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'

Dec 5th Cattle Egret Standlake...2nd White-fronted Goose Cote...Nov 30th 19 White-fronted Geese Farmoor Reservoir...7 Whooper Swan Otmoor rspb...23rd Brent Goose Farmoor Reservoir...14th Grey Plover Otmoor rspb...11th Brent Goose Farmoor Res...10th Black Redstart Harwell...2 Whooper Swan Thame...8th Iceland Gull Appleford GPs...Great northern Diver...2 Little Gulls Farmoor Reservoir...1st Cattle Egret Balscote Quarry...Oct 30th Yellow-browed Warbler Farmoor Reservoir...25th GLOSSY IBIS Port Meadow...

Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015 and December Highlights

Juvenile Great northern Diver Farmoor courtesy of Richard Tyler

Headline Birds
December is not normally one in which to expect a great deal bird-wise so its nice to be able to report a few interesting snippets this month. This month has been mostly all about Great Northern Divers with up to four of these cracking birds gracing our county. The first (a juvenile) arrived at Farmoor on the 2nd, being joined by a  second juvenile on the 9th and then amazingly a third, adult bird, turned up on the 27th and all three lingered until the end of the month. Yet another juvenile was found on a Stanton Harcourt fishing lake from the 5th until at least the 12th where it was seen feeding predominantly on American Crayfish.

Continuing what has been a good autumn/winter so far for Great Grey Shrikes, a one day bird was seen on the 16th at Appleton near Cumnor though sadly it didn't linger.

Great grey Shrike Appleton courtesy of Debbie White
The two wonderful Farmoor Grey Phalaropes which were very popular with photographers from far and wide, stayed until the 11th.

Our star Phalaropes
 Our resident Red-necked Grebe continued to overwinter at Farmoor all month.

On the 21st a real county Mega, a Little Auk, was found in a puddle on Rope Way, Chipping Norton. It appeared to have a broken wing and was taken into care though sadly it died. Had this bird been found in a healthy state on one of the county's waterways this would have initiated a mad stampede as many in the lower half of the county listing table still need this delightful species for their county lists.

The Little Auk

The two Marsh Harriers remained on the RSPB reserve all month.

Marsh Harrier on Otmoor courtesy of Rad Ramsey
A probable Hen Harrier was seen near Eynsham on the 31st - sadly this species has become very scarce over recent winters.

A Short-eared Owl was reported from Thame sporadically over December with a pair hunting over Otmoor on the 11th; singles were also seen near Eynsham over the month and at Farmoor on the 4th. Merlin were reported from Didcot on the 6th, at Otmoor on the 14th, at Buscot on the 17th, within the Blenheim Park estate on the 23rd and a female was at Farmoor also on the 23rd.

Short-eared Owl near Eynsham courtesy of Moth Clark

With the warm weather continuing through December there has been a distinct lack of much gull action so the discovery of a very fine 2nd winter Caspian Gull on Port Meadow on the 28th was very welcome.

Caspian Gull 2nd winter courtesy of Gnome

A Brent Goose was a superb find at Grimsbury reservoir on the 3rd but unfortunately it was only a one day bird. 

Brent Goose Grimsbury Reservoir courtesy of John Friendship-Taylor

Talking of geese, at least fifty Barnacle Geese stayed on Port Meadow for a day on the 15th  - presumably part of the Home Counties category C population.

Cat C Barnacle Geese Port Meadow courtesy of Gnome
The two adult and tree juvenile Whooper Swans remained faithful to the same field near Cholsey for almost the entire month though they disappeared on the last day.

Whooper Swan family near Cholsey courtesy of Lew
Three Shelduck were on Port Meadow on the 27th with the number rising to five by the end of the month. There were also two of this handsome duck on Farmoor Res on the 31st. A pair of Common Scoter (the first of the year in the county) turned up at Farmoor reservoir for the day on the 13th.

Common Scoter Farmoor Reservoir courtesy of Simon Dowell

A redhead Smew arrived at the Henley Road gravel pits on the 4th with the female Red-breasted Merganser present again at the same site on the 15th. Talking of Sawbills, five Goosander on the Cherwell near Marston on the 10th. Ten of this species roosted on Port Meadow on the 10th with the number rising to 17 on the 21st and the 31st. In addition five Goosander were on Grimsbury Reservoir on the 18th.

Goosander on the Cherwell courtesy of Neil Long
A 1st winter male Goldeneye was a surprise discovery at Port Meadow on the 29th. Forty Red-crested Pochard at Standlake on the 29th remains the highest total this winter period. A drake Mandarin was at Farmoor on the 7th with the now regular bird remaining at the Ewelme cress beds over the month.

