Tuesday, 30 December 2014

It finally arrived

Tuesday 30 December 2014

The Snipe just made it before the end of the year bringing my 2014 total on the Watercress beds up to 65, just one short of last year's total. Still, one more day to go!

It was too quick for me to photograph so here's another one of the Green Sandpiper.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Getting colder

Sunday 28 December 2014

Still waiting for Snipe to find the Watercress Beds - perhaps after another couple of frosts. The only new bird that seems to have discovered the warm water was this Black-headed Gull.

Still can't get close to the Kingfisher - this is the best I could do.

Slightly closer to the Green sandpiper.

Didn't bother photographing the Water Rail which was, yet again, skulking in the shadows under the Privet bush.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Farm survey

Friday 26 December 2014

Nothing to get excited about though I never remember so many Chiffchaffs alongside the Preston Crowmarsh sewage works. Although 1 or 2 are normal overwinterers I counted 6 and there could easily have been more.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Late sighting

Tuesday 23  December 2014

Little around at Ewelme and the best sighting of the day was a Red Admiral apparently trying to break into our Benson conservatory.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

More of the same - mainly

Sunday 21 December 2014

Usual culprits at the Watercress Beds with Green Sandpiper and Kingfisher (2) of note though the Water Rail is proving elusive. To give the camera some exercise took this of a Candlesnuff Fungi.

Back home I was pleased to see this Blackcap in the garden - although they have been at the Watercress Beds on and off for months this is the first one in the garden. Somewhat surprisingly, soon after, it was joined by another - both males.

 Also a Wren having a bath.

Friday, 19 December 2014


Friday 19 December 2014

Very quiet on the Watercress Beds with little to see in the warmer weather. Most of the thrushes seem to have moved on which is not too surprising as virtually all of the haws have been eaten. Waiting now for a few more frosts on the Ivy berries before they are attractive.

This Redwing was hanging on - handsome bird though not the best of photos.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Great to be out but frustrating

Monday 15 December 2014

1st Frustration - A kingfisher that just wouldn't settle in the sunshine but preferred shadows.

 2nd Frustration - a Goldfinch - lovely bird but I was hoping for a Siskin on the Alder cones

I could go on with very flighty Green Sandpiper and Water Rail hiding under Privet bush but finally:-

Thought I would check Huntinglands for Golden Plover of which none so started counting Lapwing as there appeared more than the 277 when I last counted them. Managed to get through over half before they all took flight and when I looked down at my tally counter it had stopped on, would you believe 277.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Banker at long last

Saturday 13 December 2014

Back down to earth after the discovery of a Long-tailed Duck at Dorchester during my WeBS count last Monday but I paid for it by spending the next 4 days incapacitated with some sort of bug, the details of which you really don't want to know. I am afraid the best photo I could manage is, to say the least, embarrassing but here goes for what its worth.
To return to the title of this piece - the hard nights frost brought in a Green Sandpiper to the Watercress Beds - the first for 2014 and species number 64. Just been checking on the plusses and minusses compared to last year. On the plus side, Jay, Lesser Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler and Skylark but on the negative side, Nuthatch, Redpoll, Siskin, Snipe, Teal and Treecreeper. Chances of adding two more to the list by the end of the year??????

On the way back counted the Lapwing at the top of the field, Huntinglands, and made it 277 with 5 Buzzards but no Golden Plovers. There were several very well camouflaged Skylarks though.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Battle farm bird survey

Sunday 30 November 2014

429 birds of 32 species recorded round the 7 fields of the farm. Nothing very special though it is always good to see wintering Chiff chaffs (2), lots of wintering thrushes around and a couple of Goldcrests. Why do I seem to see Linnets everywhere apart from on the reserve at Ewelme? One new year bird for the farm (number 58) but I'm almost afraid to say that it was a Moorhen.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

No birds but fish

Saturday 29 November 2014

Riverfly monitoring on Ewelme Brook with surprising number of fish. Couple of Brown Trout, one almost big enough to eat and several 9 Spine Sticklebacks and Miller's Thumbs. Usual collection of fly larvae but numbers of Freshwater Shrimps were well down at lower site in Preston Crowmarsh.

Brown Trout

Caseless Caddis with Olive (mayfly)

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Good count - for Ewelme

Wednesday 26 November 2014

30 Species noted round the Watercress Beds including a couple of male Blackcaps feeding on Spindle Berries, both Woodpeckers (I discount Lesser spot as I believe it to be extinct) and the ever faithful Water Rail.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Newe Fungi

Wednesday 19 November 2014

One of our volunteers came across this fungi during the work session at Ewelme cress beds this morning. Yes I know what it resembles and thats a clue to its Latin name.


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Good selection but nothing new

Sunday 16 November 2014

Blackcap, Heron, Kingfisher and Water Rail of note. One of these days the kingfisher is going to come close enough for a half decent photo!

Friday, 14 November 2014


Friday 14 November 2014

Masses of tiny insects on the wing over the watercress beds and adjacent land. Where are all the insectivorous birds and dragonflies? Good to see a male Blackcap foraging amongst the ivy.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Usual stars

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Only time for a quick look before a meeting but in that time, despite the rain, I managed to see Kingfisher, Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail and Water Rail amongst other more common fare.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Evidence only

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Spotted a small heap of Water Vole poo at the cress beds this morning. First evidence I have come across this year! Eat your heart out Mr Packham.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

1st of the Autumn

Sunday 9 November 2014

Only time for a quick visit to the Cress Beds this morning but time enough for a stunning Fieldfare, first of the Autumn, glowing in the sunshine.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Signs of winter and a rather silly squirrel

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Just in case you missed my short movie on Facebook I repeat it here for your delectation - let me know if you know what is going on!

