Saturday, 31 March 2018

First Swallow of the year

Cloudy with light rain showers, 6°, light WNW.

First Swallow of the year hawking over Cholsey Marsh this morning, also a small flock of Siskin present on Thursday morning. Per Ed Munday.

A female Brambling still present in gardens near Waterloo Close. Per MA.

Friday, 30 March 2018

Quiet & Wet

Light to moderate rain……..again, 7°, light E.

Another wet walk out to Lollingdon with little change from last time.

This time last year a couple of Swallow had been seen and there were 5 species of Butterfly on the wing! No such luck this year.

A couple of Chiffchaff in song by the Bullshole/Millennium Wood area and still fair numbers of “Winter Thrushes” out at Lollingdon.

Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer and Meadow Pipit around the hill area.

The flooded field was deserted with all but a Grey Heron that flew over.

First sighting of the year of a Hedgehog in the garden last night. It was busy feeding on seeds that had been put down for the birds.

Also a young Tawny Owl and an adult bird around the garden and the meadow last night.

Mammals: Brown Hare & Roe Deer.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

A wet one

Light to moderate rain, 8°, breezy NW.

A wet morning with persistent rain so decided to drive out rather than walk to Lollingdon.

Approx. 500 “Winter Thrushes” around the hill, sat in tree tops and chattering away. 90% Fieldfare and the rest Redwing, also a few Starling mixed in.

A Sparrowhawk hunting around the hill causing some consternation amongst the Thrushes.

Corn Bunting back on the hill with 4-5 singing males present, 8-10 Yellowhammer around and a few Meadow Pipit on the move.

The flooded field was almost deserted with a pair of Teal and a pair of Canada Geese only.

A Little Owl, initially heard then seen nearby and a pair of Reed Bunting present. 

A pair of Lapwing displaying near the Bunk Line. Per Tony Rayner.

Mammals: Brown Hare & Roe Deer.

Corn Bunting
Little Owl
Some of the Thrushes around the Hill (click below to hear them)

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Tuesday on the Marsh

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

A visit to Cholsey Marsh this morning after tending to the Dexters and still relatively quiet.

The “Tail-less” Red Kite seen briefly over the marsh, 2 Great-crested Grebe on the river and a Water Rail heard.

A single Chiffchaff seen and a few Reed Bunting, 2 Bullfinch, a couple of Redwing over and 2 Cormorant nearby.

2 Grey Wagtail around the garden today and a Cormorant flew over heading south.

Great-crested Grebe

A sample of plastic along the opposite bank of the river with some noted flowing downstream.

Monday, 26 March 2018


Light cloud with the odd sunny spell, 11°, light W.

A Redshank found out on the floods today along with 2 Teal, 3 Herring Gull, c80 Lesser Blackback Gull and c120 Black-headed Gull.

6 Chiffchaff in song between the village and Lollingdon and a couple of hundred Fieldfare in 2 flocks accompanied by several Redwing around the hill.

4 pair of Yellowhammer also between the village and Lollingdon and 3 singing Mistle Thrush.

Mammals: Brown Hare & Roe Deer.

 Female Yellowhammer
Male Yellowhammer
Red Kite with some fresh food being held in talons

Friday, 23 March 2018

C'mon Spring......still waiting.

Cloudy with the odd bright spell, 11°, breezy SW.

A walk out to Lollingdon Hill again today with a good number of Meadow Pipit on the move. Maybe 100 birds (approx.) counted. 

A surprise Oystercatcher seen distantly flying out by the Gulls towards Aston Tirrold and appeared to land. Not subsequently seen after that.

Fewer “Winter Thrushes” around but still some flocks roaming over the area.

The flooded field hosted c100 Black-headed Gull, 30+ Lesser Blackback Gull, 2 Herring Gull and 16 Teal.

A singing Chiffchaff in The meadow and a couple of Great-spotted Woodpecker “Drumming” and a couple of Green Woodpecker “Yaffling”.

A female Sparrowhawk tried for a Blackbird this afternoon in the garden but missed!

An interesting email from Mark Merritt yesterday:

“I did a circular walk from the church at Cholsey today, passing through Aston Tirrold and South Moreton. Not a great deal seen in the Cholsey area but I thought I'd let you know anyway. A Raven was over the (main) railway line to the East of the Lees. In the Lees were a couple of Treecreeper including a singing male. Great-spotted Woodpecker also here. South West of the Lees (probably closer to Aston Tirrold) were a few hundred gulls. Mostly Lesser Blackback and Black-headed Gull but about 10 each of Herring and Common Gull present and also 2 Yellow-legged Gull. (1st w and 2nd w) and coming back over Cholsey Hill there were a pair of Lapwing.”

