Natural History Diary : 2009
Tuesday 29th December
There was a male Blackcap in the garden this morning.
Tuesday 22nd December
I went back to Radley Lakes to photograph Fieldfares with my new camera. There were far fewer about than there had been on Sunday (presumably because nearly all the Hawthorn berries had been eaten), but I did find one which was reasonably co-operative.
Sunday 20th December
There was a female Blackcap in the garden this morning, and the Long-tailed Tits came back. So did the sparrows - where were they yesterday?
A quick trip round Radley Lakes in the afternoon produced lots of Fieldfares, some Redwings and Blackbirds feeding on hawthorn berries. There was quite a lot on Thrupp Lake, including some Pochard. I saw a Sparrowhawk on the way up Thrupp Lane, and there were two cock Pheasants in the field.
Saturday 19th December
Given how cold it was today, there were few birds in the garden. Even the usual sparrows were elsewhere. But a small group of Long-tailed Tits passed through at dusk.
Sunday 13th December
I visited a very cold Otmoor this morning. Lots of Fieldfares were in the hedgerows in Otmoor Lane, but there weren't many on the reserve itself. There was a lot of activity on the feeders, but only Blue and Great Tits, with Chaffinches foraging on the ground (no Greenfinches, though). There was very little about on the walk to the first screen. Teal were about the only birds visible on the lagoon. There were lots of Lapwing and Wigeon feeding on Big Otmoor. Also a Grey Heron. More Lapwing and Wigeon were on Greenaways. One Redwing was seen at the feeders on the way back.
Saturday 5th December
I had a walk around Dry Sandford Pit this morning. Many Redwings were feeding on berries, but as usual they were very difficult to approach. Also Greater Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, a small flock of Goldcrests, many Blue and Great Tits, and a Chaffinch.
Sunday 15th November
I went to Bagley Wood this morning, but there weren't many birds about. I only saw Great and Coal Tits, but there were Blue and Long-tailed Tits calling. Several Jays were being quite vocal. I found several different fungi, so far unidentified. The most unexpected thing was two butterflies making the most of the mild weather: a Peacock and a Comma. Finally I saw a female Roe Deer.
Monday 2nd November
There was a Coal Tit on my seed feeder this morning. They are very infrequent garden visitors.
Saturday 31st October
I had a very successful visit to Otmoor today. First up were a couple of Pheasants near the car park. Then I saw a covey of Partridge in The Closes (too far away to see if they were Grey or Red-legged). On Greenaways near the pump house was a group of about 60 Grey Lag geese. Two pale individuals with them looked more like blue-phase Snow Geese. Way over the back of this field were Lapwings and Golden Plovers. Also a Marsh Harrier was seen.
Several Common Darters were still active, but they won't be able to go on for much longer.
Along the bridle way I got a glimpse of a Sparrowhawk flying fast and low along the hedge line. A couple of Grey Herons were on Greenaways. On the track down to the first screen a pair of Stonechats gave very good views in the late October sunshine. A couple of Snipe flew overhead.
At the first screen were 30+ Teal, another Heron, a Cormorant and a couple of Kingfishers. Also a male Shoveler worked along the edges of the island in front of the screen (the water level was well down). I also heard a Cetti's Warbler in this area.
On the way back there were a couple of Fieldfares in an oak tree along the bridle way, and Blue and Great Tits, and a Greater Spotted Woodpecker on the seed feeder.
Later at home an Angle Shades moth was battering itself against the kitchen window.
Friday 30th October
I visited Dry Sandford Pit today. Still not a great deal of birds there, but I did see several Great Tits, Robins and Blackbirds. Also a Greater Spotted Woodpecker, and a Jay was calling. The bird of the day was a (probably juvenile) Grey Wagtail, which was poking about in the stream.
Also several interesting fungi, of which I could only identify the Shaggy Ink Cap.
Wednesday 28th October
I saw a Large White and a Painted Lady in the garden today.
Monday 26th October
There was a Comma sunning itelf in the garden this afternoon. On the allotment I saw a family of Long-tailed Tits, and there was a Skylark singing. Must have thought it was spring!
Sunday 18th October
Two butterflies in the garden this morning, a Comma and a Red Admiral.
