Sightings and Photos

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17th April Bonaparte's Gull again... Talks: RSPB "In a Nutshell" 4th May ... see Forthcoming Events for more info.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

February Round up

Bewick's Swans over Otmoor    Andy Last
February got off to a fine start with the arrival of 8 Bewick's Swans on Greenaways Otmoor on the 2nd of February though unfortunately they only stayed the one day. The 2 Bewick's that were found off Ham Lane in Aston on the 23rd were slightly more obliging. The trio of Sawbills including at least two redhead Smew and a female Red-breasted Merganser remained at Sonning Eye GP's into February with the number of Smew rising to 10 individuals by the month's end. Waxwings remained in evidence around the county including 29 birds at Kennington on the 10th and a flock of 18 near Sainsbury's Heyford Hill store on the 11th. A flock of over 60 birds in Marston on the 26th probably constituted the largest single count this month. 30+ birds in Risinghurst and another 18 in Witney on the 27th ensured that Oxfordshire's Waxwings remained as the winter receded. Shelducks returned to the county mid-month with a mini influx at several sites, most notably 6 at Port Meadow on the 18th. An injured Avocet was a superb discovery on floods near Longcot on the 20th-21st with the only other wader of note being the one-day Grey Plover at Otmoor on the 14th. The provenance of the 4 Whooper Swans which were 'found' at Buscot Lake on the 25th was called in to question with the suggestion that the birds had in fact been pinioned.At least one Bittern remained on Otmoor throughout February. Another 'Bog Thumper' was also seen on one of the Lower Windrush Valley pits on the 15th of February. The 4 long-staying Scaup remained faithful to Farmoor throughout the month as did the Slavonian Grebe. Port Meadow was the location for all the county gull action this month: early on in the month a couple of Glaucous Gulls (one juvenile and one adult) were found over the course of a couple of days with the adult sticking around and being seen on and off throughout the month. On the 9th a one-day Iceland Gull turned up and to cap it all four different 1w Caspian Gulls were seen on the Meadow floods during the first half of the month.


Back in time - S.O.D.O.F.F
by Paul Chandler 


S.O.D.O.F.F. was conceived in 1991 in a pub in Wallingford by a few birders who wanted a bit more oomph from a meeting about birds and birding. SODOOF stands for “South Oxfordshire Ornithological Fellowship of Friends” sounds like something from “Lord of the Rings” but believe me not all of us are Hobbits or Elves come to that! We decided to hold regular meetings around 3 per year and issue a “journal” for each meeting, the meetings were held in Cholsey at the old pavilion until it got burned down (It wasn’t us) and the last meeting was held in the Old School Day Centre here at Marymead. The core team initially for SODOFF was Ian Lewington, Peter Pool, Carl Salmon, and myself. We also recruited many others with special skills or no skills whatsoever to help out and/or write various articles, these included Roger and Geoff Wyatt, Martin Hallam, George Reszeter and many other well-known Oxfordshire birders.

The “Teletree” was developed alongside; this was a telephone-based system for disseminating information on rare or scarce county birds. Initially around 10 members but this grew over the next few years to 30+ members and started to get rather complex for getting information to all concerned. With the hibernation of SODOFF (we aint gone away yet!) the Teletree became OBIS (great for acronyms aren’t we) and continued on well in to the 2000’s but as communication media progressed this fell in to disuse but it done the job for those years it was active and a lot of county birders saw some good stuff because of it.


The OOS (Oxford Ornithological Society) perceived us as a potential threat and we even had a meeting with the OOS president, Dr Andy Gosler in a pub in Wallingford one evening and were successful in allaying any fears of a fledgling bird club usurping the authority of the oldest bird society in the world.

The first meeting was held on 12th August 1992, the journal was entitled “Not the birds of Oxfordshire” and was mainly about the Teletree, at this point George Reszeter was onboard as a photographic consultant and Geoff Wyatt for catering and Roger Wyatt joined the board with a special responsibility for hall bookings. Andy Swash gave a talk that evening on the birds of Venezuela.

