Thursday, 22 December 2016

Running out of fingers

Thursday 22 December 2016

The count for Little Egrets on the Ewelme Watercress Beds has reached 4 and there were 2 Water Rails and a Green Sandpiper. The beds are beginning to come into their own with the warm water attracting birds. All we need is a bit more cold weather and we might even get a Snipe or two!

Why do Water Rails like dark places where my camera leaves something to be desired.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Just in the nick of time

Saturday 17 December 2016

I had just about given up hope of a Water Rail turning up before the end of the year but in the gloom this morning there it was, albeit briefly. If it hadn't arrived it would have been the first time since 2001 that one hadn't turned up during the last 3 months of the year. Also there today green Sandpiper and Little Egret and the usual handful of Grey Wagtails.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Seeing double

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Thought I was seeing double today as both the Little Egret and the Green Sandpiper appear to have found friends! Unfortunately not posing together. Had trouble with my account so guess I should note the November Swallow seen over the airfield on 27th.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Dorchester WeBS count

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Managed to avoid injury on the barbed wire fence this time! Total of 2150 birds of 24 water species. Highlights were a single male Goosander, 4 Red-crested Pochards, 90 Golden Plover and 190 Lapwing and always good to catch fleeting views of a couple of Kingfishers.

Sunday, 6 November 2016


Sunday 6 November 2016

Great work by a group of trainees from RAF Halton yesterday helping open channels on the cress beds.  Today the first ice on the new pond heralded by the first sighting this winter of a Green Sandpiper.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Winter must be near

Wednesday 2 November 2016

First sighting this winter of Little Egret but no Water Rail as yet.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Late or early?

Saturday 29 October 2016

After an absence of this species for a week or two sighted a female Blackcap today but was it a late summer bird or an early overwintering job - who knows with this strange weather!

Friday, 14 October 2016

Lost - very lost!

Friday 14 October 2016

You don't get a lot of these for a quid in Oxfordshire!

Probably more interesting on a fairly boring WeBS count round Dorchester was a count of 21 Egyptian Geese.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Species number 67 for Ewelme

Monday 11 October 2016

Nothing to get too excited about as it was a strange omission from the first part of the year - a single Fieldfare opposite the watercress centre. Still several Blackcap and Chiffchaffs around but no Water Rail as yet - unless it is hiding from me.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Final throws of summer?

Friday 30 September 2016

As it was warm and I had an hour to spare I thought I would try my butterfly transect at the cress beds. Just at the start a big "thing" fluttere3d past me showing red - ah red admiral I thought but it didn't look quite right and luckily it settled to reveal itself as a Red Underwing moth. That was the first surprise and the second was a new moth for the year at the site - a Small Copper.

Just 5 species in all, Large White, Small White, Red Admiral, Comma as well as the Small Copper.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

September Battle Farm Survey

Sunday 25 September 2016

Not very special with just 31 species and a total of 214 birds. I guess many are changing their coats and that together with the brisk wind kept many in cover. Highlight was a Whinchat, first for several years here.

The Deer that thinks it is a cow remains with the herd - not sure what happens when they go off to market but the deer is keeping such close company that it might well follow them into the wagon. The odd thing is that an adult is also in the field but not at all tame, racing to the opposite corner of the field when it sees me.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Heron feeding

Tuesday 30 August 2016

Not too sure what this is - possibly field vole - but should save some of our fish for another day.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Nearly there with the pond

Friday 26 August 2016

Installed the pre-planted coir mats along one side so just odds and ends to finish off. Had to pump more water from the watercress beds in which I didn't like doing because of the phosphates but it just won't rain.
Apologies - just a phone picture will take my camera tomorrow if it doesn't rain!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Brown and Yellow

Thursday 25 August 2016

The brown was a trout, holding station in the stream and the Yellow a smart Yellow Wagtail - I seem to be seeing more yellows than greys at the moment - most unusual.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Another butterfly for the year

Monday 22 August 2016

21st butterfly species for the year at the Ewelme Cress Beds - a Painted Lady. Seem to have missed out on Brown Argos and Small copper this year but still hoping for a Clouded Yellow.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Kingfisher and Yellow Wags

Thursday 11 August 2016

Kingfisher is getting more regular on the cress beds and 5 (FIVE!) Yellow Wagtails still around on the concrete bund outside the Watercress Centre.

Sunday, 7 August 2016


Sunday 7 August 2016

I'd just about given up but a Common Blue butterfly turned up at the cress beds today - species number 20 for the year.

The family of Yellow Wagtails still hanging on outside the visitor centre.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

At Last!

Wednesday 3 August 2016

Finally Yellow Wagtail showed up at the cress beds today - in fact a family group. Also after a gap of several months the Kingfisher returned.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

At Last another year tick for Ewelme

Friday 22 July 2016

Seems to have been a long time coming but species number 66 for the year with two young Tawny Owls flushed from a Hawthorn near the new pond. Too quick for my camera I'm afraid.

