Thursday, 29 January 2015

Hen Harrier

Sunny spells and wintry showers, 2°, breezy SW.

Lollingdon was relatively quiet again today, quite a few Fieldfare and Redwing feeding in the fields to the leeward side of the hill, 20+ Starling and up to 10 Song Thrush in the fields.

2 Great-spotted Woodpecker (1 drumming), 7 Grey Partridge, a few Red Kite, Buzzard, and a single Kestrel and a single Sparrowhawk noted.

I met TW out at Lollingdon, we discussed how quiet it was, and as it started to rain (sleet and frozen rain), I decided to walk home and we moved off in different directions.

Five minutes later as I had just entered a field, all the Thrushes flew up, I initially thought it was me that spooked them; however, they were all flying towards me. Within moments I saw a “ringtail” Hen Harrier appear flying low across the field, fly up over the tree line and disappear from view, from the view I got I would say an adult .

“Sods law” as I had put the camera away due to the rain and was not quick enough to retrieve it, I then rushed back to try to find TW but was unable to locate him.

I searched for a further 30 minutes but was unable to find the bird and presumably, it carried on towards the downs.

A Green Woodpecker in the garden this morning.


Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Cholsey Marsh, 27th Jan

Made one of my rare visits to Cholsey Marsh today and did see a couple of Chiffchaff towards the railway.

Then spent 45 minutes watching buntings going to roost in the reed bed. Cold drove me away but not before, I estimated 85 Corn Buntings and 34 Reed Buntings.

Corn Buntings arriving first seemed to come from across the river whereas the later arrivals & the main groups from the Downs area. Some of my Reed Buntings could have been other species coming in, in ones and twos, but all the calls I heard were of Reed Buntings. There was also a single cry of a Water Rail. (per TR)

Monday, 26 January 2015

Quiet days

Cloudy, 8°, light SW.

Lollingdon was rather quiet today with very few Fieldfare and Redwing around. 2 Peregrines flew over Lollingdon hill towards Cholsey hill and a single Raven flew high overhead towards the downs.

2 Corn Bunting present on the hill.

A Mistle Thrush singing in the meadow this morning and a Treecreeper in the garden.

A few signs of spring showing.
Distant Peregrine
Fresh Elder growth

Sunday, 25 January 2015


The RSPB big garden birdwatch.

Cloudy, 8°, light SW.

A few records for the RSPB garden birdwatch this weekend:

Moorhen – 3, Mallard – 3, Wood Pigeon – 5, Stock Dove – 2, Collared Dove – 3, Pied Wagtail – 1, Dunnock – 2, Robin – 3, Wren – 1, Blackbird – 8, Blackcap – 3, Great Tit – 4, Blue Tit – 4, Coal Tit – 1, Carrion Crow – 2, House Sparrow – 8, Chaffinch – 6, Goldfinch – 2, Greenfinch - 4.

3 Blackcaps feeding in the garden today and Goldfinch numbers well down on last year (30+ last year).

Species noted outside garden were Red Kite, Grey Heron, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Blackback Gull, Starling, Song Thrush, Redwing, Fieldfare, Jackdaw, Rook, Magpie, Jay and Long-tailed Tit.

Peregrines seen along Westfield road and Cholsey hill recently (BJW) and c80 Golden Plover on Cholsey hill today.

 Courtesy Loren

Friday, 23 January 2015

Lutra lutra!!!!!

Cloudy, 3°, light wind, a heavy overnight frost and -8° temp.

A highlight along the river today with an Otter, a first in Oxfordshire for me. I arrived at Cholsey marsh early in the afternoon and decided to take a walk along the riverbank primarily to look for Siskin (which have been very scarce this winter) but no luck.

However, the Otter more than made up for it. TW joined me a little later but we did not see it again.

I managed a few iffy shots before it dived but did not see it again.

The roost at the marsh this evening had up to 150 Corn Bunting, which is the best count this winter, and c20 Reed Bunting and 20+ Meadow Pipit.

Around 10 Teal also noted on the river (TW had a flock of c40 on the Thames this morning), also 37 Lapwing flew over flying east and a little later 20+ Golden Plover flew over heading in the same direction.

A few Redwing and Fieldfare around in small numbers, at least 2 Bullfinch and a Kingfisher flew downriver.