Mandarin Ewelme Cress Beds courtesy of the Gun-slinger

Nine Ruff arrived on Port Meadow on the 27th and stayed until the end of the year. Two Jack Snipe bobbed amongst their more common counterparts at the Bicester Wetlands Reserve on the 16th. Woodcock were seen regularly on Otmoor at dusk flying out from Morleys with an individual also seen at Iffley on the 8th. Five Redshank (the highest count within the county this month) were at Port Meadow on the 14th. Also on the 14th was an unseasonal fly-through Curlew at Farmoor. A single Dunlin was at Banburys Grimsbury reservoir on the 14th

Brambling were seen at Lambourne on the 6th with at least one bird still amongst the Finch and Bunting flocks on Otmoor from the Wetlands Watch hide mid-month; at least one Brambling was near Kingston Bagpuize on the 26th. A large flock of up to fifty Redpoll was along the river Thame near Cuddesdon mid month. Wintering Stonechats were at Crog Hill on the 20th with at least two on Otmoor in December. Six Ring-necked Parakeets were zooming around Henley's skies on the 16th - unfortunately these colourful birds are seldom reported away from what is their county stronghold.

The Christmas Quiz

We were going to announce the winner of the Christmas Quiz today but as we've only had two entries so far we thought that we'd extend it for a few more days. It's a bit harder than last year but with the prestigious title of "King of the Quiz" up for grabs it would be rude not to give it a go!
Christmas Quiz

The Annual End of Year Video

It's time once again for the annual Gnome Studios photo montage set to inappropriately heavy music. If this doesn't get you pumped up for your New Year's Day county bird listing then nothing will!

Finally it only remains for us to wish you a very Happy and Bird-filled New Year

Badger & Gnome

Rushey Common: PM 31st December



Port Meadow: 31st December

Port Meadow
5 Yellow-legged Gull: ad.
2 Ruff
5 Shelduck
17 Goosander

Adam Hartley

Farmoor 31st December

 Great Northern Diver (Juv)
                                                       Wayne Bull's Wildlife Blog 

Otmoor: RSPB reserve: 31st December

Otmoor: RSPB reserve
Bittern 13:00.
2 Marsh Harrier 13:00.
Peregrine 13:00.

Mike Pollard

Stanton Harcourt 31st December

Willow Tit seen & heard amongst
Long-tailed Tit flock c15:00
adjacent to Pit 10 along access road
to West Oxford Sailing Club.

(per Dave Doherty)

Standlake Pit 60: AM 31st December

7 Pintail (4m, 3f)
3 Goldeneye (m)

Otmoor.A.M. 31st December.

2 Pintail
2 Marsh Harrier
1000+ Golden Plover
1200+ Lapwing.
1 Cettis Warbler (H).
1 Brambling from the Wetlands Watch Hide (Nick Truby)

Grimsbury Reservoir: 31st December

Grimsbury Reservoir
6 Goosander: 1 drake.

Gareth Blockley

nr Kingham 31st December

Woodcock 7
Marsh Tit 3
Raven 2

Happy New Year to everyone!

Cholsey 31st December

No sign of the 5 Whooper Swans N/W of Cholsey in fields between Manor Farm and Cholsey Hill
by 13:00 (per Paul Chandler) Cholsey Wildlife

Farmoor Reservoir 31st December

Great northern Diver at least 3 (ad 2 juv) still on F2
Shelduck 2 F2
Pintail 11

(per Dai)

Blewbury: 31st December

2 Stonechat: fem. On fenceposts at the western end of Blewburton Hill. 10:30.

Gerry Quinn

Eynsham: Oxford Road: 31st December

Eynsham: Oxford Road
Probable Hen Harrier: juv male. Partially grey and brown harrier seen on fields near Eynsham toll bridge. 08:30.

Thomas Stevens

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Port Meadow 30th December

9 Ruff
5 Shelduck
2 Goosander
No sign of the Barn Owl in Burgess Field

per Mary MacDougall

Tittenford Bridge: 26th December

Tittenford Bridge
2 Raven 09:30.
90 Siskin 09:30.

Bob Pomfret

Chipping Norton: 29th December

Chipping Norton
2 Peregrine: f and m. whilst watching large female, she was joined by smaller male with much commotion and greeting calls - first time seen together - possible pair -16:00.

Steve Akers

Otmoor.A.M. 30th December.

