Natural History Diary : 2015
Tuesday 29th December
I visited Otmoor again this afternoon. I saw a Treecreeper in one of the Oaks along the old roman road. For a change I walked up to the Pill, but all I saw there were couple of Wrens, a few Fieldfares and a distant Buzzard. A Grey Heron flew over. Back at the feeders I saw a couple of Greenfinches, a Marsh Tit and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. I didn't stay to see the Starling murmuration today.
Monday 28th December
Another trip to Farmoor this morning as it was sunny, and there were no fewer than three Great Northern Divers on F2! (one adult and two juveniles). Both juveniles were diving in the sailing club lagoon when I got there, so I was able to get much better pictures than last time. The adult bird stayed further offshore. I also saw two Little Grebes, a Sparrowhawk and a Grey Wagtail, as well as the usual residents.
Saturday 26th December
Remarkably mild for the time of year! In weak sunshine and 15°C at around midday I found a Hoverfly and two Honey bees nectaring on Hebe flowers in my garden.
Sunday 20th December
I saw a Coal Tit in the garden this morning. It stayed around for a bit longer than some, coming back to the feeder at least four times.
In the afternoon I went down to Otmoor. It was still fairly mild and sunny, so I was half expecting a butterfly down the roman road, But all I saw was a Kestrel and a Kingfisher. There were only a few Fieldfares about, but quite a lot of tits and finches in the trees near the feeder. As I could see rain coming I headed to the hide without delay. There were numerous Wigeon and Teal on the lagoon on Ashgrave, and also another Kingfisher in the reed bed. Lots of Linnets, Reed Buntings, Chaffinches and Starlings were feeding on the seeds on the path to the south of the hide. Suddenly a female Sparrowhawk attempted to catch one of them, but failed, and then spent about 20 minutes sitting on a fence post. Of course all the small birds vanished. Eventually I left and walked up to a position between the first and second screens to watch the Starling murmuration. While waiting I heard a Cetti's Warbler. About ten minutes before sunset small numbers of Starlings started arriving, but suddenly there were thousands of them, wheeling about the sky. They didn't actually display much but started going down into the reeds around the first screen. The noise made by tens of thousands of birds chattering to each other was amazing. The only predator that made a half-hearted appearance when the Starlings were mostly down was a Marsh Harrier ( I'd seen both of them at the same time earlier on). By about twenty minutes after sunset all the Starlings were down, so it was time to go.
Monday 14th December
At lunchtime today I saw numerous Redwings in the trees around the Old Parsonage Hotel in Oxford. They were feeding on Yew berries.
Saturday 12th December
I saw four Long-tailed Tits in the garden this afternoon.
Wednesday 9th December
At lunchtime today I saw two Redwings and one Song Thrush in the Oxford University Parks. Across the river in Marston Meadows I saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker poking about in an Oak tree.
Sunday 6th December
I visited Farmoor again this morning, mainly to see the juvenile Great Northern Diver which arrived a few days ago. It was fishing quite close to the southern shore of F2. While I was watching it, a flock of about one hundred and fifty very noisy Greylag Geese flew onto the reservoir. There were at least as many again which had stayed on the fields. I also saw a couple of Little Egrets on the mobile reed bed. The next target species was in the north-west corner of F1, so it was a fair walk to see the long-staying Red-necked Grebe. This bird has been on the reservoir for over two months now. I suppose it hasn't moved on because the weather has been quite mild. Target three was in the north-east of F1, in the form of not one but two Grey Phalaropes, a 1st-winter bird having arrived during the week to keep the adult company. They seemed quite happy feeding in the surf kicked up by the fairly brisk WSW wind. I also saw six female Goldeneye, my first of the winter. As usual they were very wary of people.
Saturday 28th November
I had a fairly early start this morning, in order to get to Farmoor before the forecast rain and wind arrived. The main reason for going was to see the adult Grey Phalarope which had been there for a week. It was at the west end of the causeway to start with, but gradually worked its way to the sailing club. It was feeding frantically in the surf, and only stopped briefly to have a preen. As is usual with these birds, it was not at all bothered by people taking photographs. As well as the Phalarope I counted at least a hundred Tufted Ducks and saw three Grey Wagtails.
I saw a Sparrowhawk and a couple of Long-tailed Tits in the garden in the afternoon.
Sunday 22nd November
This morning Grey Heron landed on the roof of an adjacent house. Unfortunately I didn't have a camera handy.
I headed down to Otmoor, not having been there for a while. I flushed lots of Fieldfares and Redwings going down Otmoor Lane. The feeders were well patronised with the usual species (but no Greenfinches), and a Marsh Tit also made an appearance. As I was walking along the bridleway I spotted a couple of Goldcrests in the hedgerow, and there were more Fieldfares and Redwings (difficult to approach as usual). A Song Thrush popped out onto the track briefly. There were dozens of Canada Geese on Ashgrave. Seed had again been scattered along the path south of the hide, and this had attracted lots of Linnets and Reed Buntings, a few Chaffinches and Goldfinches, a couple of Bramblings and a Yellowhammer. I walked down to the first screen. There were only a few ducks on the lagoon, but the highlight was a Marsh Harrier which made a couple of passes over the reedbed. On the way back to the car park I saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker on the feeders.
Sunday 15th November
I had a walk in Bagley Wood this afternoon, but there was hardly anything about except for a Fox and a Grey Squirrel.
Friday 13th November
A Grey Heron flew over my garden this morning.
Thursday 12th November
I had a look at Hinksey lake on the way into work this morning. There wasn't a great deal of interest: just six Tufted Ducks and a pair of Lesser Black-backed Gulls was about it.
Sunday 8th November
A Sparrowhawk flew over the garden this morning. I also saw a Kestrel and a Red Kite at the allotment.
Saturday 7th November
I had a walk round Radley Lakes this afternoon. There wasn't a great deal about. I saw my first Redwings of the autumn, and a couple of parties of Long-tailed Tits. I heard a Cetti's Warbler. The usual residents were on Thrupp Lake, and there were some Wigeon, which were also my first of the autumn. I saw at least five pairs of Gadwall as well.
Thursday 5th November
I saw six Long-tailed Tits in the garden this morning. They were looking for insects on Dogwood and Flowering Currant bushes.
Sunday 1st November
A sunny and quite mild day one the fog had burned off. I saw a Coal Tit in the garden again, and also a Robin with a strange growth on the back of its neck as big as its head! I have no idea what this could be. After lunch I headed to the (now flooded) fuller's earth pit at Baulking, a place I had not been to before. I found the two long-staying Black-necked Grebes, although they stayed out of camera range the whole time I was there. There were about twenty Pochard on the lake, and quite a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls. A single Fieldfare flew over - my first of this autumn. I had a brief glimpse of a Barn Owl as well. There were a few insects about - one Red Admiral and five Common Darters.
Sunday 25th October
A pre-breakfast walk on the beach at Hunstanton produced about twenty Brent Geese, several Oystercatchers and Turnstone, and two Redshank. A brief stop at Dersingham Bog on the way home turned up two Stonechats and a Wren.
Saturday 24th October
This morning I visited the RSPB reserve at Titchwell. On the way up the western path to the coast I heard a Cetti's Warbler in the reeds. The usual suspects were on the freshwater lagoon. The tide was out so the saltwater lagoons were just mud flats, but there was a Little Egret and a Curlew feeding on them. As I was making my way to the Parrinder hide I saw a Great Egret in the saltmarsh. From the hide I got some good photos on Shoveler and Teal. There were quite a lot of Black-tailed Godwits but only half-a-dozen Avocets. I saw two Ringed Plovers and some Golden Plovers. I returned to the visitor centre to get something to eat, and saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker and two Jays in the woods. A Marsh Harrier was quartering Patsy's reedbed. I returned to the Island hide as it had started raining. A Water Rail was spotted creeping around the edge of the reedbed, but it stayed just out of camera range. Fifty or so Brent Geese and a lot of Greylag Geese flew in. A more careful inspection of the loafing gulls revealed that some of them were Common Gulls. By mid-afternoon I had had enough so returned to the hotel to warm up.
Friday 23rd October
On my second day in Norfolk I headed east for Wells Woods in Holkham NNR, another place I hadn't been to before. When conditions are right this is a great place for migrating birds, but with the wind coming from the south for the last few days there was very little here. I saw two Little Grebes on the lake, and Jays and Wrens in the wood. A Silver Y moth also put in a brief appearance. As I was returning to the car park a flock of about a hundred Pink-footed Geese (a new species for me) landed in a field. Naturally they stayed well out in the middle so it was hard to get a photo. I had a look to see what was on the beach, and there were some Brent Geese on the mud flats.
After lunch I headed to the Cley bird observatory and paid a fiver to get access to the hides. There were lots of Teal on the lake, together with a few Shelduck and Gadwall. I also saw an Avocet, a couple of dozen Black-tailed Godwits, a Ruff, a Curlew, and two distant Greenshank. About two hundred Brent Geese flew in as the tide pushed them off the mudflats. At least two Marsh Harriers were active over the reedbed, as well as a couple of Kestrels. I had given up on the possibility of seeing any more dragonflies this year, but not so: I saw two Common Darters and a Migrant Hawker here.
Thursday 22nd October
I visited Snettisham RSPB reserve in Norfolk today, a place I hadn't been to before. I followed the footpath to the end of the third lake. There wasn't a lot on the lakes but I did see a couple of Little Egrets and a Redshank. A Curlew flew over. Out on the Wash it was a different matter. Here there were lots of Shelduck, Mallard, Knot and Redshank, and smaller numbers of Black-tailed Godwit, Cormorant, Dunlin and Lapwing. There was also a solitary Great Black-backed Gull. As I was leaving I saw an Egyptian Goose in a field.
I then headed to Hunstanton and checked in to my hotel. I walked down to the beach, where the tide was on its way out. I counted at least a hundred Oystercatchers on the rocks, and also smaller numbers of Turnstone. The latter were fairly approachable for photos.
Tuesday 20th October
I saw a Coal Tit in the garden today, and a Sparrowhawk flew into the kitchen window (it appeared undamaged and flew off after briefly perching on the bird table roof).
Sunday 18th October
Farmoor this morning was rather like the weather of the last ten days or so: nothing much happening. Other than the usual residents the only birds of note were the long-staying Red-necked Grebe and at least seventeen Little Grebes; one was still in breeding plumage. The place really seems to have turned into Little Grebe City this autumn.
Friday 9th October
I had a look at Hinksey Lake this morning. I saw one Great Crested Grebe, seven Tufted Ducks and an adult and juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull, as well as the usual residents.
Thursday 8th October
I saw a Red Admiral in Oxford this morning, but a walk in the University Parks at lunchtime failed to turn up any butterflies or dragonflies. There were lots of Grey Squirrels about though.
Sunday 4th October
It looks like the butterfly season has about finished. Although the weather was warm and sunny today all I saw were a couple of Small Whites at the allotment, and a solitary Large White in the garden.
Saturday 3rd October
I went to Farmoor this afternoon partly to try out my new Sigma lens, and partly to see the Red-necked Grebe which arrived a few days ago. Interestingly it arrived about a month earlier than last autumn's bird, and was still showing a bit of colour on its neck. I located it on the west bank of F2, where it was fishing quite close to the shore; this provided a good test for the lens. I also counted at least sixteen Little Grebes, which is the highest number I've ever seen at Farmoor. There were dozens of very noisy Greylag and Canada Geese, a female Shoveler, a couple of Grey Wagtails as well as the usual residents.
Thursday 1st October
There wasn't much in the University Parks at lunchtime today, but I did see a couple of Speckled Woods. There was a Grey Heron on the island in the pond. Near the river I saw a Migrant Hawker and a Southern Hawker. I saw a Buzzard and a Pied Wagtail over the river in Marston Meadows.
Sunday 27th September
I visited Otmoor this morning, in cool but sunny conditions. It was fairly quiet as far as birds were concerned. Most juvenile warblers seemed to have gone, but I did see a Blackcap in the car park field and a Chiffchaff near the feeders. Raptors seen today were Red Kite, Hobby and Kestrel. As I walked along the bridleway there were reasonable numbers of Common Darters and a couple of Ruddy Darters, and I had a glimpse of a Southern Hawker. There were quite a lot of Hornets about, some of which were feeding on a small Ash tree. On the way up to the first screen I saw a Grey Heron on the track. At the first screen there were a couple of dozen Lapwings and some Snipe in the area where the reeds had been cut. A Kingfisher was active for a while, fishing from a stick stuck in the mud. There were some Teal about as well. As I walked up to the second screen I heard at least two Cetti's Warblers calling (rather weakly; juveniles perhaps?). I found my only Migrant Hawker of the day here. I also saw a Comma here and another on the way back. Along the Roman road I saw three Speckled Woods. Later at the allotment I saw half a dozen Small Whites, still in their frantic quest for females.
