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White Stork over Summertown then Oxford City and Culham 25th June...

Friday, 1 July 2016

June Highlights and News

Turtle Dove Otmoor RSPB

Headline Birds
Given that it's June, traditionally one of the worst two months of the year and firmly in the summer doldrums, it's not actually been that bad in terms of headline birds. Without a doubt the star turn was as exciting as it was unfortunately untwitchable with a first summer male Common Rosefinch spending one day on someone's feeders off the Abingdon Road. It was actually seen in May though the news didn't filter through to the county birding community until the 1st of June. Sadly very much one that got away but still a great looking bird.

The Common Rosefinch
More twitchable was a White Stork that was seen circling over Summerton on the 25th, before being relocated in a field near the River Thames at Culham later that day. It was then reported again on the 30th so it may linger for a while.

White Stork Culham
White Stork courtesy of Badger

Finally there is also some news on our Otmoor Cranes  - see the write-up at the end of the highlights.


Marsh Harriers remained at Otmoor RSPB throughout June. Hobbies were seen at Standlake's Pit 60 over the course of June with several birds also being seen regularly on Otmoor. A summering Short-eared Owl was discovered in the south of the county near Blewbury on the 4th.

Shortie at Blewbury courtesy of Lasty

Gulls & Terns

A late Black Tern was at Farmoor Reservoir on the 1st with two birds present on the 3rd keeping company with an equally late Arctic Tern. Away from Farmoor a Black Tern was a great find at Appleford GP's on the 5th .


Two Bitterns were being seen sporadically above the reed beds on Otmoor throughout June. Six Shelduck were still present at the start of the month on Port Meadow

Bittern Otmoor RSPB courtesy of Derek Latham


Returning Green Sandpipers (yup it's autumn already!) were seen at Rushey Common on the 14th with a juvenile at the Bicester Wetlands Reserve on the 23rd and one was at on Port Meadow on the 28th. A Greenshank was seen at the superb Bicester Wetlands Reserve on the 4th with three Little-ringed Plovers on the reserve on the 6th. Two Little-ringed Plover were seen at that other gem in the Banbury Ornithological Society's crown, namely the Balscote Quarry reserve on the 23rd with the reserve also hosting six roosting Curlew on the 25th.

Turnstone Farmoor Reservoir courtesy of Dai John
A unexpected but welcomed summer-plumaged male Ruff spent the day on Big Otmoor within the Otmoor RSPB reserve on the 22nd. Other late or returning waders included two Turnstone at Farmoor Reservoir on the 24th.

Male Ruff Otmoor RSPB courtesy of Terry Sherlock


At least two male Turtle Doves remained on Otmoor throughout June, fingers crossed that we soon see some young on the reserve before too long... two males were also heard purring from within the Ministry of Defence compound near Arncott on the 22nd.

Cuckoos were still in evidence over much of the month with birds recorded at South Leigh from the 6th and at least two birds on Otmoor until mid month. Grasshopper Warblers were still to be heard reeling within Moorleys at the RSPB Otmoor Reserve this month with no other reports from anywhere else for June. A male Redstart was a surprise find along the Ridgeway at The Devil's Punchbowl on the 25th. Spotted Flycatchers were reported from Upton, Childrey, Ardington and Shiplake this month.

Spotted Flycatcher Childrey courtesy of Steve Burch

Six Crossbill that were seen flying over Coombe towards the Blenheim estate on the 10th was a good record for June as were the four Siskins at Benson on the 20th including juvenile birds.

News - Otmoor Cranes breeding attempt failure

Cranes Otmoor RSPB courtesy of The Gun-slinger

The two Common Cranes that are probably Otmoor’s least well-kept secret have again attempted to breed on the reserve. These two are the same pair that came last year. This year they arrived earlier and from all their behaviour we are certain that they made another breeding attempt. Again from their behaviour we are sure that they were much more successful than last year with one or more chicks hatching and being fed for about three weeks before something happened to them. We have no way of knowing what but some predation event is likely. These birds live a long time and so failure to breed on a regular basis does not matter quite so much. Our birds were of course more mature this year but still need to learn the best way of protecting their chicks. Better luck next time!

Pete Barker.

Cranes 'Wycliffe' and 'Maple Glory' Otmoor RSPB courtesy of The Gun-slinger

The Art of Birds

This month Paul Thomlinson has shared a page from his May sketchbook featuring one of the Otmoor Cranes in flight.