1 Peregrine
1 Marsh Harrier
1 Water Rail (across path)
C. 50 Goldies
C. 100 Lapwing.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Port Meadow: 29th December

9 Ruff
10 Goosander: 9m 1 r/h.
1 Barn Owl in Burgess Field (per Steve Goddard)
1 1w drake Goldeneye (a Patch Mega!!)

More on Port Meadow Birding

Adam Hartley

Standlake: 29th December

29th December

40 Red-crested Pochard: This is an exact count, not an estimate. 33 were on pit 27 in a single group. An additional 7 were on the adjacent pit to the north-west. SP388022. 15:40.
Goosander: male. In southernmost corner of pit adjacent to pit 27, very close to shore, giving excellent views. SP385022. 15:50.

Simon Dowell

Wootton nr Abingdon: 29th December

Wootton nr Abingdon
Blackcap: fem. In my dads garden for 1st time this winter.

Jed Cleeter

Monday, 28 December 2015

Port Meadow: 28th December

Caspian Gull: 2w.
5 Goosander: 4m 1r/h.
No sign of the Ruff today.

more at Port Meadow Birding

Adam Hartley

Some video of the bird - be warned you may wish to turn down the volume as it's rather windy

Harwell: 28th December

Raven: Flew over the A34.

Jed Cleeter

Cholsey 28th December

Whooper Swan 5 (3 juv) still N/W of Cholsey in fields between Manor Farm and Cholsey Hill viewable from road (per Paul Chandler).

Farmoor: 28th December

3 Great Northern Divers (1ad, 2 juv) coming close into the NE corner of F2 by the sailing club and the pontoons

The adult GND (c) Stephen Burch
Juvenile Great Northern Diver (c) Stephen Burch
Click here for a hi res image

Radley Lakes 28th December

4 Little grebe
1 Heron
3 Egyptian Goose
1 Green sandpiper
1 Cetti's warbler
1 Lesser redpoll
3 Siskin

Standlake Common Area: AM 28th December

Pit 60

3 Goldeneye (m)
2 Shelduck
2 YL Gull
3 Goldcrest (adjacent lane)
Lots of Teal, Widgeon and Gadwall

Pit 38

3 Little Egret

Pit 27

3 + Goosander
12 Red Crested Pochard
2 Little Egret
Trecreeper (adjacent lane)


(NB pit 27 is a private lake with views from adjacent footpaths)

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Port Meadow: 27th December

9 Ruff
2 Egyptian Goose
3 Shelduck
Yellow-legged Gull: ad.

Adam Hartley

Farmoor 27th December

 3 Great Northern Divers
Great Northern Diver 3 (1 ad 2 juvs) on F2 in N/E corner near the sailing club at 08:50
and showing well.

(per Dai)

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Thame 26th December

Short-eared Owl Thame at Oxfordshire Golf Club flushed from rough grass near bridge
over main lake at 16:01 (per RBA).

Ewelme - 26th Dec

Mandarin - drake still, upstream from road bridge at 15:50

Bossing the Mallards

Kingston Bagpuize: 26th December

Kingston Bagpuize
Brambling: At least 1 with mixed flock.

Jed Cleeter


So the last tale in our Christmas trilogy comes courtesy of Peter Barker and it will transport us all into the secret world of the reed bed. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a bird filled New Year.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Happy Christmas

In today's Clackanory we catch up with the U.K Tilley Reintroduction Programme (T.Ri.P)
as they endeavour to increase the global population of the much loved and threatened Tilley Hat.
WARNING: You will never ever get the 12 minutes of your life back after watching this video... Happy Christmas.

Christmas Quiz

In keeping with the newly formed tradition from last year, this year we have another Christmas quiz. Unfortunately we don't have any prizes this year but the highest score does take the prestigious title of King of the Quiz for the next year. Just to remind you, the title is currently held by Barry Batchelor.

All the answers are birds that have been seen in Oxfordshire. Please submit your answers to Gnome before the New Year.

1. Ivy?
2. Brown river
3. Thievin'
4. Sounds like a crow
5. Boast about roadkill
6. Used knife
7. Be waffling
8. Prop up an entrance?
9. A noose for a curry?
10. Bank transfer
11. Engulf
12. Top fish
13. Dancing?
14. e.g. stamp collecting
15. Gordian Wader
16. Religous wag
17. Age of the boar
18. Underground singer
19. Wit's story?
20. Victory talk?


Badger & Gnome

Thursday, 24 December 2015


So on the eve of Christmas Day some of Oxfordshires birding alumni are once again ushered from their dark and dusty studies to regale us with stories.
Keith Clack is to start the proceedings with a dark tale from the Sharpness Docks. 
Some now call it a tradition... 
We simply call it Clackanory.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Chipping Norton - 22nd December

A Little Auk was found in a puddle in Rope Way, Chipping Norton early Tuesday morning. It appeared to have a broken wing and was taken into care for treatment but unfortunately it died. (per Theresa Morley).

