Sightings and Photos

To submit sightings to this blog if you are not an authorised contributor please use the Going Birding service.
To Submit Photos or Video to this blog please email jasoncppk 'at' or adamchartley 'at'

July 6th Garganey Appleford GPs...Quail Segsbury...June 23rd 3 Quail Crog Hill...16th Garganey Farmoor Reservoir...May 18th HOOPOE Twyford...14th RED-FOOTED FALCON Piddington...Curlew Sandpiper Farmoor Reservoir...

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

December Highlights & 2014 Highlights Montage

Smew courtesy of Andy Last

The turkey or nut roast has been eaten, the drink has been drunk and with the Christmas pudding settling in the stomach it's time to look back over the month. Sadly instead of going out with a bang, what has been a rather quiet year in the county has rather limped to a close. Still there have been one or two good birds to keep one's interest over this final month.

The bird of the month has to be a Hoopoe that was found near Hook Norton on the 12th on private farmland. However, despite valiant attempts by our esteemed county recorder to see if it was still there and if access might be arranged, unfortunately there was no response from the finder and this record must be added to the all-too-large pile of untwitchable records for this species.

Hoopoe Hook Norton courtesy of Kevin King
News of a female Long-tailed Duck at Dorchester gravel pits finally filtered through to the wider birding community on the 8th following its arrival in mid November. This enigmatic sea duck was last reported on the 14th.

Long-tailed Duck Dorchester courtesy of  Paul Wren


Otmoor Sprawk courtesy of Tezzer
Apart from the regulars at Otmoor, Peregrines were seen at Standlake on the 3rd and at Harwell on the 17th. A possible Merlin was seen briefly on Port Meadow on the 2nd with the Otmoor bird seen on the 5th, 15th & 17th; another individual was recorded near Shillingford Bridge on the 5th. The long staying Otmoor Marsh Harrier was last seen on the 3rd with another bird arriving on the 30th. Short-eared Owls were noted near Wheatley on the 11th and at the Devil's Punchbowl on the 13th with at least six birds present on the 29th, at least three birds were along the Oxon/Berks border also on the 13th with a further two along the Ridgeway at Sparsholt on the 29th.

Short-eared Owls
Above: Devil's Punchbowl courtesy of The Gun-slinger
Below: courtesy of Steve Burch


Bewick's Swans Otmoor by Badger
This is the time of year when wildfowl come to the for and this month didn't disappoint. To start with
three Bewick's Swans arrived on Otmoor on the 28th the same day as two Whoopers were discovered amongst the Mute Swans near Lower Radley. Three White-fronted Geese dropped in to Otmoor on the 27th. 

Whooper Swans Lower Radley by Badger

Four Pintail were recorded on Port Meadow with this number rising to fourteen by the 27th. On Otmoor numbers of this species reached upwards of twenty by month's end. Two Shelduck were on Port Meadow on the 19th; at the same site were two Goosander on the 2nd and 4th. At least two more Goosander were at Standlake with a drake at Grimsbury on the 6th and 9th and at least three individuals to the south of the county at the Henley Road gravel pits.

Drake Smew Standlake by Badger
At Standlake a stunning drake Smew was found on the 3rd which stayed for the remainder of the month. A redhead Smew was also seen among the Henley Road pits on the 21st. Completing the sawbill trio at the Henley Road pits was a female Red-breasted Merganser on the 23rd which may have been the returning bird from last month.


It's been rather quiet this month on the gull front. A first winter Caspian Gull was amongst the roost on F2 on the 6th with several noted at the Didcot landfill through December. Apart from that there have just been a few Yellow-legged Gulls reported at Port Meadow.

Caspian Gull Didcot courtesy of Lew


A Ruff was on Port Meadow on the 6th and three Black-tailed Godwits were at the same site on the 19th. Eight Dunlin were at Port Meadow on the 27th with ten seen at Otmoor the following day. Woodcock were seen flying from Moorleys on Otmoor at dusk on the 7th with two birds at the BBOWT Foxholes reserve on the 18th.

