Tuesday, 28 February 2017

More Stonechats

A cloudy and wet day after a bright start, 5°, breezy WSW.

A bit cooler today and somewhat quiet on the bird front. Very few “winter thrushes” noted today with just a handful of Fieldfare and 20+ Redwing.

A slight increase in Song Thrush sightings and a single singing Mistle Thrush.

However a nice surprise to find 5 Stonechat on Lollingdon Hill today with 3 male and 2 female seen. Could not get close enough for any decent photos and they appeared to move off the hill after about 10 minutes.

A couple of Fieldfare, 6 Pied Wagtail and 2 Meadow Pipit also on the hill.

A lot of Red Kite and Buzzard in the air this morning with excess of 30 Kite and 16 Buzzard counted on the walk out.

c30 Lapwing flew over the garden early morning heading north.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Blackcap......at last

Rain showers with a little sunshine, 6°, breezy WSW.

The first Blackcap of this winter turned up in the garden today and a male Sparrowhawk zipped through the garden mid-afternoon.

The Robin still busy adding material to the nest.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Robin's nest

Cloudy with some light rain, 10°, breezy SW.

Having been working in the garden today I decided to take a break and sit down on the bench on the patio. I then became aware of a Robin sat close to me with a beak full of leaf material.

The bird was very tame as it was only a couple of feet away and I initially thought it was injured. It just sat there as if waiting for me to do something. After a couple of minutes it flew up to a shelf unit on the patio and disappeared behind an empty flower pot and then it dawned on me that it’s nesting there or at least building a nest.

Robins are usually tolerant of people being present close to the nesting area but still need to keep any disturbance to a minimum now.

A little early as they generally start in March but have been known to start as early as January and in a successful year can have up to 5 broods.

Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit and Great-spotted Woodpecker in the garden today and a Goldcrest along Church road.

Friday, 24 February 2017

After the Storm

Mainly sunny, 8°, light WSW.

After Doris swept through yesterday a reasonably sunny day today but a bit cooler than of late.

2 Stonechat today with a male on the Hill and another, a female about 1km north out by the stubble fields. Arguably the first migrants of this year.

Still a small flock of Reed Bunting and Linnet out on the stubble and several Yellowhammer.

A flock of c30 Fieldfare on the hill and 6 Pied Wagtail and a Kingfisher by the farmhouse.

A few more flocks of Fieldfare around the fields and several Buzzard high overhead in display flight.

Redwing a bit thin on the ground but still a few around and a couple of Skylark in song flight.

A Treecreeper singing in the Millennium Wood, possibly the same one we get in the garden.

A new bird for the garden today in the form of a Reed Bunting that flew over this afternoon and around 20 Redwing settled in the garden trees for a short time.

Mammals: Roe Deer & Wood Mouse.

Butterflies: Brimstone, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell.

We were lucky around here that we did not sustain much damage from storm Doris. Just a couple of trees down on the hill.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Of Ducks & Worms

“22 Teal on the Church rd flood at dawn this morning. I'm often hearing calling from there at night, so I think they're regular after dark.” - Richard Broughton

“All previous counts of Slow-worm in February eclipsed today with a count of 20 - all adults”. - Tony Rayner

Thanks to Richard & Tony for the info.

Can also hear the Teal from my garden after dark.

A couple of library photos.

Monday, 20 February 2017

A taste of Spring

A spring like day with broken sunshine, 13°, breezy SW.

“3 Wigeon and 2 Teal on the floods near Church rd early morning” but not present at 10:30 when I checked. (Per Richard Broughton).

Don’t recall seeing Wigeon locally before other than on the river in hard weather!

The Little Egret still being seen regularly in the area from the Church rd floods out to Amwell spring.

“3-4 Blackcap still present and feeding on apples in a West End garden and a Peregrine out by the Lees”. (Per Tony Williams).

(Per Tony Rayner). “A Siskin this morning over Cholsey Church.
Amazing how Brimstones suddenly appear on mass. Had a pristine Small Tortoiseshell today too.
Also a great day for reptiles - a Grass Snake and 8 Slow-worms. The snake was my earliest ever recorded by two clear weeks. To have as many as 8 Slow-worms is also a record this early, and again the previous earliest date to have that many was 7th March. The first Bumblebees too, at least two species”.

Lollingdon still fairly quiet, the Little Owl heard again but not seen. 1 Buzzard and 8 Red Kite soaring over Lollingdon Hill and a handful of Fieldfare, 30+ Starling and 8 Pied Wagtail on the Hill and several Skylark in song.

8+ Reed Bunting around the usual stubble fields and fewer Yellowhammer, and a flock of c100 Lapwing seen distantly flying east over the village.

A Grey Wagtail in the garden this morning, a Treecreeper singing, a Kingfisher along the brook and an odd record of a Coot heard over the garden last night at 21:20.

Mammals: Roe Deer and Brown Hare.

Butterflies: 4 Brimstone (2m & 2f) between the village and Lollingdon and a Small Tortoiseshell and 2m Brimstone in TR’s garden.

