Sunday, 29 November 2015

National Tree Week

Cloudy with rain at midday, 10°, light SW.

At the beginning of National Tree week 28th Nov – 6th Dec, Loren and I plus many others helped out with planting some trees in Cholsey Rec on Saturday 28th. A group of local folk had organised acquiring some trees and it was arranged to plant a couple of areas in the Rec with up to 200 trees.

It was good to see a number of people of all ages turn out to plant trees from the village and I hope, over time we can find more areas for planting.

A good selection of trees were planted that included Cherry, Rowan, Maple, Willow and Birch.

Thanks to Mitch who rustled up some bacon & egg rolls for everyone and also kept an eye out for a few birds that were noted.

Also thanks to Vicky and the Tree Lady amongst others who organised the tree planting.

Sorry I did not get everyone’s name who was involved.

Let us hope over the coming years we will see these trees grow and flourish.

A flock of Long-tailed Tit passed through and Mistle Thrush, Skylark and a Grey Wagtail flew over.

Barn Owl seen on Cholsey hill tonight (28th) hunting along the verges (per Michael Pocock).

Nuthatch and a couple of Pied Wagtail in the garden.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Another Black Redstart

Cloudy with light rain, 9°, fresh SSW.

A delay in publishing this from Friday due to technical difficulties on line. My new ISP did not get a router to me.....................

Still somewhat quiet on the hill today, up to 100 Fieldfare around, 40+ Redwing, 80+ Starling, 2 Goldcrest and a single flyover Siskin.

A Kingfisher still around the pond area.

I had an email from a lady who walks the area around Lollingdon who saw a Black Redstart around the farm on Sunday 22nd Nov, a good description given (per Val Viner).

114th Species for the year.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Black Redstart & The Marsh

Cloudy, 9°, light NW.

A visit to Wallingford where the Black Redstart was still present around St Mary’s church in the centre of town.

It spent most of the time in the large tree in the graveyard and rarely ventured down whilst I was there, seemed to be feeding well and caught a large caterpillar which it fed upon on the roof top of pizza hut opposite in St Mary's street.

A visit to Cholsey Marsh later saw approx. 80 Corn Bunting come to roost, also 30 Starling and 18 Meadow Pipit in at the roost.

2 Kingfisher along the river bank and a Great-crested Grebe on the river. A single Cormorant flew upstream and a Green Sandpiper flew on to the marsh.

60+ Fieldfare and a handful of Redwing present on the opposite bank, 5 Bullfinch in the Blackthorn and a Chiffchaff present.

5 Siskin in the bankside Alders with several Goldfinch and a few Reed Bunting on the marsh.

Towards Bow Bridge at dusk I counted at least 500 (may have been closer to 1K) Corvids coming in to roost somewhere upriver.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Black Redstart - Wallingford

A Black Redstart around St Mary's Church in the centre of Wallingford today, on the church and in the graveyard. (per RB).

 Photos courtesy of Grzegorz Hebda

Monday, 23 November 2015

The Hill & the demise of a Barn Owl

Sunny at first the clouding over, 4°, light SSW.

Another cold day and relatively quiet on the hill.

Approx. 200 Thrushes around, c160 Fieldfare, 20+ Redwing, 20+ Blackbird, 8 Song Thrush and 2 Mistle Thrush.

23 Pied Wagtail with the sheep and a Chiffchaff nearby.

News via Richard Broughton: We looked for the Barn Owl around the church yesterday evening, unsuccessfully, and today I found it dead in the cow field next to the Bunk Line/Church Rd. It was being scavenged by a Kite (no head, otherwise mostly intact). It had an older injury on the right wing carpal joint, which explains the difficulties seen when flying (I'm guessing it was clipped by a car), and was also very thin. Cause of death was likely starvation or possibly another car (hard to say without a head!).

News via Michael Pocock: A couple of Song Thrush and a Common Snipe in flight – all along the bunk line by the sewerage works were the highlights.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Short-eared Owl and Woodcock

Sunny spells and getting colder, 6°, light to mod WNW.

Some info from TW.

A Short-eared Owl seen today out by the Lees and also a Woodcock there earlier in the week.

2 Barn Owl seen, 1 along the Bunk line and another out Lollingdon way.

Thanks Tony.

Chiffchaff still present out at Lollingdon, The Lees and Cholsey Marsh.

2 Nuthatch , a Great-spotted Woodpecker and Coal Tit still frequenting the garden this week.

Thursday, 19 November 2015


Cloudy and wet, 12°, light to mod SW.

Another wet day with a few pics of the Moorhens that visit the garden.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Blowing in the wind

Cloudy with frequent rain and strong south westerly winds, 14°.

Another wet and windy day, a brief visit to the hill but the weather won today.

A few Yellowhammer, Fieldfare and Redwing present but nothing else noted.

A Sparrowhawk in the garden attempted to take a Great-spotted Woodpecker but the woodpecker was too quick and evaded the attack.

2 Nuthatch and 2 Coal Tit frequenting the garden with the regulars.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Abigail’s moved on as Barney blows in

Cloudy with showers and a strong blustery SW wind, 14°.

A visit to Cholsey Marsh this afternoon but the weather was against getting any meaningful counts at the roost. A few Meadow Pipits came in early but no Corn Bunting by 16:00.

