Sunday, 27 February 2011

Water vole

Sunday 27 February 2011
A latrine discovered at the Watercress beds so at least one Water Vole has survived the winter and predation.  On a more mundane level 24 species of birds identified with 2 Water Rails seen and Sparrowhawk, 2 Buzzards and several Red Kites soaring against the blue sky.  I can hardly believe I wrote "mundane" in relation to Red Kites and Buzzards - how times change!

Friday, 25 February 2011

Farm Survey

24 February 2011
Amazingly a dry and reasonably warm survey and what a difference it makes!  A total of 33 species identified and 420 individual birds.  Highlights included 11 Lapwing, Skylark, a flock of 60 Fieldfare and 20 Redwing, 22 Linnet and 11 Yellowhammer.  Great to see so many "glowing" Yellowhammers spread around the hedgerows and, hopefully, planning their nesting activities.  Very surprising that this was the first record of Nuthatch for the site as woodland borders a great deal of the site.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Last Winter Timed Tetrad Survey

21 February 2011
A bit of a waste of time as it was my worst ever TTS.  The weather was not exactly conducive but just 18 species and 196 individual birds was poor reward for 2 hours survey! Very little worthy of note but 13 Red Kites, a Sparrowhawk, 2 Buzzards, a Kestrel and 5 Skylark just about worth mentioning.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Ewelme and Garden

Sunday 20 February 2011
Just 23 species on the Watercress Beds this morning with no surprises though it was good to confirm that at least 4 Water Rails were present.  I would be nice to have some light - might even be worth taking my camera then!
In the garden the usual variety of species; the female Blackcap is still feasting on the fat balls and a female Brambling actually stayed long enough for me to ID it for a change.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Another quiet wet day

Tuesday 15 February 2011
Working at Ewelme and meeting ITV for some possible filming later this week. In the dull "mizzle" it was re-assuring to hear a Skylark in full song over the beds so spring really must be on the horizon.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Dorchester WeBS Count

Monday 14 February 2011

Right on cue a pair of Great-crested Grebes were displaying to one another on Valentines day.  Although cream crackering (I think the cold took more out of me than I thought) a very good mornings work with 1367 birds of 24 species.  Most noteworthy were single Scaup, Red-crested Pochard and Smew and these together with Egyption Goose and Corn Bunting were all new for my year's list.

Saturday, 12 February 2011


Saturday 12 February 2011
28 species seen on the Watercress Beds this morning including 3 "2011 February ticks" - I can make lists for anything!  The three were Song and Mistle Thrush and a couple of Brambling.  Blackcap and return of the Reed Bunting to the garden feeders.

Thursday, 10 February 2011


Wednesday 9 February 2011
Just 23 species on a stroll round the Watercress Beds - still at least 2 Water Rails and the Stock Doves are more regularly to be found in the Ash tree at the top end of the site.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Workday at Ewelme

Saturday 5 February 2011
Whilst working on the small pond (bath!) this colourful insect appeared and, for February, was quite active.  Some sort of Ichneumon fly but more precise I am not prepared to be.
Another find during a search for germinating Yellow Rattle was this small snail - the jury is out on this too but hopefully I-spot might come up with an ID. To get some idea of size it is pictured on a hand so only about 5mm diam.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Benson Garden

Friday 4 February 2011

Frequent visits to the garden feeder by a female Brambling but bird too active and light too grey for photo.  Also frequent visits from the Female Blackcap but less frequntly the male.  Still loads of Greenfinches so the dreaded desease doesn't seem to have reached me yet - reported at Ewelme though so might not be long.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Rainbows at Ewelme

Wednesday 3 February 2011

The education team entertained the Benson Rainbows (tiny guides) at the watercress beds this week.  Before they arrived I did some "kick sampling" in the back stream to populate the aquarium.  I was pleasantly surprised to catch a bullhead and a ten-spined stickleback as well as very high numbers of freshwater shrimps and misc. flatworms and a caddis fly larvae.  A good time was had by all but an hour and a half was about right.

The is well more interesting!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Roke & Ewelme

Monday 31 January 2011

One of my regular walks again on a gloriously sunny and even fairly warm morning.  I managed to accumulate 34 species which is 5 more than last time I walked this route.  Nothing unusual but always good to get Water Rail on a days list.