An interesting observation by Tony Williams last week. “Attracted to a noise I noticed a Peregrine Falcon mobbing a Buzzard on the ground. As I got closer I noticed the Buzzard had a Wood Pigeon and maybe the Buzzard had taken this from the Falcon. The Falcon then flew off and settled in some nearby trees.

After a short while the Buzzard then took off with the Pigeon and was immediately mobbed by a Red Kite. The Buzzard subsequently dropped the Pigeon only for it to be snapped up in mid-air by the Red Kite which then flew off with it”.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

First butterfly of the year

Another sunny day, 12°, light SW.

A Red Admiral butterfly in Tony Rayner’s garden today and 5 adult Slow-Worm. "This is my earliest ever record of a Slow-Worm".

A new moth for the site - a Pale Brindled Beauty.

Library pic

Friday, 17 February 2017

False Spring

A mild day, mainly cloudy with some sunny spells, 11°, light SSW.

A milder day today with more insects in the air including a few Honey Bee. The weather is supposed to get milder over the next few days but February is a notoriously unpredictable month.

Very much the same out at Lollingdon today with little change since Monday, however a Little Owl heard calling from the usual area and a few Yellowhammer appear to be taking up territories.

Still lots of “winter thrushes” around and a couple of Mistle Thrush.

The Little Egret seen yesterday, flushed from the brook by a dog walker and flew off across the meadow towards West End.

A couple of Siskin heard yesterday also, flew over the garden calling.

2 Grey Wagtail feeding in the garden this week, a Kingfisher seen flying up the brook and 2 Nuthatch and a Treecreeper visiting regularly and a Green Woodpecker on Wednesday.

From Tony Rayner “My early checks on my reptile sheets have shown more Field Voles than usual all looking fairly plump. This suggests to me it could be a vole year, in which case it could be a good year for Barn Owls and other predators. And the first singing Chiffchaff this morning.”

Back in 1987 I drove down to the Sussex coast to see my first Little Egret which back then was a rare/scarce bird in the UK. Now as you can see they are resident and breeding in the UK with the first breeding record in Dorset in 1996. They have also bred in Oxfordshire recently. Climate change? I think so! It’s on my garden list 😜.

 Green Woodpecker working the garden trees.
One of the 20 or so Redwing in the hedge by the garden.

Monday, 13 February 2017


A sunny day, 9°, light E.

A bright day today finally getting rid of that oppressive cloud cover that’s been around for several days.

Needless to say plenty of
Fieldfare and Redwing around still and several small flocks of Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting.

Lapwing resting in a flooded field with c100 gulls until everything was flushed for a good  ½ mile radius by an extremely low flying helicopter.

Fox also noted today.

A few signs of winter slowly losing its grip with Snowdrops and Aconites in flower and a bit more bird song noted.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Quiet Times

Cloudy with light snow and rain showers, 2°, light NNE.

The Little Egret out on the Church road flood early afternoon and a flock of 20 Golden Plover flew across the road on Cholsey hill.

With the weather being rubbish this week and all quiet on the bird front I’ve been catching up with things I need to attend to so only a few observations from the garden.

A visit from another Pheasant this week, stayed for half a day then flew off and returned 2 days later and still present.

Up to twenty Redwing feeding in the meadow regularly during this cold spell.

2 Nuthatch, a Treecreeper and a GS Woodpecker frequent this week along with most of the regulars.

Friday, 10 February 2017


Not quite Cholsey but Wallingford.

Video courtesy Nadine Mitschunas

Monday, 6 February 2017

A bit samey

A cloudy day, 7°, light SSE.

The Little Egret put in an appearance on Amwell Spring this morning (per Geoff Ryman) but not seen subsequently.

Little change out at Lollingdon, still plenty of Fieldfare and Redwing around and a good number of Yellowhammer.

Several Song Thrush singing frequently recently.

A Corn Bunting, 2 Buzzard, 4 Red Kite and several Fieldfare on the hill but that was about it.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Little Egret again

Sunny, 6°, light SE.

Little Egret back on the floods this morning (per Richard) but not seen late afternoon. 

Not seen yesterday either, maybe feeding along the brook at times.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Little Egret

Overcast with rain showers, 11°, breezy SE.

A Little Egret on a flooded field by Church road this afternoon. Found by Richard Broughton.

 photo above courtesy Richard Broughton

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Dusk on the Marsh

Mainly cloudy after some earlier rain, 9°, light SE.

A rather quiet time on the marsh this evening, approx. 80 Corn Bunting came in to roost, c50 Meadow Pipit and 30’ish Yellowhammer. Only 1 Reed Bunting noted.

3 Cormorant flew upstream, 2 Egyptian Geese flew across the marsh and headed down river and a couple of Water Rail heard.

Around 50 Fieldfare came in late and appeared to roost in some of the trees by the marsh.

A Mistle Thrush and a couple of Song Thrush singing at dusk.