Sunday, 30 January 2011

Ewelme, Big Garden Birdwatch and River Thames

Sunday 30 January 2011
Topped up the home feeders and water and then went over to Ewelme to give them time to take effect.  2 Water Rails, Green Sandpiper and a Brambling were the best followed by a Fieldfare, a few Redwings and a Grey Heron.
Returned home to do the garden count - about the best I can say is that it was warm and I could drink coffee while I did it.  Just 10 species, most noteworthy being 2 Blackcaps (male and female) a House Sparrow and a Coal Tit.  The Blackcaps have been around daily for a couple of months but it was good to get House Sparrow and Coal Tit on the list as they are both very sporadic visitors.

Finished off the day with a walk along the Thames to Shillingford.  Red Kite, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Grey Heron, Fieldfare (40), Goosander, Coot (2), Tufted Duck (4), Cormorant (2), Roe Deer (2) - still can't find Siskin.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Battle Farm Survey

Wednesday 26 January 2011

A grey day for counting birds but needs must.  380 birds of just 26 species.  As usual the bulk was made up by Woodpigeons - 258 in total. A good number of Blue Tits (15), a couple of Stock Doves and a kingfisher the only bird for my year list. The Blue Tits with a similar number of Long-tailed Tits indicates that some of the smaller birds have survived the winter - so far!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Atlas survey

Monday 25 January 2011

Carried out my late winter TTV (timed tetrad visit) of the area around Swyncombe, Cookley Green and Britwell Hill.  Not the best area for species diversity with just 29 species and 471 individuals recorded. Good numbers of Kite & Buzzard and Blue and Great Tits.  Still good numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing about but, unbelievably in the 2 hours I didn't see or hear a Wren, Goldfinch or a Greenfinch.  I hear that Greenfinches in Ewelme are suffering badly from disease but, luckily my Benson garden flock seems to be OK.  The only addition to my year list was Bullfinch.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Ewelme then Otmoor

Friday 21 January 2011

A quick walk round Ewelme revealed nothing new and I couldn't even see a Water Rail.  Otmoor with BEST in the afternoon wasn't much better as nearly all the water was frozen.  Managed to add Golden Plover to my year list but the best find was probably an egg of a Brown Hairstreak butterfly.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Must try and get out more

Tuesday 18 January 2011

Dentist for a checkup this morning but time not completely wasted as a small group of Long-tailed Tits flew in front of my bike on the way - 75th species of the year. OK - don't overdo the laughter!  A quick walk around the cress beds revealed nowt and it looks like we have a Sparrowhawk watching over the feeders.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Roke & Ewelme walk

Saturday 15 January 2011

One of my regular walks to Roke, Rokemarsh and Ewelme. Just 29 species of bird seen - about 30 each of Redwing and Fieldfare but noticeably feeding on the ground rather than bushes.  Perhaps not surprising as it is difficult finding a berry following the snow and frost when they were the only food available.  Highlight of the walk was my first sighting this year of Grey Partridge - a party (covey) of 11 on the ploughed field by the aircraft crossing between Benson and Ewelme.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Ewelme again

Thursday 13 January 2011

Not much doing round the watercress beds - Teal and Green Sandpiper not seen though views of 3 Water Rails compensated and Stock Dove (new for year) in the usual Ash tree.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Thames at Benson

Wednesday 12 January 2011

Very quiet along the river between Benson and Shillingford compared with during the cold weather.  Best of an ordinary lot were Great-crested Grebe, Heron, 4 Tufted Ducks, 3 Mute Swans, 12 Canada Geese, a Treecreeper and a Reed bunting - the latter an addition to the year list.  The river is quite high, flowing fast and dirty so not much chance of adding Kingfisher to the list at the moment.

Monday, 10 January 2011


Monday 10 January 2011

My first WeBS count of 2011 round the 7 Dorchester lakes.  Still quite a lot of ice.  Managed 3 year ticks - Smew (5 in all on two lakes), Shoveller and Yellowhammer. A grand total of 2054 water birds of 21 species.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Marsh Tit

Sunday 9 january 2011

A flying visit through Warburg Nature Reserve to collect son enabled me to tick off Marsh Tit from his garden feeders - several but I wasn't able to turn any of them into Willow.

Friday, 7 January 2011

1st Moth

Friday 7 January 2010

A rapid walk round Ewelme cress beds did not get me any more year "ticks" as there were just the usual Green Sandpiper, Teal and Water Rail (2).  I did, however, find both my first moth of the year and a new species for the nature reserve (now totals 155).  Perhaps not too surprising as we only trap in the warmer months and this was a Winter Moth.  A fascinating moth with antifreeze in its veins to allow it to operate in the winter months.  Females are flightless and after mating the female lays her eggs in various protected cracks and crannies (tree bark for instance) and then all the adults of that winter's generation die. Come the spring (temp ~13C) the eggs hatch and the young larvae start climbing tree trunks. When they have sufficient height they produce lengths of silk thread and use the wind to carry them to pastures new. Amazing stuff! Now to search for a female Winter Moth.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Still a few new ones

Thursday 6 January 2011

After a wet morning I managed an hour late afternoon to add Snipe, Green Woodpecker, Common Gull and Greylag Goose to my list.  The first at Ewelme and the latter three at Dorchester.  I know the Greylag is a bit "plastic" but it is my list and I'll include what I like!

Also both male and female Blackcap in the garden but not at the same time - quite!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Quiet Day

Wednesday 5 January 2011

Managed to add Mistle Thrush, Goldcrest, Lapwing and Skylark to my year list - slow going but I have other things to do with my life!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Little Egret

Tuesday 4 January 2010

Just a single addition to the year list today - a Little Egret on the cress beds at Ewelme.  Interestingly this is the 4th consecutive winter the beds have played host to this species.  Also seen were 4 Water Rails (I wonder how many there really are here?), a Teal and a Green Sandpiper.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Still catching up

Monday 3 January 2011

The advantage of seeing so few species on the 1st is that it is not too hard to add to the list.  Mind you I tried for the White fronted geese at South Stoke but they were conspicuous by their absence - Canadas there but nowt else.  Drove home via Cookley Green for some woodland birds and managed to tick off Jay, Coal Tit, Brambling, Treecreeper and Nuthatch.  Invited to drinks and nibbles at lunchtime and cycled over to Berrick Salome picking up Sparrowhawk and Cormorant on the way.

Sunday, 2 January 2011


Sunday 2 January 2011

Still struggling with my year list though managed to add Heron, Green sandpiper and Water Rail during the guided walk at the cress beds this morning.  Decided to have a drive round in the afternoon to tick off a few easy species such as Magpie, Buzzard, Fieldfare and Red-legged Partridge.  Ended up at Drayton St Leonard so continued to drive past the Drayton Road Pit.  Just before arriving at the pit I came across a group of Swans - another tick.  Decided to have a quick look through for a Bewick and - amazingly six of them. 
I continued on to the pit which is still mostly frozen but a small pond in the middle held a couple of Goldeneye, Gadwall and Wigeon. At least my total has topped 50 - just!

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Not the January 1st count

Saturday 1 January 2011

My traditional attempt on January 1st to get the list off to a flying start was somewhat thwarted by a workday at the Watercress Beds followed by a turkey lunch.  Only managed a pathetic 37 species, the best being the Teal at Ewelme, 2 female Blackcaps together in the garden (first time this winter I have seen 2 females) and a few water birds on the river including Goosander, Pochard, Tuftie and both Little and Great-crested Grebes.  After seeing 45 Cormorants recently along the same stretch of water not one was to be seen today and the Scaup was absent.