Sightings and Photos

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To Submit Photos or Video to this blog please email jasoncppk 'at' yahoo.co.uk or adamchartley 'at' gmail.com

20th May Common Crane Otmoor RSPB...19th May Fulmar Grimsbury Reservoir...

Monday, 22 May 2017

Fyfield Wick: 22nd May

Fyfield Wick
Corn Bunting: male. Singing by A415 at the junction of digging lane. 1st time observed here. SU415977. 18:45.

Frilford: Millet's Farm
Corn Bunting: male. Singing by A415 just west of Millets farm on opposite side of road. 1st observation here. SU430975. 18:45.

Jed Cleeter

: 22nd May

Ardington
Spotted Flycatcher: Calling from wires on Church Street. SU4388.

Leo Bateman

Farmoor Reservoir 22nd May

Turnstone 2
Sanderling 2

(per Dai, Dave Daniells)

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Port Meadow: 21st May

Port Meadow
Greenshank: Briefly on the floods this evening.

Adam Hartley

Ardington 21st May

4 Mandarin Duck: Fem and three young (perhaps about a week old). SU4388.

Leo Bateman

Otmoor: RSPB reserve: 21st May



 Hobbies this afternoon over Greenaways (Badger).


2 Turtle Dove one in oak tree other calling from car park. 13:45.
2 Cuckoo
15 Hobby
1 Water Rail
5 Reed Warbler
2 Garden Warbler
2 Cetti's Warbler

No sign of yesterday's unringed Crane.

(Ralph Watts, Badger, Bark et al).


Turtle Dove courtesy of Derek Lane

Farmoor Reservoir: 21st May

3 Sanderling
Ringed Plover

Mike Youngman 09:30

Sanderling courtesy of Wilf Lewis



Fyfield: 21st May

Fyfield
Reed Bunting: male. Singing on hedgerow south of A420. 1st sighting here. SU423981.

Jed Cleeter

Henley Road GPs: 21st May

Henley Road GPs
10 Hobby: All pretty high. Could well be more. 13:00.

Richard Jinks

Chinnor Old Quarry 21st May

Whitethroat courtesy of Jez March




















3 Little Ringed Plover: ad. SU749996.
6 Whitethroat: ad male and fem.

Jez March

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Otmoor: 20th May

Common Crane (unringed)  courtesy of Derek Lane


1 Common Crane (unringed)
1 Marsh Harrier
2 Little Egret
2 Common Tern
2 Shelduck: pair on Big Otmoor; female has injured wing.
2 Black-tailed Godwit: on Big Otmoor.
2 Turtle Dove m/f
2 Cuckoo

(per Ian Elkins, Badger)

Kingston Lisle: Ridgeway: 20th May

Kingston Lisle: Ridgeway
Quail: Calling.
4 Yellow Wagtail
2 Curlew
6 Corn Bunting
2 Raven

Sparsholt: Ridgeway
2 Yellow Wagtail
2 Corn Bunting
2 Raven

White Horse Hill
2 Corn Bunting

Jed Cleeter

Farmoor Open Day 20th May





















Male Common Kestrel

Eynsham: 20th May

Eynsham
5 Marsh Tit: ad and juvs. Adult/s feeding at least 3 juvs.

Mick Cunningham

Wantage: 20th May

Wantage
Hobby: SU399874.

Mark Merritt
Common Tern Farmoor Reservoir courtesy of John Reynolds.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Standlake Pit 60: 19th May

Standlake Pit 60
Ringed Plover: On north shore with LRP. Mutual aggression shown.
Hobby: Up to 4.
Reed Warbler: Singing next to north hide.

Mick Cunningham

Standlake Common: am 19th May

Thames Fields
Curlew
Pit 28
Kingfisher
Pit 60
4 Little Ringed Plover
2 Oystercatcher

Otmoor.A.M. 19th May.