I went over to Farmoor in the afternoon but it was pretty quiet. However, the bird of the day was a female Scaup, which was diving with some Tufted Ducks at the NW part of F2. Also a couple of Kestrels, a Grey Heron on Shrike Meadow, several Meadow Pipits and a couple of Little Grebe. Also two Common Darters and a Garden Tiger caterpiller.
Saturday 17th October
A Red Admiral was flying in distinctly chilly conditions on the allotment this afternoon. A Red Kite was overhead briefly. A solitary Mute Swan flew over the garden this morning. There is still one very fat Frog in the pond.
Sunday 4th October
There are still three Frogs in the garden pond. I saw a Red Admiral in the garden and a couple of Large Whites on the allotment.
Sunday 27th September
As I was going down to the allotment, a Weasel ran across the track in front of me.
Dry Sandford Pit was fairly quiet. Just one Common Darter and one Large White made appearances. Birds were a bit more in evidence. A Red Kite and a Buzzard were overhead at the same time. Many Blue, Great and Log-tailed Tits were in the trees. Also One Chiffchaff and a Goldfinch feeding on a teazle.
A trip down Thrupp Lane was also fairly uneventful. Thrupp Lake has largely recovered from Npower's depradations, but the whole area has been fenced off.
Saturday 26th September
A Red Admiral and two Commas were feeding on Ivy flowers in a friend's garden in Kidlington. Two House Martins flew overhead.
Three Buzzards were very high over north Abingdon before drifting off to the east.
Thursday 24th September
There was another Hedgehog in the garden this evening, larger than the one on Tuesday.
Tuesday 22nd September
There was a young Hedgehog in the garden this evening.
Sunday 20th September
I went over to Farmoor but it was pretty quiet. The only birds of note were a Wheatear, Meadow Pipit, Yellow-legged Gull, Greater Black-backed Gull and Little Grebe.
Butterflies seen were three Red Admirals and a Large White. Odonata were limited to one Southern Hawker and several Common Darters.
Saturday 19th September
Two Red Kites and a Sparrowhawk over north Abingdon today. I saw a Red Admiral, a Vapourer Moth and a female Common Darter in the garden, and several Large Whites on the allotment.
Friday 18th September
A Red Kite flew over the house today.
Saturday 12th September
I went over to Aston Rowant NNR today, hoping I might see an Adonis Blue. I was not successful with this, but I did see at least six Commas, several Meadow Browns and Speckled Woods, many Small Heaths, a few Common Blues, one Silver-spotted Skipper, several Brimstones, a Large White, a Painted Lady, a Silver Y and several Vapourer moths.
Birds were Red Kite, Green Woodpecker, Long-tailed Tits, Meadow Pipit, a couple of Swallows and a Sparrowhawk.
On Watlington Hill I saw many of the same butterflies, with the addition of a Brown Argus.
Thursday 10th September
Seen today in the University Parks in Oxford were a Red Admiral, two Commas and a Large White. Also a Grey Heron on the island in the lake.
Monday 31st August
The species of butterfly at Dry Sandford Pit this afternoon was well down compared to my last visit. I recorded Green-veined White, Common Blue, Meadow Brown and Large White. Also seen were several Common Darters and a couple of male Southern Hawkers.
Earlier in the day I saw a Small Tortoiseshell and what was probably a Migrant Hawker at the allotment, and a Painted Lady was feeding on Ceratostigma griffithii flowers in the garden.
Monday 24th August
A juvenile Goldfinch was on my niger feeder this morning.
Saturday 22nd August
I recorded seven species of butterfly at Otmoor today: Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Common Blue, Painted Lady (including one newly-emerged individual with the pink flush), Brown Argus, Green-Veined White and Small White. There were many Ruddy Darters active, especially at the southern end of Sling Copse. Also Common Darter, Southern Hawker, Common Blue Damselfly and Common Spreadwing were seen.
Birds still a bit thin on the ground, but several juvenile Goldfinches, Long-tailed Tits and Willow Warblers/Chiffchaffs were seen. Also a large flock of Lapwings which kept getting flushed.
Sunday 16th August
I went over to Farmoor Reservoir today, my first visit for a couple of months. There were many juvenile Sand and House Martins, some Swallows, many Coots and Tufted Ducks (including one female with some quite small ducklings), Great Crested Grebes, Cormorants, a couple of Little Grebes, a Dunlin, and lots of juvenile Pied Wagtails. Away from the reservoir I saw a juvenile Wheatear.
Butterflies seen were Speckled Wood, Peacock, Common Blue and Red Admiral. Dragonflies seen were quite a few Common and Ruddy Darters, several Brown Hawkers, a Southern Hawker, a Banded Demoiselle and some Common Blue Damselflies.