“Roger’s noises” (Roger Wyatt), “Martins ID quiz” (Martin Hallam) and “the mystery bird quiz” (Lew) were born and provided many an entertaining time trying to guess what bird made this or that noise especially after several cans of Caffreys. I’m sure Bill Campbell would have frowned on us and then offered us a wee drop of whisky from his hip flask! Over the next few years we had talks from the esteemed Mr Lev Lewington himself, Jon King, Dave Cotteridge, Tim Loseby, Dave Massey, Andy Swash (again), Mike Amphlett and many other notable “ornithologists” “photographers” and “ecologists”.

The journal took on many guises with names like “SODBB”, “SOD the new year”, “Bastard Wing”,  “Turdus”, “SOD’ING World”, “Scilly Sod” to name but a few and featured many class articles such as “Chumming for Black Grouse”, (remember that Rog!),  “5 go North”, “Society wedding of the year”, and the now infamous “Skinny dipping on Scilly” photographed by George Reszeter and organised by Debbie Lewington, still have to get you back for that Debs, and the very prestigious “Serious back Page” with all the graphics dominated by our prestigious local bird artist Mr Lewington.




The editorial meetings usually took place in the George and Dragon in Sutton Courtney where many useless ideas were formulated and included in the journals and at the meetings.We even had T-shirts, car stickers etc printed, and even designed a pair of logo’d unisex undergarments. The T-shirts and car stickers were seen throughout the land from Scilly to Wick on various twitches, and the name of SODOFF became known internationally known with several sodoff’ers flouting their T-shirts on international birding trips.





SODOFF eventually went in to hibernation in the late 90’s due to financial considerations waiting for the day it will re-awaken and take the birding world by storm once again.


Paul Chandler (a.k.a. "oxonbirder")*

*I accept no responsibility for the accuracy of the above article as I cannot remember it all (too pissed then and too old now)!






Sally Hula was sent this photo of a Hawfinch to I.D.
It visited a garden in Hailey near Witney
on Sunday 24th February.

Cholsey: 28th February

Cholsey
Peregrine
2 Grey Partridge
200 Skylark: total.
60 Meadow Pipit

Paul Chandler

Port Meadow: 28th February


Glaucous Gull: adult in the roost again this evening
2 Yellow-legged Gull, 3w

5 Redshank
4 Dunlin
6 Shelduck
30 Pintail

Adam Hartley, Alex Martin, Steve Jennings, Gareth Blockley

Iffley Meadows 28th Feb

200+ Common Snipe
9 Jack Snipe

W.P.Bull

Shotover.A.M. 28th February.

12+ Redpoll
1 Nuthatch
1 Treecreeper
4 Bullfinch
1 Mistle Thrush.

Farmoor 28th February

10 White-fronted Geese
Scaup and Rock Pipit still present. 

Port Meadow: 28th February

Port Meadow
30 Pintail
4 Dunlin
4 Shelduck

Alex Martin

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Farmoor Reservoir: 27th February

Farmoor Reservoir
4 Scaup: 2m, 2f.
Rock Pipit

Alex Martin

Port Meadow 27th February

Adult Glaucous Gull again in the roost.
Also 4 Dunlin 6 Redshank 3 Shelduck,
8 Goosander and a Peregrine.

(per Liam Langley)

Risinghurst Oxford. 27th February.

30+ Waxwing flying around the estate for
about an hour, then lost to sight.

Sonning Eye GPs: 27th February

Sonning Eye GPs
Scaup: m. At eastern end of rowing course, associating with a small group of Tufties.

Robin Dryden

Witney: 27th February

Witney
18 Waxwing: Flock of 18 in Gloucester Place, Witney.

