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.

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