Saturday 15th August
There was a female Common Blue in the garden today.
Friday 14th August
I found a Vapourer moth caterpillar in the garden this evening. I'm pretty sure that I also saw an adult (male) Vapourer on the wing.
Saturday 8th August
A trip to Aston Rowant NNR this morning was very productive. There were lots of butterflies feeding on the calcareous grassland flowers. I was able to record fourteen different species: Peacock, Painted Lady, Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Large White, Small White, Gatekeeper, Brimstone, Speckled Wood, Comma, Silver-studded Skipper, Chalk-hill Blue and Silver-washed Fritillary. There were many Silver Y moths active as well, with some Six-spot Burnets and a couple of Dusky Sallows. Not very many birds, just a Green Woodpecker and a Red Kite were of note.
Friday 7th August
Butterflies on the allotment this morning: Peacock, Painted Lady, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Large White, Small White. Also a number of Silver Y moths.
At Dry Sandford Pit I recorded 13 different species of butterfly in the afternoon: Peacock, Painted Lady, Gatekeeper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Common Blue, Small Copper, Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Comma and Brown Argus. Just two species of moth: Six-spot Burnet and Silver Y. Also several Brown Hawkers and a Migrant Hawker.
Sunday 2nd August
I visited Otmoor again this morning. Birds were fairly hard to find, but there were three Red Kites, and later two Buzzards, over Big Otmoor. Also a Kestrel and Sparrowhawk were seen. Reed and Sedge Warblers still about, plus a Cetti's was heard.
The butterflies species of the day was the Common Blue, with many males and some females active. Also quite a few Brown Argus, Painted Ladies, Peacocks, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Speckled Woods, and Large and Small Whites. Just a couple of Ringlets and Small Skippers, and a single Brimstone. One moth species - Silver Y.
Odonata were a bit thin on the ground. The only hawker seen was the Brown Hawker, with about half a dozen males patrolling territories. As it warmed up more and more (mostly male) Ruddy Darters appeared. Very few damselflies, jut a few Common Blues and a single Blue-tailed.
Tuesday 28th July
There was a group of about two dozen young Partridges on the allotment track this evening. They did not have the intelligence to go through the fence and into the wheat field.
Sunday 26th July
I found a Dusky Sallow moth on the allotment this morning. This species favours calcareous grassland, so the limestone in the A34 embankment is probably why it is present. Also more Painted Ladies and Small Tortoiseshells were about.
Saturday 25th July
A sunny day for a change. I saw Painted Lady, Peacock, Comma, Gatekeeper and Large White in the garden in the morning. An afternoon visit to Dry Sandford Pit produced no fewer than twelve species of butterfly and two moths. The butterflies were Peacock, Painted Lady, Gatekeeper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Small Skipper, Common Blue, Small Copper, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood. The moths were Six-spot Burnets and a Silver Y.
Dragonflies seen were Brown Hawker and Southern Hawker.
Later on the allotment I saw more Painted Ladies, a Peacock, a couple of Small Tortoiseshell and several Small Whites.
Wednesday 22nd July
A late afternoon/early evening trip to Dry Sandford Pit didn't produce a gret deal of interest except Six-spot Burnets, a Ringlet and Gatekeepers enjoying the late sunshine. A Scarlet Tiger was found just down the road at Parsonage Moor.
Friday 17th July
A family group of Long-tailed Tits was in the garden this afternoon.
Tuesday 14th July
Went to Kew Gardens today. Although this was mainly a horticultural trip I was able to get a pictures of a Wren and a juvenile Egyptian Goose, as well as see (and hear!) feral Ring-necked Parakeets. Butterflies: Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Comma, Peacock, Painted Lady. Dragonflies: lots of Common Blue Damselflies, also a couple of Brown Hawkers and Emperors.
Sunday 12th July
Another Red Kite over the house this morning. No sign of the Holly Blue today though. Saw a Greenfinch and a couple of Goldfinches on the allotment.
Saturday 11th July
A Red Kite went over in the morning. Large White and Holly Blue butterflies seen in the garden in the afternoon.
Sunday 5th July