One of Three Black-wits on Port Meadow (c) Badger

Passerines & Miscellaneous

A tristis Chiffchaff was trapped and ringed near Henley mid month with two individuals seen at Abingdon sewage works at the end of the month. A possible tristis seen briefly at Spital Farm Lake near Banbury on the 9th and at Grimsbury Reservoir on the 29th. A Firecrest was seen at Cholsey on the 25th and the 28th. A Willow Tit was seen at Grimsbury Reservoir on the 6th, 14th and the 24th - this site now seems to be one of only a few places left in the county to see these birds.

One of two tristis ChiffChaff at Abingdon Sewage Works (c) Lew

A Bearded Tit was seen at Otmoor on the 13th with at least four birds present at the Noke end of the reserve on the 13th. The Cetti's warbler remained at the RSPB Otmoor reserve all month and another individual was recorded along the Thames at Sandford on the 19th.

Two Brambling were at the BBOWT reserve at Chimney on the 26th with at least fifteen at Burnt Plat near South Stoke on the 29th, these seem to be the only records for December in the county in what has so far been a rather poor year for them; likewise numbers of Siskin and Redpoll seem rather scant. There was an unconfirmed report of eight Waxwings near Stanton St John on the 2nd.

The Bittern on Otmoor was seen sporadically over December. The Starling roost there rose throughout December reaching an estimated seventy five thousand birds by months end.

Otmoor Starlings courtesy of the Gun-slinger

                               This years Birders Xmas curry was held in Abingdon at the Majliss on the 13th
                               Good food, great company and a few tall tales!
                               Thanks to everyone who came along and made it such a great evening.

Happy New Year !

So it merely remains for the Oxon Bird Log team to wish you all a very Happy Bird-filled 2015. We leave you with the traditional photo montage for the year that's just finished.

Sutton Courtenay GP's 31st December

1st winter Caspian Gull 

Red-crested Pochard 2

Otmoor.A.M. 31st December.

1 Marsh Harrier (Reedbeds)
1 Kingfisher (Reedbeds)
12+ Snipe (Greenaways & Reedbeds)
50+ Reed Bunting (Path south of hide).

Grimsbury Reservoir: 31st December

1 Willow Tit - in the wood
2 Chiffchaffs - in the wood
 - Including the 'different' pale bird (more to follow)
Pair of Sparrowhawks

Chiffchaff (c) Gareth Blockley
Lew and Badger have both kindly text me to say they think this bird looks fine for Siberian Chiffchaff, thank you both.

More pictures on the new 'Grimsbury Birds' blog Please check it out.

River Thames: nr Lower Radley: 31st December

River Thames: nr Lower Radley
2 Whooper Swan: Approaching from Sandford, 1 mile south of the Lock/King's Arms. 08:30.

D Moden

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Lower Radley 30th December

(One of the two Whoopers by Badger)

Two adult Whoopers still at Lower Radley on the east bank of the Thames at 15:30 this afternoon. Also one Little Owl there.

per Ian Elkins

Park at the entrance to Radley College Boathouse and follow footpath to the Thames.
Head North along the river to view field to the east of the Thames.

Abingdon Sewage Farm 30th Dec

2 Siberian Chiffchaffs (look good at least though not heard) today with around 15+ Common Chiffchaffs from the track along the northern perimeter of Abingdon Sewage Farm.

Happy New Year



Otmoor 30th December

Marsh Harrier
Barn Owl
Merlin (per John Reynolds)
Starling roost estimated at 50,000 birds

(per Terry Tossel & Ron Louch)

All pictures courtesy of John Reynolds.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Sparsholt 29th December

Short-eared Owl 2 along the Ridgeway at Sparsholt (per RBA)

Childrey - Middleway Bottom - Childrey Field 12:30

Golden Plover: c300 in 3-4 groups
Lapwing: c50
Skylark: 10
Redwing &Fieldfare: c80
Stock Dove c20
Mixed flock; very mobile in this area
Grey Heron deep water fishing Otmoor courtesy of John Reynolds

Devils Punchbowl 29th 13:00 - 16:00

Short-eared Owl:  6 possibly 8 birds, both m & f first appearing between 14:35 and 14:50.   Hunting, perching on shrubs, posts and ground plus mock(?) fighting.  Constant unforgetable views of owls, all around my position, from below, above and side.
Peregrine:  1 arrived from North 15:27, had a go at SEO, before 4 owls instantly responded in kind!  Followed by no further sightings of either species by sunset.
Kestrel: 2; Buzzard: 5; Red Kite: 3; Stonechat: 3; Mipit and Linnet heard.  Merlin... No show.
Great spotted Woodpecker Otmoor courtesy of Jonathan Mercer 

