Monday, 30 September 2019

House Martins still moving through

Overcast with a few light showers, 16°, light S.

A Merlin (f) over the hill today and flew south towards the Downs, 2 Cormorant, 250+ House Martin, 40+ Swallow, 80’ish Skylark, 60’ish Meadow Pipit and 6 Pied Wagtail also over the hill.

A Mistle Thrush, Sparrowhawk and 2 Kestrel present on the hill.

Quite a few Chiffchaff around today mainly moving with Tit flocks and a single Blackcap noted.

Another 40 House Martin over Church road late afternoon.

Mammals: Brown Hare.

 Chiffchaff ⇕

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Stonechats still

Sun, wind and rain again, 17°, moderate SW.

Alan ventured out along the Bunk line again today and found 3 Stonechat present.

3 House Martin still visiting a nest site in Church road, not sure if young still present but will keep an eye on it.

Saturday, 28 September 2019


Showers, sun and cloud, 17°, fresh SW.

Another windy day with showers and sunshine.

A Raven headed south over Church road this morning and 2 Stonechat present along the Bunk line. (Per Alan Dawson).

3 Siskin over the garden late morning and the Grey Wagtail present for a second day.

Photos courtesy Alan

Friday, 27 September 2019

House Martins and a Grey Wagtail

Cloudy, sunshine and showers, 17°, moderate SW.

A week dominated by a strong passage of House Martin with another of c400 birds again today over Lollingdon Hill and more House Martins seen late afternoon over Cholsey Hill on both our outward and return journey.

I am assuming this passage is on a broad front and must involve huge numbers of birds moving south.

To a far lesser extent Meadow Pipit, Skylark and Pied Wagtail are on the move with several of each over the hill today.

Several flocks of Starling beginning to turn up.

A visit of a Grey Wagtail to the garden today, spending around 20 minutes preening and hunting insects and a Sparrowhawk dropped in.

Dragonflies: Southern Hawker & Common Darter.

Butterflies: Large White, Red Admiral (2), Painted Lady (2) & Speckled Wood (1).

Grey Wagtail

Painted Lady

Thursday, 26 September 2019


Cloudy with some sunshine, 19°, fresh SW.

A breezy day and a walk out to the Lees and not a lot seen.

A few small flocks of House Martin and a few Swallow battling against the wind and a Kingfisher along the brook and a Green Woodpecker foraging along a field margin.

Dragonflies: Common Darter.

Butterflies: a few Whites and 3 Red Admiral.

Alan visited Cholsey Marsh, several Chiffchaff including one in song and a very vocal Cetti’s Warbler present. Also lots of Common Darter and a Southern Hawker dragonfly and several Red Admiral and Speckled Wood butterflies.

Tawny Owls have been very vocal after dark in the Church road area recently and Nuthatch and Coal Tit very regular in the garden.

All photos courtesy Alan Dawson


Wednesday, 25 September 2019

House Martins

Mainly cloudy with sunny spells, 19°, breezy SW.

In excess of 500 House Martin seen today (I stopped counting after a time!). Main movement was south westerly but at times birds were moving in other directions and it appeared to me that they were moving towards blue sky areas where the sun was shining.

A period of around 30 minutes there was thick cloud cover and no Martins but as soon as the sun broke through Martins started to appear overhead.

The movement petered out early afternoon. Maybe more insect prey where the sun was shining?

Mainly flocks of around 20 but 2 flocks of 100+ passed through and at one time on the hill I was surrounded by House Martins feeding low on the hill and passing over. An impressive sight!

A single Golden Plover flew east over the hill.

Lower numbers of Chiffchaff than of late.

Mammals: Brown Hare.

Dragonflies: Southern Hawker & Common Darter.

Butterflies: Large White, Red Admiral & Speckled Wood.

 House Martin (Alan)
 Magpie in the garden feeding on Elder Berries

Monday, 23 September 2019

Before the rain

Cloudy with a few sunny spells & rain moving in later, 18°, breezy SSW.

A mid-morning passage of Hirundines over the hill with 157 birds, roughly 80/20 House Martin/Swallow

A light movement of Skylark (12), Pied Wagtail (7) and Meadow Pipit (25).

3 Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk present but little else. Chiffchaff frequent with 1-2 in song.

A Stonechat along the Bunk line (per Alan).

Mammals: Short-tailed Vole, Brown Rat, Brown Hare and Roe Deer.

Dragonflies: Migrant Hawker, Southern Hawker & Common Darter.

Butterflies: Large White, Small White, Red Admiral (5), Painted Lady (1) and Speckled Wood.

Stonechat (courtesy Alan)
 House Martins from yesterday (courtesy Alan)

 Painted Lady
Red Admiral

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Clifden Nonpareil

Cloudy with some heavy rain, 18°, light to blustery SSW

Another rare moth caught by Tony Rayner today. A Clifden Nonpareil or Blue Underwing. The second record for Cholsey after one last year.

This moth recolonised southern England in 2007 and is slowly spreading northwards.

The unusual name of this moth derives from the first British records on the Cliveden estate in Berkshire in the 18th century and nonpareil meaning “without equal” in French.


A flock of 50+ Hirundines over Church road this morning feeding along the edge of a rain front and moving off to the south east. Virtually all House Martin and 3 Swallow noted.

Possibly the same or another flock back after the rain ceased feeding over Whitehead Meadow and surrounding area.

A few photos taken by Tony before release.