Sunday, 28 April 2013

Brandon Marsh :: 27 April 2013

Picked up Eilidh from a sleepover at school, had breakfast, cut grass, fed the birds, put in canes for runner beans, pruned the lilac bushes, put out the rubbish, Whitethroatposted a letter, dropped into Sainsburys, dropped Charlotte at tennis, and then off to Brandon Marsh with Ailsa for lunch. What a morning.

So after lunch a gentle stroll, interrupted at times by showers and hail-stones. A big change in the residents at Brandon since the Easter weekend - no end of warblers have turned up, as have the swallows. A very significant number of whitethroat were displaying, including lesser. Fantastic views were offered by the female whitethroat in the photo.

Our sightings (39) included: carrion crow, dunnock, woodpigeon, reed bunting, feral pigeon, magpie, blue tit, great tit, great-spotted woodpecker, chaffinch, robin, greenfinch, blackbird, willow warbler, greylag goose, jay, whitethroat, canada goose, lesser whitethroat, tufted duck, lapwing, mute swan, coot, oystercatcher, lesser black-backed gull, redshank, swallow, gadwall, shoveler, mallard, ringed plover, dunlin, heron, blackcap, long-tailed tit, great crested grebe, moorhen, snipe and black-headed gull.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Horley Scout Camp :: 13 April 2013

Another outing to see if I could catch the crossbills, but this time success! Common CrossbillAnother first. Quite a decent flock too, although as they came down onto the hay bales beneath the trees, a car came along and scared most of them away. With grey skies promising rain, it was difficult to get behind to get other than a silhouette shot, so no classic today. A recored shot at least.

As I had been dropped off by the wife I also had some time to walk over the back of the woods - a nice stroll. Sightings (16) included: robin, mistle thrush, wren, woodpigeon, long tailed tit, blue tit, chaffinch, great spotted woodpecker, carrion crow, crossbill, magpie, great tit, blackbird, dunnock, buzzard and kestrel.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Farmoor Reservoir :: 07 April 2013

Fixed the wheel on my mother-in-law's lawnmower and left Charlotte to cut the grass at her mum's house ... does that seem wrong?

Popped down to Farmoor Reservoir in an attempt to see the black redstart and/or the little gull. Meadow pipitAll to make up for not seeing the crossbills earlier in the day. Same again though, no new sightings to add to my records. However I did see (27): carrion crow, pied wagtail, little grebe, great crested grebe, mallard, tufted duck, black headed gull, cormorant, meadow pipit, coot, robin, gadwall, teal, shoveler, reed bunting, blackbird, starling, moorhen, redwing, goldfinch, canada goose, lapwing, chaffinch, blue tit, great tit, dunnock and woodpigeon.

Horley Scout Camp :: 07 April 2013

Popped out this morning to see if I could spot the six crossbills reported around the entrance to Horley Scout Camp, but was unsuccessful. TreecreeperI did see: wren, buzzard, carrion cow, magpie, jay, blue tit, great tit, willow tit, long-tailed tit, coal tit, woodpigeon, dunnock, robin, wren, mistle thrush, chaffinch and this beautiful treecreeper.

On the way back I also saw a buzzard and peregrine falcon over Duke's Meadow on the north side of Banbury. Not a bad morning, even though I didn't see what I had looked for.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Napton Reservoir :: 02 April 2013

Following lunch at The Moon and Sixpence, Hanwell we opted for a walk around Napton Reservoir. The sun was out and the car suggested a balmy 9° C outside. We had seen sparrowhawk in the garden at breakfast time, buzzard over the car and kestrels on wires and hovering above the road verge on the way there. Unfortunately no raptors at the reservoir.

Boots on and it felt much milder than it has been of late. Weed dancing great crested grebeAs we rounded the corner we felt the wind strength rise and the real-feel temperature drop. The main sight was of great crested grebes displaying - we were lucky enough to see both head shaking and the weed ceremony where the grebes can be seen virtually dancing on the water. That time of the year - Eilidh caught some of the action. Too cold to stay long though.

Today's sightings (21) included: carrion crow, goldfinch, blackbird, coot, mute swan, great crested grebe, moorhen, tufted duck, canada goose, mallard, woodpigeon, chaffinch, house sparrow, magpie, blue tit, great tit, robin, fieldfare, pied wagtail, common gull and black-headed gull.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Brandon Marsh :: 30 March 2013

As it was the school Easter break, we had Granny & Grandpa to stay. Water RailThey joined us for lunch and a walk round the reserve - not the full circle as it was a bitter wind, just down to the East Marsh and Carlton hides. We were rewarded with a fly-past from a water rail in front of the East Marsh hide and then a short view as the water rail made it's way along the edge of the reeds, unfortunately away from us.

On our way back to the Visitor Centre we came across a small group of photographers following a pair of goldcrests down the path. GoldcrestWe joined briefly and managed a decent record shot. Some of the others have posted their photos on the Unofficial Guide to Brandon Marsh site. Well worth a look.

Our sightings (39) included: carrion crow, kestrel, blue tit, great tit, pheasant, chaffinch, reed bunting, coal tit, blackbird, woodpigeon, black-headed gull, magpie, dunnock, feral pigeon, robin, water rail, teal, shoveler, coot, moorhen, wigeon, mute swan, great-crested grebe, cormorant, tufted duck, lesser-black backed gull, common gull, lapwing, shelduck, canada goose, greylag goose, snipe, mallard, gadwall, long tailed tit, goldcrest, pied wagtail, greenfinch and great spotted woodpecker.