Sunday, 31 January 2016

Garden Birdwatch

Overcast, rain showers, 11°, breezy SW.

Species recorded during an hour this morning.

2 Mallard, 2 Moorhen, 6 Wood Pigeon, 2 Stock Dove, 2 Collared Dove, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 2 Dunnock, 3 Robin, 1 Song Thrush, 5 Blackbird, 1 Blackcap, 2 Wren, 4 Great Tit, 5 Blue Tit, 1 Coal Tit, 3 Long-tailed Tit, 1 Nuthatch, 2 Carrion Crow, 8 Chaffinch, 5 Goldfinch & 3 Greenfinch.

In addition through the day a Sparrowhawk flew through, a Green Woodpecker flew over and a Buzzard & 2 Red Kite around the meadow.

Mid-afternoon a small flock of 5 Long-tailed Tit arrived in the garden with 2 Nuthatch and the Wood Pigeon and Chaffinch count increased 10 & 14 respectively.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Long-tailed Tits

Another busy bird day in the garden today with several Long-tailed Tit paying a visit amongst others.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Jupiter rising

Jupiter is visible in the night sky at the moment just above the moon as it rises in the night sky. It is currently approximately 700 million kilometres from Earth.

The camera I used does not illustrate Jupiter very well but with a 20x telescope you can pick out the 4 Galilean moons (Io, Europa, Ganymead & Callisto).

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Cholsey Marsh

Cloudy with frequent rain showers, 10°, breezy W.

A marked difference in numbers at the roost this evening with only 50 or so Corn Bunting coming in, a drop of over 100 on last week.

Two factors different here were the temperature being a fair bit milder today and the much windier conditions.

How these conditions have an effect I can only speculate?

30’ish Meadow Pipit and 8 Starling also in the roost.

A Cetti’s Warbler noted on the marsh, 2 Water Rail, 4 Siskin and 3 Lesser Redpoll also present.

2 Common Snipe flew over, a Sparrowhawk went through and c100 Golden Plover seen distantly over towards the village.

First Daffodil of the year in flower in the garden and a Treecreeper visiting again.

Monday, 25 January 2016

A quiet marsh

Cloudy, 11°, fresh SW.

A visit to a rather quiet Cholsey Marsh this afternoon.

5 Siskin and at least 1 Lesser Redpoll noted, 30+ Fieldfare and a handful of Redwing.

2 Common Snipe noted by Bob Wyatt who was also present.

c200 Golden Plover flew south overhead and a few Cormorant over but very little else.

Nuthatch and Blackcap still visiting the garden and a Hedgehog feeding in the garden tonight.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

A busy garden

Misty, 3°, light SE.

Quite a busy garden today with the following:

A Red Kite calling from the tree tops in the garden, a Buzzard in the meadow, 2 Moorhen, Black-headed and Lesser Blackback Gulls overhead, up to 10 Wood Pigeon, 2 Stock Dove, 2 Collared Dove, a Great-spotted Woodpecker, 2 Dunnock, 3 Robin, a Song Thrush, Redwing in the meadow, a Mistle Thrush in song, Fieldfare overhead, up to 8 Blackbird, a Blackcap, 2 Wren,several Blue and Great Tit, a Coal Tit, several Long-tailed Tit, 2 Nuthatch, a Treecreeper, 2 Magpie, Jackdaw and Rook in the meadow, 2 Carrion Crow, 8 Chaffinch, several Greenfinch and Goldfinch.

A few pics of some visitors.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Cholsey Marsh at dusk

Sunshine, 3°, another heavy frost (-5 overnight), light SE.

Approximately 160 Corn Bunting (highest count this winter) in the roost at the marsh this evening, also c50 Meadow Pipit, 5 Starling, a handful of Reed Bunting and a single Yellowhammer.

5 Common Snipe and at least 2 Water Rail on the marsh, 1 Chiffchaff and 2 Goldcrest with a tit flock and 6 Siskin in the riverside Alders and at least 2 Bullfinch in the Blackthorn.

A few Redwing and Fieldfare present and 5 Song Thrush noted.

32 Golden Plover flew overhead and 5 Cormorant flew downstream, a Kingfisher flew upstream and a Mute Swan, a Little Grebe, a Great-crested Grebe and 4 Teal on the river.

A Song Thrush in the garden this morning and the Blackcap also present and the 2 Nuthatch still visiting.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Cold & quiet

Sunny with a heavy frost, 1°, light S.

A walk out to the Lees this afternoon, 20’ish Skylark, 30+ Linnet, 1 Common Snipe, 5 Teal flushed from a stream and a Peregrine resting up on one of the pylons and little else of note.

