Monday, 31 March 2014

Saharan dust

Cloudy, 16º, light rain showers, light SE.

Today we have had a dust fall (noticed on the car) from the Sahara desert due to southerly winds from the last few days, a distance of approx 2000 miles.

This month has seen so much different weather, Sunshine, Fog, Frozen rain, Hail, Snow, Heavy rain, Light rain, Thunder storms, Winds from all directions, Light winds, Strong winds, Temperatures ranging from -6º to 20º, let us hope April improves!

Another visit to Lollingdon hill (sucker for punishment) and no Wheatears again, the hill was quite busy with a lot of farming work going on, a busy time for farmers. 3 Meadow Pipit, a few Skylark singing and the usual Red Kites and Buzzards present.

The north side was quiet also but the fields and hedgerows further out were somewhat busier with 2 Lapwing, the thrush flock of c250 birds still present (Fieldfare & Redwing), a couple of Song Thrush in the same field and 2  Pied Wagtail in a horse paddock nearby, a singing Blackcap and Chiffchaff along the track heading to Aston Tirrold.

Several Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies seen today and also yesterday along with many Brimstone.

A singing Treecreeper in the garden again, also a Great-spotted Woodpecker, 2 Long-tailed Tit and the Blackcap and another singing Blackcap and Chiffchaff in the meadow as well.

 Peacock butterfly (underwing)

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Gone with the wind

Hazy sunshine, 20º, light SE, a warmer day.

A quick late visit to the hill today turned up zero Wheatear, they had probably moved on as the wind had changed to a more southerly flow assisting them on their way north,  and apart from a Red Kite there was little else there.

2 flocks of winter thrushes flew over from the south and settled in the fields to the north of the hill, 250+ Fieldfare and 20+ Redwing, also 3 Lapwing in the same field.

Other than 3 Corn Bunting and a Chiffchaff singing there was little else around to be heard.

A Sparrowhawk over the garden this morning and a Chiffchaff in song in the meadow.
 Red Kite

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme!

Hazy sunshine, 16º, light SE.

A definite change in the weather today, warm and sunny. However a day spent in the garden for a change as I had to lay some paving in the greenhouse and we needed to do a lot of planting which included a Herb garden with 18 different culinary herbs, that included Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme and others that Loren uses in her cooking.

At least 3 Robins in the garden, 1 pair and an interloper from nearby, the same goes for Blackbirds with a pair and a single male from nearby occasionally.

Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Goldfinch all still regular with Blue & Great Tit, also visiting today was the Moorhen, 5 Mallard, 2 Carrion Crow, 2 Collared Dove, 2 Stock Dove, c10 Wood Pigeon, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 5 House Sparrow and a couple of Red Kite overhead regularly along with Jackdaws & Rooks flying to and fro (the Church rd Rookery has approx 35 nests).

The meadow had additionally a Green Woodpecker, Chiffchaff, Song Thrush, and Mistle Thrush.

Also 4 species of butterfly today with quite a few Brimstone, good numbers of Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell and a single Small White.

 The resident Robin
 The interloper Blackbird
 Blue Tit & Goldfinch
 Greenfinch, Goldfinch & House Sparrow

Friday, 28 March 2014

Thunder & Lightning

Thunder storms, hazy sunshine, 12º, light NE.

Another walk out today to Lollingdon hill and got caught in a thunder storm, fortunately made it around to the sheltered side of the hill and did not get too wet, some good lightening bolts seen as the storm headed away to Didcot. 

More Linnets around today with 12+ seen, also 8 Yellowhammers and 2 Reed Bunting on the way out to the hill, 2 Grey Partridge and the odd Greenfinch display flight noted.

Around 20 Fieldfare and 2 Redwing seen out at Lollingdon, 7 Song Thrush, 2 Mistle Thrush and good numbers of Blackbirds around, also Great-spotted and Green Woodpecker, Grey Heron and several Goldcrest.

5 singing Chiffchaff today.

Could only find 4 Wheatear on the hill today but was interrupted by the thunder storm that came through, 8 Meadow Pipit and 3 Corn Bunting noted also.

The Iceland Gull was back on the flood again, resting with the Lesser Blackback Gulls, although only viewed from a distance there was possibly 2 Iceland Gulls present.

A belated report of a Little Egret on the spring out at Lollingdon earlier in the month.

A Small Tortoiseshell butterfly seen today and also 1 yesterday.

 Grey Partridges
  Blackbird collecting food in the garden

 The thunder storm heading towards Didcot.