A visit to Otmoor this morning produced a bird I have been trying to see down there for a while - a Turtle Dove. But I couldn't get close enough for a photograph. Ditto the Marsh Warbler - it was singing in the reeds, but it wouldn't show itself other than for brief glimpses. After an hour I gave up. Other species of interest were a Bullfinch, Marsh Harrier, Hobby and Red Kite.
Blue-tailed Damselflies were very abundant. Dragonflies seen were Brown Hawkers, Ruddy Darters, one Four-spot Chaser and one Black-tailed Skimmer.
Butterfly species seen were Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper (many), Marbled White, Small Skipper, Comma, and Small Tortoiseshell. A few Five-spot Burnets were about.
Friday 3rd July
I went to Dry Sandford pit in the afternoon. The usual butterflies were present: Ringlet and Meadow Brown in some numbers, quite a few Marbled Whites, Small Whites and Commas, a few Small Skippers and one each of Large White, Brimstone and Speckled Wood. Also quite a few Six-spot Burnets.
Just a few Odonata: a female Banded Demoiselle, a male Large Red Damselfly and four male Keeled Skimmers (a new species for me), the latter vigourously defending territories in the marsh.
Many Marsh Helleborines were in flower, and still a few Common Spotted Orchids.
There were two Silver Y moths feeding on garden flowers in the evening. Still one Frog in the pond as well.
Thursday 2nd July
There was a group of about 20 Long-tailed Tits on the allotment this morning.
Tuesday 30th June
I saw a lot of Swifts in south Oxford on the way in to work this morning. They were at quite low level, suggesting that there had been a mass fledging.
In the evening I found another Scarlet Tiger in the garden.
Monday 29th June
A Comma was feeding on Buddleja in the garden this morning.
Saturday 27th/Sunday 28th June
I arrived at the BBOWT Warburg reserve at Bix Bottom at around 21:15 Saturday for some moth trapping. After setting up the traps (two Robinson, one Actinic, one Skinner) I retired to bed. I was up before 05:00 on Sunday to turn off the lights and close the traps. The overnight weather was warm and humid, which were perfect conditions for moths. After a lot of counting we arrived at a total of 103 species, including some quite uncommon ones.
We got Privet, Poplar, Small Elephant and Elephant Hawk moths. Notable species were Royal Mantle, The Fern, Leopard Moth, Peach Blossom, Striped Lychnis and Great Oak Beauty.
Birds at Warburg included Red Kites and Buzzards. Several Green Woodpeckers, and a Blackcap, were heard.
Butterflies seen were Red Admiral, Ringlet, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Small (or Essex) Skipper and Comma. We tried using pheromone lures to attract Clearwing moths, but we were not successful.
Friday 25th June
Several silk tents in the nettles on the allotment; presumably they are full of Small Tortoiseshell larvae. Also lots of ladybirds, mostly 7-Spot but some Harlequins as well. Some Sawfly damage on my redcurrant bushes but I could only find one larva.
Thursday 25th June
A Hedgehog was in the garden again this evening.
Tuesday 23rd June
Several Small Tortoiseshells on the allotment this evening.
Sunday 21st June
Made my first trip to Farmoor for six weeks. It was pretty quiet on the bird front, with a couple of Green Woodpeckers being the main item of interest. Still some quite small Mallard ducklings about. The Black-headed Gulls on the tern raft have managed to rear some young, although they are not ready to fledge yet. Heard at various places were Cetti's and Sedge Warblers, and a Chiffchaff.
Day-flying moths were Scarlet Tiger (three seen) and Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnets (lots). Butterflies were Small Skipper (several), Marbled White (one), Ringlet (two), Meadow Brown (several), Small Tortoiseshell (one) and Common Blue (two).
Odonata were not very active, just some Common Blue Damselflies and Banded Demoiselles.
Finally, the Bee Orchids near the car park were in flower. There seemed to be three distinct variants: O. apifera with the lower part of the lip (the bee's 'body') being a solid brown colour (the nominate variety), ssp. belgarum which has the brown lip broken up by three yellow bands. and a third variant where the lip has several yellow stripes.
Saturday 20th June
I went to Aston Rowant again today for a BENHS field meeting. The weather didn't really co-operate, but I recorded seven species of butterfly: Speckled Wood, Ringlet, Painted Lady, Meadow Brown, Comma, Marbled White and Small Heath. Birds were a bit thin on the ground - even the usual Red Kites were few in number.
Thursday 18th June
