was the place this month with a Great Grey Shrike, Bittern, Cetti’s Warbler & 2 Barn Owls regular and a record count of 387 Corn Bunting at the roost. There was also 2 Stonechat wintering on the farm land to the west of the village and Blackcaps were turning up in several gardens with 10+ birds in the parish.

February - the Shrike and Bittern were still present and the news reached one of the rare bird networks Smartphone apps and was showing some amusing results. The app showing “X” marking the spot was located in the centre of the village and not the marsh and subsequently we noted a couple of birders searching the local recreation ground and adjacent brook for the above rarities. Quite a few Lapwing and Golden Plover around due to the flooding in fields between South Stoke and Brightwell.
March - highlight of the month was a Mediterranean Gull found by Roger Wyatt with the gull flock frequenting the pig fields near Lollingdon hill. Dunlin and Ringed Plover also found in the parish on flooded fields and the first Wheatear arrived towards the end of the month.

April – A rather uneventful month with all the expected migrants putting in an appearance, a good passage of Wheatear on Lollingdon hill and a couple of Redstart and a flyover Tree Pipit were of note.
May – A Whinchat on Lollingdon hill was of note and 5 pairs of Yellow Wagtail noted in the parish, a fair number of butterfly species were noted.

June – Most species settled down to breed although Grasshopper Warbler, Willow Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher did not breed in the parish this year and it was doubtful if Cuckoo bred, a male was seen but no female noted, Cholsey marsh was still draining from the winter flood. Peregrine, Hobby and Raven seen frequently this month.

July – A fairly uneventful month, only a Redstart of note late in the month on Lollingdon hill.
August – A good return passage of migrants noted with several Redstarts and Yellow Wagtails and a Whinchat on Lollingdon hill.

September – Autumn passage continued with addition of a couple Stonechats on the hill and a light passage of Wheatear and the only Little Egret of the year seen on the Thames at Winterbrook.
October – A few Wheatear and Stonechat on passage and the first Redwing and Fieldfare and other migrant thrushes arrive.

NovemberMerlin and Golden Plover of note this month and 2 Stonechat at 2 sites appeared to be settling in for the winter.
December – 2 Stonechat still present and a pair of Raven gave us a brilliant aerobatic display on Lollingdon hill for 20 minutes on one day and personally my favourite moment of 2013.
120 species of bird recorded in the parish this year, a little down on previous years.

Although I have not got figures yet it appears it was not a particularly good year for butterflies and dragonflies.
Regarding Cholsey marsh, BBOWT are currently (still) negotiating with owners (Homes and Communities Agency) and developers (Linden Homes) to take on the freehold of the land (what the heck is there to negotiate about and why is it taking so long?).


  1. Is the sticking point on Cholsey Marsh the responsibility over the asbestos dumped on site? Someone will have to pay to get it all found and removed.

  2. Was not aware of this.....................any more info?