Simon Bradfield

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Henley Rd & Sonning Eye GP'S 26th Feb

Henley Road and Sonning Eye G.P.s  26th Feb

Smew 10 ( 2 drk, 2 1st wint drk ) 7 Sonning Eye 3 Henley Road
Red Br Merg 1 Henley Rd
Goosander 6 (4 drk) 3 S.E, 3 H.R
Scaup 1 drk S.E.
Pintail 1 drk H.R.
Little Egret 1 S.E.

Hugh Netley

Oxford 26th February

Waxwing 60+
Whilst in the traffic this morning I spotted around 30 in a tree alongside
Cherwell Drive in Marston. After I'd stopped for a look they were joined by
another flock of around the same size. They all flew off into another tree in
Marsh Lane, and were still there at 8.50.


(per Bob Pomfret)

Cherwell Drive Marston

Aston Bewick's (c) J.Dexter



Port Meadow 26th February

Glaucous Gull
8 Barnacle Goose

Jarrod Hadfield

Farmoor 26th February

Scaup 4
Goosander 2
Rock Pipit 1
 

Witney 26th February

Waxwing 17 behind the Co-op and the BT exchange at 16:30.

(per Jon Prowse)

Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android

Dorchester: Allen Pit: 26th February

Dorchester: Allen Pit
2 Egyptian Goose: pair. Anglers say they are regular at present (per Wayne Smith).

Peter Law

Monday, 25 February 2013

Dorchester: Days Lock: 25th February

Dorchester: Days Lock
Shelduck
2 Goosander: pair.

Cholsey: Cholsey Marsh Nature Reserve
Goosander: redhead flew upriver.
30 Corn Bunting: in at roost.

Paul Chandler Cholsey Wildlife

RSPB Otmoor WeBS Count (25th Feb)


Wetland birds picked up on this morning’s WeBS count were...
Mute Swan
35
Greylag Goose
129
Canada Goose
166
Wigeon
1913
Gadwall
45
Teal
717
Mallard
128
Pintail
63
Shoveler
72
Pochard
22
Tufted Duck
36
Bittern
1
Little Egret
8
Grey Heron
1
Water Rail
2
Moorhen
2
Coot
161
Golden Plover
160
Lapwing
51
Curlew
1


Other birds of note included a ringtail harrier, redpolls, barn owl and goldcrests.

Farmoor 25th February

Rock Pipit along the causeway (per Dai)
Still present 16:40 (per Peter Law)

The Insomniac Birder

Buscot Lake 25th February

Whooper Swan 4 still present 14:43 (per Peter Law)
Goosander 12

(per Barry Hudson)

Buscot Lake

I believe the whoopers are pinioned
ReplyDelete
Female Kestrel (c) The early birder

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Farmoor 24th February

Slavonian Grebe in N/W corner of F1 at 11a.m (per RBA)

The Insomniac Birder

Dorchester Days Lock scrape 24th February

Shelduck

(Peter Law)

Claydon: 24th February

Willow Tit at the point where the Claydon to Upper Boddington road crosses the dismantled railway (SP460512).
Also another along the canal just into Warwickshire by about 400 meters.

Grimsbury Reservoir: 24th February

2 Pochard (pair),
2 Tufted Duck (drakes),
Coot,
21 Common Gull,
5 Lapwing,
3 Lesser Redpoll.

Otmoor.A.M. 24th February.

5 Little Egret
3 Lesser Redpoll

3 White-fronted Geese
1 Bittern (flying, second screen)
    (per Chris).

Cothill fen 24th Feb (07:30 - 09:30)

Lesser spotted woodpecker - 1 male
Green woodpecker - 3
Great spot - 4
Nuthatch - 1
Redwing - 25

Cothill Fen

Aston 24th February

(c) Badger





















2 Bewick's Swan Still Present - west side Ham Lane.

(J Dexter)

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Waxwings Oxford 23rd Feb

Five waxwings in east Oxford this afternoon (at the junction of Silver Road and Howard Street).
Per D. Woodfield

c40 Waxwings Cowley (per RBA)

Aston 23rd February




Both Bewick's still present 14:09 with Mute Swans view from track off Ham Lane.
Ham Lane is adjacent to the Red Lion pub in Aston.

