Thursday, 28 February 2019

Little & Little

Cloudy with light rain showers, 11°, light to breezy SW.

A Little Egret still around on Cholsey Brook and seen a couple of times and a Little Owl eventually seen after hearing it a few times out at Lollingdon.

The hill was fairly quiet with just a couple of Pied Wagtail and a single Meadow Pipit present. A couple of Corn Bunting in song again and 12 Red Kite and 2 Buzzard soaring around over the hill and joined briefly by a Cormorant that soared around gaining height and then flew off north.

A distant Raven heard.

A good flock of Fieldfare, Redwing and Starling between Lollingdon and the village, numbering around 400 birds.

Also a couple of Yellowhammer in song despite the rain.

Several Golden Plover heard flying over garden at 19:15.

Mammals: Roe Deer.

Little Owl

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

No jacket required

After a frosty start, a sunny day, 17°, light SE.

Warm enough to shed my jacket today with possibly record temperatures for the area. 

The sheep have now gone and the field near the hill was being worked. Subsequently c250 Black-headed Gull, 20+ Lesser Blackback Gull, a handful of Common Gull and a single Herring Gull present.

Quite a few Pied Wagtail still present but most of the Meadow Pipit have gone.

A couple of Corn Bunting singing and a few Yellowhammer present.

A good flock of Fieldfare and Redwing on the north side of the hill and a scattering of individuals elsewhere.

A Little Owl heard calling out at Lollingdon but not able to locate it.

Mammals: Roe Deer.

Butterflies: a couple of Brimstone.

Did not get any photos today so thought I'd put a Little Owl pic on. Taken in Dorset,

Monday, 25 February 2019

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Ewelme Cress Beds

A sunny day, 15°, light SE.

A visit to Ewelme cress beds today and a bit spoilt by kids running through the cress beds and flushing everything.!

Well worth a visit usually.

1, possibly 2 Little Egret present and a Grey Wagtail but little else seen Birdwise.

Plenty of Brimstone around and a handful of Small Tortoiseshell.

Friday, 22 February 2019

Buntings are back

Foggy, slowly clearing, 10°, light SSE.

The fog cleared and the sun came out after I got back today. Typical!

The Buntings are back: after an absence of several weeks there were 2 Corn Bunting in song on the hill, a couple of Reed Bunting in song nearby and around 20 Yellowhammer back on territory with several in song.

Just the 1 Stonechat on the hill today, I am assuming the male has left to arrive on its breeding territory early to claim a prime spot?

Good numbers of Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit still out with the sheep and 12+ Red Kite on and around the hill.

Several good size flocks of Fieldfare and Redwing scattered around various fields.


Goldcrest (courtesy Alan Dawson)

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Early Spring weather brings out the birds

A sunny day, 13°, light SW.

A Chiffchaff singing near Cholsey Sewage works today. Per Brian Wyatt.

The male Blackcap visiting the bird feeders again today and a male Pheasant in the garden.

A couple of Rook and Jackdaw have discovered the suet balls and came in early morning and afternoon to feed.

The female Brambling still putting in appearances near Waterloo Close. Per Mike Amphlett.

A “flock” of 25+ Red Kite over Honey Lane today, incl the “tail-less” Red Kite. Per Bill Nicholls.

A collage of Red Kite over the village today (photos courtesy Bill Nicholls)

Of Bats, Reptiles & More Housing

There is a new application for houses at Old Blackalls farm. P18/S4273/O)

The ecological survey with Bats undertaken on the Old Blackall's site for the applicant together with TR’s son’s monitoring here this year show very similar results.

It seems that we have a remarkable 8 species of bat, Common Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle, Noctule, Leisler's, Natterers, Barbastelle, Serotine and Brown Long Eared.

Bats enjoy a high degree of protection especially Barbastelle which is very rare and a UK Biodiversity Action Plan species.

There are few records of this species in Oxon & Berks.

Clearance of the site and housing estate light pollution are bound to threaten the continuing presence of these species in the area.


The Countryside Officer, Dominic Lamb, reports a medium population of Slow-worms and low numbers of Grass Snakes in the vicinity.

He also states “that these reptiles would need to be translocated off site - but that no receptor site has been identified”.

You wouldn't think from this that the area is arguably one of the top reptile sites in the county (if one ignores Adders and there are precious few of these now) One left at Bix!

From such an overgrown site we don't see how these reptiles can be gathered without huge clearance and given that half of them are probably on land adjoining Tony Rayner’s. The estimate of the populations are 150 Slow-worm and 20 Grass Snake not to mention the Common Lizard.

We wonder how far down on the political priorities is the environment!

Leisler's Bat (courtesy The Wildlife Trusts)

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Blackcap, Rook and a nestbox

Mainly cloudy, 9°, light SSW.

A male Blackcap visiting the garden again today and feeding on suet balls. 

Also a visit by a Rook. Even though the Rookery is next door to the garden the Rooks rarely enter but this one obviously thought it was worth it.

Bill Nicholls has put up several nest boxes in his garden and reports a Robin has already built a nest in one of them.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Sunshine again

A sunny day with variable cloud cover, 11°, light SSW.

2 Stonechat still present around the hill and good numbers of Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit feeding alongside the sheep.