2 Marsh Harrier (m)
2 Turtle Dove
Snipe (drumming)
1 Hen Harrier (ringtail)
3 Blackwits
4 Little Egret
2 Yellowhammer (m)
3 Little-ringed Plover
1 Dunlin.

Yellowhammer courtesy of Eddie McLaughlin

Grimsbury Reservoir: 19th May

FULMAR - flew over c.10:15

per Steve Holliday

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Otmoor Thursday 18 May a.m.

3 Black Tailed Godwit (Big Otmoor)
1 Little Egret
2 Marsh Harrier (1 carrying nesting material)
10 Hobby
4 Cuckoo
2 Turtle Dove
4 Common Tern

Turtle Dove courtesy of Jim Hutchins.

Childrey: 18th May

Childrey
Spotted Flycatcher: In the churchyard, close to where one was seen last summer.

Colin Vickers

Swalcliffe: 18th May

Swalcliffe
Spotted Flycatcher: SP378389.

Steve Holliday

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Farmoor Reservoir 17th May

Grey Plover courtesy of Dai.



















Grey Plover 18:10
Sanderling 2
Dunlin 3
Ringed Plover 3
Shelduck 2 (a.m only)

17:50 (per Dai)

Otmoor: 17th May

Big Otmoor 09:30-10:15

The definition of a record shot - calidris waders right at the back of Big Otmoor in torrential rain with a DSLR!



1 Sanderling
7 Dunlin
1 Black-tailed Godwit
Short blog post here.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

A329 near Moulsford: 16th May

A329 near Moulsford
Cuckoo: Male calls from down *nr Thames, heard from my bathroom 600m distant! (*still in SU5985). SU5985. 08:30.

Mike Amphlett
Redshank recently on Otmoor courtesy of Eddie McLaughlin

Rushy Common 16th May

Sanderling 3 on island to the right of the hide.
Hobby

14:00 (per Clackers)

Farmoor. 16th. May.

Oystercatcher.
Cuckoo.
Red Crested Pochard with young.
Per. Dai.  Tezzer.
Red Crested Pochard.


Otmoor.A.M. 16th May.

1 Hen Harrier
2 Turtle Dove
Hobbys
Snipe (drumming)
3 Black-tailed Godwit (juv)
2 Shelduck
4 Common Tern
7 Little-ringed or Ringed Plover (mix)
1 Oystercatcher
1 Raven (over).

Standlake Pit 60: am 16th May

Peregrine
Hobby
4 Little Ringed Plover
2 Oystercatcher

Monday, 15 May 2017

Kingston Bagpuize: 15th May

Kingston Bagpuize
Barn Owl 20:30.

Jed Cleeter

Farmoor Reservoir 15th May

Grey Plover
Sanderling 3
Dunlin 4
Black-tailed Godwit

17:50 (per Dai)

Caulcott Village

Corn Bunting 2 pairs, one on footpath north of village before rape field west of Hill View Farm,another pair SW of village.

Alan Peters

Grimsbury Reservoir: 15th May

Grimsbury Reservoir
Sanderling: feeding along western shore. 12:30.

John Friendship-Taylor

Otmoor: 15th May

Big Otmoor 09:30-11:00:



3 Black-tailed Godwit
2 Ringed Plover
2 Little Ringed Plover
1 Osytercatcher
2 Shelduck

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Hanwell: 14th May

Spotted Flycatcher
- one at and around the church

Grimsbury Reservoir: 14th May

Early AM
Ringed Plover and Dunlin
- both left after the rain stopped just after 06:30
2 Common Tern
Willow Tit
- failed nesting attempt, more information to come soon on Grimsbury Birds

Early evening
Little Ringed Plover

Churn, 14th May

From railway bridge
Grey Partridge  5
Little Owl
Corn Bunting 3 singing
Yellowhammers 4 singing

Clackers & Mrs Clackers

Otmoor 14th May


Hobby

Turtle Dove

Black-tailed Godwit 3 (Big Otmoor)
Ringed Plover
Little-ringed Plover 2
Common Tern 2
Turtle Dove
Cuckoo 3+
Hobby 11+
Little Egret 2+
Kingfisher

(per Tezzer, Andy Last, Badger)

Cuckoo


Black-tailed Godwits courtesy of Badger.