4 Siskin Caps Lane and up to 10 Lesser Redpoll in the EastEnders garden (per Tony Rayner).

Cholsey Marsh:

Cetti's Warbler, c20 Siskin, 5 Lesser Redpoll (per Brian Wyatt).

A nice little threesome

Sunny with a heavy frost, 1°, light S.

The first Blackcap of this winter appeared in the garden today, a nice ♂.

Also Nuthatch and Coal Tit.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Good to get out

Sunny spells, 3°, light ESE.

First trip to the hill this year and fairly quiet as expected.

150+ Fieldfare and a few Redwing feeding on some of the fields, a small tit flock and 5 Bullfinch seen.

100+ Lesser Blackback Gull on one of the flooded areas and 2 Herring Gull with the flock, also a possible Yellow-legged Gull but flew before I got a good view.

Kingfisher flew from the pond and a lot of Robins around with over 20 noted.

A Mealy Redpoll in the EastEnders garden this afternoon.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Bits & Pieces

Sunny, 4°, light NW.

2 Peregrine Falcon seen today between Lollingdon and the Lees and 2 Egyptian Geese flew along the Thames (per Tony Williams).

Also a Barn Owl hunting near the Bunk line today and 2 Egyptian Geese flew over (per Tony Rayner). And c9 Lesser Redpoll in the EastEnders garden.

A Sparrowhawk in the garden today and a Buzzard out in the meadow, also up to 6 Blackbird in the garden the last few days feeding on apples.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Egyptian Geese

Pair of Egyptian Geese on the floodwater flash in the field next to Church Rd bridge yesterday. (per Richard Broughton).

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Meeting with BBOWT

Sunny at first then clouding over, 5°, light W.

A very positive meeting today with a BBOWT representative at Cholsey Marsh.

Mark Bradfield of BBOWT (community wildlife officer) met with Tony Rayner and myself at Cholsey Marsh this morning.

If all goes well BBOWT should be taking on the management of the reserve sometime this year with a lot of work to be done once that happens.

We discussed the value to local wildlife that the reserve holds from the roosting Corn Buntings in the winter to the various visitors that breed on the marsh during the summer months.

Also Reptiles, Amphibians, Dragonflies, Butterflies and other species that inhabit the marsh including the “British red data” species, Desmoulin’s Whorl Snail that has special conservation status.

One of the major aspects was to engage the local community in many aspects of the marsh and over the coming months it is hoped that we can develop and communicate this to local residents.

Just over 30 species noted this morning on or over the marsh.

Later in the morning a visit to the EastEnders garden where there were at least 7 Lesser Redpoll feeding and I managed to get a few pics through the kitchen window.

Our own garden is still very busy with 2 Nuthatch still visiting, also at least 2 Treecreeper regular.

Belated news of a Bittern flushed from Cholsey Marsh last year.

Also the first Blackcap of the winter in the village seen by Michael Pocock on Saturday.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Cold snap expected

Overcast with rain showers, 6°, light WNW.

A small flock of around 20 Golden Plover flew across Cholsey Hill and c300 Lapwing noted flying over the hill to a flooded area between Cholsey and N Stoke.

At least 4 Lesser Redpoll feeding in the EastEnders garden recently.

The mild winter continues (not for much longer?) with several spring flowers, flowering or about to in the garden!

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Not getting out................yet!

Have not been out birding so far this year due to a minor ailment so have to be content with garden birds etc.

The highlight so far was a Raven that flew south over the garden yesterday.

33 species at this point including the Great-spotted Woodpecker pictured below.

Friday, 1 January 2016

2015 and all that

2015 Review

Firstly a thank you to all the local observer around the village who passed on records for inclusion on the blog.

116 species of bird noted this year, 20 Mammal species, 5 Reptile and Amphibians, 14 Dragonfly species and 25 Butterfly species.

Thanks to: Tony Williams, Tony Rayner, Richard Broughton, Michael Pocock, Roger Wyatt, Geoff Wyatt, Brian Wyatt, Bob Wyatt, Loren Chaplin, Mike Amphlett, Bob Dryden, Ralph Watts, John Lucas, Ben Hobbs, Gerry Quinn, Giuseppe Morlando, Val Viner and several others. Apologies for names I have missed.

Also thanks to Badger and Lew (Jason Coppock and Ian Lewington) for their speedy dissemination of scarce and rare bird information in the county.

Weather: Generally a windy and mild year is all I can state at this time.