I was able to photograph the Scarlet Tiger in the garden this morning. I have been getting this species pretty regularly over the years. Their main foodplant is Comfrey, but as there isn't any in my garden the larvae may be feeding on Honeysuckle instead.
Tuesday 16th June
A Red Kite was over my house at 08:30 this morning.
Sunday 14th June
A couple of Small Tortoiseshells and a Large Yellow Underwing on the allotment. Also lots of 7-Spot Ladybirds, with just a couple of Harlequins seen.
The garden pond frog count increased to five this evening. A Silver Y was feeding on Buddleja flowers.
Saturday 13th June
A Small Tortoiseshell was on the allotment this morning, and two Painted Ladies were feeding on Buddleya in the garden. An afternoon trip to Dry Sandford Pit produced a few Large Red Damselflies, a Blue-tailed Damselfly and three Azure Damselflies. Butterflies did better, with three Speckled Woods, a Marbled White, a couple of Large Skippers, a Brimstone, several Meadow Browns, a Comma, a Peacock and a Painted Lady.
Birds seen were a Kingfisher, Green Woodpecker, Blue Tit and Chiffchaff, with Blackcap and Garden Warbler heard.
Thursday 11th June
There were at least three families of Coot on Hinksey Lake this morning. Also two juvenile Great Crested Grebes.
Tuesday 9th June
Made an evening visit to Aston Rowant NNR. Red Kites were active for a while. Also a Green Woodpecker, families of Marsh and Blue Tits, and a Partridge. Many Common Spotted orchids and several Butterfly orchids were in flower.
Lots of Rabbits were active on Watlington Hill.
Monday 8th June
A Hedgehog was tucking into bran and raisins on my ground bird feeder this morning. You don't often see them about in broad daylight.
Sunday 7th June
Despite the cool and cloudy weather I went to Dry Sandford Pit again. As expected there were no butterflies or dragonflies about, but there were lots of juvenile Blue Tits. Also quite a few Common Spotted Orchids were in flower.
Sunday 31st May
I went down to Otmoor fairly early this morning, where I finally managed to photograph one of the millions of immigrant Painted Lady butterflies. Other butterflies seen were Speckled Wood, Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell a (probable) Green-veined White, and a late Orange Tip in Otmoor Lane.
Odonata seen were Azure Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Red-Eyed Damselfly (new for me), Large Red Damselfly, Four-spotted Chaser and Hairy Hawker (also new).
On the way down Otmoor Lane I saw a Red-legged Partridge. Several Cuckoos were heard, and I got a brief glimpse of one. Many Sedge Warblers, several Cetti's and a few Whitethroats were singing. A Red Kite was harrassed repeatedly by a Lapwing. Other raptors were a Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel and Hobby. A couple of Common Terns were over the main lagoon.
Monday 25th May
There has been a large influx of Painted Ladies. This species had a phenomenal breeding season in the Atlas Mountains due to winter rain, resulting in a mass dispersal north across the Mediterranean and across the whole of Europe from February onwards. The first substantial arrival in Britain was at Portland Bill on May 21st. The big NW movement occurred over the last couple of days, when several million insects arrived in Britain. Some Silver Y moths have arrived as well.
The first juvenile Starling of the year was on the bird table this morning.
Sunday 24th May
A family of Blue Tits was busy in the ash tree near my house this morning. I found two 2-Spot Ladybirds on the allotment.
In the afternoon I went to Dry Sandford Pit again. Not many birds, but I did hear Sedge and Reed Warblers. Butterflies did quite well, with Brimstone, Green-veined White, Large White, Common Blue, Orange Tip, Peacock, Comma, and Painted Lady all being seen. One moth was seen, a Burnet Companion. Several Large Red Damselflies and a newly emerged Broad-bodied Chaser were seen. Also a Bloody-nosed beetle (Timarcha tenebricosa) and a Hornet.
Saturday 23rd May
I found a 7-Spot Ladybird, and also a Harlequin, on the allotment. In the garden a fairly large Common Frog was obliging for several photographs.
Wednesday 20th May
An evening trip to the BBOWT Warburg reserve didn't produce much in the way of birds, but flowering Fly Orchids, Birds Nest Orchids and Butterfly Orchids were found.
Sunday 10th May
I went to the Dry Sandford Pit nature reserve this morning. For some reason I had never been to this reserve before - I shall certainly be going again.
Birds were a bit hard to come by, although quite a few were singing (Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler). I did see a Sparrowhawk and also a Green Woodpecker.