Sunday 20th September
At around mid-day today while in the garden I looked up and spotted no fewer than five Common Buzzards above north Abingdon. It is unusual to see that many at once. There was a general lack of sunshine today and I only saw a Large White in the garden.
Saturday 19th September
Ivy flowers in the garden had attracted a lot of insects today. Most of them were Common Wasps but there were also various hoverflies, and a Comma stopped by as well. There were a few Large and Small Whites at the allotment. I also visited Dry Sandford Pit in the afternoon, where I recorded my latest ever Brown Argus, Meadow Browns and Small Heaths. There were masses of mining bees swarming around the pit rock faces; they appeared to be the Ivy Bee (Colletes hederae), which is a relatively recent arrival in England. I managed a spot a couple of dragonflies, a Southern Hawker and a Migrant Hawker. There weren't many birds to be seen, but there was quite a large flock of House Martins and a few Swallows over the airfield.
Sunday 13th September
I visited Farmoor again this morning. There was a juvenile Black Tern hawking for insects over F1. There were quite a lot of House Martins and a few Swallows. Tufted Duck numbers are building; I counted at least fifty of them. There were many Pied Wagtails, both adult and juvenile. When I got to the west side of the reservoir, I found some Speckled Woods and Common Blues, but only one dragonfly, a Migrant Hawker. As I continued round the north side of F1 I saw three Common Sandpipers and a couple of Grey Wagtails. On the east side I saw a juvenile Ringed Plover. I spotted a couple of juvenile Yellow Wagtails in the water treatment works, but then half a dozen (adults and juveniles) appeared on the embankment. They were hard to approach, though. At the sailing club a couple of juvenile Great Crested Grebes were in the sheltered water; unlike adult birds they were quite confiding.
Saturday 12th September
I visited Radley Lakes this afternoon, a place I have neglected over the summer. There weren't any notable birds on Thrupp Lake itself. Near the house I saw a couple of Common Darters and a Treble-bar moth. In the woodland on the north shore of the lake I saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Jay. In the sheltered north-east corner I saw a number of Common Blue Damselflies and a Migrant Hawker. On the west side I found a sunny sheltered spot, and this produced more Common Darters and Migrant Hawkers, and a male Southern Hawker. In the bankside vegetation in the adjacent lake I saw a Red-eyed Damselfly chewing on an insect it had caught. There were quite a lot more Common Blue Damselflies here. Moving round to Orchard Lake I saw a couple of Ruddy Darters. In the vegetation by the railway line I saw a Comma, three Speckled Woods and a Holly Blue.
Thursday 10th September
A short walk in the University Parks at lunchtime today produced one Green-veined White, a pristine Comma, three Speckled Woods and a Brown Hawker.
Monday 7th September
I visited Otmoor this morning. Along the roman road I saw a few Common Darters and Speckled Woods, and various birds foraging in the bushes and trees. Up on the bridleway there were a lot more Common Darters and also some Southern Hawkers. There were Goldfinches, a Chaffinch and a Greenfinch on the feeders. There was a Grey Heron at the eastern end of Greenaways, but there was nothing else as the pools had dried up. I walked down to July's Meadow, and saw some Common Blues, a Green-veined White (which must be a third-generation individual) and a Painted Lady. Going down to the first screen I saw a Migrant Hawker. At the first screen I saw two Lapwings, six Snipe, two Kingfishers and a Little Egret. A small group of Swallows flew over. On the bank to the west of the screen I saw a Small Tortoiseshell and a Red Admiral. On the way back to the car I saw two Buzzards, three Hobbies (which were catching dragonflies) and a Marsh Harrier over Greenaways.
Sunday 6th September
I visited Farmoor Reservoir again this morning in rather better weather conditions than last week. I saw a Kingfisher and a Grey Heron at the artificial reed bed. There were again large numbers of Greylag and Canada Geese, and also a lot of Black-headed Gulls. There were also several immature Herring Gulls, at least one Lesser Black-backed Gull and two Great Black-backed Gulls. There were three Dunlin and two juvenile Ringed Plovers on the causeway. Overhead was a large flock of hirundines, mostly House Martins with a few Sand Martins, and two late Swifts. At Pinkhill I found a few dragonflies, and managed my first picture of Migrant Hawkers this year. I also saw eight species of butterfly; Small Whites were the most numerous. There was also a male Brimstone which should have been in hibernation by now, and a fresh Small Tortoiseshell. On the north side of F1 I saw a Common Sandpiper and a couple of Swallows. There were several warblers and tits flitting about in the trees. At the water treatment works I saw some Grey Wagtails and Yellow Wagtails, and half a dozen juvenile Linnets.
At home a Southern Hawker appeared in the garden. After investigating me, it landed in a bush and stayed there for several minutes. That was the first time I'd recorded this species in the garden. At the allotment there were quite a few male Large and Small Whites resolutely searching for un-mated females.
Tuesday 1st September
Despite the appalling weather of the last two days, there were a few Large and Small Whites on the allotment at lunchtime, and a female Gatekeeper was nectaring on perennial Wallflowers in the garden this afternoon. That's the latest Gatekeeper that I've every seen. Usually they have disappeared by the end of August.
Sunday 30th August
I visited Farmoor Reservoir this morning. It was fairly warm and cloudy, with bits and pieces of rain. At the top of the ramp I spotted a Grey Wagtail on the wave wall, and got a couple of shots before he flew off. Two Grey Herons were in the artificial reed bed. Pied Wagtails were quite abundant, with some juveniles. However the really abundant species were Greylag and Canada Geese, with dozens of them along the north side of F2. While scanning the reservoir I spotted three Black Terns, a species I'd missed back in the spring. There were also adult and juvenile Common Terns flying about and occasionally diving to take something from the water surface. There were two Dunlins on the F1 side of the causeway. Despite the poor weather I found five Speckled Woods and a Common Blue along the river, but there were no dragonflies about. As I was walking back there was quite a large flock of House Martins low over the water.
Saturday 29th August
I visited Lardon Chase this morning. After the poor weather last week it was surprising that any butterflies had survived, but in fact there were still lots of Meadow Browns fluttering around and nectaring on Marjoram and Scabious flowers. Most of them were females, of course, but there were one or two males as well. Chalk Hill Blues were also still doing quite well, with a couple of dozen spotted. Some were very tatty indeed but there were one or two fairly fresh-looking ones. Common Blues are certainly in decline now. I didn't get into double figures with them. There were some Speckled Woods about, which is about time; they have had a really poor year. Finally I found what I had come for: a single male Adonis Blue, which was a bit more co-operative than the ones last weekend. At least it opened its wings while feeding! There weren't many birds around except for a flock of noisy Jackdaws, but I did spot a Green Woodpecker and also a Wren. When I got home I was surprised to find a female Gatekeeper sunning herself. I saw a dragonfly as well but I couldn't identify it.
Saturday 22nd August
A very warm and humid day. It reached about 30°C in the afternoon. I headed to Yeosden Bank in the Chilterns this morning, a site I had not visited before. The target species here was the second-brood Adonis Blue. But the first butterfly I saw was a very tatty female Silver-washed Fritillary (which may have been of the valzina form) nectaring on a knapweed flower. Meadow Browns were the dominant species out on the chalk grassland, with at least fifty seen. The Common Blue was the most abundant lycaenid. There were also some Chalk Hill Blues, Small Blues, Small Coppers and Brown Argus. Finally I spotted a male Adonis Blue tussling with a Common Blue. It landed near a female but kept its wings shut. After a lot of searching I only found one more, so I relocated to the north side of Aston Rowant NNR.
Here the species were more or less the same, but there were a lot more Chalk Hill Blues and Common Blues. I managed to find three male Adonis Blues, but as at Yeosden they wouldn't open their wings because of the temperature. There were still a few Silver-spotted Skippers around, mainly feeding on Scabious flowers, and to my delight a male Clouded Yellow flew past. That was my 48th British species seen in 2015, the highest number I have ever managed in a year.
Later in the garden I watched a female Gatekeeper feeding on Echinops flowers for at least an hour, before she finally called it a day at 6.21pm. After dark I came across a small Hedgehog sitting on the ground bird table.
Friday 21st August
At Hinksey Lake this morning I saw two adult Great Crested Grebes and one juvenile, and two Lesser Black-backed Gulls and two juveniles. The Common Terns had gone. At Marston Meadows at lunchtime, in cloudy but warm conditions, I didn't see a lot but there were at least eight Speckled Woods, a Common Buzzard and a couple of dragonflies.
Sunday 16th August
As the weather forecast was promising, I headed to Pewsey Downs NNR in Wiltshire this morning. This is the nearest place to Abingdon where it is possible to find the Wall Brown; this species has disappeared almost completely from Berks, Bucks and Oxon. Initially it wasn't Wall Browns but Meadow Browns which filled up my notebook. I must have seen over a hundred of them altogether, and there were quite a lot of males among them, some of them looking quite fresh. I followed my usual route past the White Horse and then down the slope, along the bottom of the hill and then back up. Apart from the Meadow Browns and a Painted Lady there wasn't a great deal until I got to the most sheltered place at the base of the hill. Here I was surprised to find some Small Blues, a species I had not recorded at Pewsey before. There were also some Chalk Hill Blues and Small Heaths in what I think is (or was) a dew pond. Proceeding onwards Common Blues and Brown Argus were more numerous. Eventually I spotted a fine male Wall Brown, which sat up nicely for a couple of photographs. As I began ascending the slope I found a female Wall which also sat with her wings open. A very faded Dark Green Fritillary flew past, and there were more Chalk Hill Blues as well. At the top of the slope I found a pristine Peacock; it must have emerged this morning. I didn't see many birds, but there were a few Linnets and Meadow Pipits, and a Yellowhammer.
On the way home I stopped at Hackpen Hill on the Ridgeway. I couldn't find any second-brood Small Blues here. Common Blues and Small Whites were the most numerous species. I spotted a couple of juvenile Yellowhammers having a bath in a puddle, and a nice male Linnet was perched on a post.
Saturday 15th August
After two days of rain and cloud I didn't expect to see much at the allotment this morning, and apart from the usual whites the only other butterflies were a Comma and a Meadow Brown. The Mint Moth seems to be having a good year; there were lots of them on the Marjoram. In the afternoon I visited Rushy Common (Tar Lakes) in the lower Windrush valley. These are reclaimed sand pits which are easy to access (unlike some of the other lakes in the LWV). There were plenty of Common Blue Damselflies, a couple of Emperors, several Southern and Brown Hawkers, and a Black-tailed Skimmer. There weren't many butterflies about, but I did see eleven species, with Common Blues being the most numerous. A Horsefly with bright green eyes landed on my camera; fortunately it left me alone. On the larger of the three lakes was a family of Mute Swans, with six cygnets. I saw a family group of Long-tailed Tits in the hedgerow. Common Terns flew over several times. I saw a Common Sandpiper in the air and a juvenile Ringed Plover on the lake shore.
Thursday 13th August
I saw a Hummingbird Hawk-moth in the garden this evening. It was nectaring on Phlox flowers. That's the first one I've seen in the garden for nearly two years.
Wednesday 12th August
I had a quick walk in the University Parks at lunchtime today. There wasn't a great deal about but I did finally see my first Migrant Hawker of the year.
Tuesday 11th August
I saw a Holly Blue in the garden today, nectaring on Echinops flowers.
Monday 10th August
I found a Speckled Bush-cricket in the garden this evening.
Sunday 9th August
I visited Aston Upthorpe Downs in the afternoon. The vegetation at the top of the bridleway just before Juniper Valley had been cut pretty hard, which reduced the number of available nectar sources. There were still quite a lot of butterflies, with Common Blues and Meadow Browns the most numerous. I also found quite a few Gatekeepers and Chalk Hill Blues, including four mating pairs of the latter. Some Essex Skippers were still hanging on, and I also saw a female Silver-washed Fritillary of the dark valezina form. There was quite a substantial roost of noisy juvenile Starlings in the bushes at the top of the valley.
Saturday 8th August
Quite a warm day. An unexpected visitor in the garden this morning was a female Brimstone nectaring on Phlox flowers. There were also at least three Holly Blues, one of which was nectaring on Lobelia flowers. At Dry Sandford Pit I saw sixteen butterfly species, of which the most numerous (about thirty) was the Common Blue. There was a reasonable number of Gatekeepers, but only a few Meadow Browns and Ringlets. There was also a fresh-looking Painted Lady nectaring on Knapweeds. I was surprised to see no fewer than five Green Woodpeckers - two adults and three juveniles. I was also surprised to see a Nuthatch and then a Treecreeper, neither of which I had seen at the pit before. I only saw two dragonflies, a Keeled Skimmer and a Common Darter.
