Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Garden Watch

Overcast, rain, 14°, breezy SW.

A miserable summer’s day with rain and a cool south westerly.

I was planning on going out but the onset of rain persuaded me to stay put, so a watch on the garden was in order.

The feeders attracted a lot of activity with Blue, Great and Coal Tit present and House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Goldfinch all vying for places.

A pair of Swallow feeding on and off low through the garden and meadow attempting to find insect food close to the ground and trees and several House Martin feeding close to the trees at a slightly higher altitude.

A Sparrowhawk hit the garden this afternoon and took something but I did not see what it was.

Other visitors were: Moorhen, Mallard, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Stock Dove, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Pied Wagtail, Carrion Crow, Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Chiffchaff and Blackcap.

Meadow: Tawny Owl (after dark), Red Kite and Green Woodpecker and Nuthatch (heard).

Visible insect life was virtually non-existent except for a few Moths resting in sheltered places.

Coal Tit
Treble Brown Spot Moth
Blue Tit

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Before the rain

Again cloudy with sunny spells, 18°, light SSW.

A walk out to Lollingdon before the rain hit.

Much the same as yesterday but one of the Little Owls was heard calling.

Several of the Yellowhammer seen carrying food & 2 pairs of Yellow Wagtail present.

Dragonflies: several Azure Damselfly, 1 Southern Hawker & 2 Emperor Dragonfly.

Butterflies: Large White, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown & Ringlet.

 Speckled Wood
Meadow Brown
Yellowhammer with food for its young

Monday, 27 June 2016

No surprises here

Cloudy with sunny spells, 19°, breezy WNW.

An early afternoon visit to Cholsey Marsh, all the usual Warblers present but little else.

Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Cetti’s Warbler, also quite a few Reed Bunting.

Later a visit to Lollingdon Hill, again no surprises. Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting.

A Lesser Whitethroat still singing in the village.

Dragonflies: Banded Demoiselle along the river and an Emperor Dragonfly out at Lollingdon.

Butterflies: quantity of a few species, a Red Admiral, a Small Tortoiseshell, several Speckled Wood and Ringlet and loads of Meadow Brown.

Several more records of Stag Beetles around.

A Tawny Owl seen flying from the garden this evening whilst watching the England game was the only highlight of the match.

The injured duckling mentioned on the blog yesterday died unfortunately.

Meadow Browns
Molly and her surviving ducklings. (photo courtesy Richard Broughton)

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Poplar Hawkmoth

Cloudy the rain, 17°, breezy SSW.

A Poplar Hawkmoth flew in the living room window this evening. Managed to catch it and take a few pics then released back in to the garden.

Apparently Molly and her ducklings have been attacked by a dog, one is missing and another badly injured and taken in to care and that leaves 6 surviving.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Midsummer Marsh

Overcast, 18°, light WSW.

A visit to Cholsey Marsh today and still a few species singing regularly.

Plenty of Sedge Warbler present, several Reed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Common Whitethroat. A single Garden Warbler seen, a Lesser Whitethroat carrying food and the Cetti’s Warbler still present.

A couple of Kingfisher heard along the Thames and several Swift, Swallow and House Martin feeding overhead.

Dragonflies: Only Banded Demoiselle today.

Butterflies: Meadow Brown only.

A belated record of a Spotted Flycatcher at the southern end of the marsh in May, the only record in Cholsey so far this year.

Plenty of Pyramid Orchid in flower at the moment.  

Pyramid Orchid
Wild flower meadow near Bow Bridge

Monday, 20 June 2016

Summer doldrums

Rain at first then cloudy with a few sunny spells, 19°, breezy WNW.

A bit samey on Lollingdon Hill at the moment, a handful of Swift feeding over the hill (20 feeding over Cholsey Hill earlier), a Grey Heron nearby and a Kestrel hassling a couple of Red Kite.

Mammals: Muntjac Deer.

Not a particularly good day for insects, however when the sun came out:

Dragonflies: Azure Damselfly and Emperor Dragonfly: Four-spot Chaser (per Tony Rayner).

Butterflies: 1 Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell and several Speckled Wood and Meadow Brown: Large SkipperSmall Copper (per Tony Rayner).

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Spotted Orchid

Cloudy, 16°, light NNW.

Not a lot today, other than the Pied Wagtails at Marymead have fledged 2 young and were seen feeding out in the meadow.

The Spotted Orchid is in the process of flowering in the garden again for the 3rd year and a good number of Foxgloves.

Also a Bee Orchid has flowered in the village on a grass verge.

A Scarlet Tiger Moth seen yesterday.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

IT & Birding

Sunny spells with scattered cloud, 16°, light ENE.

The anticipated rain did not materialise until later in the day with a thunderstorm and a heavy downpour so I had planned to stay in any way to catch up on some IT work.

Fortunately working on the laptop I can view the garden through the day and there is a lot going on.

A Hobby over the garden mid-afternoon, quite a few Swift around (20+ over Cholsey Hill yesterday) and both Swallow and House Martin feeding overhead.

We had 3 Blackbird nests in the garden, 2 successful with 2 & 3 young raised, the 3rd appears to have been predated, not sure by what though.

The Nuthatches still visiting the garden and that has been a year now since they first appeared and long may they continue.