At long last a Water Rail appeared at the watercress beds today - nearly a month later that usual.

Apologies for the photo - it was very dark. Also on show a male Blackcap (Female yesterday), Redwings and at least 3 Goldcrests. Were the Blackcaps Stragglers or winter visitors?

Friday, 31 October 2014

Party season up at the camp?

 Friday 31 October 2014

Yet again another driver from RAF Benson couldn't decide whether to turn right or left so went straight on into our fence.

 Weather still very unseasonal with more flowers (cranesbill - prob hedgerow) on show at the Watercress Beds and a spider (nursery web?) sunning itself on a nettle


Tuesday, 28 October 2014


Tuesday 28 October 2014

Red Admiral, White (prob Small) and 2 Clouded Yellows at the Cress beds, Ewelme and another Common Darter. Nice kestrel posing against the blue sky.

Monday, 27 October 2014

What month is it?

Monday 27 October 2014

Very confused with Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral and a couple of Common Darters at Ewelme. Riverfly monitoring on Ewelme Brook today. Odd bullhead but the Caseless Caddis was my favourite.
Rhyacophila dorsalis

Saturday, 25 October 2014


Saturday 25 October 2014

Not a lot to report apart from a new year bird for the Watercress Beds - don't get too excited it was only a Coal Tit. Still no sign of Water Rail - either skulking or waiting for some colder weather.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Cold weather rerquired

Sunday 19 October 2014

Perhaps some colder weather, if we ever get any, will bring me some new birds to Ewelme. Still getting a few butterflies including Large White, Red Admiral and this poorly photographed Comma. No sign of Water Rail yet and the few Redwings I saw flew straight over my head going south.

Thursday, 16 October 2014


Thursday 16 October 2014

The walk round the cress beds this morning was more like May with at least 5 Blackcaps, a couple of Chiff chaffs and a singing Great Tit and some flowers in bloom. Mind you it made up for it this afternoon when I was caught in a cloud burst whilst doing a bit of work on the lower site.

White Campion

Sunday, 12 October 2014


Sunday 12 October 2014

No change at Ewelme though Kingfisher and Chiffchaffs very active. Not so the heron which seemed to be sleeping.

Walked round the back of Hale Farm, Benson this afternoon and was rewarded with Wheatear and Stonechat together with large flocks of Skylark and Linnet. Yellowhammer also present as was 20+ Red Kites in recently harrowed field.


Tuesday, 7 October 2014

No change

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Thought I might have seen first sign of winter visitors but not so. Still Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs around. Nice to see a couple of Goldcrests - one with a glowing orange crest that really stood out amongst the dark of Ivy.
Long-tailed Tit


Sunday, 5 October 2014


Sunday 5 October 2014

Little to report and hardly any butterflies to break the monotony. Still a few chiff chaffs chasing each other about but I couldn't find any blackcaps today.

Chiff chaff doing its best to hide

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Arrival of Meadow Pipits

Tuesday 20 September 2014

Somewhat surprised that today was my first sighting of Meadow Pipits on the Watercress Beds for 2014. 5 of them flying around but refusing to settle. This rather tame Pheasant seemed reluctant to test its wings and just wandered away from me glancing over its shoulder as it went.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Flies and Bat

Monday 29 September 2014

This Brown Long-eared Bat was in a sorry state when picked up at Berrick. Handed over to David Endacott of the Oxfordshire Bat group to see if anything could be done but not hopeful.

September Riverfly monitoring on Ewelme Brook today. No apparent effect of the big brook cleanup on Saturday though, unusually, no Caddis larvae at the Brook Street site.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

September Farm survey

Sunday 28 September 2014

Very quiet with just 228 birds of 28 species. Highlights 6 Buzzard, 14 Robins, 2 Chiff chaffs and 5 Yellowhammers. No Blackcaps or Swallows and only 2 Blackbirds.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Still quiet birdwise

Friday 26 September 2014

At Ewelme Watercress Beds somewhat surprised to catch a glimpse of a Whitethroat as I hadn't seen one for a couple of weeks. Chiff chaffs still around but no sign of Blackcap. Mating Common Darters on the dipping platform of the small pond and, elsewhere a Small Copper catching a few rays. Pity about the bite out of the wing!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Cricket lovely cricket

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Daughter discovered this sitting on her sandwich box this evening. Pictured in a glass tumbler.
Oak Bush Cricket

Monday, 22 September 2014


Monday 22 September 2014

Still plenty (well 2 or 3) Blackcaps and Chiff Chaffs around and others of note were Kingfisher which seems to be more regular now and noisy Green Woodpecker. Bush full of House Sparrows - I wonder what a Tree Sparrow looks like?

Who needs Christmas decorations when you have Spindle bushes?

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Butterflies still going well

Thursday 18 September 2014

Amazing temperatures for mid September and still getting some nice butterflies at Ewelme. 8 species and a total of 44 individuals. Highlights a Painted Lady and Small Copper. Unfortunately the Lady was beyond my photographic capabilities.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


Wednesday 17 September 2014

Good to see several trout (brown) whilst clearing the bypass channel at the work session this morning. One of them nearly big enough to eat - not that I would of course!

Monday, 15 September 2014