Monday, 30 March 2015

Spring ain’t sprung ‘ere yet!

Cloudy, 6°, light rain, breezy SW.

Lollingdon much as it was last week, chilly and wind swept and very little around.
A small flock of 15 Fieldfare, 5 Redwing and 3 Song Thrush feeding in one of the paddocks, 3, maybe 4 Chiffchaff in the area.

First Chiffchaff of the year in the garden this morning and at least 2 Blackcap still present.
Very little down at Cholsey marsh at present also.
Both Roe Deer and Muntjac Deer noted.

Friday, 27 March 2015


Sunny spells, 10°, light WSW.

Feeling milder and 5 Chiffchaff around the hill today, 2 in song.
A pair of Little Owl heard calling a couple of times but try as I might I could not locate them………………..frustrating!

3 Lesser Blackback Gull drifted north high over the hill and a single Black-headed Gull quartering a ploughed field for a short time.
A Green Woodpecker calling frequently and a Great-spotted Woodpecker drumming on and off. Several Corn Bunting, a Yellowhammer, 8 Meadow Pipit and 2 Pied Wagtail noted around the hill.


Thursday, 26 March 2015

Slow, but a few arrivals getting through.

A few sunny spells, 8°, fresh NW.

Two of us visited the hill today, Michael P this morning who found only a single Fieldfare on the hill and 20+ more along Westfield road and me this afternoon who spent a bit more time but did not get much else.
Around 50 Fieldfare around the hill, a few Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail but the brisk wind was sweeping across the face of the hill.

A single Lesser Blackback Gull flew south.

On the more sheltered north side 4 Chiffchaff (recently arrived) in total but none singing.
The 3 wintering Blackcap still visiting the garden and MP had a freshly arrived Blackcap in his garden this morning.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Migrant hiatus?

Sunny spells, 7°, very light W, still a chill in the air.

Again little of note out at Lollingdon, some species moving away but nothing new arriving, still a few Fieldfare around and the now usual Skylark and Corn Bunting in song.
A Sparrowhawk circled high over the hill and drifted off south and a few Buzzard and Red Kite high in the air.

10 Pied Wagtail feeding on the hill and the single Starling still present.
A single Black-headed Gull was the only gull today and a Chiffchaff still singing, also a Mistle Thrush and Song Thrush in song and a very vocal Green Woodpecker.

Monday, 23 March 2015

False starts

Overcast, 6°, light W. Rain later.

Lollingdon still has not woken up yet and the only sign of spring was a singing Chiffchaff.
A flock of 100+ Fieldfare feeding in fields to the south of the hill and a flock of c50 Redwing moving through to the north.

A Sparrowhawk flew over and no Gulls seen at all today. The sheep flock has been moved elsewhere and subsequently far fewer Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit present.
At least 3 Corn Bunting in song.

3 Blackcap in the garden today, 2 and a and Small Tortoiseshell and Brimstone butterflies seen over the week end.

Friday, 20 March 2015

A non-event, a surprise and some butterflies.

Overcast at first then hazy sunshine, 10°, light WNW.

Well the eclipse was somewhat of a non-event this morning with thick cloud cover and the light levels getting slightly duller than they previously were; Oxford and Abingdon is not far from here and some people were tweeting some good pics of it!!!!! An hour later, the cloud broke here and the sunshine came through, looks like it was a hit or miss situation.
Anyway enough of cosmic phenomena and back to wildlife.

A relatively quiet visit to the hill this afternoon, a few Corn Bunting and Skylark in song and a handful of Starling present. Around 20 Pied Wagtail and 6 Meadow Pipit still present with the sheep. Several Buzzard and Red Kite in the air and a Kite keeping an eye on me.
Back down on the north side there were around 100 Fieldfare, 5 Redwing moving through, a Chiffchaff in song and 5 Lapwing present.

A surprise of a Woodcock flushed from a ditch was a nice find.
Several butterfly species around today also with Peacock, Comma and Brimstone all noted.