Grimsbury Reservoir: 29th December

Grimsbury Reservoir
2 Chiffchaff: One typical collybita and one that is 'different', both seen well together to make comparisons of plumage and call. The 'different' bird was paler and greyer, almost white below and grey-brown above, none of the warm buff colouring and only a bit of yellow plumage on the wing that I could see. The 'different' bird didn't call while I was watching it but after it recently flew out of view I did here some 'peeep' type calls, obviously different to the standard 'huueet'.

Banbury: Spital Farm Lake
4 Chiffchaff: 4 at least.

Gareth Blockley

Burnt Platt 29th December

Two of 15+ Brambling in the Burnt Platt/Bear Wood area this morning, about here.

Also in the wider area;

4 Raven
4 Lesser Redpoll
3+ Marsh Tit
Chaffinches outnumbering Brambling by about 5:1

Expected woodland species well represented.

Foxholes BBOWT 29th December

Raven 1
Woodcock 2
Marsh Tit 4
Great Tit 24 in one flock feeding in leaf litter
Mixed flock of 40+ Chaffinch/Yellowhammer/Reed Bunting  feeding in game cover
Bullfinch 9
Lesser Redpoll 1
Goldcrest 3
Nuthatch 7
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1

Launton Park

Blackcap 1 male at 11.30am

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Ewelme: Cress beds: 28th December

Ewelme: Cress beds
Green Sandpiper 09:00.

Thomas Stevenson

Otmoor 28th December

                                3 Bewick's - Flew off towards Charlton on Otmoor around 15:45
                                1 Ross's Goose (feral)

Please view at 720p HD

                                 4 Bearded tits - Seen from bridleway in reed bed 200yds before Noke turn.
                                 1 Stonechat
                                 c75,000 Starlings in roost

Farmoor 1 - 14:15 - 16:15. 28th

Goldeneye 1m & 2f
Teal 1f
Herring gulls included one dark-eyed, pure white headed adult bird; smaller than any LB-bG and as pale mantled as BHG... tiny argenteus???
Thrushes c150 mixed Redwing & Fieldfare in heavily berried Cotoneaster by F1 car park
Starling c4000 Otmoor bound?
Cormorant 1 with near full white thigh patch

Little Wittenham: 28th December

Little Wittenham
2 Egyptian Goose: Both standing on very tall tree stumps in campsite at Days lock. 12:00.

Mark Russell

Lower Radley 28th December

Please view at 720p HD

Whooper Swan 2 (ad) still present this afternoon.
Mute Swan 15

Park at the entrance to Radley College Boathouse and follow footpath to the Thames.
Head North along the river to view field to the east of the Thames.

Mutes and Whoopers Courtesy of Julian Mole

Otmoor 28th Dec

Bewick's Swan 3 still present on Big Otmoor 13:30 (Peter Law)

Cholsey 28th December

Firecrest still present Cholsey between school and church.

(per Paul Chandler)

Otmoor 28th December

Bewick's Swan 3 on Big Otmoor

(per Bark et al)

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Otmoor 27th December

Courtesy of John Reynolds

White-fronted Geese 3 on the reserve though mobile (per Bark)

Henley Road GP's 27th Dec

Red-breasted Merganser (fem) 14:00

(per RBA)

Port Meadow: 27th December

Port Meadow
14 Pintail: 11 m 3 f.
8 Dunlin
4 Redshank
Yellow-legged Gull: ad.

Adam Hartley
Barn Owl North Stoke courtesy of The Gun-slinger

Friday, 26 December 2014

Cholsey 26th December

No further sign of the Firecrest in Cholsey today (per Paul Chandler)

Chimney: 26th December

2 Brambling: At least 2 in felled area to the immediate West of NNR. 09:00.

Mark Merritt

Chipping Norton: 26th December

Chipping Norton
Raven: over Bridleway through Sarsden House grounds. 10:30.