Thursday 6th August
I had a walk in the University Parks and Marston Meadows at lunchtime today. There wasn't a great deal to see in the Parks, but I saw six species of butterfly in the meadows. I counted six Speckled Woods - the most I'd seen at one time for a while. Meadow Browns were abundant and there were good numbers of Gatekeepers and Green-veined Whites. I also saw three fresh-looking Small Coppers.
Tuesday 4th August
Swifts appear to have departed for southern parts.
Sunday 2nd August
I visited Otmoor this morning. Along the old roman road I was soon seeing Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Commas and Green-veined Whites. I only found one Speckled Wood; for some reason this species is having a poor year. I found two Purple Hairstreaks but they stayed up in the ash trees. I saw a couple of Southern Hawkers but the species of the day was the Brown Hawker with at least sixteen seen. I saw some juvenile Blue Tits and a Long-tailed Tit examining Cow-parsley flower heads for insects. Over Greenaways I saw two Hobbies and then two Marsh Harriers and a Red Kite. There wasn't much to see from the hide, so I walked down to July's Meadow where I found a couple of Painted Ladies and quite a few Common Blues. I then walked to the first screen, where a juvenile Great Crested Grebe was noisily harrassing its parents for food. There was also a juvenile Little Grebe on the lagoon. I walked back to the car park. It had warmed up by now and Ruddy and Common Darters were quite abundant. Along the roman road there were three male Brown Hairstreaks nectaring on thistles. I also had a look in the car park field as the path was open. Fleabane flowers had attracted Common Blues and Brown Argus as well as other butterflies. I had one more look along the roman road but the Brown Hairstreaks had retired to the canopy. I did see a rather tatty Silver-washed Fritillary though.
I drove to Bernwood Meadows. Although the fields had been cut, there were still nectar sources along the woodland edge. I saw at least a hundred Meadow Browns here, as well as many Common Blues, Small and Essex Skippers, and Marbled Whites. Two male and two female Silver-washed Fritillaries were also present. I also saw a Sparrowhawk and a couple of juvenile Chiffchaffs/Willow Warblers.
Friday 31st July
I saw a Painted Lady in Abingdon today, which was nectaring on a Buddleja bush. Later in the afternoon I saw a Southern Hawker at the allotment.
Thursday 30th July
I visited Aston Rowant NNR today in rather cool and windy conditions. I visited the north side first. There were many Chalk Hill Blues about, mostly males. There were also quite a lot of Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers and Small Skippers, with just a few Common Blues, Brown Argus and Small Coppers. There had either been an influx of Large Whites from the continent or a mass emergence, as I found four males and five females nectaring like mad on Majoram.
As I couldn't find my target species, I relocated to the south side of the reserve and found a Silver-spotted Skipper quite quickly, followed by several more. Strangely there were no Chalk Hill Blues here, but I did find a rather worn female Dark Green Fritillary and a Small Heath, both of which I hadn't seen on the north side. There were also some Six-spot Burnets on the south side.
Wednesday 29th July
I saw a Holly Blue in the garden today. This species seems to be having a good year.
Tuesday 28th July
Back in the UK I saw some Gatekeepers, Large Whites and Small Whites in the garden and on the allotment.
Monday 27th July
This morning a Pine Hawkmoth was captured at the hotel. We didn't see much on the drive back to Sofia other than a ring-tailed harrier (possibly Montague's), and some White Storks and Hooded Crows.
Sunday 26th July
Our last full day in Bulgaria began with a drive up to the Baderitza mountain hut at an altitude of 5900 ft. We then walked up the road to the Vikram hut at 6475 ft. Being a Sunday it was busy with the locals parking cars anywhere they fancied (it seemed). This was the only day of the trip that we were out in the field at 09:30. Notable species seen were Large Grizzled Skipper, Ottoman Brassy Ringlet, Ripart's Anomalous Blue, Large Wall Brown, Mazarine Blue, Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Amanda's Blue, Reverdin's Blue, Northern Brown Argus, Nutcracker, Common Crossbill, and a Slow-worm.
After lunch we had a bit of an exploration around the hut (because the bus couldn't get out of the car park!). There wasn't much to see other than some very obliging Hummingbird Hawkmoths nectaring on thistles. I also heard a Chiffchaff.
Once the bus got out we headed downhill to some meadows above Bansko (3822 ft), which was another rich insect site. Notable species were Spotted Fritillary, Holly Blue, Chalk Hill Blue, Adonis Blue, Large Blue, Common Blue, Northern Brown Argus, Sooty Copper, Silver-washed Fritillary (a female of form valezina), Zygaena carniolica and Zygaena ephialtes.
Back at the hotel I had a look at the waste ground behind the hotel, and found Eastern Bath White, Marbled White and Balkan Zephyr Blue.
Saturday 25th July
After ascending to the so-called Bezbog Hut by ski-lift, we arrived at Bezbog Lake (7354ft ASL). Notable species seen here were Ottoman Brassy Ringlet, Balkan Heath, Large Ringlet, Painted Lady (at over 7800ft ASL), Nicholl's Ringlet, Hummingbird Hawkmoth, Common Frog and Linnet.
After descending via the chair lift, we stopped at a meadow near the village of Dobrinishte. This was the first place on the trip which was like the places I visited last year. Notable species seen here were Black-veined White, Reverdin's Blue, Niobe Fritillary, Scarce Copper, Sooty Copper, Weaver's Fritillary, Arran Brown, Balkan Copper, Purple-shot Copper,Pearly Heath and Scarlet Tiger. There was also the spider Acelepeira ceropegia and the Minstrel Bug Graphosoma lineatum.
Friday 24th July
Day four in Bulgaria got off to a good start with the capture of a Burren Green moth. We then headed for the Rila Monastery, where a number of Pallid Swifts were seen. We headed into the mountains to the village of Kirilova polyana (4800ft ASL), where we had lunch. Afterwards we walked further along the mountain track. Notable species seen were Large Wall Brown, Map Butterfly, Nettle-tree Butterfly, Large Ringlet, Arran Brown, Scotch Argus, Reverdin's Blue, Hungarian Burnet, Bee Chafer and Red Squirrel. In the evening at the hotel in Bansko a Black Redstart with a juvenile in tow appeared in the garden while we were having dinner.
Thursday 23rd July
This morning's walk turned up a Spotted Flycatcher, an adult Red-backed Shrike and some Tree Sparrows. The first stop was at the roadside near Vinogradi, where the large antlion Palpares libelluloides was found. There were also some Calandra Larks here.
The second stop was at the Pirinska river at Novo Hodzhovo. It was just as hot here as it had been last year. Notable species seen were Small Pincertail, Sombre Goldenring, Adonis Blue, Large Copper, Map Butterfly, Eastern Baton Blue, Oberthür's Grizzled Skipper, Hummingbird Hawkmoth, Violet Carpenter Bee and Honey Buzzard.
The lunch stop was by the roadside in the lower Pirin mountains (3978ft ASL). This was pretty good for butterflies, with Woodland Grayling, Great Banded Grayling, Queen of Spain Fritillary, Scarce Copper, Scarce Swallowtail, Silver-washed Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary and Marbled Fritillary being seen.
We continued to the peat bog at Papaz Tchair (4640ft ASL). Notable species seen were Turquoise Blue, Apollo, Arran Brown, Heath Fritillary, Large Ringlet, Eastern Short-tailed Blue, Higgin's Anomalous Blue, Large Wall Brown, Melearger's Blue and Eros Blue.
The final stop of the day was at the Meste River fishponds near Gotse Delchev. Notable species seen here were Scarlet Darter, Red-veined Darter, Black-tailed Skimmer, Small Red-eyed Damselfly, Small Pincertail, Southern Skimmer, Short-toed Eagle and Garganey.
Wednesday 22nd July
Day three in Bulgaria was again very hot (around 35°C). The early morning walk produced a Wood White, Buzzard and Green Woodpecker. Nightingale and Golden Oriole were heard. On the way to Kresna Gorge a large flock of Cormorants was seen. At the gorge notable species were Scarce Swallowtail, Little Tiger Blue, Tufted Marbled Skipper, Jersey Tiger, Southern White Admiral, a Swallowtail caterpillar, the attractive little moth Thyrus fenestratra, and Sparrowhawk.
The lunch stop was at a wet meadow near Lilyanovo (altitude 2115 ft). A Balkan Green Lizard was caught here. As it was too wet we descended to a spot nearer Sandanski (1500ft ASL). Notable species seen here were Short-toed Eagle, Lang's Short-tailed Blue, Short-tailed Blue and Weaver's Fritillary.
The fourth stop of the day was at a very dry hillside near Novo Delchevo, where another Short-toed Eagle was seen. I found a pair of Red-veined Darters, and a flock of Mistle Thrushes was plundering a fig tree.
Tuesday 21st July
Our first full day in Bulgaria started with a pre-breakfast walk from the hotel in Melnik. This was quite productive for birds: notable species seen were Nightingale, Red-rumped Swallow, Black Redstart, Red-backed Shrike (two juveniles), Tree Sparrow and Cirl Bunting. A Golden Oriole was heard. Towards the end of the walk a Common Glider appeared, followed by a couple of Wall Browns. On the way out of Melnik a Greek Tortoise was found on the road; we moved it into the adjacent field.
Rupite was even hotter than last year! Notable species seen were Southern Skimmer, Eastern Bath White, Lesser Spotted Fritillary, Tree Grayling, Little Tiger Blue, Oriental Marbled Skipper and the Praying Mantis Empusa fasciata. Numerous Bee-eaters were sitting on wires or catching insects, and there were many Marsh Frogs in the stream.
As the cafe at Rupite was shut we headed to a shady spot near Petrovo to have lunch. There was a small stream running along the road, and this attracted many different butterfly species. Notables were Common Glider, Silver-studded Blue, White-letter Hairstreak, Balkan Marbled White, Grecian Anomalous Blue, Nettle-tree Butterfly, Meleager's Blue, Southern Small White, Sandy Grizzled Skipper, Lang's Short-tailed Blue, Eastern Rock Grayling (one of which took a liking to my shirt), Swallowtail, Balkan Green-veined White and Scarce Swallowtail. There were also several Balkan Goldenring dragonflies, which had been so hard to find in June last year.
Monday 20th July
The first day of my second trip to Bulgaria with Naturetrek. The first stop on the way to Melnik was near Samokov, which was a hot, dry, flowery track down to the river. Notable species seen here were Great Banded Grayling, Queen of Spain Fritillary (one of only three seen during the week), Knapweed Fritillary, Clouded Yellow, Purple-shot Copper, Blue Featherleg and Red-backed Shrike. We then headed for the Kresna Gorge, which I had visited last year. White Storks were seen en route; this was the case every day of the trip. At the gorge notable species were Dipper, Eastern Wood White, Adonis Blue and the Balkan endemic Yellow Knapweed. At the hotel in Melnik a couple of Kotschy's Geckos were found.
Sunday 19th July
A hen Pheasant with five youngsters was on the allotment this morning.
Saturday 18th July
I finally made a long-delayed trip to Silchester Common in north Hampshire this morning. The main target species here was the Silver-studded Blue, of which I found one quite quickly. It took considerably longer to find two more, but then they are almost at the end of their flight period. Just starting their flight period is the Grayling. The first one I found had had an emergence malfunction - both its right wings had not inflated properly. As a result it wasn't able to fly and could only crawl along the ground. I found three more, which were a lot harder to photograph as they wouldn't allow a close approach. Gatekeepers were the most abundant species here, and I also saw two Brimstones.
After a couple of hours here I headed westwards to Crookham Common. Here I was looking for the Small Red-eyed Damselfly, a species I had not seen before in the UK. The small pond near Bury's Bank Road was the place they had been seen earlier in the week, and there were still plenty of them about. Most of them were sitting on lily pads and other aquatic vegetation, which made photography rather difficult. Eventually I found one on the bank which allowed some good shots. Other odonates here were an Emperor Dragonfly, Black-tailed Skimmer and Common Darter. These repeatedly clashed with each other over the pond. I saw one of the Black-tailed Skimmers ovipositing, during which she was protected by the male hovering overhead. While watching the dragonflies I noticed a Dark Green Fritillary struggling in the grass. When it opened its wings I saw what the problem was - it had an abdominal wound. However this didn't stop it zooming off once it had recovered a little.
Tuesday 14th July
Poor weather today but in a brief sunny interval in the afternoon I saw one Holly Blue and three Gatekeepers in the garden. It was cloudy again when I went to the allotment, but I still saw two Essex Skippers and two Small Tortoiseshells.
Monday 13th July
A Swallow-tailed Moth came into the house this evening.
