Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rushbeds Wood & Lapland Farm - 14:30 to 15:45

An afternoon walk in light rain. Very wet under foot with ditches and stream full.

Not a great deal to be seen, just relatively common birds. Blackbirds much in evidence with a few Wood Pigeon, Wren, Carrion Crow, Jay and Jackdaw. Various Tit species heard; though, did enjoy watching a party of Long-tailed Tits around the woodland edge of Lapland Farm. Best bird of the walk was a Nuthatch. The bird was fairly low down at the edge of the ride from the car park to the centre of the wood.

I may have seen another more interesting species; though, the view of both specimens too fleeting to be sure - Woodcock! Brown jobs bursting from the wood floor with a fast twisting flight heading deeper into the wood. However, no views that would allow me to be sure of the identification but I have seen at least one in this area before during winter.

In addition to the above, 2+ Muntjac and a Grey Squirrel.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thame (Oxfordshire) - at home

Bird watching from home and in bed! 8 Red Kite soaring over the house. We have now put the remains of the Xmas Turkey on the garage roof!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Thame (Oxfordshire) - at home

A first in our garden! Around 09:00 we spotted a female Sparrowhawk on the back grass just below the feeders. She was plucking a victim and making it ready for her breakfast.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Avebury (Wiltshire) - October 12th 2009

Possibly my last butterfly of the year. One Red Admiral around Ivy flowers. What a warm and sunny autumn day!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Emmington (Oxfordshire - SP742026) - September 12th 2009

A glorious warm autumn afternoon walking the farmland around the small village of Emmington.

Very few butterflies on the wing. Identified Small and Large White, and two fresh Comma's seen in the village. A couple of small dark butterflies also seen, but not able to identify as they were flying low and strong across open fields.

Other insect interest centred on a male Calopteryx splendens (damselfly) in courtship flight near the small village pond. I thought they were more associated with running water and there is little close to Emmington other than at least one artificial garden feature.

The birds grabbed most of my interest with 2+ Common Buzzard and 5+ Red Kite soaring over the fields and coverts. Also, got some close views of a covey of Red-legged Partridge. Pity they were not Greys, but the Reds were fun to watch with much scurrying around and characteristic hoarse calls.

Unidentified Phylloscopus warblers calling ('huitt' calls) in Down Covert and a Chiffchaff calling and viewed nearer the village. Well, I believe it to be a Chiffchaff because of its dark legs! A few House Martins hawking for insects, 1 Greenfinch, numbers of Goldfinch and calling Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers also in evidence.

The highlight of today's walk were 2 Spotted Flycatchers doing what flycatchers do on the edge of Down Covert at SP740038.

Nothing outstanding but just a wonderful early autumn day walking local farmland (arable, sheep and dairy, plus some coverts managed for game birds).

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Shirburn Hill - August 16th 2009

A 2 hour walk on the Hill from 10:15 in sunny weather with some breeze.

The main reason for the visit was to find the Silver-spotted Skipper. Success; good numbers seen on all open short grassland areas. Other butterflies of note were Comma, Speckled Wood, Painted Lady, Small and Large Whites, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Common Blue, both ♂ and ♀ Brimstone, Gatekeeper, Small Cooper and Brown Argus.

The bird life was as quiet as was expected for this time of year. Though a late summer Tit flock included many Phylloscopus warblers. Did not spend time checking the flock out so not sure whether the birds were Willow Warblers or Chiffchaffs. Did notice Great, Long-tailed and Marsh Tits in the flock.

Other avian interest included good views of Red Kite, Common Buzzard and there was a European Robin in full song.

Of the flora, Wild Candytuft was in flower across the hill close to areas of bare soil (scrapes) and Autumn Gentian found to be common in the open area above the scrub strip. Much more common than Common Centaury! The most noticeable plant in flower was Eyebright. The plants seemed to be everywhere! I have no idea what exact species of Eyebright they were; so, perhaps one day, I will have the inclination to key them out!

2 dragonflies seen on the hill. One a hawking mostly blue job the other a ruddy brown smaller individual. Need to start being more serious about identifying this group of insects.

Finally, some glossy golden brown small flies acting like pond skaters on a puddle within a rut. What I assumed to be ♂ flies, flicked their wings forward and back quickly. A courtship display? Should have brought the camera with me to support research into their identification. Their wings had a dark patch towards the apex.

A happy two hours!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Rushbeds Wood & Lapland Farm - August 2nd 2009

Just a relaxing walk around the wood and fields at lunchtime (12:30 - 13:45). Warm with sunny intervals.

Not a serious bird watching visit and the flying beasts were very quiet anyway! Common Chaffinches around together with Great and Long-tailed Tits, Winter Wrens, Common Blackbirds and Chiffchaffs. The latter was not seen but believe around as 'huitt' calls heard. Also one Common Buzzard at wood centre.

May have seen a Eurasian Hobby at Lapland Farm. Definitly a falcon, but too distant to be sure and I am not familiar with this species yet. Must invest in a scope!

The butterflies grabbed most of my attention. Red Admiral, Common Blue, Brimstone, Gatekeeper, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Painted Lady, Peacock, Ringlet, Speckled Wood, Whites (Green-veined, Large and Small).

However, the highlight of the visit was a single Grass Snake (Natrix natrix). Seen in the wide hedgerow between the two fields of Lapland Farm. Not uncommon in the UK I know, but I do not see them very often!