A female Great-spotted Woodpecker still visiting along with the regulars: 2 Stock Dove, Moorhen, several assorted Mallard to name a few.

The resident pair of Carrion Crow have been up to their usual with every now and again chasing the Wood Pigeons from the garden. They do not chase anything else (other than any other corvid which is rare) from the garden and have got close enough to take a few tail feathers from the odd pigeon.

4 Hedgehog in the garden recently probably two overlapping territories and a Short-tailed Vole seen frequently.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Down on the Marsh

Cloudy with a few sunny spells and rain later, 17°, light SSW.

A visit to the marsh today, less song but still a lot of activity.

Sedge Warbler and Reed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Common Whitethroat, Reed Bunting and the Cetti’s Warbler still heard regularly.

Cuckoo, Lesser Whitethroat and Garden Warbler all noted at the week end but not today (per various).

Black-headed Gull along the river, Kingfisher and 2 Great-crested Grebe.

Only butterfly seen today was a Common Blue and the only dragonfly was Banded Demoiselle.

Update on Molly

Just to remind, Molly hatched 12 ducklings in the garden at Marymead.

Incredibly she still has 8 ducklings, now well-grown (see pic). They're pretty tame and are now taking wheat, which is a bit cheaper than the mealworms they've been used to!

A Sparrowhawk was attacking kites overhead today, so I guess they have chicks now in the usual place.

Thanks to Richard Broughton for the info and photo.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Quiet out West

Cloudy with occasional sunny spells and rain showers, 17°, breezy WSW.

Nothing out of the ordinary out at Lollingdon today, a small flock of 5 Swift feeding over the area and a Grey Heron nearby.

An estimate of a few species breeding pairs between the village and Lollingdon: 6 Skylark, 4 Chiffchaff, 3 Reed Bunting, 10 Yellowhammer, 5 Corn Bunting and 3 Yellow Wagtail.

Few butterflies again: Green-veined White, Common Blue, Speckled Wood and Meadow Brown.

Monday, 13 June 2016

The Lees

Cloudy with rain showers, 15°, light WNW.

A walk out to the Lees and along the dyke and the “reedy ditch”

An estimate of breeding pairs out there: 10 Skylark, 2 Chiffchaff, 4 Reed Warbler, 8 Sedge Warbler, 5 Reed Bunting, 3 Yellowhammer and 3 Yellow Wagtail.

Very few butterflies: 1 Painted Lady and a single Speckled Wood.

A few Pyramid Orchid just coming into flower plus the usual hybrid orchid.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Buntings & Butterflies

Light cloud, 22°, very light SW.

A bit of a muggy day and a walk out to Lollingdon.

A total of 9 Yellowhammer, 5 Corn Bunting and 3 Reed Bunting in song and apart from 2 pair of Yellow WagtailCommon Whitethroats, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs there was little else to report.

Dragonflies: Azure Damselfly.

Butterflies: Brimstone, Orange Tip, Green-veined White, Large White, Small White, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and Speckled Wood.

Garden: Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Nuthatch, Great-spotted Woodpecker..................

Painted Lady (apparently there are 000's moving north through Europe at the moment)
Corn Bunting
 Common Blue
Brown Argus

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Another Stag Beetle

Another Stag Beetle found nearby yesterday this time a male.

photo courtesy Poppy Hunt

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

More of an insect day

Sunny, 23°, light NE.

A rather disappointing walk along the Bunk Line this afternoon with very little seen.

A few Yellowhammer and Common Whitethroat around and a single Chiffchaff.

Very few butterflies noted.

A female Stag Beetle found by a neighbour in the meadow today, photographed and released in the garden.

Butterflies: (Garden & Bunk Line), Brimstone, Orange Tip, Large White, Common Blue.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016


A warm day with high thin cloud, 23°, light WNW.

Three species of Wagtail today!

A walk out to Lollingdon today, 2 pair of Yellow Wagtail, a Lesser Whitethroat and a Hobby noted along with all the usual birds.

Garden: Song Thrush, Coal Tit, Treecreeper, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail and Stock Dove.

Dragonflies: An unidentified Hawker around the pond.

Butterflies: Brimstone, Orange Tip, Green-veined White, a Holly Blue, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Peacock and Speckled Wood.

Monday, 6 June 2016

A good day for Dragons

Sunny, 23°, light E.

Cholsey Marsh looking very viridescent and lush at the moment with plenty of insect life today.

The Cuckoo heard several times and then seen to fly from across the river to the marsh.

The usual warblers present with both Reed and Sedge Warbler, Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, Common Whitethroat and 1 Lesser Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and the Cetti’s Warbler seen but not heard.

A couple of adult Black-headed Gull cruising the river, 2 Great-crested Grebe and a Kingfisher noted.

Reed Bunting a frequently encountered resident and a couple of Mistle Thrush.

A fair few butterflies around especially in the flower meadow by Bow Bridge and a good day for dragonflies (the first this year) with a walk up to the small lakes at Cholsey Meadows and both Pied Wagtail and Grey Wagtail present there.

Dragonflies: Banded Demoiselle, Common Blue Damsel, Hairy Hawker, Four-spotted Chaser and Broad-bodied Chaser.

Butterflies: Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Red Admiral, a Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock.