Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Come on winter

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Good mornings work with Wallingford Green Gym clearing channels through the beds below the road bridge. Spotted a small group of Coltsfoot in full bloom and last night there were three hedgehogs chomping on my dried mealworms.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Battle Farm Survey for December

Sunday 20 December 2015

Total of 408 birds recorded of 33 species. Highlights included 3 Redpoll and a female Blackcap. Over 80 Rooks and Woodpigeons.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Unusual pair

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Don't often see these two together in the viewfinder!

Somehow doesn't seem right to see a Little Egret high in a tree.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Dorchester WeBS count for December

Monday 14 December 2015

Highlights of the 44 species recorded including  1918 "water birds" were Green Sandpiper, Goldeneye, Egyptian Goose (7) and Red-crested Pochard.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Hogs still about

Friday 11 December 2015

No trip to Ewelme today because of the weather but trail camera recorded 3 Hedgehogs in the garden last night - will it ever get cold enough for them to hibernate?

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

No change at Ewelme

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Still a Water Rail, Little Egret and Chiffchaff around and the Coal Tit (an unusual bird on the cress beds) has taken a fancy to my feeders. The Mandarin seems to have moved off the beds and onto Kings Pool - probably being fed bread by the neighbors.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Two surprises

Monday 30 November 2015

Along with the Mandarin, Little Egret and Water Rail a Raven flew over Kronking and a Chiffchaff appeared.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Usual crowd

Wednesday 25 November 2015

No change on the watercress beds with Mandarin, Water Rail and Little Egret. Couldn't see the Green Sandpiper or Blackcap but I expect they are around somewhere.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Good morning on the Ewelme cress beds

Sunday 22 November 2015

33 species this morning including Little Egret, Mandarin, Green Sandpiper and Blackcap. Also spotted a Grey Heron "fishing" for a bank vole on the side of the beds. Didn't seem to have any trouble swallowing it but flew off to an adjacent tree presumably to digest its catch. Only down side of the morning was the failure trying to download pictures from my camera because of a damaged memory card, though this one I did manage to recover!

Friday, 20 November 2015

one down and one up

Friday 20 November 2015

Couldn't find the Mandarin but could still be around but replaced by a Little Egret - first sighting of the winter. Water Rail and Blackcap still around. Blackcap seems to have moved from Buckthorn berries to Spindle.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

He's back

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Not sure where's he been for the last 10 days but the Mandarin was back this morning. During a brief walk round before the work session with the Wallingford Green Gym the only other birds of note were the ever reliable Water Rail and a Goldcrest.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Like busses

Wednesday 11 November 2015

Wait ages for a Water Rail then two come along. With such a secretive bird you can't help wondering how many are really on the Watercress Beds? Also good to see a small party (4) of Redpoll and a Bullfinch feeding on blackberry seeds. I haven't seen the Mandarin since last Saturday so suspect it has gone - unfortunately.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Patchday challenge

38 species for the day at the Watercress Beds. Good to see Water Rail, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail and Coal Tit amongst more normal stuff. Shame the Mandarin that has been around for a couple of weeks went AWOL - bet it's back tomorrow!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Rail at last

Wednesday 4 November 2015

First sign of the Water Rail yesterday - must check records as it seems a bit later than usual. Perhaps not too surprising with the continuing warm weather. Although I've not seen the Mandarin for a couple of days it was back today busily feeding on watercress - wonder if this is known as one of their food sources?
Poor photo I'm afraid but the light on the brightest of days (and it wasn't) is not good under the privet bush.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Back to OXON

Sunday 25 October 2015

My Battle Farm survey this morning with 318 birds of 28 species. Nothing special but flights of geese (Canada and Greylag) of note as was good numbers of Starling. No warblers so guess I'll have to wait for any overwinterers now.

Quick look round Ewelme this afternoon with another new site bird. This was well down on my "expected" list but even if a bit "plastic" still good to add Mandarin to my all time list for the Watercress Beds.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Butterflies today

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Beautiful sunny day in Devon with lots of Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests, Cirl Buntings and Blackcaps etc. but butterflies were the stars with Clouded Yellow, Painted Lady, Peacock, Red Admiral, Large White, Speckled Wood and Wall, though the latter had such little wings left it could hardly fly.

Monday, 19 October 2015


Monday 19 October 2015

Although I was never much of a twitcher I decided, many years ago to limit distances I would travel to see a bird to 20 miles. This beauty, an Isabelline Shrike, was well within that limit as I am on holiday at Torcross Devon. Pity about the telegraph wires and having the bright sky as background but fot my first new bird for absolutely ages who is complaining?

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Species No 72 for Ewelme

Thursday 15 October 2015

Somehow I managed to miss Fieldfare at the cress beds during the early part of the year but a single one turned up today following a small group of Redwings yesterday. No sign of warblers today but they could still be around.

Fieldfare doing its best to hide in the apple tree

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

What season is it?