Thursday, 22 January 2015

Quiet days

Sunny spells, 2°, light wind, morning fog dissipated by midday leaving a misty afternoon.

Another quiet visit to Lollingdon today, still plenty of Fieldfare and Redwing scattered about and a flock of c150 Starling very mobile and a single Mistle Thrush again.

Only other species of note were 2 Buzzard, a Grey Heron and a Sparrowhawk.

20+ Golden Plover on Cholsey hill and a scarce bird in the meadow today a single winter plumage Black-headed Gull and it spent around 10 minutes wandering around and feeding.

Great Tit in song
Black-headed Gull

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Garden Blackcaps

We have had 2 Blackcaps visiting the garden regularly since early January.

Have had Blackcaps visiting the garden in winter for the last 5 years and there are at least 2 other gardens in the village that are hosting wintering Blackcaps this winter and in past years we have had low double figures of the species wintering in Cholsey.

Their main feeding preference appears to be for apple and they will feed on apples hanging on the fence, on the bird table or the ground.

Another food they appear to prefer are sultanas, however these do not last long in the garden as the thrushes also like them.

They will also feed on suet balls that have been placed in a suitable hanging feeder or on the bird table and occasionally take sunflower hearts from the seed feeder.

In the breeding season the Blackcaps main food are insects and late summer into autumn small fruit, (currants & berries) are also added to their diet.

The birds wintering in the UK are from the East European breeding population (Germany & possibly Poland).

More info:

(Courtesy Loren)

RSPB Garden Birdwatch this weekend.

Around half a million took part in last year’s garden birdwatch recording over 7 million birds in the process.

The world’s largest wildlife survey will take place this week end 24th & 25th January, please visit the link below and register to take part in what is a very worthwhile survey.

Anyone can do it just follow the instructions on the link and enjoy.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Winter doldrums

Sunny spells, 1°, little or no wind, and -4° overnight.

A touch of the mid-winter doldrums today with not much change from yesterday, the only additions were 2 Corn Bunting and a couple of Great-spotted Woodpecker.

2 Blackcap in the garden today and a Grey Heron flew over the garden at dusk.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Lollingdon, 19th Jan

Sunny, 2°, light southerly wind.

A visit to the hill this afternoon found good numbers of winter thrushes scattered around feeding in the fields, mainly Fieldfare c200 but also a fair number of Redwing c50. Approximately 50 Starling feeding on the hill and 1000+ Gulls visible in surrounding fields.

A Peregrine flew in from the south and passed over the hill before heading towards Aston Tirrold and a Sparrowhawk hunting along a hedgerow.

A few Tit flocks roaming the hedgerows, 3+ Yellowhammer and 2 Bullfinch also noted.

A ringed Great Tit in the garden of Richards?
Long-tailed Tit
 Redwing & Fieldfares
 Blue Tit

Sunday, 18 January 2015

A walk in the village

Sunny spells, 2°, light wind.

No sign of the harsh weather that was forecast just a dip in temperature. The north of the country probably got it all!

A walk around the village after lunch turned up a couple of Goldcrest at either end of the village.

Fair numbers of House Sparrow around, as was Starling and up to 10 Red Kite and a Buzzard over the village and a Great-spotted Woodpecker along the Wallingford road.

A Jay heard but not seen near Marymead and a small flock of 20 Fieldfare and Redwing nearby.

A Green Woodpecker in the meadow early morning.


Thursday, 15 January 2015

A windy walk

Sunny spells and blustery showers, 8°, windy SSW. A lot of overnight rain again.

A disappointing walk out to the Lees today with very little seen. It is rather an open area of farmland with little cover and with a strong wind blowing there was not much to be seen and all the growth bordering the long dyke had been cut so no cover there either.

Around 20 Lesser Blackback Gull and 2 Black-headed Gull on a flooded area along with a flock of around 100 Corvids was about it.

A couple of Skylark, Meadow Pipit and a small flock of 20 Linnet seen were the only small passerines about.

A Great-spotted Woodpecker and Blackcap in the garden today.

 Windswept & featureless

Illegal hunting arrests........again

Five men were arrested on Friday (9/01) on suspicion of Hunting Act offences, in Southmoor, near Abingdon.

On Friday (9/1) at 8.55am, Thames Valley Police received a report of a number of people in a vehicle believed to be involved in hare coursing.  

