Natural History Diary : September 2018
Sunday 30th September
A fairly dull day (weather as well as birds) at Farmoor this morning. There was no sign of yesterday's Black-necked Grebe, although I did see five Little Grebes. Cormorant numbers continue to grow - I counted at least a hundred of them. The only other birds of note were five Ringed Plover, two Dunlin and a female Red-crested Pochard. I heard a Chiffchaff and a Cetti's Warbler at Pinkhill. There were a few Common Darters around as well.
Dunlin, Farmoor, 30-Sep
Little Grebe, Farmoor, 30-Sep
Red-crested Pochard, Farmoor, 30-Sep
Dunlin | Farmoor Little Grebe | Farmoor Red-crested Pochard ♀| Farmoor
Saturday 29th September
There were several Small Whites and one Large White at the allotment this afternoon.
Thursday 27th September
As it was a nice sunny morning I visited Chimney Meadows. When I reached the pylon field I spotted a couple of Clouded Yellows quite quickly, and the total count in 75 minutes was at least twenty. Some stopped to feed, mainly on dandelions and other yellow flowers. Other butterflies seen were three Red Admirals, at least a dozen Common Blues, six Small Coppers (some were very fresh) and four Speckled Woods. There were a few Common Darters about (including a pair in cop), but not many birds.
Later I saw a Red Admiral and a Small Tortoiseshell in Eynsham.
Clouded Yellow, Chimney Meadows, 27-Sep
Common Blue, Chimney Meadows, 27-Sep
Small Copper, Chimney Meadows, 27-Sep
Clouded Yellow | Chimney Meadows Common Blue ♂ | Chimney Meadows Small Copper ♂ | Chimney Meadows
Monday 24th September
After over a week of not being able to go anywhere, I was able to visit Farmoor Reservoir this afternoon. It was sunny with a light NW wind. There were again large numbers of Coot, Tufted Duck, Cormorant and Great Crested Grebe. There was a Kestrel on the fence around the water works. I saw at least six Red Admirals, all flying strongly south. Along the Pinkhill hedgerow there were quite a few Common Darters and Migrant Hawkers. There were also several Willow Warblers. A Buzzard flew fairly low over the reservoir. A Kingfisher flew out of the hedgerow and back again. At Buckthorn Meadow I saw a couple of Southern Hawkers, a Small Copper and more Willow Warblers. On the way back to the car park there were two Dunlin and two Ringed Plovers on the causeway, and two juvenile Arctic Terns over F1 (but frustratingly they stayed out of camera range).
Kestrel, Farmoor, 24-Sep
Cormorant, Farmoor, 24-Sep
Willow Warbler, Farmoor, 24-Sep
Kestrel | Farmoor Cormorant | Farmoor Willow Warbler | Farmoor
Migrant Hawker, Farmoor, 24-Sep
Southern Hawker, Farmoor, 24-Sep
Common Darter, Farmoor, 24-Sep
Migrant Hawker ♂ | Farmoor Southern Hawker ♂| Farmoor Common Darter | Farmoor
Thursday 20th September
I saw a Southern Hawker while waiting to cross the toll bridge at Swinford this afternoon.
Wednesday 19th September
I saw two Swallows heading south at Eynsham this morning.
Tuesday 18th September
A dead Southern Hawker was found in the Northcourt Centre, Abingdon this evening.
Thursday 13th September
Around lunch-time today the Ivy flowers in the garden were well patronised by bees, wasps and hover-flies, and also a Red Admiral which was missing part of its left hindwing.
I visited Farmoor in the late afternoon. Notable species seen today were a juvenile Ringed Plover, a Wheatear, a Swallow, two House Martins, a female Red-crested Pochard, four Great Black-backed Gulls and three Common Sandpipers. I heard a Cetti's Warbler.
Ringed Plover (juv), Farmoor, 13-Sep
Great Black-backed Gull (juv), Farmoor, 13-Sep
Ringed Plover (juv) | Farmoor Great Black-backed Gull (juv) | Farmoor  
Tuesday 11th September
Today I saw a Large White in the garden and a couple of Small Whites at the allotment.
Monday 10th September
I saw two Small Whites and a late Meadow Brown at the allotment this afternoon.
