Thursday, 30 November 2017

Garden stuff

Cloudy, 3°, light NW.

Another cold day and the morning spent clearing leaves in the garden.

Quite a few Redwing passing over the garden again with birds frequently settling briefly in the tops of the garden trees before moving on. Also several Fieldfare passing through.

The usual Tit flock visiting several times in the day, mainly Long-tailed Tit, with 2 Coal Tit, several Blue Tit and Great Tit, at least 1 Nuthatch, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker and a Treecreeper.

Several Blackbird and a Song Thrush frequenting the garden.

Also a rare garden visit from a Magpie and 2 Buzzard overhead.

 Before & After

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Winter is Coming!

Cloudy with a few sunny spells, 4° and a cold wind from NNW.

A chilly day with a northerly breeze blowing through.

The Hill was quite busy today with a Green Woodpecker, 100+ Fieldfare, 20+ Redwing, several Blackbird and Song Thrush, 40+ Chaffinch, 30+ Goldfinch, c50 Linnet, 1 Reed Bunting, and 6 of each Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting.

A Sparrowhawk and 2 Kestrel hunting in the area.

2 Goldcrest nearby and another flock of approx. 40 Goldfinch and another Fieldfare flock (c50) on the way back. Still a lot of Black-headed Gull around with approx. 200 noted in fields around Lollingdon.

A Song Thrush in the garden most of today and approx 100 Redwing alighting in the tops of the garden trees before moving on over a period of 30 minutes.

Low numbers of Corn Bunting coming to the roost at Cholsey Marsh recently with less than 50 birds arriving. per TW.

Saturday, 25 November 2017


Sunny, 5°, light NW.

Several Redwing in the garden trees and a Red Admiral in the allotments.

a small flock of Golden Plover on Cholsey Hill.

Friday, 24 November 2017

#Blackfriday? Go birding!

Hazy sunshine, 6°, light WNW.

Stuff going to shops or looking online for bargains that are not! Much more satisfying to get out in the fresh air and enjoy nature!

A different morning again out at Lollingdon with a Stonechat appearing out of nowhere on the Hill and disappearing just as quick, a flyover of at least 1 Brambling with a small flock of Chaffinch.

2 Raven flew south west and a female Sparrowhawk perched up on the north side of the hill and a Chiffchaff in a hedgerow near the paddocks.

The usual Thrushes (5 species) around and an unusual sighting of a single Long-tailed Tit in a lengthy hedgerow.

Thursday, 23 November 2017


Sunshine, 10°, breezy SW.

Approx. 12:30 this afternoon I was in the garden potting up some indoor plants when I noticed 3 birds fly in and settle in the top of one of the garden trees.

I realised pretty quickly that they were 3 Hawfinch…………….. No bins……………… No camera…………….expletive!!!!!!!!!

All I could do was stand and watch and after approx. 1 minute they then flew off and headed across the meadow towards the playing field where I lost sight of them.

Interesting point here is that back sometime in the 60’s, Bill Campbell the headmaster of Cholsey School caught a Hawfinch in a Heligoland trap in his garden.

The garden where the Heligoland trap now part of our garden!

Several Redwing and Fieldfare overhead.

This morning, 60+ Golden Plover present on Cholsey Hill.

W.D. (Bill) Campbell, the inspiration for quite a few Cholsey lads!

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Busy Garden Quiet Hill

Mild, wet & windy, 14°, breezy SSW.

A somewhat fruitless walk out to Lollingdon today with a stiff wind and almost constant light rain.

Typical………….as soon as I arrive back home the sun comes out………….

The hill was deserted with the wind blowing full on to it and not much better elsewhere.

Small flocks of thrushes around as per usual, a single Jay and a Grey Heron.

The garden was much livelier today with a roaming flock visiting comprising 12+ Long-tailed Tit, 3 Coal Tit, 2 Nuthatch, a Treecreeper and a female Great-spotted Woodpecker, and an undetermined number of Blue and Great Tit.

Also in the garden, 2 Stock Dove, 2 Collared Dove, 5+ Wood Pigeon, 3 Moorhen, 8 “Mallard”, 2 Blackbird, 2 Robin, a Wren, 3 Dunnock, 2 House Sparrow, 8+ Goldfinch, 6+ Chaffinch and 4 Greenfinch and a few Redwing and Fieldfare in the trees.

A male Sparrowhawk hunting the garden a couple of times this afternoon.

A Kestrel briefly in the garden yesterday.

A female type Blackcap at the weekend in TW’s garden.

Cholsey Marsh has been quiet this week also. Per TW.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Little change

Overcast with light rain, 11°, light to breezy SW.

Little change on and around the hill today with Thrush species still dominating the avian landscape although in lesser numbers.

Blackbird and Fieldfare were the most abundant today with 100+ of each followed by Redwing (c50), Song Thrush (c20) and a single Mistle Thrush.

A handful of Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit feeding alongside livestock and 2 Sparrowhawk hunting the area and a single Kestrel.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Cold & Quiet

A sunny day, 6°, light W.

Another frosty start to the day and a quiet time on the hill.

The usual Fieldfare and Redwing around and 14 Blackbird and 9 Song Thrush in the Hawthorns on the hill suggesting an influx and 2 Mistle Thrush present on the north side.

A Raven around and being mobbed by 2 Crow and a Goldcrest were the only other birds of note.

 courtesy Loren
A view from the Hill (courtesy Loren)

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Garden Sanctuary

Up to 4 Moorhen are spending time in the garden recently. Apart from feeding they seem to find security as they do not get disturbed and are safe from dogs that are walked regularly in the meadow.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Busy Hill

Misty at first then clearing with cloudy skies and a light drizzly rain, 12°, light NW.

