Friday, 29 September 2017

Gone quiet again

High cloud, 15°, light to breezy WSW.

A late afternoon visit to the hill today proved somewhat unproductive.

6 Red Kite quartering the hill and a Kestrel hunting, several Buzzard around in the fields with a couple appearing to be hunting on foot, presumably chasing insects.

2 Mistle Thrush, 6 Chiffchaff and 3 Goldcrest around the paddocks.

A rare occurrence of a Rabbit in the garden. It turned up yesterday and still present today.

Dragonflies: 2 Common Darter.

Butterflies: 3 Red Admiral.

Only the 2nd Rabbit seen in the garden.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Interesting & Frustrating

A misty start but clearing around 11:000, then mainly cloudy, 18°, light SSE.

An interesting and frustrating morning on the hill today.

A flock of around 100 birds were spooked by a Red Kite off the top of the hill and flew around the hill area above me for a time.

The flock consisted of mainly Linnet with a few Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting and Yellowhammer but there was one bird calling and I could not put a name to the call but it stood out as different.

This bird was being hassled by a few Linnet, it was then joined by 2 others giving the same call and they broke away from the main flock and headed south.

I lost them in the haze towards the downs and the rest of the flock settled down out of sight on the top of the hill.

The birds were the same size and shape as Linnet but I could not see any detail on them in the misty conditions.

On arriving back home I checked some calls on “Xeno-Canto” and it appears to confirm my suspicion that these 3 birds could well have been Twite.

They will have to go down as “possibles” as I am a bit rusty on Twite calls and I could not get any other ID criteria on them!

Anyway back to the definite stuff:

3 Raven flew north, 2 out of the mist earlier and another about 2 hours later.

A few Swallow and House Martin still making their way south and a slight increase in Skylark and Meadow Pipit numbers and a couple of Pied Wagtail.

No sign today of any Redstart on the hill but quite a few Chiffchaff still in the area.

3 Kestrel, 5 Red Kite and 3 Buzzard frequenting the hill and 3 Mistle Thrush for a brief time.

Still a good number of Egyptian Geese with the Goose flock down near the 4 Arches today and several Chiffchaff on Cholsey Marsh (per TW).

Dragonflies: 1 Southern Hawker and 5 Common Darter.

Butterflies: 1 Brimstone, 1 Large White, 3 Small White, 20 + Red Admiral, 2 Small Tortoiseshell and a possible Small Blue.

Monday, 25 September 2017


An overcast and misty day with some rain, 17°, light ENE.

2 Common Redstart still present on the hill and now in the Hawthorns at the top, 2 Green Woodpecker and 7 Mistle Thrush, all at the top of the hill and distant.

Quite a few Chiffchaff still around both adults and juveniles and a few Swallow over but precious little else in the way of migrants.

3 Kestrel, a Pied Wagtail, several Meadow Pipit seen nearby.

2 Chiffchaff in the garden today.

Dragonflies: 1 Brown Hawker.

Butterflies: 1 Green-veined White and 2 Red Admiral.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Quiet Days

Sunny periods, 17°, light SSW.

Quiet on the hill today with 2 Common Redstart and little else other than several Chiffchaff.

A steady passage of Hirundines over the hill with up to 200 birds with roughly equal numbers of Swallow and House Martin.

4 Kestrel seen along with 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 being hassled by 4 Rook over the playing field and another harrying and being harried by 30+ Meadow Pipit on the way back.

Grey Heron, 2 Bullfinch and 8 Yellowhammer noted.

Reptiles: several Common Lizard.

Dragonflies: Common Darter.

Butterflies: 1 Brimstone, several Large White and Small White, 20+ Red Admiral, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Comma and 2 Speckled Wood.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The Hill to the Thames

Cloudy but mild, 17°, light SSW.

Quiet on the hill today with just a Common Redstart present. A couple of Kestrel around and the usual Buzzards and Red Kites overhead.

c100 Swallow moving south along with a few House Martin and a couple of Skylark overhead.

A male Stonechat on the hill yesterday and a Barn Owl out at Lollingdon recently (per TW).

The other side of the hill was busy with 8+ Chiffchaff and a couple of Goldcrest and a couple of Tit flocks.

2 Bullfinch around the paddocks and several more Chiffchaff.

A male Peregrine halfway between the village and Lollingdon and the usual Grey Heron present.

2 Cetti’s Warbler down on Cholsey Marsh and a high count of Egyptian Geese this week with 70 on the river near the 4 Arches (per TW).

Mammals: Roe Deer and several reports of Otter on the Thames between Bow Bridge and the 4 Arches recently (TW & PC).

Dragonflies: Southern Hawker, prob Migrant Hawker and Common Darter.

Butterflies: Large and Small White, 3 Red Admiral, 2 Small Tortoiseshell and 1 Speckled Wood.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Sunshine & Showers

Mainly cloudy with a few sunny spells and rain showers……………….again, 15°, light NNW.

A Common Redstart still on the hill and a couple of Yellowhammer but little else.

150+ Swallow overhead plus a few Meadow Pipit, 1 Yellow Wagtail and 1 probably 2 Ringed Plover flew over calling.

A Raven heard nearby but not seen and several Chiffchaff around.

2 Jay and a 4 Yellowhammer on the walk back.

2 Chiffchaff in the garden this afternoon with one of the mobile Tit flocks, 6 Long-tailed Tit, 3 Coal Tit and a Nuthatch.

Mammals: Short-tailed Vole.

Reptiles: 10+ Common Lizard.

Dragonflies: Emperor and Common Darter.

