Thursday, 30 December 2010

Battle Fm, Preston Crowmarsh

Thursday 30 December 2010

Carried out my final count, for the year, of the fields around Battle Farm.  A grand total of 309 birds of 35 species were identified.  Two new species were seen which, as I am now in the 6th year of the monthly survey, is not bad going.  They were both "flyover" jobs and not normally associated with farmland being a small party of 6 Tufted Duck and a single Egyption Goose.  Very few Redwings and no Fieldfares presumably because all of the berries have been eaten and the ground is still too hard for worms.  Good to see 4 Yellowhammers, a couple of Goldcrests and a Blackcap.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Roke - Ewelme circuit

Tuesday 28 December 2010

Walked the route through Rokemarsh, Roke and Ewelme.  Very quiet, the most noteworthy birds being a couple of widely separated Treecreepers.  Teal was still on the cress beds.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Ewelme and Thames

Monday 27 December 2010

The only new birds at Ewelme were a Common Gull and the Lapwing had ben joined by another.  Three Water Rails, a Green Sandpiper, male Teal and 6 - 8 Snipe were present.  I saw the Scaup on the Thames at Benson though it has moved 1/4 mile upstream from the Riverside Cafe.  The numbers of Tufted Duck and Pochard have increased and 45 Cormorant were counted between Benson and Shillingford.  Also 3 Great Crests and a Little Grebe were seen.

Brambling in the garden briefly - first of the winter.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

1 hour birdrace

Saturday 25 December 2010

Went for a one hour walk counting species down to the Thames by way of the brook and back via Littleworth.  Managed 34 species - Scaup, Kingfisher and Bullfinch were the most noteworthy.

Bird count at the cress beds

Friday 24 December 2010

Thought I would try a bird count at Ewelme today - not easy as some birds tend to move away as you approach and it is easy to count them twice.  Nevertheless this list is probably fairly accurate:

1           Teal
30        Mallard           
5           Red Kite         
2           Water Rail
20        Moorhen         
1           Lapwing          
9           Snipe  
1           Green Sandpiper         
50        Black-headed Gull      
12        Woodpigeon   
2           Meadow Pipit  
2           Grey Wagtail
3           Pied Wagtail
1           Wren
1           Dunnock
3           Robin
12        Blackbird
1           Fieldfare
2           Song Thrush
10        Redwing         
4           Blue Tit
6           Great Tit         
1           Magpie
6           Rook   
8           Starling
3           House Sparrow
31        Chaffinch       
3           Goldfinch

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Its all happening

Thursday 23 December 2010

A quick trip to Ewelme to top up the feeders.  The open water had attracted a Teal, a Lapwing, numerous Snipe and Meadow pipits plus the usual stuff. Also a very friendly Grey Wagtail which seemed attracted to my camera lens.

We needed some last minute shopping so called into Waitrose, Wallingford and was somewhat amazed to see 19 Waxwings there - I thought they had long gone and I was never going to catch up with them!

I was alerted to the presence of a Scaup on the river by AHB so headed down there and managed the following photo.

Quiet day

Wednesday 22 December 2010

What with meeting and decorating no time to birdwatch but still managed a couple of unusual sightings.  On my way to the meeting I came across a Meadow Pipit in the tiny front garden of one of the estate houses and, taking a breather from painting, spotted a Pied Wagtail on our conservatory roof.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

River Walk

Tuesday 21 December 2010

Walked down from the home along the brook and then towards Wallingford along the Thames.  Most noteworthy sightings were 3 Kingfishers along the brook and 14 Goosanders on the Thamesincluding 2 males.

Why do Herons always look so grumpy?

Monday, 20 December 2010

Ewelme - where else?

Monday 20 December 2010

Walked out to the cress beds to fill up the feeders.  All the usual crowd though I couldn't see the Little Egret (could have been hiding in the snow).  Just one Water Rail seen but at least 15 Snipe have discovered the open shallow water.  If these temperatures continue for much longer (-17.2°C at RAF Benson last night) then the open water could soon vanish.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Knot plus

Sunday 19 December 2010

A villager rang me yesterday to say she had come across a wader beside the Thames in an exhausted state.  It was put under a hedge to avoid predators but when she went back it had died.  I took delivery of this today and it proved to be a Knot.  Quite what it was doing here, so far from its normal home on the coast, I have no idea.  They do turn up in Oxfordshire from time to time but more normally during spring or autumn migration.