Friday, 8 July 2016

New Pond

Friday 8 July 2016

New pond is looking good and today I spotted a froglet in the water - certainly frogs didn't breed there so I wonder where it came from?

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Butterfly and mammal new for year

The butterfly was a small heath - quite rare on the cress beds and the mammal - a fleeting view of a water shrew.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Flower, moth and bird

Wednesday 8 June 2016

Thought it about time i wrote something though not much to report. The Ewelme Cress beds Nature reserve is buzzing with young birds but I'm very disappointing in the lack or Whitethroats - 2 pairs last year nowt this! First Silver "Y" moth of the year seen.
Bee Orchid

Red Carpet - I think

Song Thrush

Monday, 23 May 2016

At last caught up with regulars

Monday 23 may 2016

And the 3 in question - Swift, House Martin and Whitethroat - why took so long?

Friday, 29 April 2016

New flower

Friday 29 April 2016

The results of son Ian collecting seeds from Berkshire BBOWT reserves seems to be bearing fruit. For the first time two Green-winged Orchids were discovered in the wildflower meadow at Ewelme Watercress Beds.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Ladybirds on the move

Thursday 28 April 2016

In one small patch of nettles there were 5 species of ladybird - 14 spot, 7 spot, 14 spot, 2 spot and Harlequin. An obliging Chiffchaff posing for me.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

This and that

Wednesday 27 April 2016

The fourth butterfly species of the year (a Green-veined White) on the cress beds appeared even though the weather was more like February.

Nice picture of a Heron standing on a fence - well I like it!

Also my first dragon/damsel of the year - a large red sunning itself in the garden.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Almost a twitch - for me

Tuesday 26 April 2016

I was alerted to the presence of a pair of Garganey at Dorchester (thanks Alan) and, as it was within my twitching limit of 10 miles, I couldn't resist.

A very distant photo but you can almost tell what they were!

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Bird number 60

Sunday 24 April 2016

A skulking Lesser Whitethroat joins the 2016 list for the Watercress Beds. The linnets and a Treecreeper seem to have taken up temporary residence - let's hope they stay to breed!

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Good finds - for Ewelme

Thursday 21 April 2016

A couple of unusual birds for the beds at Ewelme. Probably won't get the twitchers excited but I'm pleased by smaller things. A couple of Linnet which are surprisingly scarce on the site and Treecreeper - only the 5th record ever!

Friday, 8 April 2016

Dorchester WeBS count

Friday 8 April 2016

44 species but nothing very special. Goldeneye and Oystercatcher probably the best finds and both Blackcap and Chiffchaff singing - definitely springlike. A pair of Egyptian Geese have had young but only two - wonder what happened to the rest?

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Another year tick for the cress beds

Thursday 7 April 2016

First sighting of a Curlew from the beds since 2007 - bit distant as it was on the airfield but they all count!

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

He doesn't want to leave

Tuesday 5 April 2016

The Mandarin must have a taste for watercress as he seems to prefer life with us than going off to search for a mate!

Friday, 1 April 2016

And another year tick

Friday 1 April 2016

Good morning visit to the Watercress Beds with all the usual culprits on show but a pair of Siskin on the feeders was a surprise. This Goldcrest was flicking about in the Christmas tree and to top it all off my fist House Martin of the year over Benson on my return. Perhaps spring has really arrived!

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Species number 53 for the Ewelme Cress beds

Wednesday 23 March 2016

Although first seen in a TREE and then bathing in WATER I can't see anything to persuade me that it is not a MEADOW Pipit.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Flowers and flies

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Flowers on Yew trees and first butterfly on the watercress beds.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Spring - sort of

Thursday 17 March 2016

First few clumps of frogspawn appeared in the pond at Ewelme.

Monday, 29 February 2016

February river fly monitoring

Monday 29 February 2016

Beauty of river fly monitoring is that we almost always see something new. Today's was a Stone Loach.

Also various other d of interest.
This Gammarus (freshwater shrimp) has a parasite (polumorphus) attacking it. Seen the signs of them inside the shrimp but never one with its head buried in one.



Caseless Caddis

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Return of the plastic

Sunday 28 February 2016

After going AWOL for a couple of weeks the male Mandarin put in an appearance again today. Not much else of interest though!

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Dorchester WeBS count for February

Tuesday 23 February 2016

Total of 50 species and over 1500 individuals. Highlights were two Egyptian Geese, 2 Shelduck and a Stonechat, though 345 Wigeon, 243 Tufted Ducks, 340 Coot and 218 Lapwing also of note.

Distant Stonechat

One of a pair of Egyptian geese in a horse paddock.