When officers attended, people and dogs ran away across fields towards Hanney from Southmoor.
A 19-year old man, two 24-year old men, a 26-year old man, and a 58-year old man, all from Pontypool in Gwent, were arrested on suspicion of daytime trespassing in pursuit of game on Friday.

All five were bailed until 9 February.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Cholsey marsh

Overcast, 4°, light SSW.

A late afternoon visit to Cholsey marsh for the roost with fewer Corn Bunting arriving and only around 40 counted going to roost in the Phragmites, 12 Meadow Pipit and a few Reed Bunting roosting in the Sedge.

A Sparrowhawk flew high overhead and a few Fieldfare and Redwing moving around and a couple of Water Rail heard on the marsh but little else of note.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Wet 'n' Windy

Overcast, steady rain, 11°, fresh SSW.

A rather damp walk out to Lollingdon today with little being noted.

The south face of the hill was exposed to the wind and rain and subsequently there was little there except for a single Mistle Thrush.

A scattering of Fieldfare and Redwing with the only decent flock of c40 Redwing and a dozen Fieldfare by Amwell spring, also 2 Grey Wagtail and a single Corn Bunting noted there.

Quite a few Blackbird still present in the area, 3 Song Thrush and around 20 Meadow Pipit seen and a single Green Woodpecker.

100+ Golden Plover on Cholsey hill over the weekend and the Blackcap still present in the garden.

A small Starling roost noted close to the centre of the village over this winter, probably no more than 50 birds but is used regularly.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Lollingdon 8th Jan

Sunny, 10°, light SW, a lot of overnight rain and clearing around 11:00.

A first visit this year to the hill proved fruitful with a male Merlin flying through carrying prey.

A flock of c200 Fieldfare, a few Redwing, 50+ Starling and a single Mistle Thrush on the hill and a scan of the surrounding fields found a flock of 300+ Lapwing with good number of Gulls present.

12 Teal also noted on a flood in one of the fields.

A few Skylark, Meadow Pipit and the usual flock of Linnet present and a Grey Wagtail still around.

2 Jay still around the hill and a pair of Raven still in the area.

5 Goosander flying up the Thames (per RW).

A Barn Owl seen along Westfield road a few days ago (per Dave).

Goosander (courtesy Roger Wyatt)

Monday, 5 January 2015

Cholsey Marsh, 5th Jan

Overcast, 10º, light SSW, a dull day.

A visit to Cholsey Marsh this evening had between 70-80 Corn Bunting coming to roost, also c30 Reed Bunting and 20’ish Meadow Pipit.

At least 2 Water Rail, a few Redwing and Fieldfare, a Sparrowhawk, Kingfisher and a Little Grebe also noted.

A & Blackcap in TW’s garden today and a Little Egret flew upriver towards Wallingford (per TW).

Only managed this Mallard today!

Fly tipping..........Why?

Thanks to the irresponsible moron(s) who dumped a load of rubbish at Cholsey Marsh over the last few days.
Could not clear it up today but will try and do it tomorrow!
Hope I find something with an address on!!!!!!!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Eastender Reptiles

Some interesting reptile records for 2014:

“A few amazing numbers for our site in 2014:

Common Lizard
No of days when looked for and seen 97: Grand total of the 97 counts 707

Grass Snake
No of days when looked for and seen 80: Grand total of the 80 counts 426

Slow worm
No of days when looked for and seen 89: Grand total of the 89 counts 4,436

Highest daily count 124

2014 was our best year for reptiles since records began in 2000.”

“Recently while walking the circuit from Cholsey Church and beside the Bunk to Wallingford Road via Green Lane.
16 Linnets in Shepheards Garden; 10 Yellowhammers beside the next field by The Bunk; 140 Lesser Blackback Gulls overhead; and along Green Lane - 6 Mallard; 1 Common Snipe, 2 Grey Herons and 9 Teal.
Finally beside the Wallingford Road a Dog Fox just opposite the Caps Lane junction.”

The Eastender.

Back to normal service soon, have been in Yorkshire for several days and anxious to get the Cholsey year list off to a good start! Thanks to those who have emailed me with sightings recently.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Jack Snipe

A Jack Snipe flushed from near the footpath alongside Cholsey Marsh (per RB).

Thursday, 1 January 2015

The Boss

No matter who or what is in the garden this little guy is the Boss!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone...........................have a great 2015!