Sonning Eye GPs: 14th May

Sonning Eye GPs
Hobby 12:00.

Marek Walford

Chinnor Quarry 14th May

Little-ringed Plover courtesy of Jez March.
























2 Little Ringed Plover: ad. SU750996. 08:30.
4 Whitethroat: ad. 4 seen, several more heard around the quarry. SU750996. 08:30.Greenshank: ad. Heard calling. SU750996. 08:30.

Jez March

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Arncott 13th May

Turtle Dove 3+ S/E of Bicester at Arncott M.O.D (per RBA).

Wantage: Chain Hill: 13th May

Wantage: Chain Hill
4 Corn Bunting
4 Reed Bunting: 3m & 1f.
3 Yellow Wagtail
2 Grey Partridge

West Ilsley: Ridgeway
5 Corn Bunting
Reed Bunting: male.
2 Yellow Wagtail
2 Grey Partridge

White Horse Hill
Corn Bunting
2 Raven

Jed Cleeter

Otmoor RSPB 13th May

Male Ruff courtesy of Luke O'Byrne.


Ruff (m) a.m on Big Otmoor then flushed by gull and flew north.
Black-tailed Godwit 3 eastern end of Big Otmoor.
Golden Plover
Ringed Plover
Little-ringed Plover 2
Water Rail
Cuckoo 2+
Turtle Dove 2+
Little Egret c7
Cetti's Warbler 3+
Grasshopper Warbler

(per Paul Greenaway, J Rose, The Wickster, Badger, Bark)

 

Henley Road GPs: 13th May

Henley Road GPs
4 Red-crested Pochard: m+f+2juvs. Pair with 2 juvs about a week old. 12:00.
2 Cuckoo
Hobby

Marek Walford

Rushy common 13th May

2 Turnstone
2 Little Ringed Plover
1 Common Sandpiper
2 Oystercatcher
10 Red crested Pochard
2 Egyptian Geese
1 Black Swan



Blenheim Park 13th May

Spotted Flycatcher nr the Combe gate entrance c10:55
Cuckoo

(per Dave Doherty)

Grimsbury Reservoir: 13th May

2 Dunlin
1 Little Ringed Plover


Farmoor 13th May

1 Black Tern
2 Yellow Wagtail
Common Sandpiper

Pit 60: 13th May

No sign of Black-winged Stilts 05:00 - 06:30

Friday, 12 May 2017

Standlake Pit 60: 12th May


2 Black-winged Stilt
Went to see if rain had brought in waders; Stints possible - Stilts a long shot. I was in Langley Hide - they were some way off on north shore. Was thinking possibly 2 males as both were black-hooded but I have vague memory that this is now a discredited criterion (my books not unpacked yet!). One had black head and fore-mantle was duller but the light was poor and it was hard to tell. Birds were there at 08.55pm when I left though they sometimes disappeared into the back channel. 
PS Lost 1 key. If anyone finds a blue-based hide key in Langley Hide pls call 07825 412 525/01865 301842 and I'll retrieve.

Mick Cunningham

The two Stilts courtesy of Mick Cunningham


Otmoor. Evening. 12th May.

Quail reported (per Mathew O'Byrne)
Curlew.
Little Ringed Plover.
3 Black Tailed Godwit.
6 Hobby.
3 Cuckoo.
3 Marsh Harrier.
Bittern.
Hen Harrier.  (ringtail).
Per.  S.R.  L.D.  T.S.

Turtle Dove.

Hen Harrier.

12 May Standlake Pit 60

2 BLACK-WINGED STILT at Pit 60 this evening feeding on the north shore though might not be visible from the North Hide. Mick is presently in the Langley Lane hide.