2 Jay on the hill and several small flocks of Fieldfare and Redwing.

A wintering male Blackcap still present in a garden out at Lollingdon. Estimated between 6-8 Blackcap wintering in Cholsey at the moment.

Several more mobile flocks of Fieldfare and Redwing elsewhere and a single Raven flew south.

A Goldcrest still frequenting the Millennium Wood, 2 Bullfinch nearby and a couple of Mistle Thrush in song.

Mammals: Roe Deer.

A couple of Bumblebees also seen.

Sunday, 17 February 2019


Sunny with some cloud, 14°, light SSW.

Some butterflies on the wing this week end with Brimstone and Small Tortoiseshell. Per Alan Dawson.

Also a queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee in the garden feeding on the Mahonia flowers.

Photos courtesy Alan Dawson

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Saturday bits

Cloudy, 12°, light SSW.

A male Blackcap in the garden this morning bathing with a Robin in one of the water features.

A male Sparrowhawk flew through the allotments along Station road.

The first butterfly of the year, a Brimstone seen by Geoff Wyatt in a Cholsey garden yesterday.

A Reed Bunting, Cholsey Marsh (courtesy Alan Dawson)

Friday, 15 February 2019

False Spring?

Foggy at first then sunshine, 13°, light S.

A very spring like day today with several species in song.

A Merlin flew from the hill and disappeared into the fog heading south.

Initially there were 8 Red Kite and 2 Buzzard soaring over the hill but they all drifted off to the north east.

2 Stonechat still wintering on Lollingdon hill, they have been present now since the end of September last year. Long stayers and indicates a mild winter in the area.

A good flock of birds feeding alongside the sheep this morning with at least 80 Pied Wagtail, 60 Meadow Pipit and a handful of Starling, Fieldfare and Skylark.

Several more flocks of Fieldfare and Redwing around and several Mistle Thrush and Song Thrush in song, also 3 Treecreeper heard singing between the village and Lollingdon (incl 1 in the garden) and 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker drumming.

2 Bullfinch and a Goldcrest in the Millennium wood.

2 Raven flew west out at Lollingdon and one of them did a partial display with a brief dive and a barrel roll and the Lapwing flock present but mobile, c120.

Unfortunately a dead Barn Owl found around 500m from the Bullshole. No obvious injuries but it was very emaciated so maybe died of starvation?

The female Brambling still present near Waterloo close. Per Mike Amphlett.

Mammals: Roe Deer.

First Bumblebee of the year seen in Wallingford today.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Kingfishers & Stonechats

Sunny at first then clouding over, 10°, light SSW.

Approx. 200 Lapwing in flooded fields out at Lollingdon and some flew south over the hill towards the downs.

The 2 Stonechat still present on the hill and a mixed flock of 50+ Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit feeding amongst the sheep. 9 Corn Bunting flew south over the hill.

Very few Fieldfare noted today and 80+ Redwing but little else of note.

50+ Redwing in the meadow mid-afternoon and both Song Thrush and Mistle Thrush in song and a Great-spotted Woodpecker drumming.

A Sparrowhawk around the garden this afternoon.

A Barn Owl seen hunting over Cholsey Marsh yesterday. Per Phil Dyson and a Brambling still present near Waterloo Close. Per Mike Amphlett.

Mammals: Roe Deer and Short-tailed Vole.

 Kingfishers (Female L and Male R)
(courtesy Alan Dawson)

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Not a lot going on!

Mainly sunny with the occasional rain shower, 6°, breezy SW.

Another day in and the garden a little quieter today. A scarce bird in the garden today in the form of a Jackdaw. I see them in the meadow frequently but they rarely venture into the garden.

This one however was tempted in by a suet ball that had somehow fallen from the feeder.

Alan had managed to get out and got a nice shot of one of the ubiquitous Red Kite in the area.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Mistle Thrush

Mainly cloudy, 8°, light S.

A visit by 2 Mistle Thrush to the garden this morning. Also several Starling still visiting.

Further information on the Black Swan seen at Cholsey yesterday. It was seen recently at Shillingford (per Bob Wyatt) and after that was seen on the river at Benson. So it appears to be slowly making its way downstream.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Black Swan

Thick cloud and dull, 7°, light SSE.

An unusual visitor to the Thames in Cholsey today in the guise of a Black Swan found and photographed by Alan Dawson.

Black Swan is a native of Southern and Eastern Australia and New Zealand but has been introduced to many countries as an ornamental water bird and many subsequently escape from captivity and form feral populations.

Who knows where this one came from?

Hare coursing

A text from TV Police a short while ago of 6 males hare coursing in the Aston Tirrold area. If anyone out and about around Cholsey, Lollingdon, Moreton area please keep your eyes peeled. If seen please inform TV Police. Thanks

Update: Police were on the scene fairly promptly but were too late. It appears the criminals got away but no reports of any hare casualties!

Monday, 4 February 2019

Milder weather

Light rain and cloudy, 7°, light NW.

a milder day today with most of the snow gone by dark.

Subsequently no Fieldfare or Redwing seen in the garden today but the Little Egret seen flying from Cholsey Brook again.

a few photos of Redwing from yesterday courtesy of Bill Nicholls.

And a few Chaffinch