Sonning Eye GPs: 23rd February

Sonning Eye GPs
Scaup: drk.

Henley Road GPs
Red-breasted Merganser: f.
3 Goosander: 2m+1rh.
Mediterranean Gull: ad. On the jetski pit at dusk.

Marek Walford
Barn Owl at Radley (c) Mark'early birder'Chivers

Aston: 23rd February

Aston
2 Bewick's Swan: With Mutes - Ham Lane.

J Dexter

Port Meadow 23rd Feb

No sign of the adult Glaucous Gull late afternoon
Yellow-legged Gull
Dunlin
Redshank 2
Shelduck 4

Radley Gravel Pits 23rd February

4 Little Grebe
4 G C Grebe
15 Cormorant
1 Heron
Wigeon,Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Gadwall, Pochard, Tufted Duck all seen!
1 Water Rail
5 Red Kite
2 Oystercatcher
2 Common Gull
1 Barn Owl
4 Siskin
5 Bullfinch

W.P.Bull

Also three pintail (two male and female) on Thrupp Lake this morning

Longcot 23rd February

No sign of the Avocet on flood nr A420
Snipe 6
Golden Plover c10
Lapwing c15

Friday, 22 February 2013

Port Meadow: 22nd February

Glaucous Gull: adult again in the roost
3 Yellow-legged Gull
4 Dunlin: per Liam Langley.
4 Shelduck
75 Golden Plover

Adam Hartley

Otmoor Kestrel (c) David Hastings
 
 

Otmoor.A.M. 22nd February.

1 Peregrine (F)
1 Ringtail (2 reported).

Sonning Eye GP's & Thames 22nd February

Red-breasted Merganser
Smew 6 (1m)
Goosander 5
Pintail 3
Little Egret
Egyptian Goose

08:30

Ring-necked Parakeet 5 Shiplake (4 at Shiplake college)
Mandarin 3 along Thames between Sonning & Henley
Egyptian Geese 53 along Thames between Sonning & Henley

Midday (per The Wickster)

Thursday, 21 February 2013

A420 Nr Longcot 21st February

(c) Barry Hudson

Avocet still on flood adjacent to the A420 this morning but was seen to fly off this p.m.
The bird appears to be injured (per Barry Hudson)  The Oxon Feather

Bicester Wetlands Reserve 21st Feb

Jack Snipe 3
Snipe 16
Little Egret 2

(per Alan Peters)

Port Meadow 21st February

Glaucous Gull, adult in the roost again
Jack Snipe
Stonechat

per Alex Martin & Liam Langley



Port Meadow: The Perch
Yesterday: Peregrine: With Buzzard.

Paul Cooper


Phone 'Scoped (c) Liam Langley/Alex Martin

Henley Road GPs: 21st February

Henley Road GPs
4 Goosander: 3m, 1f. Three males using rushing displays trying to impress a female.
Red-breasted Merganser: f. Main lake. Trying not to get flattened by the Goosanders.
Smew: rh. Main Lake at far end of spit.

Robin Dryden

Lower Windrush Valley GPs: 15th February

Bittern In very narrow reed fringe to one of the private lakes. SP3905.

Jane Bowley The Lower Windrush Valley Project

Farmoor 21st February

Rock Pipit along causeway 10a.m
White-fronted Geese 9 with the Canada geese in field to the west of F2 13:51

(per Dai) The Insomniac Birder

Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Port Meadow: 20th February

Port Meadow
2 Raven: NW over, calling.