Key holder reserve. 

per Mick Cunningham
Otmoor RSPB Cuckoo courtesy of Derek Lane.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Stratfield Brake 11th May

Cuckoo
Grasshopper Warbler
Garden Warbler
Reed Warbler
Sedge Warbler
Lesser Whitethroat

(per Simon Myers)

Otmoor. Evening. 11th. May.

Turtle Dove.
Grasshopper Warbler.
Sparrowhawk.
Snipe.  Drumming.
5+ Hobby.
3 Cuckoo.
Per.  A.L.  G.C.  T.S.


Hobby.


Kingston Bagpuize: 11th May

Kingston Bagpuize
2 Spotted Flycatcher: Pair.

Jed Cleeter

Otmoor. 11th. May. Morning.

Male summer plumage Ruff, seen feeding and displaying to Redshanks on Big Otmoor.
3 Ringed Plover.
2 Little Ringed Plover.
2 Oystercatcher.
3 Cuckoo.
3+ Hobby.
6 Little Egret.
Per.  P.G.  T.S.
Distant views of Male Ruff.


Otmoor RSPB 11th May

Ruff male in breeding plumage on Big Otmoor 10:40 (per Paul Greenaway).

Farmoor Reservoir 11th May

Sanderling 2 along the causeway 08:20

(per Dai)

Sanderling courtesy of John Reynolds

A329 near Moulsford: 10th May

A329 near Moulsford
Cuckoo: From nr Silly bridge, distinct male calls heard, way off down on the Thames, prob nr Cholsey marsh. SU5985. 09:45.

Mike Amphlett

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Otmoor RSPB 10th May

Short-eared Owl

Rushy Common: 10th May

Rushy Common
Greenshank: Flew over Tar Lake. 19:45.

Thomas Stevens

Chinnor: Cement Works: 10th May

Chinnor: Cement Works
Common Sandpiper

David Stracey

Farmoor Reservoir: 10th May

10th May

Farmoor Reservoir
2 Ringed Plover: Causeway. 10:30.

Farmoor Reservoir: Farmoor I
Osprey: Mobbed on F1 then caught a fish on F2 and flew s/e. 11:32.
9 Common Sandpiper: All on one raft. 11:45.

Michael Hunt

Otmoor: RSPB reserve: 10th May

Otmoor: RSPB reserve
4 Ringed Plover: Out on Big Otmoor briefly.
13 Hobby: High and low in one scan across Greenaways.
2 Turtle Dove: Two 'purring' birds close together.

John Edwards

Otmoor: RSPB reserve: 10th May

Otmoor: RSPB reserve
Raven
Turtle Dove: At least one purring.
2 Barnacle Goose: on Big Otmoor - one, immobile for over an hour, looked as if it was sitting on eggs...
3 Oystercatcher
5 Hobby: At least 5 (max seen together).

Anthony Cheke

Otmoor Thursday 10 May

Cuckoo along bridleway
Redshank over Big Otmoor
Turtle Dove along bridleway

Otmoor. 10th. May.

3 Cuckoo.
2 Turtle Dove.
10 Hobby.  Per. Clackers.
2 Little Ringed Plover.
2 Marsh Harrier.
2 Curlew.
Sedge Warbler.

Otmoor RSPB 10th May

Spotted Flycatcher along bridleway 08:26

(per Paul Greenaway)

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Baulking Pit: 9th May

Fly-through Turtle Dove
13 Swift

Otmoor 9th May

5:20-7:30pm

4 Hobby
2 Turtle Dove
3 Cuckoo
1 Barn Owl







Rushey Common lake, 9th May

pm

Little Ringed Plovers 2
Common Sandpiper
Dunlin
Swifts 30+
Cuckoo
Garden Warbler

Clackers

Farmoor Reservoir 9th May

Whimbrel courtesy of John Workman






















Whimbrel
Knot
Turnstone 7
Ringed Plover
Dunlin 2

Along causeway  (per Dai, Phil Brown et al)