An interesting record of a Hummingbird Hawkmoth seen in Moulsford in early March.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

GP's & CB's

A cloudy, hazy day, 7°, light NNE.

Of interest, 65 Golden Plover on Cholsey Hill this morning, with one coming into summer plumage. Plenty of Corn Bunting around the hill with 3 singing next to the road going up the hill and a couple more along the bottom road to Wallingford. I did not see a Wheatear though! Per Michael P. 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Still waiting!

Hazy sunshine, 8°, light NNE.

Still cool but getting milder and back to a feel of spring today.
A Chiffchaff singing in the meadow on and off all morning and a Peacock butterfly in the garden.

As I was approaching the hill this afternoon, a Weasel ran across the road in front of the car and disappeared into a field, first one I've seen this year.
Still no sign of Wheatear on Lollingdon hill but should turn up soon.

A movement of Fieldfare and Starling today with c500 of the former flying overhead north and several flocks of the latter also flying north c400.
A Sparrowhawk flew over south, the lone Starling still out feeding amongst the sheep flock and several Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit still present.


Tuesday, 17 March 2015


Hazy day, 8°, no wind, an oppressive feel to the day.

Quite a difference on the hill today, expectation in the air with migrants starting to arrive on the south coast and nearby but not here yet!

So close................ "I guess this is too far from Cholsey to be included in your blog, pristine Wheatear on the south-western slopes of Blewburton Hill today, likewise a pair of Stonechat have been around the same area for the past week at least." Thanks Gerry....................Included.
Very few thrushes around, 20+ Fieldfare and about the same of Redwing.
The single Starling from yesterday still present and feeding out with the sheep along with several Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit, also 18 Corn Bunting present.

20 Linnet back on the hill and a single Reed Bunting flew over.
The pair of Lapwing still present with the male displaying and a pair of Little Owl seen out at Lollingdon recently.

Both & Blackcap still present in the garden.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Rebel Rebel

Dull and wet, light to heavy rain, 6°, and very little wind.

A brief visit to the hill today in the rain saw a good flock of c500 Fieldfare on the hill along with 400+ Starling.
An observation of a single Starling feeding on the hill not associating with the main flock and did not interact with it at all, Stayed about 200m away from the flock and did not join them when they flew off to the other side of the hill, was still there when I left! Why? A social outcast, a rebel or what?

A single Chiffchaff still present and 3 Corn Bunting and a couple of Skylark in song and several Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit with the sheep and 5 Song Thrush together in a hedgerow.

  The Rebel Starling
 Some of the Starling flock
Fieldfares and Starlings

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Is it or isn’t it?

Overcast, 4°, slight rain, light NE, typical British weather, is it or isn't it spring?

So much for spring with a cold airflow from the north for the next few days. Not a lot around Lollingdon today with the only new migrant being a Chiffchaff. Two flocks of Fieldfare around totalling 200+ birds, c100 Starling and only 1 Redwing noted.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Spring has Sprung!

Hazy sunshine and cloud, 10°, light NE.

Two visits to Lollingdon hill today and a single visit to Cholsey marsh.
The first visit to the hill to look for Wheatear as Brian Wyatt text me to say he had just seen one on Blewburton hill between Blewbury and Aston Upthorpe, about 3km as the wheatear flies. (The first one for South Oxon this spring).

Unfortunately, I did not find one at Lollingdon, however 3 Corn Bunting in song and 30+ Pied Wagtail and roughly the same of Meadow Pipit and a flock of c100 Fieldfare flew over north.
Later a visit to the marsh turned up 3 Chiffchaff (2 in song), 2 Kingfisher, and a Little Grebe, a Great Crested Grebe, at least one Water Rail and a tree full of Bees (Buff-tails and Honey Bees).

As I approached the tree, I could hear it humming, as there were so many Bees present presumably feeding on the blossom pollen. Have no idea what species the tree was but it was the only one of that particular kind along the riverbank.

