Sunday, 25 September 2011

Draycote Water :: 24 September 2011

We thought that we should get out together for a walk as we hadn't managed that for a few weeks; the next few weekends are going to be impossible too. We plumped for Draycote Water, somewhere right on our doorstep but where we had never visited before. On arrival we met a chap called Ray who advised on the best location and what may be about. He turned out to be right about the whereabouts of the stoat but unfortunately it was only he who managed to see and photograph it. Nice chap.

We stayed on the one side of the "pond" looking along the fringes and had a relaxing time seeing an arctic tern and the first greenshank of the winter. Our species count totalled 26 this time, including: house martin, raven, rook, mute swan, Clouded Yellow Butterflycoot, black-headed gull, mallard, pied wagtail, little grebe, carrion crow, woodpigeon, yellow wagtail, ringed plover, dunlin, tufted duck, great-crested grebe, canada goose, long tailed tit, blue tit, great tit, chiffchaff, dunnock, meadow pipit, arctic tern, greenshank and moorhen.

We also happened upon a "Clouded Yellow" butterfly - not sure I've ever seen one of those before. Weird eyes!

Farmoor Reservoir :: 18 September 2011

With Eilidh needing to complete some homework and a wife playing tennis against North Oxford, it was left to Ailsa and I to go for a walk. It was decided that somewhere in the Oxford direction might be best and if possible we could drop in and watch some of the tennis later in the afternoon. Farmoor Reservoir got the nod ahead of Otmoor this time, mainly due to the reported sighting of Lapland Bunting over the preceding days. The weather was relatively kind and we only had one light shower.

Our species list for the day totalled 30, including: pied wagtail, white wagtail, mallard, coot, cormorant, great-crested grebe, black-headed gull, grey wagtail, yellow wagtail, linnet, yellow legged gull, Lapland Buntinghouse sparrow, robin, blue tit, great tit, starling, goldfinch, tufted duck, woodpigeon, common sandpiper, magpie, greenfinch, blackbird, greylag goose, mute swan, carrion crow, egyptian goose, shag, ringed plover and lapland bunting.

The highlight of the day was undoubtedly the spectacular views of the Lapland Bunting. Although diminutive, the colours and stripes make this the bird equivalent of a tiger!

The tennis turned out well too with a 4-0 win for Banbury Mixed A, celebrated with drinks from Starbucks on the Peartree roundabout.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

West Kilbride/Seamill/Portencross :: 15-30 August 2011

On our holidays with family in Scotland we took the opportunity to walk along the beaches at Seamill and Portencross looking for birds. Often little walking was needed as they just passed by us. A few different birds to our usual set with being at the coast and a first for sandwich tern. May have seen them before, but unknowingly! We managed to get our best ever view of peregrine falcon while playing golf - unfortunately the species count roughly totaled each of my 9 hole scores. Must try harder.

Our species count (46) for the visit included: swallow, goldfinch, housemartin, jackdaw, rook, blackbird, herring gull, lesser black backed gull, eider duck, black headed gull, oystercatcher, great black backed gull, yellow wagtail, curlew, sandwich tern, house sparrow, mute swan, rock dove, feral pigeon, Willow warblerstarling, cormorant, grey heron, carrion crow, collared dove, wood pigeon, willow warbler, common gull, greenfinch, grey wagtail, pied wagtail, white wagtail, robin, linnet, gannet, turnstone, ringed plover, redshank, stonechat, mallard, sand martin, buzzard, dipper, peregrine falcon, wren, wigeon and black guillemot.

Brandon Marshes :: 07 August 2011

Another visit to Brandon Marshes, again a threat of rain and a shower on the way up past Southam. As always, we started with coffee in the Badger Tea Room ... delicious. Still few changes and migration is not not yet obvious. Large numbers of whitethroat are still in evidence. No sign of the kingfisher this time but we still saw linnet, sandpipers and stock dove.

The total species count totaled 34 including: woodpigeon, feral pigeon, great tit, great-spotted woodpecker, blue tit, greenfinch, chaffinch, robin, magpie, carrion crow, collared dove, swallow, moorhen, mute swan, canada goose, mallard, Whitethroatcommon tern, lapwing, coot, cormorant, lesser black-backed gull, house martin, sand martin, grey heron, starling, common sandpiper, whitethroat, buzzard, stock dove, green sandpiper, sparrowhawk, linnet, pheasant and green woodpecker.

Our favourite was again a whitethroat, this one hiding in the brambles.