Sunday 9th September
I visited Farmoor this morning. It was fairly sunny but there was a brisk WSW wind. There was a lot of sailing activity on F2, which seemed to have pushed a lot of birds onto F1. There were the usual large numbers of Coot, Greylag Geese, Canada Geese, Tufted Dusk, Great Crested Grebe and Cormorant (I counted 94 of the latter). Other species seen included Little Grebe, Sand Martin, Swallow, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Chiffchaff, Common Sandpiper, Redshank and a juvenile Dunlin.
Along the Pinkhill hedgerow I saw a Common Blue, a couple of Brown Argus, a couple of Southern Hawkers and at least five Migrant Hawkers.
I saw a Large White in the garden in the afternoon.
Brown Argus, Farmoor, 09-Sep
Southern Hawker, Farmoor, 09-Sep
Redshank, Farmoor, 09-Sep
Brown Argus ♂ | Farmoor Southern Hawker ♂ | Farmoor Redshank | Farmoor
Thursday 6th September
I visited Otmoor around mid-day today. When I got there it was partly sunny, so there was some insect activity, but it clouded over completely which stopped almost everything. Migrant Hawkers were quite numerous, with at least thirteen seen between the car park and the first screen. There were also quite a few Common and Ruddy Darters. In the car park field I saw a couple of Small Coppers and a Comma. The feeders were well patronised by Blue and Great Tits, and I saw a juvenile Willow Warbler here. Up on the bridleway I nearly stepped on a juvenile Chiffchaff was was sitting on the path. It looked stunned, as though it had flown into a window. I encouraged it into the vegetation at the edge of the path.
There was nothing to see on Greenaways at all, and all I saw in the hedgerow was some Goldfinches feeding on teasles, and Hornets attacking a small ash tree. The main bird activity was on the lagoon, where there were lots of noisy Greylag and Canada Geese, as well as Mallard, Teal, Coot and a Mute Swan. On the way back to the car I saw a Dark Bush-cricket near the first screen, a Jay near the hide, a Hobby over the north side of Greenaways, a Whitethroat near the cattle pens, and a couple of Speckled Woods along the roman road.
Small Copper, Otmoor, 06-Sep
Chiffchaff, Otmoor, 06-Sep
Dark Bush-cricket, Otmoor, 06-Sep
Small Copper ♀ | Otmoor Chiffchaff | Otmoor Dark Bush-cricket ♀ | Otmoor
Wednesday 5th September
I saw a Migrant Hawker in the garden today.
Tuesday 4th September
This morning I saw two Large Whites and a Red Admiral at the allotment. In the afternoon I went down to Orchard Lake. There were few butterflies about, despite the sunny conditions. One Large White, three Speckled Woods, five Common Blues and one Green-veined White was all that I saw in an hour and a half. Dragonflies were rather more numerous, with at least twenty-six Common Darters, thirteen Ruddy Darters, a very late Emperor Dragonfly, six Migrant Hawkers, one Brown Hawker, one Southern Hawker and ten Common Blue Damselflies seen. I also saw three Hornets and a large number of Ivy Bees.
Common Darter, Radley Lakes, 04-Sep
Ruddy Darter, Radley Lakes, 04-Sep
Ivy Bees, Radley Lakes, 04-Sep
Common Darter ♀ | Radley Lakes Ruddy Darter ♂ | Radley Lakes Ivy Bees | Radley Lakes
Monday 3rd September
I saw a Hornet and a couple of Large Whites in the garden today, and Small and Large Whites at the allotment.
Sunday 2nd September
Another trip to Farmoor this afternoon. It was quite warm, cloudy with a very light westerly wind. There were lots of the usual species present, and a lot more Canada Geese than last time. Notable species were four Black Terns on F1, a Dunlin along the causeway and a Yellow Wagtail near the water treatment works. I saw at least three Yellow-legged Gulls, and there were about fifty Lesser Black-backed Gulls in the pre-roost.
I saw about a dozen Migrant Hawkers, two Brown Hawkers, one Southern Hawker and six Common Darters, from the reservoir water inlet to Buckthorn Meadow. There were few butterflies about: I only saw two Large Whites.
Cormorant, Farmoor, 02-Sep
Dunlin, Farmoor, 02-Sep
Yellow-legged Gull, Farmoor, 02-Sep
Cormorant | Farmoor Dunlin | Farmoor Yellow-legged Gull | Farmoor
Saturday 1st September
This afternoon I saw a Red Admiral and two Large Whites in the garden. A Feathered Beauty came into the house, and there was a Setaceous Hebrew Character in the polytunnel on the allotment.