Friday, 22 February 2013

Farmoor Reservoir :: 20 February 2013

The car was due for it's service and MOT so it was an early morning run down to Oxford; then back to work in a courtesy car before it was even 9 a.m. After a short day at work, it was back to Oxford for 4 p.m. and relative relief that the old girl didn't cost me any more than I had expected.

So now I was in Oxford and it was still light ... straight home? StonechatNah. I'd heard there were 4 long staying scaup on Farmoor F1, so I popped over. On arrival I was greeted by a male stonechat that lead me up the slope to the reservoir edge. Boy was it cold up there. It took 5 minutes to locate the scaup and add another tick on my list. Another 5 minutes look around and then off home - too cold to stay any longer!

Sightings noted (17) included: stonechat, black headed gull, coot, mallard, tufted duck, great crested grebe, scaup, goldeneye, carrion crow, magpie, pied wagtail, kestrel, woodpigeon, cormorant, starling, grey heron, and little grebe. 

Monday, 11 February 2013

Brandon Marsh :: 11 February 2013

Woke this morning to a couple of inches of snow.  Duly had a lay in and then pottered downstairs to make breakfast and a cuppa for her indoors.  Next door called to see why the curtains were still drawn and once we had explained we decided to drag the kids out of bed and off we went to Brandon Marshes.  I can't believe it was October that I was last there!

Redpoll and SiskinWe started with lunch as usual.  Due to the cold weather, the tearoom was eerily quiet; there was a rather daunting pool of water to navigate on Brandon Lane which may have deterred a few people.  Soup and baguettes consumed, off we set to squelch out way round the reserve - or so we thought.  We agreed that we would just take in East Marsh and Carlton Hides but the path to these was under water and impassible.  Off we trotted to Wright Hide instead.  On the way we came across a mixed flock which initially appeared to be finches.  They turned out to be Redpoll and Siskin. SnipeQuite a few birds were spotted out on East Marsh Pool, although most of the scrape was underwater. It was nice to see so many Snipe.

Even our shortened circular walk was revised as the path became very muddy as we came out of New Hare Covert.  A quick detour and back to the Visitor Centre for hot drinks and cakes - well I didn't like to say no, the girls were cold.

Our sightings today (38) included: feral pigeon, blackbird, magpie, chaffinch, blue tit, great tit, dunnock, reed bunting, coal tit, long tailed tit, bullfinch, greenfinch, goldfinch, nuthatch, house sparrow, robin, woodpigeon, carrion crow, goldcrest, mallard, coot, tufted duck, moorhen, siskin, redpoll, cormorant, canada goose, snipe, gadwall, teal, shelduck, black headed gull, shoveler, greylag goose, mute swan, pheasant, kestrel and great spotted woodpecker.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

In the garden, Banbury :: 09 February 2013

GoldcrestA late rise and "take it easy" morning.  So it was when making a late breakfast I saw what initially appeared to be a wren, hopping about in the tree on the edge of the garden.  Though, as it came to the end of a branch, it was apparent I was wrong and it was in fact a Goldcrest!; a first for our garden.  It must have spent a good 30mins moving around the tree but never quite slowing down or coming out into the open.  And then it was gone.

No sooner had I put the camera down, disappointed not to have a better photo, than a friend turned up not 5 feet from where the Goldcrest had been. Sparrowhawk Our Sparrowhawk came and sat on the wall having failed to snatch whichever bird had been bobbing along the garden edge.  This following morning the Sparrowhawk could again be seen on a nearby rooftop, sitting in the rain for at least 10mins.  Visitors beware!