January started relatively quiet, the highlight of the month was an Otter noted opposite Cholsey Marsh in late January and the first one to be photographed in Cholsey and the first confirmed record for many years.

A fly through Hen Harrier and 5 Goosander were other highlights, the latter photographed by Roger Wyatt.

Both Blackcap and Chiffchaff noted regularly through the month with up to 8 Blackcaps wintering in the village.

February saw the Corn Bunting roost peak at around 150 birds, lower numbers than previous years but possibly due to the mild winter.

Up to 2 Stonechat wintering in the area also a moderately numbered flock of Lapwing and Golden Plover.

The first butterfly of the year noted, a single Red Admiral on the 8th.

March and the first migrant Chiffchaffs started to appear also a couple of Stonechat moving through. A few more butterfly species noted with Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Peacock and Brimstone.

The Harris Hawk was noted again and a tentative record of a Common Crane flying through but could not be verified.

April brought the first and only rarity to Cholsey with a Hoopoe, unfortunately seen and photographed by only one person, Giuseppe Morlando and despite several of us that went searching it was not seen again.

Only the 3rd record for Cholsey and the first since 1994.

A Ring Ouzel appeared on Lollingdon Hill found by Michael Pocock and was subsequently seen and photographed by several observers.

A Mandarin Duck out at Lollingdon was another unexpected sighting this month found by Tony Williams.

Most of our summer visitors arrived in this month and a reasonable passage of Whinchat and Lesser Whitethroat noted.

May, Swifts arriving early month a then followed a rather settled month with our summer visitors settling down to breed and the only surprise was of an escaped Indian Peafowl turning up out by the Lees and staying for a few weeks.

June, another relatively quiet month, however 2 Nuthatch appeared in the garden mid-month and are still visiting at the end of year.

Nuthatch have been a scarce species in Cholsey during the last few decades but a few have been noted this year in Cholsey Meadows and with the 2 regulars at this end of Cholsey, hopefully heralds a comeback for this species.

John Lucas added 2 new moth species to the list this year, a Browntail and Rosy Footman.

July saw a light return movement of migrants with a couple of Redstart and Willow Warbler turning up on Lollingdon Hill and good numbers of Swift moving south. A pair of Spotted Flycatcher with young noted near the centre of the village.

A few Stag Beetles noted around the village this month, an endangered species in the UK and one of the few insects with protected status.

Several Painted Lady butterflies started to appear, a migrant from Africa and Southern Europe.

August. A good sporadic passage of migrants through Lollingdon hill this month with Whinchat, Wheatear, Redstart, Yellow Wagtail, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Spotted Flycatcher all being noted. Ravens seen more frequently during this month.

A Clouded Yellow butterfly noted, another migrant from southern climes.

September saw an influx of Siskin and Goldcrest with good numbers of both seen and a good half dozen Stonechat passed through. A few summer visitors still passing through with several Whinchat, Yellow Wagtail and Wheatear and good numbers of Swallow and House Martin on the move.

A Marsh Tit and several Coal Tit appeared on Lollingdon hill in amongst the roaming Tit flocks and towards the end of the month Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail started to appear in good numbers.

October and a continued movement of migrants passing through. Swallows and House Martins had all but gone by the second week and the first winter thrushes started to arrive with both Redwing and Fieldfare regular by month end.

Numbers of Starling, Linnet, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail and Skylark increased around Lollingdon Hill.

2 late Wheatear appeared on the hill late month (23rd & 31st) and 3 sightings of Merlin towards the end of the month.

Several Barn Owl noted around the village this month and a Short-eared Owl put in an appearance on Cholsey Hill.

Brambling, Redpoll and Tree Sparrow noted this month moving through with more abundant migrants.

November turned up the first Black Redstart of the year out at Lollingdon and another closeby in Wallingford town centre for several days. Another Short-eared Owl, a couple of Barn Owl, a couple of Woodcock and a Green Sandpiper also noted.

One of the Barn Owls was found dead near Church road and may have been a traffic casualty. Fortunately 2 others have been seen at either end of the village during the month.

On another point during National Tree Week this month a group of volunteers planted 200+ trees in the recreation ground and in time this will add to the diversity of the local flora.

December and a family group of Whooper Swans arrived on Cholsey Hill on the 2nd, still present at year end. 5 Swans were seen by Mike Amphlett flying over Waterloo close towards Cholsey several days earlier and these are surely the same birds.

Last seen on the 28th Dec.

Another Woodcock noted out at Lollingdon along with a Merlin and a Cetti’s Warbler at Cholsey Marsh and the odd Chiffchaff still present.

Hedgehogs still active late month indicating the mildness of the winter so far.