Saturday, 21 April 2018

News from the Marsh

Sunny with light cloud, 20°, light SE.

A few folk birding on the Marsh this morning with our first Common Whitethroat for the year being found by Brian Wyatt. And one of our local BBOWT volunteers Ed having some great views of a Cuckoo that is present on the Marsh and also seen later. Per Alan Dawson & Tony Williams.

A Common Snipe seen on the marsh this morning, wonder if this will stay and breed. Snipe used to breed on the marsh in the late 80’s and were a common sight “drumming” over the marsh, so here’s hoping.

In a nutshell the “drumming” noise the Snipe makes is created by the modified 2 outer tail feathers vibrating in the air flow during their display flight.

This activity is usually crepuscular so twilight is the best time to observe this.

2 Common Whitethroat noted by Brian, also 2 Cetti’s Warbler and a couple of Reed Warbler along with several Sedge Warbler.

2 Swallow frequent over the garden today.

Butterflies: 3 species noted in the garden today, Brimstone, Orange Tip and Holly Blue and 2 Green-veined White. Per Alan Dawson

Common Whitethroat (library pic)

Green-veined White (courtesy Alan Dawson)

Friday, 20 April 2018

A few migrants

Another sunny day, 21°, light NW.

A walk out to the hill again today.

A Cuckoo heard calling out by Amwell Spring and 2 Willow Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat in the field adjacent to the spring and a Garden Warbler closeby.

2 Whinchat and a Yellow Wagtail on the hill today and all very mobile.

8 Chiffchaff, 9 Blackcap, 2 Reed Bunting, 5 Yellowhammer and 4 Corn Bunting all in song.

A family of 5 Raven seen circling high over the hill and gaining height before all drifting off east.

A couple of Swallow flew north and a Sparrowhawk and Kestrel noted.

2 Lapwing still present out at Lollingdon, several Green Woodpecker, Great-spotted Woodpecker, a couple of Meadow Pipit and a Pied Wagtail.

Mammals: Brown Hare & Roe Deer.

Reptiles: several Common Lizard.

Butterflies: Brimstone, Orange Tip, Small White, Holly Blue, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock.

Insects: Oil Beetle, Dark-edged Bee-fly.

 Whinchat (above & below)

 Blue Tit
Holly Blue

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Woundwort Shieldbug

Found yesterday in the garden by Loren and we were not sure what it was. approx the size of a small ladybird around 6mm and did not realise it was a shield bug until we checked the photos.

They feed on Hedge Woundwort and White Dead Nettle.

Apparently quite common but have never seen one before.

 Woundwort Shieldbug (below courtesy Loren)

In the Garden

Sunny, 25°, very light SSW.

A sunny and warm day and just pottering about in the garden. The hottest day this year and apparently the hottest April day since 1949!

A fair bit of activity over, above and in the garden today. The Rookery next to the garden have young in the nests so every time a Red Kite, Buzzard or Sparrowhawk etc passes anywhere near several Rook launch into the air to harry the bird of prey until they are at a safe distance.

At least 1 Swallow hawking over the garden thru the day and a Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat and Willow Warbler heard/seen in the meadow.

Other birds of note, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Treecreeper and 2 Nuthatch visiting.

Butterflies: Brimstone, Orange Tip and Small Tortoiseshell.

 The resident Crows
 Never ending task
Apres bath (Blue Tit)

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Still a trickle

Mainly sunny with variable cloud, 20°, breezy SSE.

Still a trickle of migrants coming thru, hopefully will pick up.

A Cuckoo and 3 Lesser Whitethroat out at Lollingdon today were the best of the bunch.

4 Mute Swan flew over heading towards the village and the 2 Little Owl present.

Chiffchaff and Blackcap now seem settled and in good numbers and several Green and Great-spotted Woodpecker noted.

A pair of Lapwing in the flooded field. They bred there 2 years ago, wonder if they will try this year?

4 Corn Bunting around the hill and 6 Yellowhammer and 2 Reed Bunting around Lollingdon.

Sparrowhawk over the garden mid-afternoon and being mobbed by a Pied Wagtail and a Nuthatch and a Chiffchaff in the garden.

Mammals: Brown Hare & Roe Deer.

Butterflies: Brimstone, Orange Tip, Small Tortoiseshell and a single Peacock.