Insects were rather more obliging. I saw my first Large Red Damselflies of the year, and the following butterflies: Specked Wood, Green-veined White, Small Copper, Peacock, Large White, Orange Tip, Green Hairstreak and Brimstone.
Saturday 9th May
I went over to Farmoor Reservoir this morning, but I couldn't find any migratory waders at all. A modest number of Swifts were over the causeway, plus a couple of Swallows. Three Common Terns and two Grey Wagtails were the only other things of note. Pinkhill was similarly quite - only Tufted Ducks and Coots were about.
Walking along the river to Shrike Meadow was more productive. A good number of Sedge Warblers were singing, but I only managed to see one. A Cetti's Warbler called once from the other side of the river. A Cuckoo was also calling.
Butterflies seen were Orange Tip, Green-veined White, Peacock and Speckled Wood. Also my first damselflies of the year: a Common Blue Damselfly and a couple of Banded Demoiselles.
Wednesday 6th May
I carried out a search for Brown- and White-lipped snails in the garden today for Evolution MegaLab. Out of twenty-six snails found, 10 were yellow Brown-lipped with many bands, 5 were brown Brown-lipped with no bands, 3 were pink Brown-lipped with no bands, and 3 were pink Brown-lipped with many bands. Only one was a White-lipped.
Tuesday 5th May
There was a Goldfinch on the niger feeder today. Although I know that they are in the vicinity, they are not regular visitors to the feeder.
Sunday 3rd May
A juvenile Blackbird was in the garden this evening.
Saturday 2nd May
There were Robins, Starlings and Blackbirds coming to the garden feeders to get food for their nestlings today.
Friday 1st May
Saw my first Swifts of the year this morning - two were over Hinksey Lake. Also on the lake were two Great Crested Grebe chicks.
In the evening I went down to Burgess Field. Two Common Terns were over the flood on Port Meadow. On the field Cetti's, Grasshopper and Sedge Warblers were singing. Swifts, House Martins and Swallows were all seen.
Wednesday 29th April
I went down to Otmoor with a couple of work colleagues in the evening. We logged 24 birds (either seen or heard), of which the highlights were a Yellowhammer, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Whitethroat, Cuckoo (2 or 3 heard, 1 seen), Turtle Dove (one heard), Sparrowhawk and Marsh Harrier. Several Sedge Warblers were singing.
A Brown Hare on Big Otmoor was very obliging. Only one butterfly was seen - a female Orange Tip. Also a small Common Toad.
Sunday 26th April
I saw another Orange Tip on the allotment this morning, and a Speckled Wood in the garden.
I went over to Bagley Wood to see the bluebells. They seem to be more extensive than ever this year.
I spotted the first juvenile Blackbird of the year in the garden. It was well advanced so hopefully the local cats won't get it. A Heron flew over late in the afternoon.
Wednesday 22nd April
I went to Sydlings Copse this evening - the first time I've been there for ages. There were a couple of Greater Spotted Woodpeckers drumming, and several Green Woodpeckers calling and flying about. Other birds seen were a Linnet, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, and quite a few Chaffinches.
Sunday 19th April
Two Buzzards were circling very high over north Abingdon this morning, but suddenly they both folded their wings and departed in an easterly direction. I'm not sure what caused them to do this.
There were Peacock and Orange Tip butterflies on the allotment in the afternoon. Also, a Weasel ran across the access track.
Saturday 18th April
A Peacock butterfly was on the allotment this morning. A Kestrel was active again, as was a Skylark. Two Swallows passed through.
I went over to Farmoor in the evening to see the Bonaparte's Gull, but it had not appeared by the time that I left. The only other things of note were several Yellow Wagtails around the old waterworks, a Grey Wagtail on the causeway, and a couple of Common Terns.
Wednesday 15th April
Two Grey Partridges were on the allotment this evening.
Monday 13th April
The sunshine today brought out some butterflies on the allotment: Orange Tip, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone and Small White. A Kestrel was quite active as well.
In the afternoon I went over to Farmoor, but it was pretty quiet. A Redshank and a couple of Common Terns were on the barley bales on F1. At Pinkhill were some Tufted Ducks, a single Gadwall, a juvenile Mute Swan (which was chased off by an adult), two Lapwings and a couple of Swallows. A Chiffchaff and a Cetti's Warbler were heard. A Greater Spotted Woodpecker was in the trees near Shrike Meadow.
Butterflies seen were Peacock, Green-veined White, Orange Tip and Speckled Wood.
As I was returning to the car park, two Swallows were perched on a metal post near the end of the causeway.
Sunday 12th April
Saw and heard some migrants today on a very un-Spring-like morning on Otmoor (a cold NE wind and drizzle). At the car park I heard a Cuckoo, then saw a Chiffchaff singing in a hawthorn bush. Attempts to locate the Cuckoo were unsuccessful. I walked along the bridleway, where I logged a Greater Spotted Woodpecker, a Cetti's Warbler (heard), a Reed Bunting, some Chaffinches, a Skylark and a Lapwing. Continuing to the first screen, some Pochard, a male Ruddy Duck and a male Shoveler were on the lagoon.
On the way back were more Reed Buntings, Chaffinches and Skylarks, a couple of hardy Swallows and the same number of House Martins. The Golden Plover were still on the Closes. Cetti's were heard a couple of times, as were a couple of Sedge Warblers. I saw and heard a Whitethroat near the feeders, and a Grasshopper Warbler was reeling in the car park field. A trio of Shelduck were in one of the scrapes on the Closes.
The Blackthorn was in full flower.
Saturday 4th April
Saw the first Peacock of the year in the garden today. A couple of Red Kites flew high overhead.
Friday 3rd April
There was a frog in my pond today.
Sunday 22nd March
I visited Farmoor reservoir this morning. The reservoirs were pretty quiet apart from hundreds of Black-headed Gulls on F2, and a single Redshank which flew onto one of the barley bales on F1. A small flock of (probably) Sand Martins flew over, heading north, but they were quite high so identification was difficult.
Pinkhill was slightly more productive, with several Teal, a pair of Gadwall, a pair of Bullfinches, several male Reed Buntings and a Sparrowhawk.
Friday 20th March
A female Blackbird was gathering nesting material in the garden this morning.
Sunday 15th March
As it was a nice sunny morning I went down Thrupp Lane to the lakes and back again. No early Chiffchaffs, but I did see Small White and Brimstone butterflies. Saw a couple of Wrens, a group of Long-tailed Tits, a couple of Chaffinches, various Blue and Great Tits, and two Goldfinches. Waterfowl included Tufted Ducks, Canada and Grey Lag Geese, a pair of Great Crested Grebes, and Coot. Also a Buzzard.
Later at home I saw another Brimstone, and a Comma. A Red Kite over. Several yellow-tailed Bumblebees were about.
February 27th - March 6th
I visited Tenerife, La Gomera and Fuerteventura with Naturetrek. See here for a report.
Saturday February 21st
The first really Spring-like day of the year. A Skylark was singing at the allotment.
Saturday February 7th
A pair of Great Tits were in the garden this morning. They are infrequent visitors but have probably come in because of the cold weather.
As Farmoor is closed at the moment, I went down Thrupp Lane to the lakes. There were quite a few Long-tailed Tits about, with some Greats and Blues. Thrupp Lake was partially frozen, but there were lots of water fowl on it: Mallard, Tufted Ducks, a Shelduck, Pochard and Wigeon in the duck department. Many Black-headed Gulls with some Herring/Yellow-Legged Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Three juvenile Mute Swans, a couple of Canada Geese and lots of Coots. Bullfield Lake was completely iced over.
Sunday January 24th
Saw a male Blackcap in my parents' garden in north Oxford. Very quiet in Abingdon - do the birds know they are being counted today?
Friday January 23rd
A group of seven or eight Long-tailed Tits passed through the garden this morning.
Wednesday January 21st
The Cormorant still on Hinksey Lake this morning. Coots were starting to show territorial behaviour.
In the Parks at lunchtime I saw a Jay, also brief views of a Sparrowhawk and a Heron. Not a great deal about. But Aconites, Snowdrops and Alder catkins were out, so spring is on the way.
Tuesday January 20th
Two Robins in the garden this morning. Have they paired up already?
Saturday January 17th
Not a lot on the allotment this afternoon, just a Kestrel and a few Magpies.
Sunday January 4th
I visited a very cold Farmoor this morning. The edges of the reservoirs were starting to freeze over, something I've never seen at Farmoor before. However, there were a lot of birds about. More or less in chronological order: five or six Little Grebes, a Dunlin, several Goldeneye (about 6 males, 20+ females), many Great Crested Grebes, Coots and Tufted Ducks, a female Shoveler, two Fieldfares, a Stonechat, two Great Northern Divers, a Common Sandpiper and a male Pochard.
Saturday January 3rd
Four Goldfinches were in the garden this morning.

Fieldfare | Radley Lakes | 22 Dec

Peacock | Bagley Wood | 15 Nov

Stonechat | Otmoor | 31 Oct

Kingfisher | Otmoor | 31 Oct

Grey Wagtail | Dry Sandford Pit | 30 Oct

Scaup | Farmoor | 18 Oct

Yellow-legged Gull | Farmoor | 20 Sep

Painted Lady | Otmoor | 22 Aug

Southern Hawker | Otmoor | 22 Aug

Common Darter | Farmoor | 16 Aug

Vapourer Moth larva | Abingdon | 14 Aug

Silver-washed Fritillary | Aston Rowant | 08 Aug

Chalk Hill Blue | Aston Rowant | 08 Aug

Silver-Studded Skipper | Aston Rowant | 08 Aug

Dusky Sallow | Aston Rowant | 08 Aug

Brown Argus | Otmoor | 02 Aug

Brimstone | Otmoor | 02 Aug

Brown Hawker | Dry Sandford Pit | 25 Jul

Wren | Kew Gardens | 14 Jul

Egyptian Goose | Kew Gardens | 14 Jul

Gatekeeper | Otmoor | 05 Jul

Comma | Otmoor | 05 Jul

Marbled White | Dry Sandford Pit | 03 Jul

Elephant Hawkmoth | Warburg Reserve | 28 Jun

Privet Hawkmoth | Warburg Reserve | 28 Jun

Large Skipper | Farmoor | 21 Jun

N-B 5-spot Burnet | Farmoor | 21 Jun

Ringlet | Aston Rowant | 20 Jun

Scarlet Tiger | Abingdon | 18 Jun

Hedgehog | Abingdon | 08 Jun

Common Spotted Orchid | Dry Sandford Pit | 07 Jun

Sedge Warbler | Otmoor | 31 May

Marsh Orchid | Dry Sandford Pit | 25 May

Common Blue | Dry Sandford Pit | 24 May

Broad-bodied Chaser | Dry Sandford Pit | 24 May

Common Frog | Abingdon | 23 May

Small Copper | Dry Sandford Pit | 10 May

Large Red Damselfly | Dry Sandford Pit | 10 May

Brown Hare | Otmoor | 29 Apr

Whitethroat | Otmoor | 29 Apr

Kestrel | Otmoor | 29 Apr

Yellowhammer | Otmoor | 29 Apr

Speckled Wood | Farmoor, 13 Apr

Green-veined White | Farmoor | 13 Apr

Orange Tip | Farmoor | 13 Apr


Turtle Dove | Fuerteventura | 05 Mar

Greenish Black-tip | Fuerteventura | 05 Mar

Epaulet Skimmer | Fuerteventura | 05 Mar

Cream-coloured Courser | Fuerteventura | 04 Mar

Spanish Sparrow | Fuerteventura | 04 Mar

Great Grey Shrike | Fuerteventura | 03 Mar

Blue Chaffinch | Tenerife | 28 Feb

Atlantic Canary | Tenerife | 28 Feb

Canary Red Admiral | Tenerife | 28 Feb

Goldeneye | Farmoor | 04 Jan