Steve Akers

Clackanory 'The Snake & the Bear'

And so the final installment in our Christmas Clackanory video triptych finds Ewan Urquhart
parking the Black Audi and heading off to the new world, for two very different, but equally
magical encounters in an Ecuadorean rain forest...

Please view at 720p or 1080p HD

Kingham 26th December

In our frosty garden this morning. Happy Christmas and best wishes for the New Year


Otmoor.A.M. 25th December.

1 Peregrine (Big Otmoor)
21+ Pintail (Big Otmoor)
1 Sparrowhawk (Reedbeds)
1 Water Rail (Reedbeds)
2 Stonechat (Reedbeds).

Photo courtesy of John Reynolds

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Cholsey 25th December

A singing Firecrest was seen and heard today in Cholsey on private land near Church Road (per R.B)

Cholsey Wildlife
Otmoor Fieldfare courtesy of John Reynolds

Kingston Bagpuize: 25th December

Kingston Bagpuize
32 Golden Plover 15:00.
27 Lapwing 15:00.
4 Goldcrest 15:00.
Kestrel 15:00.
Sparrowhawk 15:00.
Great Spotted Woodpecker 15:00.
Coal Tit 15:00.
12 Greenfinch 15:00.
21 Goldfinch 15:00.
47 Fieldfare 15:00.

Jed Cleeter

Clackanory 'A Bird on the Ocean Wave'

Our second Clackanory features the man himself, none other than Rushy regular Keith Clack.
So ready yourself me 'arty for a voyage on the Irish Sea seeking glory and a rare Tern... 
Then be afraid...
Very afraid as many of the counties blaggards, scoundrels & reprobates leave a Christmas message...

please view at 720p or 1080p HD

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Grimsbury Reservoir: 24th December

Grimsbury Reservoir
Willow Tit: In woodland by river. 10:00.

Mike Pollard
Nature in the heart of England

Otmoor.A.M. 24th December.

8 Pintail
2 Stonechat
C. 1000 Golden Plover
C. 1000 Lapwing.

Photo courtesy of John Reynolds

Rushey Common area 24th December

Bullfinches 2m 4f
Treecreeper m+f
Lapwings c800
Golden Plover c400
Green Sandpiper

Have a great Christmas

Standlake: Standlake Common GPs: 24th December

Standlake: Standlake Common GPs
15 Red-crested Pochard 10:00.

Martyn Roper

Clackanory and the Christmas Quiz 2014

Ho Ho Hoh No! It's that time of year again, time for Clackanory, time for more tales of birding daring do from three very well known faces on the Oxon birding scene who, have kindly given up their time to do this. First up is Otmoor stalwart Pete Barker instilling the virtues of patience whilst birding in Western Africa.  

Please click the cog and view at 720p or 1080p HD

Christmas Quiz

Simply enter our Christmas competition for your chance to 
win a limited edition signed print of the Thrupp Scop's Owl
by Ian Lewington.

All the answers are birds that are on the Oxfordshire list. Answers and winner will be revealed in the New Year. To enter please send your answers to Good luck!

1. Demand feline consciousness
2. Historic architect
3. Entrance for a giant killer by the sound of it
4. A short fixed period of work
5. Itchy ditty
6. Communist tethered aircraft
7. I hear Sir finds himself in a storm
8. This dry humour's a head turner
9. Shoot from cover
10. Pale flower stem by the sound of it
11.Water fowl that goes like a steam train
12.Gulp down
13.Liverpool player on the side?
14.Jonathan the writer
15.Batty singer
16.Bearded stage act I hear?
17.The boy wonder
18.Chesapeake bay window
19.Newby without end
20.e.g. I map - all confused
21.Communist Party funded butcher
22.Gosh further termites by the sound of it
23.To have ones posterior pinched by the The Office management
24.Hillbilly diver
25.Vulgar rubber-necking
26.Chaffed leg?
27.Too cold to go topless?
28.Early Norman Cook
29.Food found foraging in the countryside by the sound of it?
30.One last song without words
31.Chinese civil servant
32.Second helping of chicken?
33.Royal angler
34.Labour Party election
35.Rooster in a copse
36.From the darkness came 'A growled noel'
37.Right for painting (with lots of colours)
38 The first page of a branded notebook?

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

North Oxon December

Courtesy of Kevin King

Belated report of a Hoopoe on a private site near Hook Norton on the 13th.
                       Discovered and photographed by Kevin King.