(The tree is either a Goat Willow or a Grey or even a hybrid Willow - Thanks to Gareth for the info.)

“Also known as Sallow (Great Sallow for Goat Willow, Common Sallow for Grey Willow) - they're very similar, best way to tell them apart is the leaf shape (but too early for that). The male catkins are an important early source of pollen for queen bumblebees. I passed the same bush on Friday evening, it was still humming!” per RB

Back to Lollingdon later and all but 3 of the Wagtails had gone along with the Pipits but 300+ Fieldfare and 80+ Starling were present and also another Chiffchaff around one of the paddocks.
A single Small Tortoiseshell butterfly noted.


 Buff-tailed BumbleBee
 Carrion Crow

Corn Bunting


Thursday, 12 March 2015

Signs of Spring and Winter

Hazy sunshine, 10°, light S.
Signs of spring and winter in Cholsey today?: a Chiffchaff calling in the hedge along Wallingford road (possibly a migrant, but maybe more likely a moving winterer?) and about 5.30 a mini murmuration of Starling over Honey Lane / Amwell place. There were only about 300, but they were making great swirling shapes over the village.

Per Michael P....Thanks

Not seen much myself today as I have been busy in the garden, however, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Green Woodpecker visited and a Grey Wagtail singing by the brook.

Both Blue and Great Tits investigating nest boxes in the garden.

One of my first attempts at photographing birds back in 2008 with a little Fuji bridge camera!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Uneventful 1000

Cloudy, 10°, some light rain, light S breeze.

A rather uneventful 1000th post.

A few raptors in the air today with 6 Buzzard and 11 Red Kite soaring high over Lollingdon hill and a Sparrowhawk flew over.

The only winter thrushes seen today were 3 Redwing and a single Fieldfare that flew over the garden.

Quite a few Greenfinch noted with 20+ near the Bullshole and several Yellowhammer further out.

A single Corn Bunting singing on the hill, 2 Lapwing still present in the area and 200+ Black-headed Gull following a plough in a field to the south of the hill.

Both Blackcap still present in the garden and a Pheasant visited again and a Goldcrest singing in the meadow.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Not a lot happening!

An overcast murky day with light rain, 8°, fresh S.

Quite a contrast to the weather today and one of the quietest days out at Lollingdon.

A flock of c20 Redwing, 2 Fieldfare and 100+ Starling, 2 Lapwing and a Grey Wagtail was all of note.

A & Blackcap still frequenting the garden and a Mistle Thrush singing from the tops of the Lime trees in the garden.

Sunday, 8 March 2015


Sunny spells, light rain shower, 10°, light SW.

A walk out with Loren to Lollingdon this afternoon, not much noted apart from the Thrush flock of Fieldfare & Redwing and around 60 Starling with them, in addition 2 small flocks of 8 & 12 Yellowhammer plus 2 more in the area where one has been singing for the past week, 22 in total.

A Green Woodpecker around the Millennium Wood and the Tawny Owls are back around the garden tonight.
Forgot to mention the other day TW also had the Little Owl out at Lollingdon in the week.

Robin (Loren)

Saturday, 7 March 2015


Sunny, 14°, light SW, possibly the warmest day this year.

Working in the garden today and several butterflies of 2 species seen, 6 Brimstone and 5 Small Tortoiseshell. Unfortunately, all fly through’s.
A Sparrowhawk hit the far hedge quite hard but failed to catch anything and then settled in a tree for a brief time and a Grey Wagtail flew over the garden to the brook .

All the other usual species in the garden including a pair of Mallard that decided to rest up for a time.

A Stonechat was on the Bunk Line before the sewage works today, and a Grey Wagtail has been singing around the garden lately, and dropping down to the brook near the bridge - maybe thinking of nesting? A pair of mating Dunnock today. Heard a Blackcap singing several times in the last 10 days. Per RB.


Friday, 6 March 2015

Getting warmer at last.