Sunday 12th July
A poor day weather-wise. Around lunchtime I saw a female Gatekeeper in the garden. She disappeared into the vegetation and I didn't see her again. Small Tortoiseshells and Essex Skippers were still busy on the Marjoram on the allotment. I decided to go to Parsonage Moor and Cothill Fen as the weather had improved a bit by mid-afternoon. There wasn't a great deal in the way of dragonflies on Parsonage Moor, just one Southern Damselfy and one female Keeled Skimmer. Over on Cothill Fen I managed to photograph a male Keeled Skimmer, and also found seven Small Red Damselflies, a species I had missed last year. As it was quite windy they spent a lot of time down in the vegetation, which made photography rather difficult. I also saw a Hornet and a small Grass Snake. A couple of Commas were basking on the boardwalk as I was leaving.
Saturday 11th July
I started the day with a recce of White-letter Hairstreak sites at Chazey Heath and along the road from Goring to Chazey Heath by Whittles Farm. Needless to say I didn't see any WLH, but I've got some useful info for next year. I then returned to Goring and decided to visit The Holies, a site I had never visited before. It was still pretty cloudy when I got there, so I didn't see much other than Meadow Browns and Marbled Whites initially. I saw a couple of Green Woodpeckers in the flowery field. As the sun came out more, so did the butterflies, and the number of Meadow Browns and Marbled Whites flying around increased considerably. I saw my first summer-brood Peacock of the year, and a Five-spot Burnet. Walking back through the scrubby area I saw quite a few Gatekeepers and Small Skippers. In a sunny area in the wood a Silver-washed Fritillary was flying around an Elder bush, and a Southern Hawker also turned up, but it wouldn't settle. I saw a couple of parties of mixed tits and warblers foraging in the vegetation.
I then headed to Aston Upthorpe Downs. While eating lunch I saw Small Tortoiseshells, Ringlets and a male Brimstone. As I walked up the bridleway the numbers of Meadow Browns and Marbled Whites increased rapidly. Large Skippers, Small Skippers, Commas and Dark Green Fritillaries were also present. On a patch of Knapweed I found my first Chalk Hill Blue of the year, but it wouldn't open its wings. Eventually I was able to see its silvery-blue upper wing surfaces when it moved to another flower. Initially there wasn't anything in Juniper Valley other than Meadow Browns, but I eventually found two more Chalk Hill Blues, a couple of Small Tortoiseshells, and a mating pair of Small Coppers.
On the way home I stopped at the allotment, where the species seen yesterday were still present.
Friday 10th July
In the garden today there were a few Small Tortoiseshells nectaring on Hebe flowers. I also saw a Gatekeeper and a Comma.
The number of Essex Skippers on the allotment had risen to five this evening. I managed to get some pictures of them. There were also several Small Tortoiseshells nectaring on Marjoram, and a single male Gatekeeper.
Thursday 9th July
I had a walk in the University Parks at lunchtime today. Apart from an Emperor Dragonfly there wasn't much about until I reached the cricket pavilion. Here there were at least eight Small Tortoiseshells nectaring on various flowers. In the evening at the allotment I saw two Essex Skippers, and at least a dozen Small Tortoiseshells. These were nectaring on Marjoram flowers, and some were still active at 8pm.
Saturday 4th July
I headed for Calvert Jubilee this morning in the quest to find a White-letter Hairstreak. There were a lot of butterflies about, including half a dozen Dark Green Fritillaries which occasionally stopped to take on nectar from thistles. While looking upwards for the WLH I spotted a Purple Emperor flying over the treetops. On the Odonata front there were dozens of Common Blue Damselflies and some Black-tailed Skimmers (mature and teneral). Having failed to find any WLH I relocated to the road to the north of Charndon village, where it had been seen a few days earlier. However I was unsuccessful here as well (probably because there was too much wind and not enough sun).
Next stop was Bernwood Forest again, for the same time I saw HIM yesterday. I found a Red Admiral and a Comma on horse droppings. It took a while but eventually a Purple Emperor appeared and flew past me down the track. Other butterfly species seen were the same as yesterday. I also saw an Emperor Dragonfly catch a Ringlet, but it landed out of sight to eat it.
My fourth stop of the day was at Otmoor, where a trip down the old roman road turned up a lot of Meadow Browns and Ruddy Darters. I managed to get a glimpse of a silvery butterfly up in ab Ash tree, which by elimination must have been a Purple Hairstreak. Up on the bridleway there were lots of Common Blue Damselflies (and probably Azure Damselflies as well). A Turtle Dove was singing on the wires. For the second time this year I saw an Emperor Dragonfly catch and eat another dragonfly (not sure which species). This time the Emperor landed on a plant stem so I was able to get some good pictures of it.
Friday 3rd July
I spent this morning in Bernwood Forest. I began by walking down the main ride to Piccadilly Circus. The first thing I saw was a female Beautiful Demoiselle, my first of the year. Silver-washed Fritillaries then started appearing. I saw something fluttering on the ground - it turned out to be a White Admiral probing the surface. That was two of the target species knocked off in 15 minutes. There were lots of the commoner species about: Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Marbled Whites and Large Skippers being the most numerous. I counted at least fourteen Silver-washed Fritillaries and five White Admirals. When I got to Piccadilly Circus there was a Broad-bodied Chaser flying around the rather shrunken pond. I stuck a stick in the mud, which the Chaser perched on, but it was then chased away by an Emperor Dragonfly, which then gave good views as it sat in the grass. A short excursion into York Wood turned up three Roe Deer grazing in a ride. One eventually noticed me and they disappeared into the trees. Returning to the car park another White Admiral gave some good photo opportunities as it perched on a low shrub. A couple of Brown Hawkers were patrolling the ride. I returned to the car to take a break as it was quite warm. On resuming the search, I spotted a Silver-washed Fritillary taking an interest in a particular car in the car park. Then a couple more joined it. They were all probing the car's surface with their probosces; for what purpose I don't know. As I headed back onto the track, a Purple Emperor made an appearance, but it disappeared towards the road. I kept walking down the track and a second one appeared, which took more interest in a "canine deposit" but refused to open its wings. Then a third one flew past me above head height.
I headed to Whitecross Green Wood. Butterflies were pretty much the same as at Bernwood, with counts of eleven Silver-washed Fritillaries and two White Admirals. I also counted five Emperor Dragonflies and two Brown Hawkers.
Thursday 2nd July
The temperature was ten degrees lower today. When I got to the allotment I found a juvenile Pheasant in the polytunnel. It was quite an effort to get it out again. The Whitethroat and Skylark were still singing. When I got home it had warmed up a bit, and yesterday's Small Tortoiseshell and Gatekeeper were in the garden again. A second visit to the allotment in the afternoon produced a few Marbled Whites, Ringlets and Large Whites. I then visited Dry Sandford Pit, where I found my first Small SKippers of the year, as well as double figures of Ringlet, Marbled White and Meadow Brown. Also seen here was my first Southern Damselfly of the year, and also four Keeled Skimmers. In the evening a Scarlet Tiger moth flew around the garden. I also spotted a leucistic Starling on a neighbour's roof. Leucistic Starlings have been around north Abingdon for a while, but that's the first one I'd seen.
Wednesday 1st July
The hottest day of the year so far (32°C in Abingdon). When I got to work a male Banded Demoiselle made an appearance in my office's garden. When I got home at 7.30 pm there was a Small Tortoiseshell nectaring on Hebe flowers in my garden, and a Gatekeeper was flying around - my first of the year.
Monday 30th June
The hottest day of the year so far (29°C in Abingdon). I only saw a few butterflies today, mostly Small Tortoiseshells. They were still active on the allotment site at 8.30pm. I also found what I think was a Mottled Beauty moth in the polytunnel.
Monday 29th June
This morning I had a look at Hinksey Lake. As well as the two adult Common Terns, there were two juveniles flying about. However I was unable to find any Great Crested Grebes, so it looks as though their second breeding attempt has failed. At lunchtime I had a walk in the University Parks and Marston Meadows. There wasn't a great deal about in the Parks, but I did see three Small Tortoiseshells and a Ringlet. On the other side of the Cherwell I saw at least fifty Meadow Browns.
Sunday 28th June
The weather was poor for most of the day, so all that I saw were two Small Tortoiseshells on the allotment.
Saturday 27th June
This morning I found five Small Tortoiseshells nectaring on Sweet William on the allotment. I also saw a Skylark and a Whitethroat. In the afternoon I saw Swallows, House Martins, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Meadow Browns and a Scarlet Tiger moth in a garden in Stanford Dingley.
Thursday 25th June
I saw a Small Tortoiseshell on the allotment at 7.30pm this evening.
Tuesday 23rd June
A fresh Small Tortoiseshell spent a long time nectaring on Senecio flowers in my garden today. Later, a Whitethroat was singing near the entrance to the allotment site.
Sunday 21st June
Although it was quite cloudy this morning I headed to Whitecross Green Wood. There were two immature Emperor Dragonflies flying around the small glade near the car park. There were Large Skippers, Meadow Browns and a Marbled White here as well. As I headed further into the wood, more butterflies and dragonflies appeared. At the start of the north-south ride I spotted an Emperor with something in its jaws - it turned out to be an immature Black-tailed Skimmer! The Emperor landed in the grass and proceeded to eat the head of the unfortunate Skimmer. I continued onwards to the pond, which is usually reliable for Black Hairstreaks. However there were none to be seen today. Then I was told that one had been found along the footpath just before the pond. This turned out to be a female which spent at least thirty minutes sitting on the same leaf, occasionally turning round to catch the sun on both sides. Then around half-a-dozen males started making their looping flights over the blackthorn, usually landing in awkward positions for photography. On the way back to the car I saw my first Ringlet of the year.
I headed to Otmoor and walked around the car park field. I heard a couple of Turtle Doves calling, but didn't see them this time. There were quite a lot of immature Ruddy Darters along the roman road, and there were more Common Blue Damselflies than last time. While looking at a Blue-tailed Damselfly I suddenly noticed a small dark butterfly flying around the blackthorn - another Black Hairstreak! As well as about four males I also saw an ovipositing female. Strangely I couldn't find any Four-spotted Chasers today.
Saturday 20th June
I had to take the Hedgehog I saw last weekend to Tiggywinkles this afternoon, as it was again out in daylight and didn't look at all well.
Friday 19th June
Having failed to find the Heath Fritillary at Haddon Hill yesterday, there was one other option: Bin Combe on Dunkery Hill. Fortunately the weather was OK this morning. The directions on the NT web site were accurate (even though it gives the wrong grid ref for the car park), but it was still quite an effort to descend the steep slope of the combe (take precautions against ticks if you go, because there isn't a trail and you have to walk through heather and bracken). However once I had got down to the stream, Heath Fritillaries started appearing, and I counted about eight of them. This was my 54th British butterfly species. I also found a Green Hairstreak, and heard a male Cuckoo calling. After climbing back out of the combe I returned to the car and set off for home.
Thursday 18th June
The weather was better today (although windy) so I headed for Haddon Hill on the south-east side of Exmoor, which is a Heath Fritillary site. However, despite searching sheltered areas for some time I couldn't find any. However there were several other species about, including Green Hairstreak (presumably they are still on the wing here because of the higher altitude), Small Heath, Large Skipper and Red Admiral. There were also some Common Goldenring dragonflies, one of which caught something and landed right in front of me to eat it. I also visited the Butterfly Conservation reserve just up the road at Haddon Moor. I found three Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries and a couple of Speckled Woods here.
Wednesday 17th June
A pretty disappointing day weather-wise, with low cloud and mist. All I could do was take the North Walk to the Valley of the Rocks. Out to sea I saw more Gannets and some Fulmars. I found two large Drinker Moth caterpillars sitting on the path - presumably they were trying to warm themselves up. There were several Stonechats and Linnets in the scrub. I took the cliff railway down to Lynmouth, but there wasn't much of interest other than a few Great Black-backed Gulls.
Tuesday 16th June
This morning I drove the short distance from Lynton to the Hunter's Inn at the head of the Heddon Valley, and headed northwards along the footpath towards the sea at Heddon's Mouth. It took a little while to find anything of interest, but there were some Grey Wagtails in the river, and Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were singing. Once at the sea I immediately picked up some Gannets and quite a few Guillemots. Some of the Gannets started plunge-diving, and I then saw a couple of Dolphins break the surface in the same area, so there must have been a bait ball there. As I started to head back inland, a Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary appeared, which was my first of the year. There was a pair of Rock Pipits in the river. On crossing the footbridge I found another SPBF and some other butterflies, before spotting a Dipper in the river. I then made the ascent of the side of the valley. I saw a couple of Meadow Pipits and four Ravens at the top. I then descended to the valley floor again. On the way back to the car I passed a flowery meadow (off limits!) where a couple of very fresh Dark Green Fritillaries were nectaring on thistles.