Jarrod Hadfield

A420: near Shrivenham: 20th February

Probable Avocet in flooded field immediately adjacent to Major's Road
(it is very obvious from the road), on the left hand side if you're heading towards Longcot.
After the right hand turning to Barrington Ave but before the junction with the Longcot road.
Probable 30 Lapwing: on a flooded field adjacent to Longcot road.

(per Tom Matthews)

Churn: 19th February

Churn
3 Corn Bunting: male. 3 singing males between railway bridge & rifle range.

Anthony Cheke

Farmoor 20th February

Goldeneye 26
Goosander 2
Scaup 4
Stonechat 1m

The Insomniac Birder

Monday, 18 February 2013

Port Meadow: 18th February

Port Meadow
6 Shelduck
12 Pintail

Adam Hartley

Wytham Wood: 18th February

Wytham Wood
4 Raven: very vocal flying over the NE of the wood today.

Ross Crates

Sonning: 18th February

Sonning
2 Egyptian Goose: Another pair of exotics had replaced the Black Swans on the lawn of the French Horn.

Robin Dryden

Foxholes Reserve: 18th February

Foxholes Reserve
Raven
3 Marsh Tit: 1 m singing + 1 pair.
25 Lapwing: c.25 over.
5 Great Spotted Woodpecker: 5 +. Lots of drumming and calling.
2 Nuthatch

Gareth Blockley

Henley Road GPs 18th February

2 Red-breasted Merganser (m/f)
1 Goosander

(per Ralph Watts)

Farmoor Reservoir 18th February

Scaup 4 (2 pairs) F1
Goldeye 13 (4m)
Golden Plover c400 estimate numbers in flying flock
Lapwing c100
Little Egret 3
Barn Owl Pinkhill Lock

(per Anthony Cheke)

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Otmoor, 16th February

Barn Owl - 1st screen

Hen Harrier - 2nd screen
Photos (c) Nigel Forrow

Chipping Norton: 16th February

Chipping Norton
Raven: SP304253.

Stephen Akers

Radley GP's 16th February

6 Pintail 3m,3f. on Thrupp Lake

(per David Hastings)

Hambledon 16th February

2 Ring-necked Parakeet

(per Mark Russell)

Dix Pit: 16th February

Dix Pit
7 Pintail: 4dr.
4 Goldeneye: 1dr. Also Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Gadwall & Mallard.
Barn Owl: Hunting along verge at junction with B4449.

Mark Merritt

Henley Road GPs 16th February

5 Smew 4 f. rh. (1m per The Wickster)
Red-crested Pochard: f.
3 Goosander: 2m & 1f.
Pintail: m.
Shelduck

(per Ashley Stow)

Letcombe Bassett: 16 February

(c) Stephen Burch

Cowley Road 16th February

1 Waxwing in tree briefly at junction between Saunders Rd and Cowley Rd, late morning.

Witney 16th February

Oxon c20 Waxwings Witney in trees by A40 viewed looking West from A4095 bridge
over A40 at 12.55.

(Per Dave Morgan)

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Port Meadow: 14th February

Port Meadow
5 Redshank
Dunlin
3 Goosander
30 Pintail

Adam Hartley

Otmoor.A.M. 14th February.














1 Grey Plover (Noke End)
access from Beckley only, due to flooding.
C. 750 Golden Plover
C. 550 Lapwing
4 Dunlin
1 Peregrine
6 Snipe
1 Water Rail.

photo (c) Paul Greenaway
  

Waxwings Kiln Lane Risinghurst 14th February

(c) Paul Greenaway

21-30 Waxwings feeding in gardens at junction of Kiln Lane and Shelley Close ( per Stoneshank)

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Otmoor WeBS count 11/2

 


    RSPB Otmoor WeBS count – 11th Feb.


