Friday, 21 February 2020

Roll on Spring

Overcast, 9°, breezy SW.

February has been rather poor so far and today was no exception. Very little seen out at Lollingdon. The usual flock of Winter Thrushes around but very little else noted. Most of the farmland being deserted.

Fortunately Alan has been out on the other side of the village and has had better luck.

A female Stonechat has been wintering around the Cholsey Meadows area and was seen in the week.

The River and Marsh area gives a greater biodiversity of habitats and is turning up more species.

Stonechat (courtesy Alan Dawson)
 Nuthatch (courtesy Alan Dawson)
Reed Bunting (courtesy Alan Dawson)
First Cowslip of the year
A short vid of the Stonechat and a Mistle Thrush in song (courtesy Alan Dawson)
On another note the understory in the Millennium wood has been cleared. My question is WHY? Is this our obsession with tidiness or what?

there has been a motorcycle event on Lollingdon Hill this week and they have left the track/footpath (north side) in a complete mess. The bikes have churned up the track and it is mud, mud, mud. (video to big to upload here). Will post it directly to FB.

Monday, 17 February 2020

The tail end of Dennis

Sunshine and showers, 9°, breezy WSW.

A very soggy walk out to Lollingdon today and more like paddling in some places. 2 successive weekend storms have left the ground waterlogged.

Little around today in the wet and windy conditions. Gulls, Corvids and larger Birds of Prey were the only noticeable exceptions, all handling the conditions well.

Thrushes seemed to be confined to flying low along hedgerows with several hundred seen.

1 possibly 2 Barn Owl on Cholsey Marsh. Per Alan Dawson.

Both Muntjac and Roe Deer seen.

Barn Owl (vid courtesy Alan)
Muntjac Deer
Fields out at Lollingdon

Friday, 14 February 2020


A bright start then clouding over, 11°, wind strength increasing from the SSW.

Another weekend ahead and another storm to hit and forecast to dump a lot of rain.

A few BOP’s enjoying the gusty wind conditions on Lollingdon hill today. With several Red Kite and Buzzard showing off their aerobatic skills. Joined briefly by a Raven that was harried by a Red Kite and in turn chased the Kite. Also 2 Kestrel present.

As Alan noted earlier in the week Red Kites are showing some courtship behaviour with pairs chasing each other and calling constantly.

The same or another Raven flew south over the hill around 20 minutes later.

The Thrush flock was feeding out in fields to the west of the hill today, consisting exclusively of Fieldfare. Redwing were around but in small mobile flocks and the odd Mistle Thrush present.

Large numbers of Gulls in the area but most too distant for id. Some closer ones were all Lesser Blackback Gull or Black-headed Gull.

The garden was fairly active this afternoon with Nuthatch, Coal Tit and Long-tailed Tit amongst others and the usual Sparrowhawk turned up.

Mammals: Brown Hare & Roe Deer.

Red Kite and Raven, with the Raven inverted keeping an eye on the Kite.

 Tables turned

Thursday, 13 February 2020

All quiet

Sunny intervals and showers, 9°, fresh WNW.

Apart from Gulls and Corvids, the Bunk line and Green lane were pretty quiet.

Approx. 300 Black-headed Gull in the area and 2 Herring Gull. The usual numbers of Rook and Jackdaw present and a scattering of Carrion Crow and Magpie.

A handful of Fieldfare and Redwing and a couple of singing Mistle Thrush. A Green Woodpecker noted.

2 Roe Deer seen resting up in the lee of a hedge.

A few pics this week from both myself and Alan.

Red Kite
 Long-tailed Tits
Red Kite

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Before the Storm

A sunny day, 10°, moderate SSW. Prior to Ciara coming in.

Unfortunately been confined to barracks this week with a hefty cold but at least Alan has been out.

Cholsey Marsh has been visited this week with Cetti’s Warbler, Water Rail, Reed Bunting, Barn Owl, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard & 2 Stonechat seen.

A Black-headed Gull almost in summer plumage today and others still in winter plumage. Photo by Alan.

Black-headed Gull is a bit of a misnomer as the dark hood is actually a chocolate brown, however it does look black at a distance.