After lunch I headed east of Lynton to Watersmeet on the East Lyn river. There were more Grey Wagtails and another Dipper here, and I also spotted a Redstart in the trees.
Monday 15th June
En route to a short break in Devon, I stopped at Collard Hill in Somerset, which I had last visited in 2011. The main attraction here is of course the Large Blue, of which I saw five. I also saw two Marbled Whites and an Emperor Dragonfly. A Hummingbird Hawkmoth made a brief appearance in the garden of the B&B I was staying at in Lynton. There were lots of juvenile Blue Tits enjoying the feeders, and Swifts and House Martins were overhead.
Saturday 13th June
An unexpected sighting this morning was of a Hedgehog out and about during daylight at the front of the house. Once it had stopped raining in the afternoon I visited Barton Fields in Abingdon, where I met up with Stephen Burch. We were looking for the Variable Damselflies which had been seen here by others. Although conditions were not very good, we managed to find two, along with a few other damselflies. A Cetti's Warbler was singing loudly, and we saw it a couple of times as well. I also found a Red-headed Cardinal beetle.
Thursday 11th June
I had a short walk in the University Parks at lunchtime today. This turned up four butterflies and two Banded Demoiselles.
Sunday 7th June
This morning I walked along the east bank of the Thames from Goring to the railway bridge. This turned up a large number of Banded Demoiselles and a few Red-eyed Damselflies, but not the Common Clubtail or Blue Featherleg that I was looking for. There were a few butterflies about, including a male Orange-tip and a Red Admiral.
I relocated to Lardon Chase, on the other side of the river. Here I saw my first Meadow Browns of the year, and I also helped a chap from Yorkshire to find some Small Blues, a species he had not seen before. There was not a great deal else about, just a few Common Blues and a Small Copper.
My third stop of the day was at Aston Upthorpe Downs. On getting out of the car I saw four of our five resident 'white' species nectaring on purple flowers (not sure what they were, but they looked to be a cultivar), and then an Orange-tip flew past to complete the set. While walking up the track I found a couple of Grizzled Skippers and Small Blues. Common Blues were numerous - most were males. Ditto for Brimstones. Instead of going into Juniper Valley, I continued up the bridleway. I found a Painted Lady here, and Small Heaths started appearing as well. I then heard the 'jangling keys' song of the Corn Bunting; I found three singing males altogether. A Lapwing flew up to challenge a crow. A Grey Partridge scuttled along the track in front of me before I flushed it. When I reached the Fair Mile a Hobby flew overhead. I walked back along the bottom of Juniper Valley where there were still plenty of Common Blues and Small Heaths, and another Painted Lady. I did turn up a couple of Dingy Skippers, which I had failed to find last time I was here. On the way back to the car I found a Peacock and then a Small Tortoiseshell, both in good condition. Had they arrived from the continent, along with the Painted Ladies?
On the way home I stopped at the allotment, where I saw another Small Tortoiseshell in good condition. Finally, a Holly Blue appeared in the garden, which took my species total for the day up to 19 - pretty good for this time of year.
Saturday 6th June
I visited Dry Sandford Pit this morning. It was quite cool initially and it took a while for insects to become active. The first species I saw was an immature Keeled Skimmer dragonfly. I also found an Azure Damselfly, a species which is not common at DSP. Up in the grassland I saw a Red Admiral and a couple of Small Heaths. I eventually found some Large Red Damselflies - about 3 weeks later than usual. Brimstones started to appear - they looked in pretty good condition despite being around 10 months old. When the sun came out properly I found a few lycaenids in a sheltered area; they were nectaring on Forget-me-not flowers.
When I got home I found a Painted Lady in the garden; it was nectaring on Erysimum 'Bowles Purple' flowers. It came back to these three times in the space of an hour or so. It also went into the greenhouse, where it took nectar from purple cactus flowers.
Friday 5th June
There were two Common Terns and two Great Crested Grebes on Hinksey Lake this morning. One of the grebes was on the nest, so I think that their first attempt must have failed. There was also a Lesser Black-backed Gull.
Thursday 4th June
I had a quick walk in the Parks and Marston Meadows at lunchtime today. I saw male Orange-tips in both places, which seems quite late. There was a female Holly Blue in the Parks, but no males today. I also saw my first Broad-bodied Chaser in the Parks, and a single Banded Demoiselle in the Meadows. I also got a glimpse of a Grass Snake.
Monday 1st June
The first day of summer (according to the Met Office), but it didn't feel like it, being quite breezy, with a few showers, and not very warm. However I headed to Otmoor anyway as there was a bit of sunshine about first thing. As I got out of the car a Whitethroat was singing loudly in the willows. I also got a glimpse of a Turtle Dove which was calling from the same trees. As I walked up the old roman road I couldn't fail to see the huge number of Azure Damselflies, most of which were fairly inactive due to it still being rather cool.The usual warblers were singing, and I also heard a Cuckoo. A few hardy Green-veined Whites and Speckled Woods were out and about, but they were the only butterflies I saw all morning. A different damselfly was a teneral female Blue-tailed Damselfy of the form rufescens (which has a pink thorax). Up on the bridleway I saw my first Four-spotted Chaser of the year. When I got to the cattle pens there was another Turtle Dove feeding on the ground. It was oblivious to me taking photos (although at one point it looked directly at the camera, so it certainly knew I was there). Further along the bridleway I found a few teneral Red-eyed Damselflies and an unusually large Black-headed Cardinal beetle. At the hide I saw four or five Redshank feeding; as usual they were quite vocal. There was also a pair of Moorhens with six youngsters. There wasn't a great deal on the lagoon, other than a Coot feeding a youngster, and about a dozen Tufted Ducks. There were lots of Swifts active over the reedbed (but no Hobbies). Male Reed Buntings seemed to be singing everywhere. On the way back along the bridleway there were more Swifts operating at low level, and around a dozen House Martins passed by. I saw a Marsh Harrier over Greenaways; it was struggling to make forward progress by the strength of the wind. The Turtle Dove was still by the cattle pens, and there was another one sitting in the dead tree with the feeders on it. An adult and a juvenile Greenfinch were on the feeders, and a pair of Pheasants with one youngster were underneath them. As I was driving out a Common Shrew started to cross the road in front of me, but wisely it turned round and retreated to the vegetation.
Saturday 30th May
For the last few years I've been visiting Wicken Wood on the Bucks/Northants border to look for Wood Whites. This spring I discovered that Bucknell Wood, to the north of Silverstone, was also somewhere that this species could be found. I found the wood easily enough (although the road between Silverstone and Abthorpe is currently closed). It was still quite cool when I got there, and it wasn't until I reached the crossroads in the centre of the wood that I found my first Wood White. All those I saw were males, which were busy searching for females and not very interested in settling. Eventually the sun went in and I was able to photograph one which had settled on a leaf. I also managed to get a good, although fairly distant, view of a male Cuckoo.
From there, I drove down the M40 to the north side of Aston Rowant NNR. I walked down the slope to the sunken path, where I found the first of several Adonis Blues. There were good numbers of Brown Argus and Common Blue as well. There were quite alot of green and ochre beetles flying around - I later identified them as Garden Chafers. On the way back up the slope a Red Admiral flew in front of me - my first of the year!
Friday 29th May
I heard a Greenfinch singing on the allotment this evening. The caterpillars on the nettle patch seem to be Small Tortoiseshells rather than Peacocks.
Thursday 28th May
This morning I saw a Mistle Thrush in Hinksey Park; that's the first one for 3 weeks. At lunchtime I had a quick walk in the University Parks and Marston Meadows. I saw Holly Blues and aSpeckled Wood in the former, and a Common Blue in the latter. I also saw a couple of odonates, a Common Blue Damselfly and a male Banded Demoiselle. This has been the second worst May for dragonflies and damselflies since I started recording them. Only 2013 was worse.
Tuesday 26th May
In the garden at lunchtime I saw a Holly Blue and a mating pair of 14-Spot Ladybirds. Also in the garden today were a couple of juvenile Starlings and a very small Common Frog.
Monday 25th May
A fairly cool and cloudy Bank Holiday Monday meant that I spend the morning on the allotment. I found a web of probable Peacock caterpillars in my nettle patch. The only adult butterflies about were a couple of Small Whites. Singleton Buzzard, Red Kite and Kestrel put in appearances, and a Whitethroat was singing again.
Saturday 23rd May
In the garden this morning I found a Spotted Bush-cricket nymph; it was only about 5mm long but its antennae were already more than twice the length of its body. At the allotment in the afternoon a female Orange-tip flew into the polytunnel, and I also saw a male. A Whitethroat was singing in the bushes on the A34 embankment. At Dry Sandford Pit I saw two Commas, so the summer brood has clearly started. When the sun came out I found four Common Blues and a Brown Argus. I also saw a 14-Spot Ladybird.
I visited Cothill Pitt, which I had never been to before even though it is not far from Dry Sandford Pit. It looked quite promising, but I couldn't find any butterflies at all. There were some moths flying around which I think were Lattice Heaths, but they were reluctant to settle. A Buzzard overhead was the only bird I saw.
Thursday 21st May
A walk round the University Parks and Marston Meadows at lunchtime today was quite productive. I saw a Comma in the Parks; it looked pretty fresh but seems early for a summer brood individual. Across the Cherwell I found a female Orange-tip nectaring on Cuckoo-flower (and a couple of males elsewhere) and a pristine Small Copper. I also saw three Whitethroats and a Chiffchaff in a hedgerow.
Tuesday 19th May
I visited Farmoor this afternoon to see the summer-plumage Black-throated Diver which had been there for a few days. It looked distinctly unwell and was barely moving.
Sunday 17th May
A rather more cloudy day than yesterday, but I headed for Bentley Wood in Wiltshire. It was still fairly cool when I got there, and it took a little while to find a Pearl-bordered Fritillary. I saw about ten altogether. Somebody found a Duke of Burgundy. There were many Speckled Yellow moths around, which as usual didn't allow a close approach. However I found one pair in cop which were more amenable. That was about it for the eastern clearing, although I could hear a Cuckoo as well as the usual warblers. I managed to find my way through the wood to Barnridge Copse. Although still quite early in their flight season I found six Marsh Fritillaries, which were quite hard to spot as they were mostly sitting out the cloudy weather. I found another Duke of Burgundy here. I had a look at the small ponds on the way back. The first one was full of tadpoles and nothing else, but at the second I found a few Large Red Damselflies.
I headed to Stockbridge Down, east of the town. The cloud had almost completely filled in by now, so there was little butterfly activity. I did see no fewer than three male Brimstones harrassing a female, who wasn't interested. The males must be getting pretty desperate to find a mate by now, I suppose. I also found a pristine Small Copper which must have emerged today. Despite the masses of Wild Strawberry in flower, I couldn't find any Grizzled Skippers. I was surprised to hear a Turtle Dove calling; it was in a dense thicket so there was no chance of seeing it. That's the first one I've heard in this country other than on Otmoor.
Saturday 16th May
I made my first visit to Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks, today, to join a field meeting organised by the Upper Thames branch of BC. About 24 people turned up on what was a breezy but sunny day. It didn't take long before a Duke of Burgundy was found, then several Dingy Skippers and Green Hairstreaks, and a couple of Small Heaths were found as well. Surprisingly only one Grizzled Skipper was seen. I saw eight Dukes altogether, and eleven species of butterfly. Some moths were found, including a fresh Burnet Companion. I also heard a couple of Garden Warblers singing, but it was impossible to find them.
After lunch I headed down the hill to the old chalk pit in Pitstone. This is well known for Small Blues: in fact there were so many I gave up counting when I reached 50! All those I saw were males. I found more Small Heaths, Dingy Skippers and Green Hairstreaks here, also one Grizzled Skipper and a few Common Blues. I also found quite a lot of Common Blue Damselflies (a mixture of mature and teneral individuals), and a couple of Cinnabar moths.
Wednesday 13th May
I saw four Holly Blues in the University Parks this afternoon.
Tuesday 12th May
A sunny spell at lunchtime today produced a Large Red Damselfly, a Holly Blue and a 14-spot Ladybird in the garden.
Sunday 10th May
A mostly cloudy day with a few sunny intervals. The temperature climbed to 20°C. I went to Otmoor. There wasn't a great deal happening along the old roman road, except for the usual warblers and a Song Thrush. I saw two Red-legged Partridges in Saunder's Field. Cuckoos seemed to be calling from all over, but it took a while before I actually saw one (I saw three altogether). When I got to the cattle pens, there was a Turtle Dove feeding quite openly on the ground. After a while it flew up into the hedgerow and started calling from the top of a dead tree. During the morning I saw three more birds, so hopefully at least one pair will breed. Over Greenaways I saw two Oystercatchers, two drumming Snipe and lots of Swifts and Lapwings. I finally found the (presumed) feral Ross's Goose on Big Otmoor. At least two pairs of Greylag Geese had youngsters. At the first screen a young Muntjac deer was feeding on the top of the bank. There wasn't much to be seen on the lagoon.