Tuesday 13 October 2015

I think the Sparrows are confused as this material appeared sticking out of one of the nest boxes today.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Still around

Sunday 11 October 2015

Blackcap and Chiffchaff still at the Cress beds but still no Water Rail. First night for ages without a moth in the overnight trap but Hedgehog still visiting nightly for dried mealworms and water.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Gone or just keeping their heads down?

Saturday 10 October 2015

No sign of Blackcaps or Chiffchaffs at Ewelme this morning but I could easily have missed them in the chill of early morning. The other odd thing - I don't think I have ever walked the cress beds seeing just two species of finches and missing out on Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Chaffinch. The two I did see - Redpoll (3) and Bullfinch. Photos would have been better if I had a bit more light!

Friday, 9 October 2015

Same as

Friday 9 October 2015

No change at the cress beds today though always brings a smile to my face when the kingfisher flashes past. Still no Water Rail yet! A few flowers still in bloom - Meadow Cranesbill, Comfrey and White Deadnettle. 

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Strength to strength

Thursday 8 October 2015

A Common Redpoll today on the watercress beds which takes the year's total up to 71 - 6 more that 2014! Still Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs around and a fine looking Red Kite with prey but not sure what.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015


Wednesday 7 October 2015

Numbers seem to be down unless they were hiding in bushes but still Blackcap and Chiffchaff around. As I failed miserably to photograph any birds here are a few of Autumn colours and sheep in the adjacent, Ewelme Trust field which seemed interested in my presence.

Two new moths for the year in the garden, bringing the total up to 140 species. Bordered Beauty and Rush Veneer (a migrant - but how a tiny thing like this can fly all that way is beyond me).

Thursday, 17 September 2015

And they keep coming

This time a "life tick" for the cress beds. Don't get too excited it was only a Spotted Flycatcher but the first I have seen there in about 11 years of looking.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Another year tick for the cress beds

This time it was a Hobby. Flew fast directly along and over the cress beds - somewhat lucky to have been looking in the right direction at the right time. Not sure what it was hoping for as there are very few swallows or martins and only the odd dragonfly.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015


Tuesday 1 September 2015

I had all but given up on Whitethroat for this year when they normally breed on the Ewelme Watercress Beds site but one turned up today. Even better it was in the same bush as a Lesser Whitethroat. Kingfisher is getting more regular but no sign of the Green Sandpiper or Water Rail as yet.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Battle Farm survey

Sunday 30 August 2015

3 Yellow Wagtails, 80 Canada Geese and a flock of 35 Goldfinches the most noteworthy of birds seen. But beating all those were dozens of Small Heath butterflies - don't remember ever seeing more than ones or twos previously. On the darker side the RAF have taken to displaying their "trophies" ( dead Rooks, presumably shot) strung up on a compound fence. Nasty and meaningless if they think it will frighten off other Rooks.

Friday, 21 August 2015

New year bird for the Watercress Beds

Thursday 20 August 2014

At long last caught up with Coal Tit and that is my 65th species for the year - exactly the same as last year so still time to beat it.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Warblers and Butterflies

Sunday 16 August 2015

A good supply of warblers (for Ewelme) with lots of Blackcaps and the odd Chiff Chaff and Garden Warbler. After a couple of Painted Ladies yesterday a Clouded Yellow turned up today.

Friday, 7 August 2015

new bird

First new year bird for the cress beds for two and a half months - a Lesser Whitethroat feeding on Elder berries. First sign of Autumn!

Friday, 19 June 2015

And another

Friday 19 June 2015

Spotted a Pyramidal Orchid on our meadow this morning - another new one!

Thursday, 18 June 2015


Thursday 18 June 2015

Best year ever for Orchids on the Cress Beds with 18 counted of 3 species - Common Spotted, Bee and Southern Marsh, the latter new for the site.
Bee Orchid

Common Spotted Orchid

Southern Marsh Orchid

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Need a ladder?

Thursday 11 June 2015

Almost certain the Stock Dove is using the nest box but, if successful will the young manage to get out? It wasn't really designed for doves but I'm not sure now exactly what it was designed for.

Great to see (hear) a Garden warbler apparently holding territory on the lower site but still no Whitethroat!

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Nesting Stock Dove

Wednesday 3 June 2015

Although only a strong suspicion at this stage a Stock dove perched at the entrance to one of the nest boxes is good news. Not so good is a complete lack of Whitethroats - we normally have 2 or 3 pairs nesting on the reserve but no sight or sound yet!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Good news

Yet again the nest box on the front of the house has been successfully used by House Sparrows. It's worth putting up with the incessant cheeping for this.

Monday, 11 May 2015


Monday 11 May 2015

Despite mist good morning at Prawle with Great Northern Diver, Manx Shearwater, Guillemots, Loads of Cirl Buntings and SQUACCO HERON!

Poor snatched photo I'm afraid - it was somewhat flighty!

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Start Point

Saturday 9 may 2015

Drove to Hallsands and then walked to Start Point. Family party of Ravens making a lot of noise, a Peregrine flying out from the cliff on a couple of occasions together with Whitethroats, Linnets, Stonechats etc. Highlights probably the distant Grey Seal hauled out on a rock:

and numerous Houst Martins collecting mud from a puddle in the car park.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Slapton Ley

Thursday 7 may 2015

Noticed this swans nest on a walk round the Ley with a pair of swans adding material to the structure.