Small Tortoiseshell on Dandelion
Mute Swans

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Cuckoo plus 2 Warblers

Cloud clearing with some sunny spells, 14°, light S.

Ed was down on the marsh way before me this morning and heard our first Cuckoo of the year.

I arrived later to tend the Dexters then went for a walk along the Marsh/River bank. 3 Sedge Warbler and a single Reed Warbler were also the first for the year.

Several Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Reed Bunting singing but otherwise still a fairly quiet marsh.

A distant Cormorant seen, a Mistle Thrush overhead.

Still very wet on the marsh with water levels high. May deter some species from breeding this year? As it changes the whole dynamic of the environment.

Mammals: Hedgehog, 2 out in the garden around midnight for the last few days.

Butterflies: Brimstone this afternoon.

Sedge Warbler & Reed Warbler

Monday, 16 April 2018

Slow but Sure

Sunny at first then clouding over, 13°, breezy SSW.

Migration still a little slow but is happening.

2 Willow Warbler, a Garden Warbler, a Lesser Whitethroat, 8 Blackc
ap and 9 Chiffchaff between home and Lollingdon.

A pair of Little Owl seen out at Lollingdon.

Approx. 50 Hirundines over the treatment works today, comprising mainly Swallow with at least 10 House Martin and 3 Sand Martin. A Yellow Wagtail nearby.

There was an abundance of tiny insects around with swarms of tiny flies so thick it looked like smoke drifting from the tops of some trees. These are what the birds are feeding on. Could not capture it effectively on the camera unfortunately but a few shots included to give some idea.

Mammals: Brown Hare, Muntjac Deer & Roe Deer.

Butterflies: singles of Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock.

Insects: Dark-edged Bee-fly.

Little Owl
Brown Hare
Dark-edged Bee-fly
Blue Tit
 Large swarms of very small flies that have recently hatched. These are what the Swallows and Martins are feeding on as they disperse.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

More Migrants

Cloudy with light rain showers, 11°, light S.

More migrants arriving with a Lesser Whitethroat, a Yellow Wagtail and approx. 12 House Martin at Cholsey treatment works, also around 20 Swallow present. Per Richard Broughton.

Ring Ouzel

Ring Ouzel: Viewed from Tirrold bridleway heading to Lollingdon, in Sheep field to NW of hill. Flew up and sat on a fence post for several minutes giving great views. Flew off strongly to the west @ 10:40. Mark Bradfield.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Muntjac, Wheatear & Reeve's

Sunny (at last), 13°, light SSE.

A text from Alan Dawson alerting me to 2 Wheatear on Lollingdon Hill today saw Loren and I jump in the car to go and see them. Only just made it as within a couple of minutes they were off over the hill, not to be seen again.

A Muntjac visited the garden this morning sampling a variety of plants.

A Garden Warbler and a Willow Warbler in a Church road garden this morning and a Swallow back at Manor farm and a Willow Warbler singing in the school nature reserve yesterday. Per RB.

Treecreeper (singing), Nuthatch and Great-spotted Woodpecker in the garden today with the regulars.

Blackbirds feeding young in the nest and a pair of Blue Tit and Great Tit using nest boxes in the garden.

An unusual sighting of a Reeve’s Pheasant on the Hill, presumably an escapee from somewhere? Endemic to evergreen forests of central China and very rare there.

Butterflies: Amazing what a bit of sunshine can do, Brimstone, Small White, Orange Tip, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma & Peacock.

Also a few Black Oil Beetle around on the Hill.

Muntjac Deer
Reeve's Pheasant
 Black Oil Beetle (courtesy Alan Dawson)
 Muntjac again
 Local Collared Doves
 Blue Tit
 Male Blackbird gathering food for young
Garden Tulips coming in to bloom

Friday, 13 April 2018


Overcast and a bit misty, 8°, light SW.

Migration is still somewhat elusive locally, however a few are making it in and a change in the weather next week should see more of an influx and a bit of sunshine should see a few more insects.

2 Redshank present on the flooded field this morning before being flushed off by 2 Red Kite quartering the field.

2 Willow Warbler, both singing out at Lollingdon and 5 Chiffchaff and 5 Blackcap in total.

A Peregrine settled on one of the pylons briefly before flying off west, both Sparrowhawk and Kestrel seen.

Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting and Corn Bunting all present and a few Meadow Pipit out on the hill and a Jay heard.

2 Nuthatch in the garden this morning.

Mammals: Brown Hare, Muntjac Deer & Roe Deer.

Peregrine (above & below)

Jelly Ear Fungus on Elder
 2 Canada Geese may nest out at Lollingdon
Poser 😄

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Migration hiatus?

Cloudy & misty, 8°, light NW.

A claggy day and a bit cooler than of late and migration not really kicking off just yet.

2 Raven today out at Lollingdon with one hotly pursued by a Red Kite after passing too close to a nest site.

8 Chiffchaff and 6 Blackcap, 5 Corn Bunting, 6 Yellowhammer and a Reed Bunting in song.

The same or a similar flock of Thrushes and Starling out at Lollingdon still but little else of note.

A male Sparrowhawk in the garden this afternoon.

A singing Willow Warbler at TR’s today.

Mammals: Brown Hare & Roe Deer.

Canada Goose on the pond

Tuesday, 10 April 2018


Overcast, 9°, light E.

A visit to Cholsey Marsh this morning to tend the Dexter’s again and then a bit of birding.

One of the first things I saw when I got to the river bank was an Otter that quickly scurried off in to the river and was not seen again! Not even enough time to get the camera on it. Worth keeping an eye out if you are down there.

A few folk present today with a wildlife interest were Ed M, Tony W and Alan D, so there was a fair bit of coverage.

Quite a few Chiffchaff present, a single Blackcap and several Reed Bunting in song.

A small flock of 5 Siskin flew over, a single Swallow and a Cormorant.

A Mistle Thrush singing, a Great-spotted Woodpecker drumming and a Green Woodpecker heard.

Up to 8 Mute Swan on the river, 2 Great Crested Grebe and several Greylag Geese and Canada Geese present.

Brambling present in a garden at Waterloo Cose. Per MA.

Mammals: Otter & Roe Deer.

Insects: European Ground Beetle Carobus nemoralis.

Flora: Both Lodden Lily and Marsh Marigold in flower.

 European Ground Beetle
 Mute Swan

 Roe Deer
Great Crested Grebe

Monday, 9 April 2018

Another wet one!

Rain and more rain. 9°, light NW.

Worth getting wet for was the first Willow Warbler of the year near the Millennium Wood singing sporadically when coming back.

Other than that, 5 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, c100 Fieldfare, c40 Starling and 4 Redwing out at Lollingdon.

A Green Woodpecker on the hill and a rather bedraggled Red Kite.

A Swallow out at East End today. Per Tony Rayner.

A Grey Heron landed in the meadow for a brief time before being flushed by a dog walker. Per LC.

A Grey Wagtail in song flight over the garden yesterday.

Mammals: Brown Hare & Roe Deer.

 Great-spotted Woodpecker (F) from yesterday
Grey Heron in the rain

Friday, 6 April 2018

Comings & Goings

Hazy sunshine, 14°, breezy SW.

2 Swallow flew thru Lollingdon just prior to midday………my first of the year, 7 Chiffchaff and 4 Blackcap were all I could muster for incoming migrants.

As for outgoing migrants there was a small flock of 35 Fieldfare, 6 Redwing and 40+ Starling feeding around the paddocks.

Am making the assumption that a flock of Starling mixing with a flock of migratory thrushes are also migratory as our local Starling have already paired up and are starting to nest.

2 Canada Geese flew east over the hill.

A female Sparrowhawk seen chasing a couple of Skylark but with no success and a few Meadow Pipit seen and possibly the same Sparrowhawk seen 2 hours later in the same area.

2 Mistle Thrush feeding in the meadow and a Coal Tit in the Millennium Wood.

TW still has 4 (2m & 2F) wintering Blackcap feeding in his garden.

Mammals: Brown Hare & Roe Deer.

Butterflies: 10+ Brimstone and a single Small Tortoiseshell and 2 Comma (per TW).

The first Black Oil Beetle of the year seen on the hill. There is a small colony of these rare Beetles out at Lollingdon. See the following link: Oil Beetles

Stock Dove
 Redwing & Fieldfare
Canada Goose
Black Oil Beetle (fem)