Having made the effort to get out of a nice warm house I decided to prolong my agony for a short while by walking down the brook and then along the river.  I came across a Kingfisher trying its luck in the brook and, later on the Thames found a Water Rail, 2 female Goosanders, a pair of Wigeon, a Little Grebe and good numbers of Cormorants, Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Tufted Ducks and Gulls (Black-headed, Lesser Black-backed and Herring). Back at home there was a female Blackcap in the garden with large numbers of Greenfinch, Chaffinch and Goldfinches and the usual odd Reed Bunting, Robin, Blue Tit, Coal Tit etc.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Snow, snow and still more snow

Saturday 18 December 2010

Struggled my way through to Ewelme to fill up the feeders.  Two Water Rails were on show, a Green Sandpiper and a Snipe.  Several, at least 5, Meadow Pipits and a Pied Wagtail have been attracted to the slightly more benign conditions. A rather/very poor pic of the Snipe is shown.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Not quite wildlife

Friday 18 December 2010

Only managed a quick walk down to the river and back.  I thought there might be more on the river but Black-headed Gulls and a large flock of Canada Geese in the distance was about as good as it got.

We all feed the birds but someone has been putting food out for this goat which was tucking into a slice of bread!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Grey, rainy, appalling light - crickets good though

Thursday 16 december 2010

Bit quiet at the beds this morning - couldn't see any Water Rails but the Green Sandpiper put in an appearance as did the Little Egret.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Ewelme workday & return of a friend

Wednesday 15 december 2010

Although no time to "stand and stare" couln't help but notice a couple of Grey Herons, a Green Sandpiper and the return of the Little Egret.  It is tempting to think of it as "our" Egret but it could easily be a different one each winter.  I suspect the herons are finding it very difficult to find food as we have already found two dead ones in the watercress beds this winter.  With the weather predicted for the next few days almost anything could be attracted to the ice free water but if anyone has a supply of sardines or the like they could be a lifesaver.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Gulls, Blackcaps but no Waxwings

Sunday 12 December 2010

Gulls, Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed still finding water hard to find and making use of the tropical water temperatures of the watercress beds.
A pair of Blackcaps or at least a male and a female visited the garden later this morning - first male for the garden this winter.
Son was on a "bird race" and rang to tell me they had found Waxwings up at Linkey Down - where has my luck gone?  

Friday, 10 December 2010

New bird for the year

Friday 10 december 2010

Filled up the feeders at Ewelme this morning.  Usual list of birds with Water Rails (more "showey" than usual), Green Sandpiper and a couple of Snipe the most noteworthy.  I noticed behaviour that I hadn't registered before.  The Black-headed Gull was dabbling it's feet to disturb invertebrates and then eating them.  I have seen Little Egrets doing this but not gulls before.

Had a walk down to the river after lunch and was somewhat amazed to see a Mandarin Duck sitting on one of the jetties.  Must try and sort out my camera - seems to have slipped to a lower resolution unfortunately so todays pics a bit naff - even more than usual.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Garden Blackcap

Wednesday 8 December 2010

Managed to get a poor photo of the femail Blackcap in the garden today.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Ewelme & the Thames

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Walked ot to the cress beds to top up the feeders.  Came across this group on the way - they don't seem too worried about the upcoming Christmas festivities! Again at least 4 Water Rails, a Green sandpiper and about 3 or 4 Snipe.  Sadly a dead Heron at the lower end of the beds.

Actually saw the sun this afternoon (at least I think that's what the big orange thing was) so decided a walk along the river was called for.  A few birds of note including Cormorant (at least 4), Coot, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Kingfisher and Little Grebe.  A rather nice sunset which, yet again, my photographic skills failed to do justice to.

Garden Blackcap

Monday 6 December 2010

Title says it all really - a female Blackcap taking a shower beside a splashing Blackbird.  Garden was full of birds, most of which were Goldfinches but with a smattering of Green and Chaff finches, Blue and great Tit, Dunnock, Starling, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon and Robin.  Popped into Blakes to stock up on the sunflower hearts but they had run out - catastrophe! I had to buy black sunflower instead so it looks like I shall return to molehills made of seed husks shortly.  Luckily Blakes are expecting a delivery later this week but, apparently the country has run out of peanuts!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Ewelme guide walk

Sunday 5 december 2010

A misty morning but I thought it worthwhile having a quick look around before our visitors arrived.  Nothing out of the ordinary but interesting to note at least 4 Water Rails, all in their own "patch", one calling.  Green Sandpiper in the area just outside the lower end of the Trout Pond. Loads of Redwings and a few Fieldfare around.

Long-tailed Tits

Saturday 5 December 2010

Always a cheerful sight on a less than cheerful day, the garden was visited by a "swarm" of long-tailed Tits.  Probably around seven in number but with so much tooing and froing they were difficult to count accurately.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Garden Tick

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Busy helping build a log store but still managed an unusual sighting for our tiny garden - a Great-spotted Woodpecker on the seed feeder.