Cholsey 23rd December

Whooper Swan 5 (3 juv) N/W of Cholsey in fields between Manor Farm and Cholsey Hill
viewable from the road although distant nb parking is limited.

(per Paul Chandler)  

Farmoor 23rd December

Merlin  1 female

Port Meadow: 23rd December

Port Meadow
2 Yellow-legged Gull: ad.
5 Goosander: 4m 1r/h.

Adam Hartley

Blenheim Park 23rd December

Pintail 2
Cetti's Warbler
Redpoll 11

(per Dave Doherty)

Rushey Common area, 23rd December

Common Gulls 3
Lapwings c250
Grey Wagtail
Peregrine again washing in the lake and then perched on the bank for 30 minutes
Little Grebes 4

Short-eared Owl
Courtesy of Moth Clark

Otmoor 23rd December

Marsh Harrier - From 1st Screen. In water up to it's breast! Thought it was trying to drown something but flew off empty handed.
27 Snipe
c750 Lapwing
1 Stonechat
c150 Linnet
Cettis reported calling along bridleway.


Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Cholsey 22nd December

Whooper Swan 5 (3 juvs) still N/W of Cholsey in fields between Manor Farm and Cholsey Hill
viewable from the road although distant.

(per Paul Chandler)

Farmoor Reservoir: Farmoor II: 22nd December

Farmoor Reservoir: Farmoor II
Great Northern Diver: 1-2 off Yatcht Club Landing area, very very close to shore. 15:30.

Mark Ribbons

Monday, 21 December 2015

Chipping Norton: 19th December

Chipping Norton
Peregrine: Too distant to identify sex - sorry for late posting of this sighting. 14:00.

Steve Akers

Port Meadow: 21st December

Port Meadow
17 Goosander: reported by Mary MacDougall.

Adam Hartley

Standlake Common Area: AM 21st December

Pit 60

3 Goldeneye (m)



Pit 27

7 Goosander (3 m, 4f)

(NB pit 27 is a private lake with views from adjacent footpaths)

Cholsey: Manor Farm: 21st December

Cholsey: Manor Farm
5 Whooper Swan: Still in field near Railway Line . 12:10.

Ralph Watts

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Farmoor Reservoir 20th December

Great Northern Diver 2 (both juvs) still present on F2 (Richard Tyler).

Photo courtesy of R.Tyler.

Standlake Common Area: AM 20th December

Pit 60

2 Goldeneye (m)
2 Goosander (m,f)

Pit 27

2 Little Egret
3 Goldeneye
1 Goosander (m,)
10+ Red Crested Pochard

(NB pit 27 is a private lake with views from adjacent footpaths)
Red Crested Pochard
Sleepy Goosander and Red Crested Pochard

Red Crested Pochard

Fields off of Shifford lane

Flock of 100+ Fieldfare in adjacent field

Crog Hill: 20th Dec.

Stonechat, also 2 singing Corn Buntings.

Otmoor 20th December

Marsh Harrier 2
Sparrowhawk 2
Wigeon 50+
Teal 60+
Pintail 2 m (Big Otmoor)
Snipe 20+ (pools on Greenaways)
Water Rail 2
Cetti's Warbler (h)

(per The Otmoor Massive)

Radley village: 20th December

Radley village
Blackcap: male. in a suburban garden. 09:00.

Ian Elkins

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Cholsey 19th December

Whooper Swan 5 (3 juv) still N/W of Cholsey
in fields between Manor Farm & Cholsey Hill.
Viewable from the road.

(per RBA)

Farmoor 19th Dec

Great Northern Diver 2 (both juv) still on F2 11:00 (per Andy Last).

Grimsbury Reservoir: 19th December

Grimsbury Reservoir
3 Goosander: 1 drake.
2 Willow Tit: In scrub just north of the wood.

Gareth Blockley

Abingdon 19th December

Kingfisher showing well at Oxonbirders Christmas Curry Night

Friday, 18 December 2015

Grimsbury Reservoir: 18th December

5 Goosanders (3 drakes)
1 Willow Tit, in the wood

(per John Friendship-Taylor)

Farmoor 18th December

Great Northern Diver (juv) still present on F2
today (per RBA).

Ewelme 18th December

Thought some colour would brighten up the day!


Edge of Witney sewerage works, 18th December

Chiffchaffs 2
Goldcrests at least 10


Standlake Common area: AM 18th December

Pit 60


Pit 27

3 Little Egret
2 YL gull
3 Goldeneye
11 Goosander (6 m, 5f)
5+ Red Crested Pochard

(JDH with Jeremy D)

(NB pit 27 is a private lake with views from adjacent footpaths)