|Green Sandpiper Standlake Pit 60 courtesy of Stephen Burch.|
July traditionally sees the start of the return southerly migration with a trickle of northern breeding waders at the beginning of the month slowly increasing as the month progresses. Green sandpipers are typically one of the first returning migrants we see in Oxfordshire and increasing numbers were reported across the county in the month. An impressive 11 birds were reported on the 26th at what has become their favored county site at the Bicester wetlands reserve. Other birds were reported from Standlake pit 60, Chinnor, Rushy, Otmoor and Farmoor. These delightful waders are mainly artic breeders who produce one brood with the female normally migrating before the juveniles have fledged leaving the male to feed the young. Apart from failed breeders, the females are hence typically the first returning migrants seen in early July with the males following in late July and finally the juveniles in August.
We again had excellent news from Otmoor with confirmation that the Marsh Harriers and Bitterns have again successfully bred.
|Class of 2017 Juvenile Bittern Otmoor RSPB courtesy of Tezzer.|
Bitterns have had yet another excellent year on the Otmoor nature reserve having been observed and photographed with suggestions that the pair may have raised three young.
Hard to believe that these enigmatic and cryptic Herons were once thought of as only occasional winter visitors only a short while ago. Hopefully with the controlled lowering of the water in front of the first screen, these Bog thumpers may become a little easier to spot along the muddy margins...
In terms of raptors there was a report of a Red Footed Falcon from Kingston Bagpuize on the 9th. Peregrine were see off and on at Standlake Pit 60 throughout the month, at Kingston Bagpuize on the 7th and at Farmoor on the 23rd. The first summer male Hen Harrier was regularly reported from Otmoor throughout the month. An Osprey was reported from Farmoor on the 31st.
The big news within the Oxon raptor camp is that once again Marsh Harriers have successfully bred
on the Otmoor RSPB reserve for the third consecutive year managing to fledge four juveniles, unfortunately a fifth juvenile didn't survive, this is again testament to the continued hard work and dedication of the RSPB team and volunteers.
|Class of 2017 one of four juvenile Marsh Harriers|
|Being mobbed by Black-headed Gulls|
|Courtesy of Norman Smith|
24th as well as a returning Sanderling also at the Oxford resevoir from the 27th.
|Turnstones Farmoor Reservoir courtesy of Ewan Urquhart|
|Sanderling Farmoor courtesy of Nick Truby|
|Sanderling courtesy of Andy Last|
|Whimbrel Otmoor RSPB courtesy of Tezzer|
Wimbrel were seen over Otmoor (3x) on the 25th and Summertown on the 9th. Black-tailed Godwits were again in evidence with 11 on Otmoor on the 11th and a single at Standlake Pit 60 on the 7th and Rushey Common on the 31st, an impressive 33 birds were recorded over Farmoor Reservoir at the start of the month on the 2nd.
|Juvenile Curlew Otmoor RSPB courtesy of Eddie McLaughlin|
The 3 juvenile Oystercatchers were seen throughout the month at Pit 60 with a regular pair on Otmoor throughout. A juvenile Curlew was a welcome record at Otmoor with 13 Curlew seen over Otmoor on the 26th.
|Redstart Otmoor courtesy of Pete Roby.|
Three spotted Flycatchers and one adult were seen at Otmoor on the 18th and two were seen at Ardington on the 17th. Increasing numbers of Redstarts were reported from across the county with an impressive 10 being reported from Otmoor on the 29th with a surprise find of a Fire-flirt on the Unipart site at Cowley.
|Juvenile Mediterranean Gull Farmoor Reservoir courtesy of Dave Lowe.|
|Juvenile Mediterranean Gull with Black-headed Gulls Pit 60 courtesy of Mick Cunningham|
23rd an adult was also reported over Kingston Bagpuize on the 23rd.
Yellow-legged Gull numbers built up during the month with sittings at Standlake Pit 60 and 15 reported from Farmoor on the 25th.
|Ruddy Shelduck courtesy of Tracy Winkworth|
3 early Goosander were a notable sighting from Otmoor on the 28th.
|Egyptian Goose Farmoor Reservoir courtesy of Jim Hutchins|
Common cranes were regularly reported from Otmoor during the month with the long staying two ringed birds being supplemented by occasional reports on an unringed third and even a forth bird.
Possibly overlooked amongst are breeding birds is the confirmed breeding once again of Stonechats
on the Downs, there is also evidence of a close proximity of a breeding pair near Otmoor with a juvenile seen on the reserve on the 4th.
|Juvenile Stonechat Otmoor courtesy of Andy Last|
Cattle Egrets, Great White Egrets and Black Winged Stilts all fledging young plus Bee-Eaters currently feeding young in Nottinghamshire. Let’s hope that in a few years time we will be able to report similar success from Oxfordshire as these wonderful birds expand their range. Giving the long stayers we had from late summer through to spring and the proximity of their Somerset levels stronghold, my betting is on breeding Great White Egrets within the next 2 years!
BBOWT urgently need your help.
Our local wildlife trust have just received an incredible opportunity to purchase 113 acres of farmland
alongside their Chimney Meadows reserve in Oxfordshire.
of the Thames that could provide an undisturbed haven for our struggling wildlife-but it is at risk.
It has just come up for sale,and with no protection whatsoever, there is nothing to prevent its new owners from destroying this peaceful haven for wildlife,
With your help, BBOWT could buy it and keep it safe for wildlife.
BBOWT need to raise an additional £82,000 of a £220,000 total by the 30th of September.
Any donation however small, would be greatly received.
Please click here to donate
An unopened new Manfrotto MH X-Pro 3-way tripod head mint condition £60.
Contact Dave Lowe at DL@HARDSCAPE.CO.UK
Should anyone wish to buy or sell anything birding or photography related, please email all relevant
information and details to myself or Adam for inclusion by the end of the month.