And a few Bumble Bees seen on Japanese Mahonia today during the sunshine.

Black-headed Gull
Buff-tailed Bumblebee

Monday, 3 February 2020


Cloudy, 10°, light WSW.

Pretty quiet out today with very little activity going on.

2 Blackcap out at Lollingdon (per AD & PC), and a scattering of Winter Thrush but no sizable flocks.

Some early signs of spring with some Hares chasing around and the Rooks showing more interest at the Rookery in Church road. Tony Rayner recorded his first Slow-Worm of the year on 1st Feb and a Daffodil in flower along with Snowdrops.

Incidentally the Church road Rookery had some of the earliest breeders (if not the first) in the country last year.

“The fledged rook from 15th March 2019 might be the earliest ever recorded in Britain. Back calculating a minimum 49 days for laying, incubating & nestling periods, the lay date would have been around 25th Feb. The earliest lay date in the BTO database, downloadable from BTO Bird Trends pages, is 18th March. Rooks are hard to monitor, so the BTO data might not completely rigorous, but those are the dates, and a 3 week difference is pretty massive, so whatever the exact dates, the Cholsey Rooks are exceptionally early this year, and likely some of the earliest ever in Britain.” Per RB.

Alan managed to track down the Whooper Swans that are wintering in the Benson/Dorchester area over the week end and a few of his pics are featured below.

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Garden visitors

Cloudy, 12°, light to moderate SW.

A few garden visitors today.

3 Nuthatch in the garden today. Came in with a flock of Long-tailed Tit.

 One of the four Stock Dove
Long-tailed Tit
 House Sparrow & Goldfinch
 Nuthatch ↕

 Wood Pigeon taking Ivy berries

Please excuse the fuzziness of the pics as they were taken through windows that are need of cleaning 😊

Friday, 31 January 2020

A windy end to January

Cloudy, 11°, fresh SSW.

A windy day out today, rain coming later.

A fairly quiet time out at Lollingdon. A flock of around 100 Starling appeared over the hill in a tight defensive ball. Alerted to a possible predator, and then a male Merlin appeared flying in from the south and went directly for the flock. It passed straight through without taking anything and continued north followed by the Starlings and they all disappeared from view over the hill!

Good numbers of Winter Thrushes around, a Kestrel and 2 Sparrowhawk also noted.

The berries on the Cotoneaster bush/tree by Cholsey Church are slowly going. Fieldfare, Redwing and Wood Pigeon seen feeding on them.

2 Mute Swan flew high NW over Church road @ 15:00.

Mammals: Brown Hare and Roe Deer.


Thursday, 30 January 2020

Bunk Line/Green Lane

Overcast with rain showers, 11°, light SW.

Earlier in the morning there were a lot of Gulls on the flooded field along Church road. c250 Black-headed Gull, 3 Herring Gull (ads) and 2 Great Blackback Gull (1 ad & 1 1stw).

When I got back most Gulls had dispersed and just 40 odd Black-headed Gull present.

A Peregrine flew over Green Lane, putting a flock of Rook and Jackdaw to flight and a Kestrel hunting nearby.

Good numbers of Thrushes around. I stood by a gateway and watched c500 Thrushes fly past over a period of around 30 minutes. 90% Fieldfare and 10% Redwing. A small flock of around 50 Starling in the area and 2 Pied Wagtail and a single Yellowhammer flew overhead. 2 Mistle Thrush in song, 1 towards Winterbrook and the other close to the village. Also a couple of Song Thrush singing.

Mammals: Roe Deer & Brown Hare.

 Sparrowhawk (courtesy Alan Dawson)

Yesterdays Red Admiral (courtesy Tony Rayner)

Tuesday, 28 January 2020


a series of photos from Alan of a Chiffchaff at Cholsey Marsh today.

Monday, 27 January 2020

Rain again!

Cloudy with rain showers, 8°, light SSW.

Well, another quiet day out at Lollingdon. Just the usual Thrush flock and feeding in the cattle field area today and the usual Finch flock on the hill.

Kestrel and Sparrowhawk both seen but little else.

Both male and female Blackcap feeding in TW’s garden and a Stonechat at Cholsey Marsh recently. Per TW.

Mammals: Roe Deer.