Mute Swan
10
European White-fronted Goose
2
Greylag Goose
111
Canada Goose
109
Wigeon
1745
Gadwall
36
Teal
1723
Mallard
86
Pintail
39
Shoveler
72
Pochard
23
Tufted Duck
54
Little Egret
1
Moorhen
1
Coot
113
Golden Plover
430
Lapwing
656
Kingfisher
1



Oxford 13th February


Waxwing 19 in front gardens on Princes Street 09:00 (per Tom Pizzari)

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Port Meadow: 12th February


Caspian Gull: 1w.
2 Ruff
Dunlin
Black-tailed Godwit
Redshank: heard only.
2 Little Owl
400 Golden Plover
6 Goosander

Adam Hartley, Liam Langley

 A different bird again: the 4th individual on the Meadow in the last five days

Dix Pit 12th February

Distant 2nd winter Caspian Gull - this bird visited Appleford on 12th December (bottom pic).

 

Bagley wood Rd 12th Feb

 

 
 
©  Wayne P Bull

Henley Road GPs 12th February



(c) Peter Law




Red-breasted Merganser f.
Red-crested Pochard: f.
2 Goosander: m and f.
Little Egret

Peter Law

Monday, 11 February 2013

Port Meadow 11th February



Caspian Gull 1w
Little Owl
Black-tailed Godwit
3 Dunlin
400 Golden Plover

Adam Hartley, Liam Langley, Jason Coppock & Peter Law.

(c) Gnome

Dorchester 11th February

Egyptian Goose

Benson: River Thames
Goosander: f.

Thomas Stevenson

Oxford Waxwings 11th Feb

18 Waxwings near the footbridge entrance to Sainsbury's heyford hill.
W.P.Bull

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Kennington 10th February

29 Waxwing

Jackie Mutton

Henley Road GPs: 10th February


Henley Road GPs
Red-crested Pochard: fem.
Smew: rh.

Sonning Eye GPs
Smew: rh.
2 Goosander: 1m+1rh.
Red-breasted Merganser: fem.

Marek Walford

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Port Meadow 9th February late p.m


Iceland gull 1. First winter in roost from about 4:45 (DL)
Goosander - 4
Golden plover - 400
Dunlin - 1
Ruff - 2 (per Badger)
White fronted goose - 7 unsure of exact parentage due to failing light.
Pintail - 34

Dave Lowe, Andy Last, Terry Sherlock, Badger




Also a belated ID of a 1w Caspian Gull from yesterday - see Port Meadow Birding for more details

Otmoor 9th February

White-fronted Geese 3
Barn Owl

(per Andy Last)

Friday, 8 February 2013

Port Meadow: 8th February


Glaucous Gull: adult in the roost again tonight
Ruff
3 Dunlin

Adam Hartley, Tom Wickens, Liam Langley, Steve Goddard, Alex Martin

Chimney: Chimney Meadows: 8th February

8th February

Chimney: Chimney Meadows
2 Barn Owl
Water Rail
Tree Sparrow

Peter Law

Henley Road GPs: 8th February

Henley Road GPs
2 Smew: rh. Still on main Henley Road pit.

Robin Dryden

Otmoor.A.M. 8th February.

C. 550 Lapwing
2 Water Rail
2 Sparrowhawk (M/F)
3 Redpoll (still).

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Port Meadow: 7th February


2 Glaucous Gull: adult & juvenile
Ruff


Adam Hartley, Liam Langley & Peter Law

 Videograb of the adult Glaucous Gull - more to follow on Port Meadow Birding

Otmoor.A.M. 7th February.

3 Redpoll
60+ Shoveler
C. 40 Pochard
1pr Pintail
9 Stock Dove
1 Ringtail.
Good numbers of Wigeon and Teal
although scattered.

Oxford: Walton Manor: 7th February

Oxford: Walton Manor
3 Waxwing: In back gardens of Southmoor Road and Kingston Road briefly before flying North.