Sunny, 10°, breezy S, a mild day, apparently mild air is coming in from the Caribbean area.

Lollingdon much the same as yesterday as far as thrushes go, however a Grey Heron to add today and a singing Yellowhammer.
Quite a few Gulls in the air today for some reason!

Met Tony W out at Lollingdon and he added a couple of Bullfinch plus a singing Chiffchaff in a neighbouring village to the tally.
In addition, a Brimstone butterfly seen in the village earlier in the week, which makes 3 butterfly species noted so far this year with a Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell seen last month.

With the weather getting warmer, there were more insects on the wing. Several Bumble Bees, Ladybirds and many Honey Bees (probably from the nearby hives) and they appeared to be feeding on some liquid in a container at a field’s edge. Did not get too close as did not wish to disturb them.
A note on the fly tipping from last week. The local council enforcement office have cleared the rubbish this week and as well as finding financial documents they also found business cards and the will pursue this to get a prosecution. Should not be too difficult to track down the culprit(s).

 Lesser Blackback Gulls

 One of the local Buzzards
Honey Bees

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Another alien and one that got away?

Cloudy after a sunny start, 9°, light W.

An interesting report by a dog walker of a large Heron like bird that flew over between Lollingdon and the Bullshole last week and the description given was quite reasonable for a Common Crane. Unfortunately cannot be verified and another that got away?
Lollingdon fairly quiet still, a good flock of Thrushes still with c300 Fieldfare, 100+ Starling and a handful of Redwing still around, also several Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit.

2 Lapwing seen at last year’s breeding site and very few Gulls noted today.
A Coal Tit singing this morning along Church road.

Muntjac taking it easy

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

America? No........ Cholsey.

Sunny, 6°, breezy WSW. Another windy day!

A few hours down on Cholsey Marsh today and the Harris Hawk put in a brief appearance flying upriver at quite high and at a rate of knots in the following wind.
Tried to relocate it but no sign.

With the Harris Hawk around and the flock of Canada Geese on the river it gives a hint of North America.

3 Great-crested Grebe on the river, a pair and a singleton, a few Coot and the usual Canada Geese.
A few Fieldfare and Redwing overhead, also 2 Mistle Thrush, a Song Thrush singing and a Treecreeper heard in song again.

No sign of any Corn Bunting at the roost but I did not stay ‘til dusk.

 Harris Hawk
 Great-crested Grebe
 Canada & Greylag? Goose
Great Tit

Monday, 2 March 2015

Lollingdon and the Garden

Sunny, 6°, breezy WSW, a sunny day but chilly in the wind.

Lollingdon still rather quiet except for a flock of 500+ Fieldfare feeding out to the south of the hill plus another small flock of c100 to the north. Only 2 Redwing noted.
A Peregrine flew over and 3 Kestrel present in the area, 5 Red Kite in the air and 2 Buzzard with one displaying, also a couple of Skylark in song.

A few of the local Rooks to advantage of the Crows absence this morning and polished off some food in the garden and a Pheasant spent some time feeding.
(Just a note of the first Wheatear of the year on Portland, Dorset today).

 Long-tailed Tit
Pheasant (Loren)

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Sunday stroll

Sunny, 10°, breezy SSW, rain on its way!

Apparently the UK is headed for it's sunniest winter since 1929, can't say I noticed!

A stroll out this afternoon to the south west of the village not necessarily birding, however you cannot help noticing stuff!
A flock of Thrushes feeding in a field just south of the Bullshole was worth a look, 60 Fieldfare, 28 Redwing and 17 Song Thrush was notable and 2 Mistle Thrush nearby.

Greenfinch in song and a display flight noted and in addition a Green Woodpecker and Great-spotted Woodpecker seen.
3 Buzzard, 5 Red Kite and a Kestrel seen.

2 and a Blackcap noted in the garden today and a Green Woodpecker and Grey Heron in the meadow.

Mistle Thrush

 Cholsey Hill with Wittenham Clumps in the distance (Loren)