I headed up to the second screen. On the way I found my first Blue-tailed Damselflies of the year. At the second screen there were two Common Terns on the raft. A Cetti's Warbler called, which was the first time I'd heard one this year. On the way back another one called, so perhaps the population is recovering from the winter of 2010/11.
By around midday it had warmed up enough for a few butterflies to appear, but the only notable event was two Green-veined Whites pairing. After lunch I had another walk down the roman road and along the first part of the bridleway, and this time I managed to find an immature Hairy Hawker dragonfly, which was my first of the year. I also saw a Hobby over Greenaways.
Saturday 9th May
A sunny spell at lunchtime today brought out several different hoverflies, an unidentified Cimbicid sawfly and a Holly Blue in the garden. I went to Farmoor again in the afternoon. There were three Little Egrets on the floating reed bed on F2, and there were many Swifts about. There was a small flock of thirteen Dunlin and two Sanderling on the boat landing area. There were still ten or so Common Terns, which were active and quite vocal. When the sun came out at Pinkhill I found a few damselflies and butterflies. A Barn Owl was hunting over the field to the south of the Shrike Meadow hide; it must have hungry youngsters somewhere. There had been a Mayfly emergence, and Black-headed Gulls were busy catching them over the river. On the way back to the car park a Yellow Wagtail flew past and landed on the causeway.
Thursday 7th May
This morning I saw two Mistle Thrushes in Hinksey Park, and an Orange-tip in the University Parks.
Monday 4th May
I visited Aston Upthorpe Downs this morning. I found a Grizzled Skipper quite quickly in the rough field to the south of the grain dryer, but it took a while for anything else to appear as it had become more cloudy. While walking up the bridleway I heard a Cuckoo, several Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps, and a Whitethroat. In Juniper Valley itself I found a single Green Hairstreak (surprisingly the first one I've found at this site) and two Small Coppers. Going back down the bridleway I found more Grizzled Skippers near a patch of Wild Strawberry plants. Other butterflies were appearing in greater numbers, with Peacocks, Brimstones and Green-veined Whites reaching double figures. I had another look in the rough field and found another Whitethroat and a male Yellowhammer.
I headed for Cholsey Marsh, hoping to find some early damselflies. All I could find was a teneral female Banded Demoiselle, which wouldn't sit up for a photograph. I heard another Cuckoo here, and saw a couple of Sedge Warblers and a Greenfinch. There were a few butterflies but it had become too cloudy again for a lot of activity.
Sunday 3rd May
I visited Farmoor Reservoir this afternoon, trying to dodge the showers while looking for the Sanderling and first-winter Little Gull which had been reported. I managed to see them both, but the Sanderling were very flighty and the Little Gull was sitting on a straw bale, so not much use for photos. I also saw a number of Swifts low down on the causeway, two Yellow Wagtails, three Sand Martins and five Dunlin.
Friday 1st May
This morning it was cloudy and there was a chilly NE wind. I headed off to Arne again, this time with the intention of walking round the whole of Coombe Heath. There were two Mistle Thrushes on the overflow car park. I saw two Coal Tits and two Green Woodpeckers. Stonechats eventually started appearing; I saw four altogether. When I got to the hide overlooking the Middlebere Lake there were around eighty Black-tailed Godwits feeding in the mud. I was able to make out three Spoonbills in the distance - the first ones I've seen in the UK. There were also four Dunlin. When I got back to the car park there were two Siskins on the feeder behind the visitor centre.
I drove north-west of Wareham and parked the car at Gore Heath in Wareham Forest. There wasn't too much about, and only a Yellowhammer was noteworthy. At this point I decided to return to the B&B as the weather wasn't improving.
Thursday 30th April
My second day in Dorset started fine and sunny, if rather chilly. I headed to the RSPB reserve at Arne. There wasn't too much of note initially, other than a calling Cuckoo and a Green Woodpecker. When I reached the hide (overlooking Poole Harbour) there were Little Egrets, Oystercatchers, Shelduck and a single Redshank feeding in the mud. A herd of female Sika deer were feeding on the water meadow, and they were quite nervous. Proceeding onwards I came across a freshwater pool, where a couple of Large Red Damselflies were active. Going into the heath revealed a number of Green Tiger Beetles. On the way back to the car park I saw a Holly Blue and a Small Tortoiseshell.
After some refreshment I headed towards Coombe Heath. A fairly confiding Mistle Thrush was busy collecting worms in the damp grass in the overflow car park. I found a Stonechat in the gorse, and a Painted Lady flew across the path. It took some searching but I finally found a couple of Dartford Warblers which is what I'd really come to see. They were way out of camera range, though.
I got in the car and drove a few miles to the Stoborough Heath NNR. I walked down the trail, making a slight detour to see a Wimbrel in a field. There were many warblers in the trees along the trail. I managed to get a Blackcap to sing in the open by playing its song on my phone. I also found two more Painted Ladies, one of which eventually opened its wings. It was a little worn but not too shabby for an insect that had probably flown from Spain.
The final stop of the day was at Durdle Door. There were quite a few birds on the way from the car park down to the cliff top: a couple of Stonechats, some Linnets and two male Whitethroats were notable. In the gorse to the east of the car park were more Linnets, some of which were amenable to being photographed.
Wednesday 29th April
The first day of short break to Dorset found me at Lulworth Cove on a sunny but quite windy day. There weren't a lot of bird about, other than a couple of Great Black-backed Gulls and some Herring Gulls soaring over the cliffs, and Jackdaws picking up scraps.
Tuesday 28th April
I visited Farmoor today, where there was a brisk, chilly wind. While I was still in the car park I noticed a number of Swifts overhead. Then on the causeway I found a Yellow Wagtail and some White Wagtails, but they were very skittish. There were at least ten Common Terns about. I flushed a couple of Common Sandpipers and then a couple of Dunlin. There were a few Swallows and Sand Martins about. I heard a Cuckoo. There was a Little Egret on Shrike Meadow. On the way back I found a Little Ringed Plover on the causeway. As I was leaving a much larger party of Swifts appeared overhead; I reckon there were at least fifty.
Monday 27th April
I visited Otmoor and Whitecross Green Wood today. I started by walking along the old Roman road on Otmoor. I found two Treecreepers on one of the Oak trees, and also heard a Cuckoo which was somewhere in the car park field. Butterflies started moving quite early, even though it was still quite chilly. I saw Speckled Wood, Green-veined White and Orange-tip. A Muntjac also made a brief appearance. Up on the bridle way Sedge Warblers and Reed Warblers were singing; eventually I saw examples of both. Redshank were much in evidence all over the reserve. I noticed that a couple of big birds had appeared on the north side of Greenaways; I quickly realised that these were the Common Cranes which arrived last week. They spiralled upwards to a considerable height and I lost them.
Down at the hide I found my first damselfly of the year, in the form of a teneral Large Red Damselfly. There wasn't much on Ashgrave, other than a couple of Redshank and a Brown Hare. There was a Little Egret on the Closes. On Big Otmoor I found an Oystercatcher. At the first screen I saw a Marsh Harrier, and then six Hobbies arrived overhead. On the way back I found a teneral Azure Damselfly. In the car park I played the call of the Lesser Whitethroat on my phone; it actually attracted one, which proceeded to sing back (it wouldn't work a second time, though).
Whitecross Green Wood was not so productive, but there were several Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs and a nice pair of Bullfinches. I tried to attract a Garden Warbler by playing its call, but I got no response this time.
Sunday 26th April
The Robin's nest in the polytunnel has only got one chick in it; the other eggs failed to hatch. As the youngster is getting the sole attention of both parents, it is growing very quickly. There was also a Blackcap singing in the scrub on the A34 embankment.
Saturday 25th April
I made my first ever visit to Ardley Quarry today. At first it was quite cool and cloudy, and it took some to find any butterflies. There were Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps singing. I also heard, and then saw, my first Whitethroat of the year. After 1pm the sun came out rather more, although it was quite windy. Despite several checks of likely areas, I couldn't find any Grizzled Skippers. Eventually I found a Green Hairstreak on the railway embankment. I also saw my first Large White of the year. There were masses of Dog-violets in flower, also Wild Strawberry and Cowslip.
Thursday 23rd April
I had a walk in the University Parks at lunchtime today. There weren't many birds to be seen, but I heard a Blackcap and two Song Thrushes. Butterflies did better, with seven species seen, including Orange-tip, Speckled Wood and Holly Blue.
Wednesday 22nd April
On the way into work I saw a Mistle Thrush collecting worms in Hinksey Park; clearly it has young to feed. At lunchtime I visited Port Meadow again. The lack of rain in the last three weeks has really shrunk the flood, but there wasn't much taking advantage of the exposed mud. Most of the Wigeon had gone, but there were still quite a few Teal. There was a solitary Lesser Black-backed Gull which dwarfed the Black-headed Gulls. On the grass I found at least ten Linnets; the male are so smart in their breeding plumage. I also ventured into Burgess Field, where I found a male Blackcap. I found a few butterflies in Burgess Field and also on the Meadow.
Tuesday 21st April
I had a quick walk round Dry Sandford Pit at lunchtime today. The most numerous butterfly was the Brimstone, with at least thirteen seen, split more or less equally between males and females. I saw my first Speckled Woods of the year - two males which were battling each other so fiercely I never saw them land. There were also smaller numbers of Green-veined Whites and Orange-tips, and one Holly Blue. I also saw what I think was a Roe Deer, which I have never seen there before.
Sunday 19th April
I visited Farmoor Reservoir this afternoon, but it was pretty quiet. I found a pair of Shoveler on F1; I think those were the first Shoveler I'd actually seen on the reservoir. They flew off, but I later re-found them on Pinkhill. A couple of Swallows were flying around the works, and about ten House Martins also flew over. I counted eight Common Terns, which were catching flies on F2 (there was a huge number of insects about despite the cool & overcast weather). I also found a White Wagtail on the causeway.
Saturday 18th April
I visited Aston Rowant NNR this morning. My first stop was Linky Down, to see the Ring Ouzels which had been there for a few days. It was hard to be sure how many were present, but I reckon there were at least eight of them. I then headed to the north side of the M40 and searched Beacon Hill for Green Hairstreaks. I saw more of them today that I've ever seen at one site before. There were at least a dozen, all but one males, which were frequently engaged in aerial battles with each other.
I then headed to Aston Upthorpe Downs, where the first bid of note seen was a Red-legged Partridge. There were several singing Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps, and four Swallows flew through. On the butterfly front there were good numbers of Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells and Brimstones, and also a solitary Holly Blue. But I couldn't find any Grizzled Skippers.
Thursday 16th April
I saw three Swallows over Hinksey Lake this morning. Then at Port Meadow in the afternoon I saw six Black-tailed Godwits, one Ringed Plover and two Little Ringed Plovers. Wigeon numbers were substantially lower than last week, but there were still quite a lot of Teal. A Red Kite flew over.
In the evening I found a Robin's nest in the polytunnel on the allotment (with four eggs in it). That's going to be a real inconvenience, at least until the eggs hatch.
Wednesday 15th April
I had a walk in the University Parks and Marston Meadows at lunchtime today, where I saw two Orange-tips. I also saw a Wren and a Chiffchaff in the meadows.
Tuesday 14th April
I had a brief visit to Dry Sandford Pit at lunchtime today, where I saw my first Orange-tip of the year. There were also quite a few Brimstones and Peacocks about. I saw one female Brimstone ovipositing on a shrubby plant. There were no leaves on it, but presumably there will be by the time that the eggs hatch. I didn't see many birds, but a Buzzard flew over while being harassed by a Carrion Crow. I saw a couple of butterflies in the garden, and there were a couple of Bee-flies feeding on Honesty flowers.
Sunday 12th April
I visited a very windy Farmoor Reservoir this morning. The first bird of note was a solitary Dunlin on the causeway. There were lots of Black-headed Gulls feeding on insects on F2, and there were some Little Gulls doing the same. On the western side of the reservoir it was more sheltered, and I found some Small Tortoiseshells. I found two Willow Warblers and two Blackcaps singing in the hedgerow. I saw my first Green-veined White of the year at Pinkhill. On the way back to the car park three Swallows and two Common Terns flew over, and there was a Little Ringed Plover on the causeway.