Thanks Mark.

Mammals: Brown Hare & Roe Deer.

 A couple of today's songsters, Robin & Dunnock

Some of the Teal

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Is Spring arriving?

Sunny spells, 8°, light W.

Felt quite warm in a few places, a hint of spring and some incoming migration!

Lollingdon hill hosted 5 Meadow Pipit and a Pied Wagtail this morning that gave a hint of incoming migration, hopefully numbers should build up in the next few weeks. (First Swallows being seen in the south west).

A female Reed Bunting appeared briefly on the hill and moved off north and a Sparrowhawk carrying prey nearby. Judging by the feathers I found it looked like a female Chaffinch it had caught.

Good numbers of Fieldfare still moving thru and only 2 Redwing seen.

On the way back a low flying Buzzard put all the Gulls up on the flooded field along with a Curlew which I initially heard then saw flying off towards the Downs.

Another Sparrowhawk seen soaring overhead and a Kestrel along the hedgerow.

Approx. 150 Black-headed Gull, 20’ish Lesser Blackback Gull and 2 Teal on the floods.

A Grey Heron, 8 Yellowhammer, a Green Woodpecker and 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker noted.

A Raven heard calling and seen flying out to Lollingdon and a Chiffchaff and a Treecreeper heard singing in the Millennium Wood. A Coal Tit singing nearby and another Kestrel near the playing fields.

3 female Blackcap still in a West End garden and a female Brambling this morning. Per TW.

A few Rook still braving a visit to the garden but being hassled by the Crows and Ducks.

Also a visit from 2 Jackdaw, even though they nest at the other end of the meadow they are rarely seen in the garden.

Mammals: Roe Deer & Brown Hare.

A few Dumbledore around today. (Dumbledore is an 18th century English word for Bumblebee).

Meadow Pipit
 Black-headed Gull
 One of out local Red Kite in the Meadow

Grass Snake

First Grass Snake of the year in Cholsey photographed by Alan Dawson.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018


Light cloud with sunny intervals, 3°, light NNE.

Chatting on the phone this afternoon with Tony Rayner when a Stoat ran thru the garden. I managed to grab the camera and get a few shots as it was running off. Tony was laughing most of the time as I was trying to juggle the phone and camera. Nice to see one in the garden.

A Weasel seen near Ferry Lane a few days ago. Per HG.

Earlier today I went down to Cholsey Marsh to check the cattle and they were clean out of hay! They obviously recognise me now and were mooing a lot in anticipation of food, but I had nothing to give them.

Fortunately a little later a BBOWT team turned up with 20+ bales of hay and were greeted with excited mooing, we offloaded the hay and one of the team broke open 3 bales for them which they tucked in to. I left them later as they continued munching on their hay.

Very little on the marsh today, the odd Reed Bunting singing, 3 Cormorant roosting nearby, a couple of Greylag Geese flew upriver and a brief sighting of the Harris Hawk.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Winters End?

Sunny spells, 0° but getting milder, cold wind from ENE.

Snow starting to disappear as the day progressed but a chilly wind still.

c25 Lapwing and several Lesser Blackback Gull and Black-headed Gull on the flooded field out at Lollingdon.

Good numbers of “Winter Thrush” around especially in the paddocks, mainly Fieldfare (c300) and around 50 Redwing plus several Song Thrush and Starling and 3 Mistle Thrush.

2 Bullfinch on the hill but that was about it, a few Red Kite and 2 Buzzard soaring overhead and a Sparrowhawk flew thru.

A Fieldfare, Song Thrush and 2 Mistle Thrush in the garden early on.

Mammals: 20+ Roe Deer in several groups and 2 Brown Hare.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

And the snow came!

Overcast with snow showers dying out, 0°, breezy NE.

Snow settled overnight but only a couple of centimetres hopefully will be gone sometime tomorrow.

As is the case in these weather conditions, the garden got busy.

12+ House Sparrow, a single Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush and Song Thrush and Nuthatch along with the regulars that still include 4 Robins.

A female Sparrowhawk zipped thru the garden early afternoon.

Song Thrush
 Mistle Thrush
Fieldfare (again 😃)

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Winter........a slight return.

Overcast with light snow showers, 0°, light to breezy NE.

A slight return to winter this weekend but hopefully will be short lived!

The garden quite busy mainly with Finches today, a Nuthatch again plus the regulars.

Up to a dozen Rook coming in the garden (they must be hungry) only to be chased off by the Crows.

Female Brambling still present in a garden near Waterloo Close. Per MA.