Monday, 20 November 2017

Little change

Overcast with light rain, 11°, light to breezy SW.

Little change on and around the hill today with Thrush species still dominating the avian landscape although in lesser numbers.

Blackbird and Fieldfare were the most abundant today with 100+ of each followed by Redwing (c50), Song Thrush (c20) and a single Mistle Thrush.

A handful of Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit feeding alongside livestock and 2 Sparrowhawk hunting the area and a single Kestrel.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Cold & Quiet

A sunny day, 6°, light W.

Another frosty start to the day and a quiet time on the hill.

The usual Fieldfare and Redwing around and 14 Blackbird and 9 Song Thrush in the Hawthorns on the hill suggesting an influx and 2 Mistle Thrush present on the north side.

A Raven around and being mobbed by 2 Crow and a Goldcrest were the only other birds of note.

 courtesy Loren
A view from the Hill (courtesy Loren)

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Garden Sanctuary

Up to 4 Moorhen are spending time in the garden recently. Apart from feeding they seem to find security as they do not get disturbed and are safe from dogs that are walked regularly in the meadow.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Busy Hill

Misty at first then clearing with cloudy skies and a light drizzly rain, 12°, light NW.

A busy Hill today with c200 Fieldfare, c40 Redwing, 80+ Starling, 23 Pied Wagtail, 14 Meadow Pipit, a female Brambling, c40 Chaffinch, 30+ Goldfinch, 80+ Linnet, 8 Yellowhammer, and singles of Reed Bunting and Corn Bunting. A definite increase in Blackbird numbers with over 100 seen. Also Tony Williams commented on higher numbers of Blackbird around Cholsey Marsh this morning.

More Song Thrush also noted with 20+ seen and a Raven flew south over the hill at 11:30.

Another flock of Pied Wagtail on the playing fields with 35 counted along with 3 Meadow Pipit and a Jay nearby.

Fishy stuff

Only the second time fish have got a mention on the blog.

This Brown Trout photographed in Cholsey Brook today was one of two seen.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Another YBW and not a lot else

Cloudy, 6°, light NW.

A cold and frosty start today and rather quiet out and about.

A Yellow-browed Warbler this afternoon in a private garden along the Wallingford road. Per TR.

The Hill was fairly quiet today……….good numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing still around and several Skylark and Meadow Pipit in the fields to the south of the hill.

Pied Wagtail feeding alongside Sheep and Grey Wagtail feeding alongside Cattle.

A Grey Heron in the usual area and a single Lapwing consorting with a flock of c40 Black-headed Gull.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Golden Plover & Redpoll

Approx. 60 Golden Plover, Cholsey Hill at 16:00 today. Per Gerry Quinn.

10 Redpoll in Silver Birches in garden on Friday. Per Tony Rayner.

Friday, 10 November 2017

THE BIG last!

Sunny periods with scattered cloud, 10°, breezy NW.

Has to be a Finch day today with a single Hawfinch (at last). Heard initially then seen flying from trees near the long tunnel by the Bullshole to the entrance track by West End. Spent around 30 minutes searching the trees in the area but no luck but a few Redwing present.

It's size and the white in the wing and tail were quite obvious as it flew by.

It is the UK's largest finch and has a powerful beak, strong enough to crack a Cherry stone open exerting a force of 150 pounds per square inch.

A Brambling and at least 2 Siskin flyovers out at Lollingdon along with 30+ Chaffinch.

The flock of around 80 Linnet still present on the hill and a rough total of 30 Goldfinch and 8 Greenfinch noted and 2 Bullfinch near the paddocks.

The usual Fieldfare and Redwing around and a couple of Pied Wagtail around the paddocks.

As far as I am aware this is the first record of Hawfinch in Cholsey since the early 1960’s, when one was trapped and ringed by Bill Campbell in his garden!

(See Mick Cunningham’s excellent article on this autumns Hawfinch invasion on the Oxon Birding Blog, Hawfinch invasion Scroll down the October highlights to the article).

Dragonflies: a single Common Darter still on the wing.

Butterflies: 2 Red Admiral.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Not a lot going on

Sunny, 8°, light NNW.

Another quiet day out at Lollingdon, much the same as Monday with plenty of Fieldfare still around, plus 30 or so Redwing, 20+ Blackbird, 5 Mistle Thrush and around 12 Song Thrush, incl 6 in a 20m stretch of hedgerow.