Friday 10th April
This morning I saw (and heard) a Song Thrush at Redbridge car park. At Hinksey Lake I found the Great Crested Grebe's nest, with one bird sitting on it. I had a trip to Port Meadow at lunchtime, where I saw Sand Martins, a female Garganey, two Oystercatchers and a Willow Warbler. The flood had shrunk quite a lot since my last visit, and there was a lot of exposed mud.
Thursday 9th April
I visited Otmoor this morning. There were several Chiffchaffs singing. Duck numbers were well down, with hardly any Wigeon and Teal left. Redshank were still being very vocal. I saw five and heard more. The number of birds feeding on the track by the hide had dropped considerably, with only about thirty Linnets and a dozen or so Reed Buntings left. While walking down to the first screen I saw about ten Peacocks nectaring on Blackthorn flowers. I saw a single Common Lizard down by the screen, and a Brown Hare on Ashgrave. I also saw a Marsh Harrier flying over the reedbeds. In the afternoon I saw more butterflies in the garden and on the allotment. I also saw a Roe Deer in the field adjacent to the allotment.
Wednesday 8th April
Another warm day brought the butterflies out in the University Parks at lunchtime. I saw at least ten Small Tortoiseshells, five Peacocks and a couple of Brimstones and Commas. Across the river in Marston Meadows I saw more Peacocks, and single examples of Treecreeper, Wren and Chiffchaff.
Tuesday 7th April
I saw a couple of Peacocks and a Comma in the garden today, as well as a couple of queen Wasps. A solitary Swallow flew over the garden mid-afternoon.
Monday 6th April
Today was the first really spring-like day of the year, with the temperature reaching 19°C. I visited Stratfield Brake (a new site for me) to try to find the Gargany, but without success. However it is quite a good site (well worth another visit), with the usual water birds being seen. Several Chiffchaffs were singing. The sunshine also brought out some butterflies; I saw three Peacocks and four Small Tortoiseshells. I watched a Common Toad crawl up the lake bank. On the way home I stopped at Dry Sandford Pit and had quick walk round. Brimstones had woken up by now (midday) and I saw three males. I also saw a Narrow-bordered Bee-fly. At home a male Small White flew into the garden and stopped briefly to take nectar from a wallflower. A Comma spent over an hour nectaring on Grape Hyacinths in next door's garden. I also saw a couple of Bee-flies and my first Seven-spot Ladybird of the year.
Sunday 5th April
I visited Farmoor in the late afternoon today, and succeeded in finding the Red-necked Grebe in the south-west corner of F2. This individual seems to be a permanent fixture here in the spring and autumn (even though there is no way of being sure that it is the same bird). Little Grebes have dispersed; I could only find one, which was starting to show breeding plumage. Great Crested Grebes were still much in evidence, and these are presumably non-breeding adults. On the river bank south of the Shrike Meadow hide I saw a Little Egret and a Barn Owl. As I was leaving I saw three Gadwall. I also heard a Chiffchaff singing.
Wednesday 1st April
This morning I heard a Chiffchaff singing at Hinksey Lake, and then saw two Mistle Thrushes in Hinksey Park.
Wednesday 25th March
I had a brief visit to the southern end of Port Meadow at lunchtime today. There were lots of Wigeon feeding out on the grass; I reckon at least three hundred of them. There were also six Shelduck and ten or so Shoveler. At the edge of the flood I saw some Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails, and a Grey Heron .
Tuesday 24th March
A solitary Small Tortoiseshell was flying around in my front garden at lunchtime today.
Sunday 22nd March
I had a trip down to Otmoor this morning. I started by going up the old Roman road, where notable species were a Chiffchaff, a Treecreeper and a pair of Bullfinches. Two Great Spotted Woodpeckers were drumming, although I didn't find either of them. A solitary Raven flew across the car park field. There were still a lot of Wigeon on Greenaways (and elsewhere). Redshanks were calling from the Closes as well as Greenwaways and Big Otmoor; I saw at least a dozen altogether. Lapwings were also quite numerous (and vocal), but the large winter flock has dispersed. There were two pairs of Shoveler on the large scrape on Greenaways, and two more pairs on Big Otmoor. Up at the hide the distributed seed was still attracting large numbers of small birds. Reed Buntings were the majority this time, but there were still quite a lot of Linnets and a few Goldfinches. Two Stock Doves were also feeding on the seed, but they were quite a long way down the track. That's a life tick for me, by the way. A pair of Pintail were on the lagoon on Ashgrave. By now the sun was getting warmer, so I headed back to the Roman road. Despite going up and down it twice I couldn't find any butterflies. I did see two Muntjacs and a Brown Hare though.
Later on the allotment I saw two butterflies, a Peacock and a Small Tortoiseshell. I guess it was just too chilly for most of them today, although it was sunny.
Saturday 21st March
The Vernal Equinox today, but it wasn't very spring-like in Abingdon, with cloudy skies and a brisk NE wind. I saw a Red Kite and a Skylark on the allotment.
Friday 20th March
This morning I saw a Chiffchaff in the garden, a species I hadn't recorded there before. I also saw a Mistle Thrush in Hinksey Park, and a Red Kite above the Thames at Folly Bridge.
Wednesday 18th March
Some sunshine between 13:30 and 13:45 was enough to tempt out a couple of Small Tortoiseshells in the Oxford University Parks today. There were also at least three Grey Squirrels out and about.
Thursday 12th March
Although it wasn't very sunny today, I saw three Peacocks, one Small Tortoiseshell, two Wrens and two Long-tailed Tits in the University Parks at lunchtime.
Tuesday 10th March
Yesterday evening I found a mating pair of Common Frogs in the garden. This morning there was a big blob of frog spawn in a shallow container that birds use for bathing. At lunchtime I saw a Brimstone and a Comma in the garden. A pair of Robins also turned up in the afternoon.
Sunday 8th March
Yesterday's spring-like conditions had disappeared this morning, and it was cloudy and breezy. I headed to Farmoor Reservoir in the hope that the southerly wind over the last few days might have brought in a migrant or two. However, water birds were much as normal, except that I only found two Little Grebes today. Down by Pinkhill I saw a Song Thrush and a Treecreeper (my first record of the latter at Farmoor). On Pinkhill itself there were eighteen Wigeon and a male Reed Bunting. I saw a couple of parties of Long-tailed Tits on the way to Shrike Meadow. South of the hide I saw a Grey Heron, a Buzzard and a Kestrel. On the way back to the car park I saw a Grey Wagtail.
Saturday 7th March
As it was sunny and quite mild today, I visited Dry Sandford Pit in the late morning to see if any butterflies were about. After quite a long wait a male Brimstone eventually appeared at about 12:30, and it was followed by at least three more in the next 45 minutes. It was quite windy, and this may have prevented other species from venturing out. On the bird front a couple of Buzzards were overhead at one point. I also saw a Red Kite, three Long-tailed Tits and a Green Woodpecker.
Friday 6th March
I managed a brief visit to the University Parks at lunchtime today. In a sheltered sunny spot I found my first butterflies of the year: one Peacock and one Small Tortoiseshell.
Thursday 5th March
I had a walk in the University Parks and Marston Meadows at lunchtime today. There wasn't much about but I saw a Kestrel in Marston Meadows and a Redwing and a couple of Coal Tits in the park. I looked for butterflies as well, but although it was fairly mild there wasn't enough sunshine to tempt any out.
Wednesday 4th March
I had a look at Hinksey Lake this morning. There were only four Tufted Ducks left, and Coot numbers were down as well. The two Great Crested Grebes have paired up, and the pair of long-staying Lesser Black-backed Gulls were back. A Red Kite flew over, and I heard a Greenfinch singing. I also saw the two Mistle Thrushes in Hinksey Park again.
Sunday 1st March
This morning I saw a Red Kite and a Kestrel at the allotment, and also heard a Skylark. Later in the afternoon a solitary Long-tailed Tit made a brief appearance in the garden.
Thursday 25th February
This morning I saw two Mistle Thrushes in Hinksey Park.
Sunday 22nd February
I visited Otmoor this morning. There had been a hard overnight frost and much of the standing water was frozen. The first bird I heard, and then saw, was a Song Thrush in the car park field. The feeders were not that busy initially, but there were five female Pheasants on the ground waiting for spillage. There were lots of Wigeon on the Closes (and the other fields), and I saw three Snipe flying as well. I photographed a very obliging Dunnock by the gate into Greenaways. There were lots of very vocal Lapwings flying about. There were two pairs of Shoveler on the big scrape on Greenaways. At the hide there was a big flock of at least a hundred Linnets feeding on seed on the track, accompanied by Chaffinches and Reed Buntings. After much searching I finally found some distant Pintail on Big Otmoor. Several small parties of Golden Plover flew over, as well as a flock of about three hundred Lapwings. A couple of Red Kites were active over Big Otmoor, with Lapwings mobbing them from time to time. I walked down to the first screen but there wasn't much on the lagoon other than Shoveler and Tufted Ducks. On the way back I found a pair of Stonechats working along the ditch alongside the bridleway. Finally, when I got back to the feeders there were a lot more birds on them, mainly tits (but there was no sign of the Marsh Tit today). A Grey Squirrel was trying to get seed out of nyger feeder, but I suspect it was not very successful.
Saturday 21st February
The Blackcap put in a brief appearance in the garden this morning. At Radley Lakes in the afternoon the usual residents were on Thrupp Lake. A male Greenfinch was singing. Two Buzzards went over. I found two pairs of Bullfinches feeding on Sallow buds. As usual they mostly stayed deep in the vegetation, but one male sat up in the open for a few minutes.
Friday 20th February
There was a male Blackcap in the garden again this morning.
Wednesday 18th February
This morning at Hinksey Lake I saw the usual residents with the addition of a Kingfisher. The pair of Great Crested Grebes were engaged in more courtship ritual. The Pochard count had gone back up to three males. In Hinksey Park I heard two singing Song Thrushes and managed to find both.
At lunchtime I walked down to Mesopotamia (near the weir on the Cherwell), where I found one male and one female Goosander. They were snoozing in the dead water behind an islet, but eventually the male ventured out and I was able to photograph him. Also seen here were Canada Geese, and Teal in the flooded field.
Sunday 15th February
This morning at the allotment I saw a Skylark, two Robins and two Great Tits.
Thursday 12th February
This morning I watched a pair of Great Crested Grebes performing their courtship dance on Hinksey Lake. The male dived and came up with a bit of weed, which he presented to the female. There were also two male Pochard on the lake, as well as the usual residents. A party of Long-tailed Tits was in one of the bankside Hawthorn bushes.
Monday 9th February
The male Blackcap was in the garden again this morning, and there were five Goldfinches poking about in the ash tree. On the way in to work I heard two Song Thrushes singing in Hinksey Park.
Sunday 8th February
The male Blackcap was in the garden briefly this morning, but I didn't see it again during the day. The male Blackbird which has staked a claim to my garden was kept busy chasing off a female, and it also had a standoff with a Starling. I saw three Dunnocks at one point: two males competing for a female. A Blue Tit was singing in the ash tree at the front of the house.
I went to Farmoor in the morning, my first visit there for two months. First off I saw a Kingfisher and then no fewer than ten Little Grebes all together. There were quite a lot of Cormorants about, some with the white patch of feathers worn in the breeding season. Tufted Ducks were quite numerous, with about forty seen altogether. I managed to find just two Goldeneye, a much lower number than usual in winter at Farmoor. I also saw a Grey Wagtail poking about along the shoreline. Passerines seen on the west side of F1 included Redwings and Fieldfares feeding in the grass (and using molehills as lookout posts), and Bullfinches and Goldfinches in the hedgerow by Pinkhill.
Tuesday 3rd February
There was a male Blackcap in the garden this morning.
Monday 2nd February
I had another look at a partially frozen Hinksey Lake this morning. There was no sign of the Pochard today, but the long-staying Lesser Black-backed Gulls had returned, and I also saw a Great Crested Grebe.
Sunday 1st February
I visited a very cold Otmoor this morning. There was a significant windchill from the strong NNW wind. To keep out of it as much as possible I walked along the footpath to the south of the Closes. There were lots of Rooks on the farm fields, some of which were harassing a Red Kite. After I reached the hide a large flock of finches and buntings came down to feed on the track. There were at least sixty Linnets, thirty Reed Buntings and smaller numbers of Blue Tits, Chaffinches and Goldfinches. There were some Wigeon in the lagoon on Ashgrave. Initially there were only a few Canada Geese on Ashgrave, but later a lot more Canadas and some Greylags turned up. I walked down to the first screen but there was little of note other than a couple of Grey Herons. Walking back along the bridleway I saw a Kestrel over Big Otmoor, and several Wigeon, Teal, Mallard and Gadwall on Greenaways. The feeders were well patronised, with many Blue and Great Tits, at least five Goldfinches, many Chaffinches, two Greenfinches, two Long-tailed Tits, some Reed Buntings and a Marsh Tit. I saw two Song Thrushes on the Closes. Finally, as I walked back to the car park I saw two male Bullfinches eating Blackthorn buds, but they stayed well down in the bushes to keep out of the wind.
