Natural History Diary : September 2019
Monday 30th September
A Speckled Wood came into the garden around mid-day today, and settled on the greenhouse.
Sunday 29th September
A single Small White was the only butterfly seen in the garden today.
Saturday 28th September
After a week of pretty rubbish weather, I went over to Otmoor this morning. It was breezy and mostly cloudy, but quite warm. Despite all the rain last week the scrapes on Greenaways were still dry. There weren't many birds about as I walked along the bridleway. A couple of Chiffchaffs were in the hedgerow. Down the track to the first screen I heard a Cetti's Warbler and saw a mixed flock of tits and warblers, which included a Blackcap. At the first screen there was a lot of exposed mud. There were two Black-tailed Godwits here; one was feeding at the northern end of the lagoon, and the other was resting on the mud. It then flew off to the north (these were the first Blackwits I'd seen at Otmoor). I saw a Marsh Harrier which was being harried by a crow. At the second screen I saw a Grey Heron and heard another Cetti's.
Butterflies were a bit limited: four Red Admirals, a Comma, a Speckled Wood and a Common Blue was all that I saw. There were, for the first time this year, more Common Darters than Ruddy Darters, but numbers were not high. I also saw four Migrant Hawkers.
In the garden I saw a Red Admiral and a Large White, and there was just one Small White at the allotment.
Black-tailed Godwit, Otmoor, 28-Sep
Shoveler ♂, Otmoor, 28-Sep
Red Admiral, Otmoor, 28-Sep
Black-tailed Godwit | Otmoor Shoveler ♂ | Otmoor Red Admiral | Otmoor
Monday 23rd September
A Red Admiral was on the garden ivy again this morning. There were several Small Whites at the allotment.
Saturday 21st September
A warm and sunny day, but probably the last for a while. I went to Wytham Woods, a place I have neglected for many years. The purpose of going was to see if the reported Willow Emerald Spreadwings were still near the dried-up pond on Radbrook Common. On the way there I saw a Meadow Brown and a Small Heath in the grassland - both very late. There were also a couple of Speckled Woods, a Comma and a Coal Tit. At the pond I saw several Common Darters, Ruddy Darters and Migrant Hawkers, but there was no sign of any damselflies. However, various butterflies were coming down to the mud to imbibe what liquids they could find. I saw a Comma, a Red Admiral, a Speckled Wood, a male Brimstone, a Large White and a Peacock doing this. As I was about to leave a Grey Wagtail arrived, and started taking insects off the surface of the mud.
Comma, Wytham Woods, 21-Sep
Peacock, Wytham Woods, 21-Sep
Brimstone ♂, Wytham Woods, 21-Sep
Comma | Wytham Woods Peacock | Wytham Woods Brimstone ♂ | Wytham Woods
Friday 20th September
This morning a trio of Jays flew over near my garden, followed a bit later by a Grey Heron. There were a couple of Small Whites and a Large White in the garden.
Thursday 19th September
Had a very successful late afternoon visit to a warm and sunny Farmoor today. There were more birds there than I'd seen in some time. There were dozens and dozens of Canada and Greylag Geese, as well as twenty-two feral Barnacle Geese and even a solitary feral Snow Goose. The number of Cormorants had gone up a lot; I counted 132 of them. However the main interest today was five different waders, all juveniles of course: Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Little Stint, Ruff and Knot. All showed very well along the causeway, as usual not being too bothered by people. There was no sign of the leucistic Coot (but there were lots of black ones). Two Little Grebes were on F1. On the way back to the car park I saw a Yellow Wagtail on the eastern bank of F1, but it was very flighty.
Ringed Plover (juv), Farmoor, 19-Sep
Barnacle Goose, Farmoor, 19-Sep
Snow Goose, Farmoor, 19-Sep
Ringed Plover (juv) | Farmoor Barnacle Goose | Farmoor Snow Goose | Farmoor
Ruff (juv), Farmoor, 19-Sep
Little Stint (juv), Farmoor, 19-Sep
Knot (juv), Farmoor, 19-Sep
Ruff (juv) | Farmoor Little Stint (juv) | Farmoor Knot (juv) | Farmoor
Wednesday 18th September
Today there was a Comma and a Red Admiral on the garden ivy, and a Common Darter also put in a brief appearance.
Tuesday 17th September
I saw two Hummingbird Hawk-moths in the garden today (or it may have been the same one twice).
Sunday 15th September
Quite an interesting morning in the garden today. Three Buzzards were soaring high over north Abingdon, occasionally indulging in mild aerobatics. A pair of crows were mobbing a Sparrowhawk. Another Sparrowhawk, which appeared to be carrying prey, shot into the Sycamore tree in my neighbour's garden. There were a couple of Red Admirals on the ivy again. Finally, a Hummingbird Hawk-moth turned up, but didn't stay for long.