Whimbrel along the causeway courtesy of Dai



Port Meadow: 9th May

Port Meadow
Common Sandpiper: along the river.
Common Tern
Yellow Wagtail

Adam Hartley

Arncott M.O.D 9th May

Oxon/Bucks Turtle Dove 2+ males (both singing S/E of Bicester at Arncott M.O.D

(per RBA)

Monday, 8 May 2017

April Highlights & News

Bonaparte's Gull Farmoor courtesy of Nigel Forrow

Headliners
Contrary to TS Eliot's description, April can actually be quite a good month and fortunately this time in God's Own County it did indeed deliver. The star bird of the month has to be a superb 2nd calendar year Bonaparte's Gull that was found quite early on in the month and which ended up staying the entire month. This is a pretty rare bird for the county with just four birds found since the start of the year 2000. This one often gave excellent views close to the causeway as it feasted on insects, before decamping to the bus stop on F2. It even spread the love by popping over to Rushy Common on one or two occasions.

Even rarer than a Bonaparte's Gull in the county was a Richard's Pipit which was watched by one lucky observer on Lollingdon Hill for a mere fifteen minutes before flying off. This record joins the one in September '08 as an untwitchable bird with the last twitchable one being in the autumn of '02 at Blewbury. Had it stayed around it would certainly have had top billing in this review and there are quite a few county listers who would be keen to get this species on their list.

Much more obliging was a lovely singing male Wood Warbler which spent a couple of days at Spiceball Park in Banbury this month. As this species often only pays a fleeting visit to the county it was much visited by county birders.

Finally, a Temminck's Stint turned up at Otmoor RSPB on the last day of the month. This diminutive wader is not as common in the county as it used to be but it sadly didn't cooperate as it kept to the centre of Big Otmoor and gave only distant views.


The Month In Detail
April is a much anticipated month for birders with the promise of many returning friends from their winter holidays mixed in with the chance of something much scarcer. April 2017 did not fail to deliver in this regard.

Channel Wagtail (flavissima x flava) Farmoor Reservoir courtesy of Jon Mercer

The month started with a fine looking Sandwich Tern on Farmoor and the first of what turned out to be a very good month for Yellow wagtails at the same site with a maximum of 15 being reported later in the month including a striking channel hybrid. White Wagtails were seen at Pit 60 on the 1st as well as at Farmoor Reservoir towards the end of the month.

Osprey Farmoor Reservoir courtesy of Nigel Forrow

The first record of migrating Ospreys was at Farmoor on the 1st with birds also seen at the Oxford reservoir on the 11th, 12th, 13th with singles also seen at Otmoor on the 16th & 28th, with a bird also seen at Cholsey on the 24th.

Osprey courtesy of Tezzer

Sandwich Tern courtesy of Richard Tyler
Ring Ouzels were reported from a number of sites during the month including a fine looking male on Otmoor, a female at Great Haseley on the 22nd Subjectively, the normally favored site for this species at Linkey Down seemed lower on numbers than recent years with just a female reported on the 13th and a male on the 23rd, 2 birds were also present at Harwell on the 25th with another 2 near Cholsey on the same day.

Ring Ouzel Cholsey Meadows courtesy of Stephen Burch

A summer plumage Black-necked Grebe was a welcome find at Farmoor on the 2nd which was the second bird found at the same site in a few days. Little Ringed Plovers put on a good show throughout the month with regular sightings at Farmoor, Pit 60, Bicester Wetlands, Otmoor and Port Meadow. A late Russian White-fronted Goose was at Balscote Quarry Reserve on the 7th. The 7th also saw a fine pair of Avocet at Otmoor RSPB.

Grasshopper Warbler courtesy of Paul Tomlinson

In terms of Warblers, the first Grasshopper Warblers were reported from Otmoor on the 8th and, for what the books tell us is a bird of sulking habit, continued to put on a good show right throughout the month. The first of many Garden warblers also graced us with its beautiful song at Cholsey on the 12th.

Farmoor Bonaparte's Gull courtesy of Paul Wren.