Old Shifford, 1st July

Grey Partridge 2
Yellowhammer 3 singing males

Clackers & Mrs Clackers

Culham 1st July

No sign of the White Stork around Culham this morning (per Clackers, Brian Wyatt et al).

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Otmoor RSPB 30th June


Bittern 2
Little Egret 2
Marsh Harrier 2
Hobby 2
Turtle Dove 1m
Common Tern 1
Oystercatcher 2

Lesser Whitethroat 2 singing males

Culham 30th June

White Stork reported still near Culham on private land 1pm.
Swallow Tackley courtesy of John Reynolds

Otmoor:AM 30th June

Turtle Dove
Marsh Harrier
Garden Warbler
Tree Creeper
Male and female Bullfinch Otmoor RSPB courtesy of Norman Smith

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

A329 near Moulsford: 28th June

A329 near Moulsford
Corn Bunting: Male in full song - prob in hedgerow between the grassy ley and the maize field opp Little Willows nursery - regular for a week now. SU5985. 09:45.

Mike Amphlett

Monday, 27 June 2016

Otmoor RSPB 27th June

Turtle Dove 2 purring males
Marsh Harrier 1
Hobby 2
Common Tern 2
Grasshopper Warbler reeling in Moorleys (per Andy Last)

Port Meadow: 27th June

Port Meadow
Green Sandpiper
Common Tern

Adam Hartley

Balscote Quarry 26th June

Balscote Quarry
Redshank: Reported by C.Payne & J.Craik. SP3942.

Roger Evans

South Leigh: 24th June

South Leigh
Cuckoo: Calling to south of village. 08:00.

Richard Catling

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Otmoor RSPB 26th June

Bittern above & below courtesy of Derek Latham

Marsh Harrier courtesy of Derek Latham

Culham 26th June

Still no sign of the White Stork this afternoon S/E of Abingdon south of the A415 by 16:10.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Childrey: 25 June

Spotted Flycatcher (c) Stephen Burch
See also The Tall Birder and click here for a larger image

White Stork near Culham 25th June

White Stork near Culham please view at 720p HD  

White Stork relocated S/E of Abingdon in field adjacent to A415 and still present at 21:00.
From Abingdon take the A415 east past the traffic lights and turning to Culham.
Continue past the turning for Thame Lane until reaching the first farm track on the right (with the double metal gates) park here and view field to the left of the farm buildings.

Balscote Quarry 25th June

6 Curlew: Evening roost. SP3942.

Roger Evans

Otmoor RSPB 25th June


Turtle Dove 1m
Marsh Harrier 1
Hobby 2
Oystercatcher 3+

Little Egret 2
Common Tern 2


Garden Warbler
Common Whitehroat
Sedge Warbler
Cetti's Warbler
Common Chiffchaff
Willow Warbler

Culham 25th June

White Stork near Culham in flight between A415 and Thames then seemed to land and was lost to view.
Viewed from Thames Lane 18:10.

White Stork at Culham

White Stork at Culham in grass field by river Thames off Thame  Lane at 4:10 p.m.

(per RBA)

Sent from my iPhone

Standlake, River Windrush, pm 25th June


Sunningwell 25th June

Probable White Stork 2:00pm flying low. Headed towards Didcot. SU488997.

Andrew Dore

Oxford 25th June

White Stork seen circling over Summertown at 12:25 then flew towards Oxford city (per Jon Uren)

Devil's Punchbowl: 25th June

Devil's Punchbowl
Redstart: male. In bush on Ridgeway, just south of Punchbowl.

Colin Vickers

Friday, 24 June 2016

: 24th June

A329 nr Moulsford
Corn Bunting: Male singing S of railway nr Silly bridge. SU5885. 09:45.

Mike Amphlett

Otmoor.A.M. 24th June.

Coquettish Turtle Dove Otmoor RSPB courtesy of Richard Tyler

2 Turtle Dove (per Richard Tyler)
2 Marsh Harrier
3 Common Tern (with one chick)
1 Pochard (with two chicks)
1 Raven (over)
8+ Little Egret.

Farmoor 24th June

3 Little Egret
2 Turnstone
1 Pochard
Family group of Kestrels.

Standlake pit 60: am 24th June

2 Hobby
2 Oystercatcher + 1 chick
4 Little Egret
2 Common Tern
Little Egret
Little Egret

Farmoor 24th June

Turnstone 2 (per Dai) 10:45