I had a trip to Farmoor in the late afternoon, but there wasn't much of note. Two Grey Wagtails, the leucistic Coot and a Chiffchaff was about it. I also saw a Red Admiral and two Migrant Hawkers.
Coot (leucistic), Farmoor, 15-Sep
Cormorant, Farmoor, 15-Sep
Coot | Farmoor Cormorant | Farmoor  
Saturday 14th September
Wall-to-wall sunshine today, and quite warm. At the allotment I saw a Speckled Wood, the faded Painted Lady and a couple of very faded Small Whites. A Grey Heron flew over. Then in the garden there were two Red Admirals and a Comma on the Ivy, and two Migrant Hawkers flew over. I went down to Radley Lakes in the afternoon. To the north of Orchard Lake I saw a couple of Speckled Woods and several Common Darters. The water level in Orchard Lake was so low that the lake had been split in two, and there was a large expanse of mud. I saw a couple of Southern Hawkers and a Red Admiral, but as I was looking at the birds on the lake I heard the unmistakable call of a Greenshank, which flew around a couple of times before disappearing behind the reeds. The north shore of Orchard lake was very busy, with many Ruddy Darters and Migrant Hawkers about. I heard a Cetti's Warbler and saw a couple of Little Egrets. There were a few butterflies about: two Commas, two Brown Argus and a Painted Lady.
Comma, Abingdon, 14-Sep
Common Darter ♀, Radley Lakes, 14-Sep
Ruddy Darter ♂, Radley Lakes, 14-Sep
Comma | Abingdon Common Darter ♀ | Radley Lakes Ruddy Darter ♂ | Radley Lakes
I had a look at the south-west corner of Thrupp Lake, where I saw a number of Migrant Hawkers, including a pair in cop. The usual birds were on the lake.
Migrant Hawker ♂, Radley Lakes, 14-Sep
Migrant Hawker ♂, Radley Lakes, 14-Sep
Migrant Hawker pair, Radley Lakes, 14-Sep
Migrant Hawker ♂ | Radley Lakes Migrant Hawker ♂ | Radley Lakes Migrant Hawker (pair) | Radley Lakes
Friday 13th September
A Comma was feeding on Ivy flowers in the garden this afternoon.
Thursday 12th September
There was a very faded Painted Lady and several Small Whites at the allotment this afternoon, and a Red Admiral was again feeding on Ivy flowers in the garden.
Wednesday 11th September
This afternoon I saw a Hummingbird Hawk-moth in the garden, but as most of the Phlox flowers had finished it didn't hang around for long. Then I saw a brown blur fly into the bottom of my Choisia bush - a Sparrowhawk. It flew off shortly afterwards with something its talons, which was presumably a House Sparrow.
Tuesday 10th September
A Red Admiral was feeding on Ivy flowers in the garden today.
Sunday 8th September
This morning at the allotment I saw a Painted Lady and several Small Whites. In the garden I saw two Red Admirals, several Small Whites and a Migrant Hawker. A late afternoon trip to Farmoor didn't turn up anything of great interest. Two Dunlin and two Common Sandpipers were the only passage migrants. I counted 84 Cormorants and 23 Mute Swans on the reservoirs. The Yellow-legged Gull with only one foot had returned. Down at the river I saw a Large White and a Green-veined White, and just one Common Darter at Buckthorn Meadow.
Red Admiral, Abingdon, 08-Sep
Grey Wagtail (juv), Farmoor, 08-Sep
Red Admiral | Abingdon Grey Wagtail (juv) | Farmoor  
Thursday 5th September
I visited Farmoor in the late afternoon today. I saw five juvenile Dunlin on the east shore of F2, but there wasn't anything else of note until the west end of the causeway, where I saw a couple of Little Grebes and a juvenile Grey Wagtail. I then went to see the leucistic Coot - a very striking bird. The normal black Coots seemed to be avoiding it. On the way back I saw two Common Sandpipers and then two juvenile Ringed Plovers. I saw three Swallows at the east end of the causeway.
Dunlin, Farmoor, 05-Sep
Leucistic Coot, Farmoor, 05-Sep
Ringed Plover, Farmoor, 05-Sep
Dunlin (juv) | Farmoor Coot | Farmoor Ringed Plover (juv) | Farmoor
Wednesday 4th September
I saw a Hornet Hoverfly in the garden this afternoon.
Hornet Hoverfly, Abingdon, 04-Sep
Hornet Hoverfly | Abingdon    
Tuesday 3rd September
I saw one Painted Lady at the allotment today. In the garden I saw a Red Admiral and a Holly Blue.
Sunday 1st September
Seen at the allotment today were three Painted Ladies and lots of Small Whites. A Painted Lady also made a brief visit to the garden to take nectar from Phlox flowers.