Saturday the 8th of April brought the very welcome news of a first summer Bonaparte’s gull on Farmoor. Presumably this North American vagrant had not found president Trump’s America to its likening and decided to relocate to Oxfordshire. It then showed very well right throughout the month bringing in birders from far and wide including briefly relocating to Rushy Common on the 29th. Little Gulls were also seen at Rushy Common on the 8th and at Dix Pit on the 17th with 8 remaining the highest count at Farmoor Reservoir on the 8th

The first Cuckoo of the spring was a very welcome record at Otmoor on the 9th. The first of several reports of Little Tern came from Farmoor on the 9th with Arctics reported at Farmoor from the 11th,The first Hobby of the year was reported from Otmoor on the 11th with numbers slowly increasing at their usual sites across the county during the month.



A fine drake Garganey graced the Pinkhill reserve for 2 days starting on the 11th. Sadly, it only had one eye, probably explaining why it was easily flushed by any intruder.

A Bittern was heard booming from the reed beds on Otmoor on the 13th, hopefully a forbearer of more great breeding success for this wonderful heron later in the year. Talking of herons, the Great White Egret was last reported from Standlake on the 8th. Migrating Whinchat were reported from a number of sites including Otmoor of the 15th.

Farmoor is a favored site for migrating Whimbrel and 3 were reported from this site on the 22nd. The first of a number of county reports of Black Tern also came from Farmoor on the 24th.

Above & below Richard's Pipit Lollingdon Hill courtesy of Paul Chandler


A Richard’s Pipit was a great find at Lollingdon Hill on the 24th but unfortunately it was very much a one day spring wonder and was hence untwitchable.

What will probably be the last report from a wonderful Waxwing winter came from Risinghurst with 6 birds reported on the 25th.

Wood Warbler Spiceball Park Banbury courtesy of Ewan

Wood warblers are difficult year ticks in Oxfordshire but a bird at Spiceball Park Banbury showed well for 2 days starting on the 26th. A Wood Sandpiper was a good spot by team Roby during the Oxon big day on the 29th at Rushy Common but was again proved to be a one day spring wonder.



Distant Temminck's Stint Otmoor RSPB by Badger

The month ended in fine style with a Temminck’s Stint at Otmoor on the 30th. Although distant in has stayed put in to May.

Jim Hutchins.















Analysis: Common Scoters in Oxfordshire 2002 - 2012
by Tom Bedford

Common Scoter winter off the coast of Western Europe, from northern Norway to Western Sahara. Spring migration sees birds moving north into the Bay of Biscay and then east across the North and Baltic Seas before an overland route to their breeding grounds in northern Scandinavia and Russia. A recently published web article by The Sound Approach  records the nocturnal migration of Common Scoter over the Iberian Peninsula and also includes this map of the breeding range:


© The Sound Approach 2017

The Sound Approach team mapped hypothetical migration routes, plotted from nocturnal sound recordings, as green dotted lines on the map above. By joining up the green dotted lines that pass from Iberia to those that pass across the English Channel, to those that represent the Baltic flyway, one can plot a path that passes across south-east England and potentially, Oxfordshire. Although these green lines are hypothetical migration routes, they neatly explain the pattern of records of Common Scoter in Oxfordshire.

Common Scoter in Oxfordshire is considered to be an annual scarce passage migrant, see the table below. The records of the period 2002 – 2012 show three peak periods of occurrence. The first is in spring, with frequent records in March and April, which coincides with birds moving from wintering areas towards their breeding grounds.



The second peak of records is in July. These mid-summer records are noteworthy, as the table reveals that one of the peak months for recording Common Scoter in Oxfordshire, July, is outside of the expected spring and autumn passage periods.