A few Fieldfare and Redwing about but no more than 50 of each. A Sparrowhawk, 2 Grey Heron, a Kingfisher and a couple of Bullfinch, 5 Siskin, 2 Goldcrest and a Chiffchaff noted.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Quiet times

Cloudy, 12°, light SSW.

Lollingdon was exceptionally quiet today probably because of some tree work happening on the hill…….very noisy.

Did not stay long but around 20 Redwing and 6 Song Thrush feeding on haws nearby and a flock of 50+ Starling in the fields.

Then a brief visit to Cholsey Marsh: A Shoveler flew downstream, a new one for the year in Cholsey and a scarce sighting of a Mute Swan on the river.

A handful of Redwing and Fieldfare around but not in any numbers!

A Chiffchaff still on the marsh, 3 Siskin in the riverside Alders and a couple of Bullfinch present also a Water Rail heard calling.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Winter is on its way

Sunny spells interspersed with blustery showers, 8°, fresh WSW.

A colder and blustery day out at Lollingdon, winter is on its way!

A small Tit flock passed by accompanied by at least 2 Goldcrest and a Chiffchaff.

100+ Fieldfare, c20 Redwing and 6 Song Thrush feeding on haws along one of the hedgerows.

A Sparrowhawk flew over the hill and a few Buzzard and Red Kite around.

In the garden yesterday, a Sparrowhawk, 2 Nuthatch, a Treecreeper, a Coal Tit, 2 Pied Wagtail and a Grey Wagtail.

Mammals: Roe Deer.

Butterflies: also a Red Admiral flew through the garden yesterday.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Sparrowhawk visit and the Marsh

Cloudy with rain showers, 13°, light SSW.

A visit to Cholsey marsh for the roost today and counted in 72 Corn Bunting with the largest single flock of 30 that came in from the south.

Other species noted on the marsh were 2 Chiffchaff, 6 Goldcrest, 2 Redpoll, 8 Reed Bunting, 4 Bullfinch and 2 Sparrowhawk flew through.

2 Cormorant flew downstream and a Kingfisher present on the opposite bank, also 60+ Redwing and around the same number of Fieldfare.

A Sparrowhawk visited the garden this morning, scattering everything but just sat on top of the feeder station, had a good look around and then flew off.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015


Overcast with a few rain showers, 15°, breezy SW.

An unseasonably mild day and a fair bit of heavy rain and high winds over the last few days.

Still very little out on the hill variety wise, good numbers of winter thrushes with c400 Fieldfare, 50+ Redwing also 150+ Starling and 20+ Pied Wagtail.

Apart from a Sparrowhawk very little else of note.

A couple of Coal Tit in the garden.

The Barn Owl reported again today, appears to be flying better but not 100% (per BJW). (There is a suggestion that the owl has a type of corneal guttata which causes vision problems that could explain it's behaviour?)

The name Fieldfare probably derived from the Anglo-Saxon "Feldefare" (Field Traveller)!

Friday, 6 November 2015

Garden action

Rain, 15°, breezy SSW.

Not a day for going out today so took a few pics of the birds on the feeders in the garden.

2 Nuthatch regular through the day, a Grey Wagtail, 2 House Sparrow, 2 Moorhen, 5 Mallard, 2 Carrion Crow and a few other Finches and Tits.

One of the Nuthatch collected the odd peanut and wedged it in the bark of one of the garden trees to eat.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Another dull day

Overcast with light rain, 13°, light SSW.

Again very little around on the hill and another drab day weather wise, however a Chiffchaff still about to the north of the hill.

Also north of the hill, 75 Fieldfare, 3 Redwing and a Mistle Thrush, 2 Siskin, a Grey Wagtail, a Kingfisher, a Sparrowhawk and 3 Buzzard present.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Local Doldrums

Overcast, 13°, light ESE.

A very drab and dismal day with little change from yesterday weather wise and bird wise.

5 Redpoll seen briefly then flew off south, more Fieldfare around today with 250+ and a few more Redwing c20.

Around 20 Pied Wagtail and a single Meadow Pipit in with the sheep that have since moved fields.

A Sparrowhawk was the only other bird of note.

The Barn Owl seen again today (per BW) and having problems but appears to be surviving!

Monday, 2 November 2015

Fogged out

Foggy, 11°, light W.

A drab day with fog and variable visibility.

Pretty quiet out there today, a 16 strong flock of Long-tailed Tit and 2 Goldcrest on the hill and a Sparrowhawk flew north.

I heard more than saw today with Pied Wagtail, Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting also a couple of Golden Plover calls overhead.

120 Fieldfare, 5 Redwing and 80+ Starling to the north and the Linnet flock still present to the east.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Barn Owl

A foggy day with the sun breaking through around midday then foggy again later, 12°, little wind SSE.

A short walk this afternoon out to the Lees and back.

The Barn Owl seen around the church area today and a Sparrowhawk flew from the church yard with prey.

The Barn Owl appeared in good condition and was flying well and at one point was mobbed by 2 Rooks but evaded them easily.

The fog then came down again so had to rely mainly on sound. Several Siskin over and a few Redwing and Fieldfare.

All photos courtesy of Loren.