Adam Hartley

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Port Meadow 6th February

Glaucous Gull juv/1w.
Yellow-legged Gull
Dunlin
50 Golden Plover

Adam Hartley


Otmoor: RSPB reserve: 6th February

Otmoor: RSPB reserve
3 White-fronted Goose

Paul Boult

Oxford 6th February

Waxwing c12 off A34 nr the South Hinksey junction/roundabout at 15:23 (per Jon Prowse).


Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

West Hendred/Ardington

Hen Harrier (ringtail) was hunting the fields north of the A417 between West Hendred and Ardington.

It put up plenty of birds, c200 Lapwing, many Gulls and Corvids and c50 Linnet.

Cholsey Wildlife

Port Meadow: 5th February

Port Meadow
Yellow-legged Gull: ad.
17 Pintail

Adam Hartley
Otmoor Green Plovers (c) Paul Greenaway

Henley Road GPs 5th February

3 Smew f. On the water ski lake.
Red-crested Pochard: f.















Steven Day

Sunday, 3 February 2013

January Review


White-fronted Geese on Otmoor (c) Andy Last

In what we hope will be a regular monthly feature on the O.B.L,local birder and artist Andy Last has very kindly agreed do to a painting of a chosen species each month which has occurred in Oxfordshire.

White-fronts are annual winter visitors to Oxfordshire with 5 birds first arriving at Otmoor RSPB on the 4th of January this number had increased to 11 including 2 immature birds by the 5th of January. At least 2 adults and 1 immature bird stayed on Otmoor with the feral Greylag geese throughout the month with a second group of 10 White-fronted Geese seen just north of Duxford on the 6th. Pit 60 in Standlake also hosted 7 individuals on the 25th.

The Baltic/North Sea population of European White-fronted Goose breeds in European Arctic Russia and northwest Siberia. These birds generally leave their breeding grounds in September and early October (Stroud et al. 2002). Those wintering in Britain pass through Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, with a few also migrating through southern Sweden (WWT).
 
Review for January 2013

The elusive Cholsey Great grey Shrike.
 
It's been a predictably quiet start to the year with the usual winter birds to look out for. The bird of the month has to be the Cholsey Great Grey Shrike which was around for several days though it was often frustratingly elusive

Otmoor had a good selection of winter birds with a Bittern around for the whole month as well as a Hen Harrier and a one-day sightings of a Short-eared Owl, up to 11 White-fronted Geese hanging out with the Greylags, 2 Bearded Tits seen, a one-day stop-over Whooper Swan and a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker that was seen a couple of times.


Otmoor Hen Harrier
 
Port Meadow alternated between being hugely flooded and completely frozen. The highlight was a flock of 40+ Barnacle Geese which spent several days on the Meadow. These are almost certainly the Cat. C feral birds from the surrounding counties. Apart from that there was a Bar-tailed Godwit about and up to 30 Waxwings knocking around the Aristotle Lane and Burgess Field area for much of the month.

The "tickable" Barnacle Geese

It's been a great winter for Waxwings in the county

Farmoor attracted the usual birds that one might hope for at this time of year with a Slavonian Grebe spending the whole month here, as well as at least 4 Scaup though they seemed to have moved on by the end of the month. The gull roost turned up several Caspian Gulls, 2 Iceland Gulls and a Glaucous Gull. In addition Dai John had a Kittiwake knocking around for a couple of days as well.


The Slav Grebe has been around all month

Continuing on the Gull theme, several Caspians were seen dotted about the place, including Stanton Harcourt and Dix Pit and Appleford hosted a Glaucouse Gull and an Iceland Gull.

Other bits and bobs from the month include a red-head Smew and a Bittern at Radley, 2 drake Smew at Dix Pit and 2 red-heads at Henley Rd GPs. In addition the feral flock of 30+ Snow Geese spent about a week at Cassington GP in the snow.
 
Dix Pit Smew

The mysterious feral Snow Geese


A stunning Marsh Tit photo courtesy of the "Gun Slinger"



All in all, about what you might expect for January.