Friday, 31 March 2017


Variable, cloudy at first with a few light rain showers then sunny. 15°, breezy SW.

An uneventful walk out to Lollingdon today and as I reached the south side of the hill I thought I heard a Redstart call but in the windy conditions was not 100% sure.

I walked along the hill hoping to find a Wheatear but none present.

Around 30 mins later I was on the phone to Loren who was in London at the time when I caught sight of a cracking male Common Redstart in the hedgerow. We cut the phone call short, got the camera out, switched it on but the battery was dead. After a few short sharp words I replaced the battery but the bird was no longer on view. Okay let’s wait and see and fortunately after around 20 minutes it showed itself again.

It stayed on view long enough to get a series of photos thankfully. An early record for Redstart especially in Oxfordshire.

Right back to the rest: A Willow Warbler also on the hill (the first this year) and several Chiffchaff around and a Goldcrest in song.

At least 5 Fieldfare in a small flock flew over, 4+ Corn Bunting and a couple of Yellowhammer, also a single Jay present plus the regulars.

Butterflies: Small White, Red Admiral, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell.

The first Black Oil Beetles also seen, I've only found them present on the hill in Cholsey and they have a fascinating life cycle. They are a nationally threatened species and are identified as a priority for conservation. Please see the link -  Oil Beetles

Thursday, 30 March 2017

A Butterfly day

Sunny, 18°, breezy S.

A walk along the Bunk line to Winterbrook this afternoon and the day dominated by butterflies with 7 species being noted.

Bird wise: 5 Chiffchaff, 3 Yellowhammer and a Blackcap in song. At least 3 pair of Lapwing in the fields and display behaviour seen.

A Grey Wagtail in the garden this morning.

Butterflies: Brimstone, Small White (1), Holly Blue (2), Red Admiral (2), Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma (1).

A Terrapin was seen today on the river bank by the 4 Arches railway bridge. See briefly by TW and noted to have yellow stripes on it's head. Not 100% what species it was but presumably was possibly someones pet and released in the river? More likely a Red-eared Terrapin with any red not very obvious.

1st Swallow

The first Swallow of the year this morning (per Tony Rayner).

Wednesday, 29 March 2017


Overcast, 13°, light SSW.

As usual the anticipated wait for migrants to arrive has not yet materialised. Although we had an early Wheatear on the 13th and Chiffchaffs have arrived, nothing else has..........yet!

Very little change from Monday, 2 Goldcrest, a couple of Chiffchaff, a single Fieldfare and at least 3 singing Corn Bunting on the hill. Elsewhere very much the same.

A belated record of a Goosander seen flying upriver a few weeks back (per TW).

A Peacock butterfly in the garden early afternoon.

Corn Buntings on the hill with the male displaying to the female.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Nuthatch + other news

Hazy sunshine, 12°, light SSW.

News from Tony Rayner: At least 8 Buzzard in a thermal above the cottage this morning.

This evening a few Lapwing - mainly in the field beyond our meadow.

Butterflies today included a Small White - the first this year.

Record numbers of Slow-worm and Grass Snake for this time of the year.
10 Grass Snake and 114 Slow-worm. Also early young of both.

A Barn Owl seen regularly along the Bunk line/Wallingford road area. (per MA+)

Back to my garden: a female Blackcap feeding in the garden today and a few Brimstone butterflies.

One of the two Nuthatch visiting the garden.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Chiffchaffs & Butterflies

Hazy sunshine, 15°, light ESE.

A lot of Chiffchaff around today with at least 5 on the hill and another 9 between Lollingdon and the village.

The stubble fields have been ploughed but quite a few birds still foraging there, c30 Linnet, 11 Yellowhammer, 5 Reed Bunting, 2 Pied Wagtail and 40+ Meadow Pipit.

A small flock of c30 Fieldfare and a Grey Heron noted.

Male Blackcap feeding in the garden today.

Mammals: Roe Deer.

Butterflies: Brimstone (5), Peacock (2) and Small Tortoiseshell (12).

Sunday, 26 March 2017

More from the Garden

A sunny day, 12°, light to breezy E.

A catch-up day in the garden today so a few hours spent hoeing and clearing.

A Treecreeper around the garden most of the time and in song, a couple of Nuthatch to and from the feeders and a brief visit by a male Great-spotted Woodpecker and a Chiffchaff singing closeby.

The Green Woodpecker seen in the meadow and a Sparrowhawk flew through.

A Song Thrush visiting frequently still and singing nearby and 3 Mallard spent most of the day resting up in the garden.

Several Red Kite around and noted carrying twigs and practicing food passes and also being hassled by the Rooks if they get too close to the rookery.

Butterflies: quite a few Brimstone on the wing.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Cholsey Marsh Litter pick

Sunny, 15°, light NE.

A litter pick on Cholsey Marsh this morning with Mark Bradfield of BBOWT and Phil Dyson, a fair bit of rubbish found including a large gas canister and discarded fishing line.

Some rubbish found that had presumably been dumped from a parked car last night and just chucked out of a car a few feet from a rubbish bin.

What I would like to say about people who do that I will not write here!

Please use the bin or take it back with you!

Back to the wildlife: several Tufted Duck flushed from the river by the sculling crews early on.

4+ Chiffchaff in song, a couple of Reed Bunting and a Corn Bunting nearby.

2 Water Rail heard and a Kingfisher flew upstream, a Great-crested Grebe on the river and a single Lapwing flew over.

Mammals: Roe Deer.

