Thursday, January 20, 2011

Shirburn Hill - Oxfordshire

I took a short break from work at lunchtime last Tuesday to walk over Shirburn Hill ( The temperature during the walk varied between 3 & 5°C, with 100% cloud at the start of the walk reducing to 25% cloud cover at the end. I enjoyed the sunny periods with only a light wind!

 Shirburn Hill

Shirburn Hill
 The Box Wood (Buxus sempervirens) at Shirburn Hill

The view south down the scarp from Shirburn Hill

A rather quiet walk to begin with but as the cloud cover decreased and the sun came out; the wildlife sightings seemed to increase.

The following were of note.


Jew's Ear (Auricularia auricula-judae) growing, as is normal for these parts, on Elder (Sambucus nigra).

Jew's Ear (Auricularia auricula-judae)

Jew's Ear (Auricularia auricula-judae)


I noted some interesting but unidentified species of lichen growing on Common Whitebeam (Sorbus aria). I will share these photographs with the iSpot ( community to see if others can identify them.


Only 21 species were seen and/or heard and then recorded on BirdTrack ( Not a great total; however, I did make two key sightings; 2 Marsh Tit (Poecile palustris), a first for me at this location, and a Raven (Corvus corax). Another first for this site were a couple of Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris). I have seen many over the years next door at Aston Rowant NNR, but none here before!


Some fresh Mole (Talpa europaea) activity was noted on the hill top and at its base; areas of deep soil when compared with the slopes. Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) were a common sight on this walk as were Grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis).

Two species of deer were on the hill; 1 ♀ Fallow deer (Dama dama) was seen and 1 Muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi) was heard barking. However, it was disturbing to see the Fallow deer as this animal had an injured right hind leg as seen from the front. It could not put any weight on that leg and, on a closer view; it appeared to have lost its foot! I could not be sure but that was certainly how it appeared.

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