2 Sparrowhawk, a male over the sports field and a female over the hill, 2 Kestrel seen in the area.

8 Redpoll along the Drift road recently. Per TW.

Dragonflies: 2 Common Darter.

Butterflies: 3 Red Admiral.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Late Insects

Clear and sunny with a frosty start, 8°, light SSW.

A quiet day out at Lollingdon, very little on the way out, in fact the garden has been busier today.

Approx. 100 Fieldfare around the hill, plus c30 Redwing, 20 Blackbird, 5 Mistle Thrush and c60 Starling.

A Sparrowhawk unsuccessfully hunting Thrushes and a Green Woodpecker also present.

Getting late in the year for large insects, however:

Dragonflies: 2 Common Darter.

Butterflies: 5 Red Admiral, 1 Peacock and 1 Comma.

Red Admiral sunning itself high in the foliage
Moorhens spending a lot of time in the garden lately

Sunday, 5 November 2017

An Avian Paralympian

Sunny spells, 8°, light NW.

One of the local Red Kites has been tailless for a couple of months now. It has been seen over various parts of the village on a regular basis.

Would have thought (if it is the same bird) that there would be signs of the tail growing back by now but this maybe a permanent injury?

Being tailless will have some effect on the Kites manoeuvrability but we have not noticed any disadvantages so far.

In the garden and on the allotment today and a few Redwing over but that was about it!

Where are these mythical Hawfinch that are turning up everywhere in the UK and Oxfordshire?

Thank you to Richard Broughton for the photographs.

Friday, 3 November 2017


Foggy, 12°, very light S.

A foggy walk out to Lollingdon relying on ears rather than eyes today as visibility was poor. The fog lifted slightly around midday but stayed misty and overcast and as soon as I got back home around 14:00, the sun came out!

No numbers today as I could not see most of them, Fieldfare and Redwing heard frequently and the odd Song Thrush, also Blackbird and Mistle Thrush in the mist.

Several Starling, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Skylark, Chaffinch, Linnet, Corn Bunting and Yellowhammer all heard.

A couple of Bullfinch near the paddocks and 2 Goldcrest with a Tit flock and a Grey Heron on the walk back.

 Young Moorhen in the garden first light.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Thrushes and Dragons

A sunny day with thin high cloud, 16°, light S.

A rather unseasonal day weather wise that felt quite warm in the sun and Thrushes dominating the birdscape out at Lollingdon.

500+ Fieldfare, c100 Redwing, c40 Blackbird, 5 Mistle Thrush and 3 Song Thrush and 100+ Starling on or around the hill.

Wood Pigeon numbers have increased in the area with a flock of 350+ that flew over.

A Raven, several Siskin, 2+ Bullfinch, 2 Goldcrest, a Chiffchaff and 2 Peregrine having an aerial dispute.

Dragonflies: 5 Common Darter, incl a pair egg laying in the brook.

Butterflies: 4 Red Admiral.

The male Common Darter guarding the female whilst egg laying, She will stay attached to the male and will dip the tip of her abdomen in the water releasing one or several eggs that will hopefully hatch the following year.

Noon Fly

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Harris Hawk

A Harris Hawk turned up in a garden along the Wallingford road today, still in the vicinity this evening.
Presumably an escapee from somewhere and not the same bird that has been present along the Thames area for the last few years.

photos courtesy John Wheeler

Monday, 30 October 2017


Hazy sunshine, warming up, 10°+, light W.

A walk out to the hill this morning with a ground frost still on the grass but slowly warming up.

2 Jay in the Millennium Wood, 2 Grey Wagtail on the brook near the railway and several Yellowhammer half way out.

Roughly 500 Fieldfare around the hill today feeding on Hawthorn berries, a handful of Redwing, 5 Mistle Thrush, c80 Starling and a definite increase in Blackbird numbers with 50+ noted and 3 Song Thrush.

A Corn Bunting, several Yellowhammer, 6 Goldcrest and 2 Bullfinch also on the hill.

2 Kestrel, a Sparrowhawk and a flock of approx. 100 Linnet.

A walk out by the Lees did not produce a lot other than 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Jay, and several Skylark and Meadow Pipit.

Amphibians: Common Frog (on the allotments yesterday).

Dragonflies; 2 Common Darter.

Butterflies: 5 Red Admiral.