Butterflies: 4 species on the wing, Brimstone, Red Admiral, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell.

Friday, 24 March 2017


Overcast with sunshine later, 12°, light ENE.

Still waiting for migration to happen, you go out at this time of year in anticipation of seeing our first summer migrants appear but as if quite often the does not happen.

The best of the birds today noted by Michael Pocock.

“I’ve be bemoaning the lack of Golden Plover on Cholsey Hill this winter, but having heard Lapwing on a field off Wallingford Road recently I checked them out this morning and as well as 8 Lapwing (seemingly setting up territories) there was the flock of Goldies – about 70 with some in stunning summer plumage.

And then to top it off a resplendent “White” Wagtail appeared in front of me in the ploughed field.”

As for Lollingdon this morning, it was rather quiet. 5 singing Chiffchaff between the village and Lollingdon, no more than 30 Fieldfare and a single Redwing.

Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting still out around the stubble field and 2 Corn Bunting and a Jay on Lollingdon Hill.

Green Woodpecker very vocal at the moment with 3 heard and a Coal Tit singing on the periphery of the meadow.

last pic courtesy Michael Pocock.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017


Rain, 7°, light SW.

A pair of Bullfinch graced the garden this morning.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Wet 'n' Windy

Overcast with rain and a blustery wind, 10°, fresh WSW.

A wet and windy day out there today and not a lot seen.

A couple of Corn Bunting on the hill and a singing Chiffchaff nearby.

A small flock of c30 Fieldfare and a few Redwing noted and a few Reed Bunting and Yellowhammer. Also 20+ Meadow Pipit that were presumably moving through.

A Grey Heron and 2 Jay in the area.

2 Nuthatch and Treecreeper in garden again today and a Grey Wagtail on the roofs.

22:00 and just seen the Hedgehog in the garden.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

A breezy day

Overcast and windy, 12°, breezy SW.

Decided to get out today and blow the cobwebs away, so Loren and I went up to Wittenham Wood for a walk.

Not a lot going on there, however up to 4 Chiffchaff in song and the odd Great-spotted Woodpecker drumming.

A male Blackcap in the garden this week end, probably one from Tony Williams garden and decided on a change of scenery or apple.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Another garden day

Sunshine………………14°, light SW.

What a day to develop a “head cold”, didn’t feel like going out so sat in the garden for a time enjoying the weather.

Lots of Brimstone butterflies flying through, virtually all males except for one female that settled in the garden for a brief time.

Also 2 Peacock butterflies.

Birdwise, very much the same as yesterday minus the “Chiffy”.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

March Garden

Overcast, 12°, light W.

Plenty to do in the garden this time of year and keeping an eye on all the visitors to the garden.

A Chiffchaff this afternoon was a very active visitor, first high in the trees and then feeding along the fence line, in the garden for approx. 30 minutes before moving off towards the rec.

Several Mallards are using the garden as a rest area recently with up to 5 present but just 3 of them today.

Regular visitors include 2 Nuthatch, 2 Long-tailed Tit, a Treecreeper, 2 Moorhen, 2 Stock Dove and plenty of Finches.

The Robin nest has been built but not sure it is being used and a Wren building a nest in the garden and Blue and Great Tits inspecting the nest boxes.

The Rookery next to the garden is very active and noisy at the moment but no sign of young yet.

Grey Wagtail heard singing nearby and a Pheasant and a Green Woodpecker in the meadow and the Tawny Owls being heard after dark.

Signs of Hedgehog activity in the garden.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Spring in the air

A warm and sunny day, 13°, light WNW.

As if on cue a nice male Wheatear on Lollingdon Hill this morning, unfortunately a bit distant down on a ploughed field. Still there when I left so may move up on the hill later?

4 singing Chiffchaff, 1 near Church road this morning (per RB), 1 near the Bullshole and 2 out at Lollingdon.

A Grey Wagtail by the pond and Lapwing heard calling but not seen.

A few flocks of “winter thrushes” moving and a lot of chatter from flocks loafing around in the tree tops.

The Bunting flock beginning to disperse now with both Reed Bunting and Yellowhammer settling on territories in the area.

Quite a few of both Buzzard and Red Kite in the air today with several Buzzard in display flight.

A female Blackcap in the garden this morning and 2 Nuthatch and a Treecreeper visiting.

Butterflies: double figures today of Brimstone and Small Tortoiseshell.

Soaring with Kites

A different perspective on Lollingdon Hill on Friday 10th March.

Courtesy Bryan Regan

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Bits & Pieces

An overcast damp day, 12°, light NNW.

A Treecreeper on the chimney at Tony R's place today and a Chiffchaff singing in his garden.

Swallows, Sand Martins, Wheatears, Blackcaps etc have been arriving in the UK this weekend so keep your eyes open for newly arrived summer migrants.

Small Tortoiseshell wintering (waking up) in the garden shed today.

courtesy Tony Rayner

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Reflections of Portland

A very interesting photo taken of a Blackbird at Portland on the 10th March by Martin Cade.

There was a small influx of migrants that day, Stonechats, Blackbirds and Chiffchaffs and one of the photos of a Blackbird that was processed and ringed caught my eye.

I first noticed the photo on twitter and when I enlarged it I noticed a reflection in its eye of the observatory.

Don’t know about you but I just found it a fascinating photo and worth sharing.

Photo courtesy Martin Cade (Portland Bird Observatory Warden)