On the way back after lunch at a local hostelry the same nest seems to have been take over by a family of Mallards.
On closer inspection the nest held several eggs (swans), one of which can just be seen below the right hand end of the chicks. I seem to remember that swans don't begin sitting until the whole cluch of eggs have been laid so that they all hatch out together and I suspect the nest owners had just gone off to feed. 

Wednesday, 6 May 2015


Wednesday 6 may 2015

Slapton Ley was bursting with hirundines, all 3 species, and probably well over 100 Swifts. Unusual to see so many Sand Martins down here. Another surprise was a party of about 20 Sanderlings on the beach.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Yarner Wood

Tuesday 5 may 2015

Despite the weather some good birds at the wood including Pied Flycatcher, Wood Warbler, Tree Pipit, Siskin, Nuthatch, Mandarin duck and all the tits apart from Long-tailed.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Species number 60 for year at the cress beds

Friday 24 April 2015

Somewhat surprised to catch site of a Reed Bunting round the beds - I can probably count the number of sitings of this fairly common bird on one hand! ( just checked and this is the 7th siting in 13 years on the Watercress beds). The other surprising "non siting" is Grey Wagtail. I haven't recorded this species during April and it is normally very common with 507 records over the 13 year period!

Saturday, 18 April 2015

3rd new species for the cress beds

A rather distant Wheatear on the airfield to join Raven and Barn Owl earlier this year bringing up 90 species for the site
I did say "distant"

Friday, 10 April 2015

2 new for the cress beds

Friday 10 April 2015

Skylark and these two perched on the wires above the visitors centre on my arrival this morning.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015


Wednesday 8 April 2015

All negative news - no sign of the overwintering Blackcap in the garden for the last two days and the Little Egret/s at Ewelme were conspicuous by their absence.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Won't leave me

Thursday 2 April 2015

And still the female Blackcap hangs on in the garden - somebody tell it that we are into April Now! On the cress beds a Little Egret seems to have taken up residence - could it be the not sitting one of the pair? If so where's the nest?

Friday, 27 March 2015

Species 54 for the cress beds this year

Friday 27 March 2015

Also a pair of Bullfinches, a Chiffchaff and 4 Buzzards soaring overhead. The overwintering garden Blackcap must like the fat-balls as it doesn't seem to want to leave.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Nope - not yet

Sunday 22 March 2015

Still around in the garden bold as brass - also seem to have a Bay tree bursting with House Sparrows!

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Has she gone?

Saturday 21 March 2015

First day in absolute ages that the female Blackcap has not visited the fat balls in the garden and there were some clear skies last night - so is that the last of her?

Thursday, 19 March 2015

First since 2012

Thursday 19 March 2015

At long last Linnets at Ewelme Cress Beds - first sighting since November 2012! A couple of Little Egrets still around and the frog-spawn clump continues to grow.

Friday, 13 March 2015


Friday 13 March 2015

Who said Friday 13th was unlucky? My first ever Raven flying over the Cress Beds at Ewelme - a long anticipated addition to the list. No camera to hand but heres a pic from Devon last year.


Thursday, 12 March 2015

At last a moth!

Thursday 12 march 2015

After sporadic trapping at home for a few weeks something in the trap this morning - in fact two somethings. The first was a Ruby Tiger caterpillar and then, at long last a moth - only a Hebrew Character but a moth is a moth!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Half century

Wednesday 11 march 2015

A Redwing today was my 50th species of the year. 23 days earlier than I reached this milestone last year.

Also discovered why my birdfeeder seems to need topping up at hourly intervals!

Saturday, 7 March 2015


Saturday 7 March 2015

Spring is in the air with the first butterflies of the year on the cress beds - Brimstone, red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell. It was a work session and I hope the volunteers, our regulars and a team from Sonning Common Green Gym enjoyed getting wet and muddy in the sunshine. Great effort by all.

Monday, 2 March 2015

More year ticks!

Monday 2 March 2015

Hardly earth shattering but Canada Goose and Grey Partridge made welcome additions to the Ewelme Cress Beds annual list - total now up to 48.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Another year tick for the Watercress Beds

Saturday 28 February 2015

Number 46 was a flypast of a Cormorant. Little Egret still around but not a lot else.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Battle Farm

Sunday 22 February 2015

Monthly farm survey this morning resulted in 305 birds of 32 species. Kingfisher, 2 Meadow Pipits, 4 Grey Wagtails and 22 Redwing were the highlights.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Species 45 for Ewelme

Friday 20 February 2015

A Tawny Owl calling as I walked the reserve this morning. Best of the rest were Little Egret and Water Rail.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

WeBS count at Dorchester

Tuesday 17 February 2014

Best birds were 2 Pintail, 5 Egyption Geese, 2 Goldeneye (females), Kingfisher and Oystercatcher.