This spike of mid-summer records may be explained by the complex post-breeding behaviour of Common Scoter. After breeding Common Scoter move to favoured moult sites. In the UK large gatherings have been reported off the east coast of Scotland and in Carmarthan Bay.  The numbers involved are far greater than the small UK breeding population of under 200 pairs, so must involve birds from other breeding areas. In Europe, an extensive moult migration takes place, with large gatherings of moulting Common Scoter in the Baltic, the eastern North Sea and off western France (The Migration Atlas, BTO, p.689) . The number of records of Common Scoter in Oxfordshire in July could be explained by birds moving towards moult sites after breeding. 



The main bulk of Oxfordshire Common Scoter records are from the autumn and early winter period of September to December. This coincides with the movement of birds from their moult sites to their wintering grounds. Studies of the British breeding populations show that birds disperse widely to a range of wintering sites . The Icelandic population is the same: birds from the same breeding areas spend their winters in different wintering areas . As such, birds from a wide range of breeding areas will move south and west in autumn and some of these birds are recorded in the county. Virtually all records of Common Scoter come from Farmoor Reservoir, in the period 2002 – 2012 there was just one exception, a bird at LWV pit 60 on 18th September 2006. As summer approaches, so will post-breeding Common Scoters from a wide range of breeding areas, heading to a reservoir near you.

Tom Bedford


















Oxon Big Day Bird Race Saturday 29th of April

Three teams competed in this years Big Day Bird Race in an attempt to see and hear the highest number of species within the constraints of Oxfordshire and within a twenty four hour period.

Dawn at the 2nd screen on Otmoor courtesy of Pete Roby

The existing record of 114 species was recorded one May day in 2000 by Jon Uren, Pete Roby, Dave Dunford and Simon O'Sullivan, with others trying to beat their long standing total this year, two infamous members of the original lineup reformed and recruited Steve Roby and rose like a phoenix from the ashes...well the 'Grey-lags' to defend their long standing title.

The original team even made the local papers.
Jon and Pete are second and third from the left respectively. 


Challenging the Grey-lags were the 'Biffin Boys' a team consisting of Ewan Urquhart (he of Black Audi fame) Mark Merritt (pedigree birder who has recently turned up a string of good birds) and Tom Wickens (aka "The Wickster") who has an unrivalled knowledge of the counties avifauna due in part to his somewhat obsessive walking/running and county month listing; in fact Tom recently recorded 101 species in a single day on foot.

The Biffin Boys 

The third team competing on the 29th were the Acronauts who included Tom Bedford, Dave Lowe and Andy Last all world listers with a large presence on the local and UK birding scene.

For a full account of the days events from an Acro point of view, read Tom's superb write up on 
Out of the Blue

The Acronauts

All tree teams started predawn at the reedbeds on Otmoor before going their separate well-planned routes around the county. Surprises on the day included a Wood Sandpiper at Rushy Common and an Osprey at Farmoor, both birds were found by the Grey-lags with the later spotted over a leisurely lunch at the Farmoor cafe, the fable of the Hare & the Tortoise comes to mind. Other goodies included Ring Ouzel, Firecrest, Little and Bonaparte's Gulls.

Wood Sandpiper & Little-ringed Plover Rushy Common courtesy of  Pete Roby

All three teams contributed a massive amount of effort to the event so Tilley hats off to the chaps but in the end there was only one winning team...and here they are.

The Grey-lags regaining their title

The winning team was the Grey-lags with an impressive 111 species and only just short of their original total. In second place came the Biffin Boys with 109 and runners up were the Acronauts with a very respectable 104, collectively the total was 118.



The Art of Birds

For April Paul Tomlinson has sketched out a pair of Shoveler. These beautiful ducks are widespread in Oxfordshire in the winter with numbers regularly reaching several hundred on Otmoor,a few pairs stay on the moor each year to breed.


'Shovelers that I caught on camera flying over the scrapes on Otmoor around the middle of the month'.

Paul Tomlinson

















New Blog on the Block



Birder, photographer, and all round top bloke Nick Truby has just launched a brilliant new blog showcasing his none too shabby talent in the old bird photography game and the stories and places that accompany them.

Be sure to check out and bookmark Nick's blog Old Caley's Diary