Hanwell: Hanwell Fields: 23rd December

Hanwell: Hanwell Fields
2 Stonechat: pair.

Gareth Blockley

Clattercote: Clattercote Reservoir: 23rd December

Clattercote: Clattercote Reservoir

Gareth Blockley

South Leigh: 20th December

South Leigh
2 Raven 13:00.

Richard Catling

Monday, 22 December 2014

1st Winter Caspian Gull Didcot courtesy of Lew

Banbury: 22nd December

2 Raven: Over Broughton rd.

Michael Hunt

Henley Road GPs: 22nd December

Henley Road GPs
Red-breasted Merganser: fem. 12:00.

Sonning Eye GPs
Smew: red head. 12:00.
Raven 12:00.

Hugh Netley

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Otmoor 21st December

Golden Plover c1000
Pintail 6+
Stonechat 2
Sparrowhawk (m)
Ferel Ross's Goose

(per The Massive)

Henley Road GPs 21st Dec

Red-Breasted Merganser (f) 10:50
Smew (redhead) on water-ski pit
Goosander 2

(per Hugh Netley)

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Otmoor. Morning. 20th. December.

Sparrow Hawk.

Hunting Snipe in the reed bed.

Stonesfield: 20th December

25 Red Kite

Blackcap: male.

Stonesfield: Stonesfield Common

Paul Wren

North Stoke. 20th December

Great Spotted Woodpecker 

Sparrowhawk (bath time)

Stock Dove
© Roger Wyatt

Friday, 19 December 2014

Port Meadow 19th December

Black-tailed Godwit 3
Redshank 5
Shelduck 2
Wigeon c500
Teal c300
Pintail (m)
Shoveler c20
Great black backed Gull

Sandford-on-Thames: River Thames: 19th December

Sandford-on-Thames: River Thames
Cetti's Warbler

D Moden

Otmoor.A.M. 19th December.

  Big Otmoor:
 Pintail: male (per Joe Harris)
C.1000 Golden Plover
450+ Lapwing.
C. 500 Golden Plover
750+ Lapwing
19 Snipe
15 Snipe
17 Pochard
2 Kingfisher
    Car park field:
5 Yellowhammer.

  per P R.  C W. P G.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Otmoor: RSPB reserve: 17th December

Otmoor: RSPB reserve
Merlin: Flew in front of Wetland Watch hide.

RSPB Otmoor

Otmoor.A.M. 18th December.

15+ Snipe (Reedbeds)
C. 1000 Lapwing (Big Otmoor)
300+ Golden Plover (Big Otmoor)
1 Pr Stonechat.

Foxholes BBOWT 18th December

Woodcock 2
Marsh Tit 2
Nuthatch 3
Goldcrest 2
Sparrowhawk 1

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Port Meadow: 17th December

Port Meadow
4 Yellow-legged Gull: 3 ad & 3w.
2 Pintail: male.

Adam Hartley

Harwell Laboratory: Rutherford Laboratory: 17th December

Harwell Laboratory: Rutherford Laboratory
Peregrine: Drifting South. 15:00.

Mark Merritt

Rushey Common area 17th December am

Chiffchaff x2
Lapwings c95


Otmoor.A.M. 17th December.

1 Kingfisher (Reedbeds)
18 Snipe (Reedbeds)
1 Stonechat (Ashgrave)
1 Ross's Goose feral (Greenaways)
C. 400 Lapwing (Big Otmoor)
C. 550 Golden Plover (Big Otmoor).

Grimsbury Reservoir: 17th December

Grimsbury Reservoir
Goosander: drk.

Gareth Blockley

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Otmoor 16th December

Great starling display tonight between 3.35 and 4.05. estimated 70,000+ birds in the roost.
Woodcock 2 out of Morleys 4.35

(per Terry Tossell & Ron Louch)

The walk to the first screen takes twenty to thirty minutes from the car park and the paths can be muddy so wellingtons are recommended. When the Starlings do decide to 'dance' it can be anytime from 15:00 on wards. Weekends can be busy and the car park is small so, if possible a visit during the week might be preferable.
Part of the large Linnet flock currently at the Devil's Punchbowl
Courtesy of Mr Merritt.