Butterflies: 1 Clouded Yellow, several Large White and Small White, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Comma, 2 Speckled Wood and 1 Gatekeeper.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Redstarts for 65 days

Variable cloud with sunny spells and rain showers, 13°, light NW.

Relatively quiet on the hill today. 2 Common Redstart present, 1 Blackcap and several Chiffchaff.

Apart from Redstarts, the hill has been quiet this autumn with fewer migrants passing through.

Redstarts have been present on the hill since 12th July with a max of 5 on 2 occasions.

100+ Hirundines passing overhead and 30+ Meadow Pipit.

2 Kestrel around the hill and 6 Mistle Thrush nearby.

Reptiles: a couple of Common Lizard.

Amphibians: a Common Frog.

Dragonflies: Emperor, Brown Hawker, Southern Hawker and Common Darter.

Butterflies: Large White , Small White, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and Speckled Wood.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Aileen blows through

Intermittent sunshine with a few squally showers, 16°, fresh W.

Was not expecting much on the hill today as the wind was sweeping across the area.

Apart from 2 Kestrel around the only migrant on the hill was a Common Redstart.

The fields in the lee of the hill were a little more productive with another Common Redstart, a Common Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, 2 Willow Warbler and several Chiffchaff.

2 Meadow Pipit flew over and several small flocks of Hirundines moving through.

Some of the Hirundines would spend time feeding over the fields and resting up before moving on again.

Dragonflies: 1 Common Darter Lollingdon and a Southern Hawker in the garden.

Butterflies: 3 Large White, 1 Red Admiral, 2 Small Tortoiseshell and 2 Speckled Wood.

Friday, 8 September 2017

After the rain

Rain all morning then sunny spells, 17°, breezy W.

An afternoon start today after the rain this morning and a breezy day on the hill.

Several Red Kite enjoying the updraft on the hill along with a couple of Buzzard (including a very pale bird that eventually drifted off high south east).

2 Kestrel hunting on the hill and a Hobby over.

A good passage of up to 200 Hirundines through today with the ratio of Swallow to House Martin approx. 80:20.

A Redstart still present and a Common Whitethroat, a Blackcap, a Lesser Whitethroat and several Chiffchaff.

A Grey Wagtail in the garden this evening and a Nuthatch and 2 Coal Tit earlier.

Mammals: Bank Vole, 3 Hedgehog in garden this evening.

Dragonflies: 2 Southern Hawker and several Common Darter.

Butterflies: several Large and Small White, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Comma and 3 Speckled Wood.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017


Mainly cloudy with sunny intervals, 18°, breezy WNW.

Very little out at Lollingdon today, a Common Redstart still present, a Common Whitethroat and several Chiffchaff.

100+ Swallow over plus a few House Martin with some resting up on fences and Hawthorns on the hill.

Little else of note.

A Sparrowhawk visiting the garden regularly but not having much luck and a least 2 Tawny Owl around at nights.

Dragonflies: Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker and Common Darter.

Butterflies: Large White, Small White, 2 Red Admiral, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Peacock, 1 Comma, 3 Speckled Wood and 1 Meadow Brown.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Wheatear on the Hill

Overcast and humid with several light rain showers, 20°, light SSW.

The first Wheatear of the autumn on the hill today with one on a ploughed field on the lower slope.

A Common Redstart still present and a few Chiffchaff around.

2 Raven flew north and a Cormorant flew over then turned around and flew back north and 2 Yellow Wagtail over.

A handful of Swallow overhead and at least 2 Bullfinch near the paddocks.

Another Yellow Wagtail over the garden.

Dragonflies: Southern Hawker.

Butterflies: Large White, Small White, 2 Small Tortoiseshell and 2 Speckled Wood.

Moths: a Silver-Y.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

A Twitch and a Dip

A text arrived this afternoon just as Loren and I were off to the Bunkfest that changed our day.

The text read “Greenish Warbler Middle Barton in a garden of nn North Street”, a quick check on the Oxon Bird Blog read “Greenish Warbler: calling frequently in the garden of nn North street while I was viewing the house next door. Flew over the other side of the road. 13:45”.

I’ve seen around a dozen or so of these before in the UK but not one in Oxfordshire and I believe it would be a county first for this species. So off to Middle Barton we went.

Our journey took us around 50 minutes and on arrival we saw several birders milling around and not looking at anything in particular and the finder had left.

After a quick chat we ascertained that the bird had not been seen or heard since the original sighting and, correct me if I am wrong, but I was told that it was viewed without binoculars and the observer had no previous experience of Greenish Warblers.

We started to fan out around the village but after a few hours or so nothing was found so one by one we all left and called it a day.

A few birders present at Middle Barton

Friday, 1 September 2017

Autumn begins

Sunshine and broken cloud, 20°, light NW.

A slow start to September, 1 Common Redstart, 2 Common Whitethroat, several Chiffchaff, 3 Yellow Wagtail over, 6 Mistle Thrush and a Kestrel on the hill.

A Raven heard calling and 2 Sparrowhawk and 50+ Swallow and a few House Martin overhead.

Nearby, 3+ Bullfinch, a Grey Heron, several Yellowhammer and another Kestrel.

A Willow Warbler on the walk out to Lollingdon.

Nuthatch and Coal Tit in the garden and c100 Swallow and 2 Hobby over the garden early evening.

Reptiles: several Common Lizard.

Dragonflies: Southern Hawker and Common Darter.

Butterflies: Large White, Small White, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell (numbers low this year), 1 Comma, 1 Gatekeeper and several Speckled Wood.