A busy Hill today with c200 Fieldfare, c40 Redwing, 80+ Starling, 23 Pied Wagtail, 14 Meadow Pipit, a female Brambling, c40 Chaffinch, 30+ Goldfinch, 80+ Linnet, 8 Yellowhammer, and singles of Reed Bunting and Corn Bunting. A definite increase in Blackbird numbers with over 100 seen. Also Tony Williams commented on higher numbers of Blackbird around Cholsey Marsh this morning.

More Song Thrush also noted with 20+ seen and a Raven flew south over the hill at 11:30.

Another flock of Pied Wagtail on the playing fields with 35 counted along with 3 Meadow Pipit and a Jay nearby.

Fishy stuff

Only the second time fish have got a mention on the blog.

This Brown Trout photographed in Cholsey Brook today was one of two seen.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Another YBW and not a lot else

Cloudy, 6°, light NW.

A cold and frosty start today and rather quiet out and about.

A Yellow-browed Warbler this afternoon in a private garden along the Wallingford road. Per TR.

The Hill was fairly quiet today……….good numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing still around and several Skylark and Meadow Pipit in the fields to the south of the hill.

Pied Wagtail feeding alongside Sheep and Grey Wagtail feeding alongside Cattle.

A Grey Heron in the usual area and a single Lapwing consorting with a flock of c40 Black-headed Gull.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Golden Plover & Redpoll

Approx. 60 Golden Plover, Cholsey Hill at 16:00 today. Per Gerry Quinn.

10 Redpoll in Silver Birches in garden on Friday. Per Tony Rayner.

Friday, 10 November 2017

THE BIG last!

Sunny periods with scattered cloud, 10°, breezy NW.

Has to be a Finch day today with a single Hawfinch (at last). Heard initially then seen flying from trees near the long tunnel by the Bullshole to the entrance track by West End. Spent around 30 minutes searching the trees in the area but no luck but a few Redwing present.

It's size and the white in the wing and tail were quite obvious as it flew by.

It is the UK's largest finch and has a powerful beak, strong enough to crack a Cherry stone open exerting a force of 150 pounds per square inch.

A Brambling and at least 2 Siskin flyovers out at Lollingdon along with 30+ Chaffinch.

The flock of around 80 Linnet still present on the hill and a rough total of 30 Goldfinch and 8 Greenfinch noted and 2 Bullfinch near the paddocks.

The usual Fieldfare and Redwing around and a couple of Pied Wagtail around the paddocks.

As far as I am aware this is the first record of Hawfinch in Cholsey since the early 1960’s, when one was trapped and ringed by Bill Campbell in his garden!

(See Mick Cunningham’s excellent article on this autumns Hawfinch invasion on the Oxon Birding Blog, Hawfinch invasion Scroll down the October highlights to the article).

Dragonflies: a single Common Darter still on the wing.

Butterflies: 2 Red Admiral.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Not a lot going on

Sunny, 8°, light NNW.

Another quiet day out at Lollingdon, much the same as Monday with plenty of Fieldfare still around, plus 30 or so Redwing, 20+ Blackbird, 5 Mistle Thrush and around 12 Song Thrush, incl 6 in a 20m stretch of hedgerow.

2 Sparrowhawk, a male over the sports field and a female over the hill, 2 Kestrel seen in the area.

8 Redpoll along the Drift road recently. Per TW.

Dragonflies: 2 Common Darter.

Butterflies: 3 Red Admiral.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Late Insects

Clear and sunny with a frosty start, 8°, light SSW.

A quiet day out at Lollingdon, very little on the way out, in fact the garden has been busier today.

Approx. 100 Fieldfare around the hill, plus c30 Redwing, 20 Blackbird, 5 Mistle Thrush and c60 Starling.

A Sparrowhawk unsuccessfully hunting Thrushes and a Green Woodpecker also present.

Getting late in the year for large insects, however:

Dragonflies: 2 Common Darter.

Butterflies: 5 Red Admiral, 1 Peacock and 1 Comma.

Red Admiral sunning itself high in the foliage
Moorhens spending a lot of time in the garden lately

Sunday, 5 November 2017

An Avian Paralympian

Sunny spells, 8°, light NW.

One of the local Red Kites has been tailless for a couple of months now. It has been seen over various parts of the village on a regular basis.

Would have thought (if it is the same bird) that there would be signs of the tail growing back by now but this maybe a permanent injury?

Being tailless will have some effect on the Kites manoeuvrability but we have not noticed any disadvantages so far.

In the garden and on the allotment today and a few Redwing over but that was about it!

Where are these mythical Hawfinch that are turning up everywhere in the UK and Oxfordshire?

Thank you to Richard Broughton for the photographs.

Friday, 3 November 2017


Foggy, 12°, very light S.

A foggy walk out to Lollingdon relying on ears rather than eyes today as visibility was poor. The fog lifted slightly around midday but stayed misty and overcast and as soon as I got back home around 14:00, the sun came out!

No numbers today as I could not see most of them, Fieldfare and Redwing heard frequently and the odd Song Thrush, also Blackbird and Mistle Thrush in the mist.

Several Starling, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Skylark, Chaffinch, Linnet, Corn Bunting and Yellowhammer all heard.

A couple of Bullfinch near the paddocks and 2 Goldcrest with a Tit flock and a Grey Heron on the walk back.

 Young Moorhen in the garden first light.