Thursday 29th January
I had my first look at Hinksey Lake this year today. There were three male Pochard, about ten Tufted Ducks and one Cormorant, as well as the usual Coots and Black-headed Gulls.
Saturday 24th January
I had a walk in Bagley Wood this afternoon. There wasn't much about. All I saw were a Wren, a Nuthatch, a Treecreeper and a Buzzard, a small mixed flock of Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, and a Muntjac.
There wasn't much sign of spring, other than a few Hazel trees with catkins.
Thursday 22nd January
A Coal Tit visited the feeder in the garden of 15 Parks Road, Oxford, several times today.
Sunday 18th January
I saw two Red Kites and two Buzzards over north Abingdon at lunchtime today.
Saturday 17th January
There was some snow around breakfast time this morning. At one point there were four Wood Pigeons and three Blackbirds in the garden. A Wren also made an appearance.
I didn't see much as I went down Thrupp Lane in the late morning, but a Sparrowhawk shot down the lane about a foot off the ground, obviously hoping for the element of surprise. As far as I could tell it didn't catch anything.
At Thrupp Lake I saw a Greenfinch, a Bullfinch, a Kingfisher and a Goldcrest. At least half a dozen Redwings were feeding on ivy berries in the trees on the north bank of the lake. The usual occupants were on the lake itself, although I did find some Teal which I han't seen last time. I saw a pair of Great Crested Grebes engaged in their courtship ritual.
Sunday 11th January
I visited Otmoor this morning. The seed feeders were well patronised by Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, along with two Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Reed Buntings and Chaffinches were feeding on the ground by the cattle pens. There were some Wigeon and Mallard on Greenaways, and one Grey Heron. Careful inspection of the scrapes revealed two Snipe, and I saw three more flying.
There was a large flock of Canada Geese on Ashgrave, and more kept arriving. There were quite a lot of Wigeon here as well. There was a big flock of small birds on the track to the south of the hide, but other than a few Reed Buntings I couldn't see what the rest were as the sun was in the way. A flock of Golden Plover had taken to the air, and then came back down at the west end of Big Otmoor. Birds of prey seen today were two Kestrels and two Red Kites.
At home I saw two Jackdaws and at least fifteen House Sparrows.
Saturday 10th January
I saw a number of Rooks at Millets Farm this morning. In the afternoon I went down to Lower Radley to see the two long-staying Whooper Swans (at about SU536992). The two Whoopers were in the same field as a number of Mute Swans, but kept apart from them. Along the track to Radley Fisheries there was a mixed flock of finches and buntings, including Yellowhammers, Reed Buntings, Linnets and Chaffinches. I also saw several Long-tailed Tits and Goldfinches in a garden in the village. There was a flock of around thirty Fieldfares in one of the paddocks, but they were flushed by a Sparrowhawk and didn't return.
Wednesday 7th January
I saw a flock of Canada Geese feeding on the playing fields off Abingdon Road this morning.
Sunday 4th January
Notable garden visitors today were a Wren and a male Blackcap.
Friday 2nd January
I had a trip down Thrupp Lane to Thrupp Lake this morning. I saw a couple of Pied Wagtails and a pair of Stonechats in one of the horse paddocks, and also a Wren and a couple of Goldfinches. The usual residents were on the lake. I saw at least a dozen Cormorants and over twenty Gadwall. I could only find one Little Grebe and two Great Crested Grebes today. A Grey Heron perched in the bankside vegetation on the north side of the lake, and flew off with a squawk when I got too close. In the trees on the north side I saw a Goldcrest and a Song Thrush. A Jay flew across the deer park.
Thursday 1st January
A mild, damp and windy start to the year. I only saw eight bird species in or near the garden today.
Great Northern Diver | Farmoor | 28 Dec
Grey Wagtail | Farmoor | 28 Dec
Sparrowhawk | Otmoor | 20 Dec
Linnet | Otmoor | 20 Dec
Grey Phalarope | Farmoor | 28 Nov
Brambling | Otmoor | 22 Nov
Fieldfare | Otmoor | 22 Nov
Shoveler | Titchwell | 24 Oct
Curlew | Titchwell | 24 Oct
Marsh Harrier | Cley Marshes | 23 Oct
Ruff | Cley Marshes | 23 Oct
Pink-footed Goose | Holkham | 23 Oct
Turnstone | Hunstanton | 22 Oct
Oystercatcher | Hunstanton | 22 Oct
Pied Wagtail | Farmoor | 18 Oct
Little Grebe | Farmoor | 18 Oct
Red-necked Grebe | Farmoor | 18 Oct
House Sparrow | Abingdon | 03 Oct
Hobby | Otmoor | 27 Sep
Hornet | Otmoor | 27 Sep
Great Crested Grebe | Farmoor | 13 Sep
Yellow Wagtail | Farmoor | 13 Sep
Red-eyed Damselfly | Radley Lakes | 12 Sep
Treble-bar | Radley Lakes | 12 Sep
Green-veined White | Otmoor | 07 Sep
Southern Hawker | Abingdon | 06 Sep
Migrant Hawker | Farmoor | 06 Sep
Ringed Plover | Farmoor | 06 Sep
Dunlin | Farmoor | 30 Aug
Grey Wagtail | Farmoor | 30 Aug
Speckled Wood | Lardon Chase | 29 Aug
Adonis Blue | Lardon Chase | 29 Aug
Common Blue | Hackpen Hill | 16 Aug
Wall Brown | Pewsey Downs | 16 Aug
Small Blue | Pewsey Downs | 16 Aug
Painted Lady | Dry Sandford Pit | 08 Aug
Brown Hairstreak | Otmoor | 02 Aug
Silver-spotted Skipper | Abingdon | 30 Jul
Chalk Hill Blue | Aston Rowant NNR | 30 Jul
Zygaena ephialtes | Bulgaria | 26 Jul
Hummingbird Hawkmoth | Bulgaria | 26 Jul
Nutcracker | Bulgaria | 26 Jul
Scarce Copper | Bulgaria | 25 Jul
Minstrel Bug | Bulgaria | 25 Jul
Ottoman Brassy Ringlet | Bulgaria | 25 Jul
Scotch Argus | Bulgaria | 24 Jul
Large Wall Brown | Bulgaria | 24 Jul
Large Ringlet | Bulgaria | 24 Jul
Queen of Spain Fritillary | Bulgaria | 23 Jul
Eastern Bath White | Bulgaria | 23 Jul
Red-veined Darter | Bulgaria | 22 Jul
Lang's Short-tailed Blue | Bulgaria | 22 Jul
Scarce Swallowtail | Bulgaria | 22 Jul
Red-backed Shrike | Bulgaria | 22 Jul
Anomalous Blue | Bulgaria | 21 Jul
Balkan Goldenring | Bulgaria | 21 Jul
Common Glider | Bulgaria | 21 Jul
Little Tiger Blue | Bulgaria | 21 Jul
Lesser-spotted Fritillary | Bulgaria | 21 Jul
Eastern Wood White | Bulgaria | 20 Jul
Knapweed Fritillary | Bulgaria | 20 Jul
Small Red-eyed Damselfly | Crookham Common | 18 Jul
Grayling | Silchester Common | 18 Jul
Silver-studded Blue | Silchester Common | 18 Jul
Swallow-tailed Moth | Abingdon | 13 Jul
Small Red Damselfly | Cothill Fen | 12 Jul
Keeled Skimmer | Cothill Fen | 12 Jul
Peacock | The Holies | 11 Jul
Essex Skipper | Abingdon | 10 Jul
Emperor Dragonfly | Otmoor | 04 Jul
Ruddy Darter | Otmoor | 04 Jul
Dark Green Fritillary | Calvert Jubilee | 04 Jul
Purple Emperor | Bernwood Forest | 03 Jul
White Admiral | Bernwood Forest | 03 Jul
Beautiful Demoiselle | Bernwood Forest | 03 Jul
Leucistic Starling | Abingdon | 02 Jul
Small Skipper | Dry Sandford Pit | 02 Jul
Comma | Dry Sandford Pit | 02 Jul
Gatekeeper | Abingdon | 01 Jul
Black Hairstreak | Whitecross Green Wood | 21 Jun
Marbled White | Whitecross Green Wood | 21 Jun
Heath Fritillary | Bin Combe | 19 Jun
Goldenring | Haddon Hill | 18 Jun
Large Skipper | Haddon Hill | 18 Jun
Dipper | Watersmeet | 16 Jun
Small P-B Fritillary | Heddon Valley | 16 Jun
Large Blue | Collard Hill | 15 Jun
Variable Damselfly | Abingdon | 13 Jun
Red-headed Cardinal | Abingdon | 13 Jun
Large White | Aston Upthorpe Downs | 07 Jun
Banded Demoiselle | Goring | 07 Jun
Small Heath | Dry Sandford Pit | Oxon, 06 Jun
Greenfinch | Otmoor | 01 Jun
Four-spotted Chaser | Otmoor | 01 Jun
Black-headed Cardinal | Otmoor | 01 Jun
Blue-tailed Damselfly | Otmoor | 01 Jun
Adonis Blue | Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon | 30 May
Wood White | Bucknell Wood | 30 May
Brown Argus | Dry Sandford Pit | 23 May
Common Blue | Dry Sandford Pit | 23 May
Black-throated Diver | Farmoor | 19 May
Marsh Fritillary | Bentley Wood | 17 May
Pearl-bordered Fritillary | Bentley Wood | 17 May
Small Blue | Pitstone | 16 May
Dingy Skipper | Pitstone | 16 May
Common Blue Damselfly | Pitstone | 16 May
Burnet Companion | Ivinghoe Beacon | 16 May
Duke of Burgundy | Ivinghoe Beacon | 16 May
Turtle Dove | Otmoor | 10 May
Hairy Hawker | Otmoor | 10 May
Barn Owl | Farmoor | 09 May
Sanderling | Farmoor | 09 May
Azure Damselfly | Farmoor | 09 May
Holly Blue | Abingdon | 09 May
Cimbicid sawfly | Abingdon | 09 May
Grizzled Skipper | Aston Upthorpe Downs | 04 May
Small Copper | Aston Upthorpe Downs | 04 May
Yellow Wagtail | Farmoor | 03 May
Siskin | Arne | 01 May
Linnet | Durdle Door | 30 Apr
Whitethroat | Durdle Door | 30 Apr
Stonechat | Durdle Door | 30 Apr
Painted Lady | Stoborough Heath| 30 Apr
Mistle Thrush | Arne | 30 Apr
Sika deer | Arne | 30 Apr
Great Black-backed Gull | Lulworth Cove | 29 Apr
Little Ringed Plover | Farmoor | 28 Apr
Common Tern | Farmoor | 28 Apr
Teal | Otmoor | 27 Apr
Speckled Wood | Otmoor | 27 Apr
Large Red Damselfly | Otmoor | 27 Apr
Orange-tip | Otmoor | 27 Apr
Orange-tip | Ardley Quarry | 25 Apr
Green Hairstreak | Aston Rowant NNR | 18 Apr
Green-veined White | Farmoor | 12 Apr
Dunlin | Farmoor | 12 Apr
Shoveler | Otmoor | 09 Apr
Common Lizard | Otmoor | 09 Apr
Small White | Abingdon | 06 Apr
Comma | Abingdon | 06 Apr
Common Toad | Stratfield Brake | 06 Apr
Red-necked Grebe | Farmoor | 05 Apr
Muntjac | Otmoor | 22 Mar
Lapwing | Otmoor | 22 Mar
Small Tortoiseshell | Oxford | 18 Mar
Peacock | Oxford | 12 Mar
Robin | Abingdon | 10 Mar
Brimstone | Dry Sandford Pit | 07 Mar
Stonechat | Otmoor | 22 Feb
Dunnock | Otmoor | 22 Feb
Bullfinch | Radley Lakes | 21 Feb
Goosander | River Cherwell, Oxford | 18 Feb
Grey Wagtail | Farmoor | 08 Feb
Goldeneye | Farmoor | 08 Feb
Fieldfare | Farmoor | 08 Feb
Redwing | Farmoor | 08 Feb
Goldfinch | Otmoor | 01 Feb
Chaffinch | Otmoor | 01 Feb
Linnet | Otmoor | 01 Feb
Reed Bunting | Otmoor | 11 Jan
Great Spotted Woodpecker | Otmoor | 11 Jan
Whooper Swan | Lower Radley | 10 Jan
Blackcap | Abingdon | 04 Jan
Gadwall | Radley Lakes | 02 Jan
Grey Heron | Radley Lakes | 02 Jan