Sightings and Photos

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March 17th Swallows Wether Down & Otmoor...2nd Sand Martin Standlake...Feb 25th Med Gull, Port Meadow, Feb 3rd Black Redstart...Talks: OOS: Garden Wildlife 13th March...Abingdon Naturalists Society: Bird Migration by Professor Ian Newton 27th March.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Port Meadow: 20th March

Port Meadow
Little Ringed Plover: At midday (but no sign early evening).
3 Redshank
2 Oystercatcher
4 Shelduck
115 Golden Plover

Adam Hartley

Farmoor F1: 20th March am

Med Gull

1 or possibly 2  Mediterranean Gulls (1st winter) with Black Headed Gulls on F1

Pit 60, 20th March

Marsh Harrier  f/j
Egyptian Geese 2
Snipe 4+
Goldeneye 2m 2f
Goosander  2m 3f

Clackers, Mrs Clackers & A State

Grimsbury Reservoir: 20th March

Grimsbury Reservoir
Little Ringed Plover: male. Along W shore early morning. Also 5-6 Chiffchaff.

John Friendship-Taylor

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Farmoor March 19th 6pm

White Wagtail - 1 on causeway
Goldeneye 9 (3 drakes)

Sent from my iPhone

Port Meadow: 19th March

19th March

Port Meadow
3 Oystercatcher 14:30.
3 Redshank 14:45.
4 Black-tailed Godwit: Good views for 5 minutes feeding at edge of floods before they flew off. 15:00.
Dunlin 15:15.

Andrew Siantonas

Rushey Common lake, 19th March

Oystercatcher 4 ( 2 pairs)
Shelduck  2
Great White Egret

Clackers & Mrs Clackers

Oxford: 19th March

2 kingfishers very vocal and active around Magdalen bridge, 8:40am.

Farmoor 19th March

Med Gull 1st w  ( F2 )


Monday, 18 March 2019

Port Meadow: 18th March

Port Meadow
8 Shelduck
2 Oystercatcher
4 Golden Plover
1 Black-tailed Godwit

Adam Hartley, Ben Sandford-Smith

18th March Water Eaton

A Grey Partridge was calling several times from the crop fields next to the track from Banbury Road towards Water Eaton Manor at dusk this evening; first I've encountered in the area.

Nick Boyd

Lark Hill 18th March

2 Wheatear (males)

: 17th March

2 Raven: pair. SP284285. 17:30.

Steve Akers

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Worton: 17th March

17th March

2 Pintail: pair. SP460112.
7 Goldeneye: 3m, 4f. SP460112.
3 Sand Martin: SP460112. 07:10.
3 Chiffchaff: SP460112.

Derek Evans

Baulking Pit: 17th March

Terrible grab of a 2W Med. Gull present this evening

Farmoor Reservoir: 17th March

Farmoor Reservoir
4 Sand Martin: SP445059. 14:30.
2 Swallow: SP445059. 14:30.
Redshank: SP445059. 14:30.
Water Rail: SP445059. 14:30.

Paul Butler

Farmoor 17th March


Shrike Meadow

Sparrowhawk 1m
Kingfisher 1m
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
Green Woodpecker 2
Common Snipe 1
Water Rail 1
Common Chiffchaff 2

Farmoor 2

Sand Martin 1 @ 0850

: 17th March

3 Whooper Swan: At distance in fields with 2 mute swans. I'm not sure these are in Oxon? Are these Barry's from the newsletter? SP268001.

Mick Cunningham

Chinnor: Cement Works: 17th March

Chinnor: Cement Works
3 Chiffchaff: SU751996.

Jez March

Farmoor 17th March

Great White Egret : Shrike Meadow.

Anne and Dai.

Blewbury: 17th March

2 Little Egret: In trees around Old Mill lake. Viewable from main road. SU533862. 10:00.

Gerry Quinn

Sonning Eye GPs: 17th March

Sonning Eye GPs
2 Oystercatcher 13:35.
Goosander: rh. 13:35.

Marek Walford
Great spotted Woodpecker courtesy of Anthony Morris.

Wether Down: 17th March

Swallow, over East.

Otmoor: 17th March am

Black-tailed Godwit  17  flew across in front of the first screen. 
Swallow  3
Red Kite Stonesfield courtesy of Wreny.

New Marston: New Marston Meadows: 17th March

17th March

New Marston: New Marston Meadows
Chiffchaff: Species 70 for the site this year.

16th March
Raven: Briefly around Magdalen Fellows' Garden.

Tom Evans

17th March Port Meadow WeBS Count

Lots of disturbance by dogs and photographers

Black-headed Gull     300    
Canada Goose     1    
Common Gull     2    
Cormorant     1    
Greylag Goose     126    
Lesser Black-backed Gull     8    
Mallard     13    
Moorhen     3    
Mute Swan     2    
Oystercatcher     2    
Redshank     1    
Teal     165    
Wigeon     460    

Total number of species: 13    
Individuals: 1084
Goosander on the Thames at Farmoor courtesy of John Workman.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Standlake Pit 60: 16th March

Standlake Pit 60
23 Goosander: Late pm Cracking sparrowhawk raiding my garden feeders too.

Mick Cunningham

Sonning Eye GPs: 16th March

Sonning Eye GPs
Goosander: rh.

Henley Road GPs

Marek Walford

Otmoor 16th March

Big Otmoor:
10+ Redshank
1 Peregrine
2 Marsh Harrier
5+ Pintail
2 Cetti's Warbler

Sent from my iPhone

Farmoor 16th March

9 Goldeneye


Friday, 15 March 2019

Aston Rowant NNR 15th March

Wheatear Beacon Hill (per RBA) 

Standlake Pit 60: am 15th March

Peregrine feeding on same kill as Wednesday then flew off after extensive bathing
2 Curlew
2 Oystercatcher
7 Goosander

Bicester Wetland Reserve 15th March

2 Green Sandpiper
4 Lapwing
1 Little Egret
4 Grey Heron
4 Shoveler
8 Gadwall
80+ Teal
2 Little Grebe

Alan Peters
Key Holder Reserve

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Standlake Pit 60: am 13th March

Lunch at the pit 60 Peregrine diner
Any thoughts on the prey? Is it a greylag? If so surely it could have not brought that down but I thought that Peregrines very rarely feed on carrion?

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Grimsbury Reservoir: 12th March

Courtesy of JFT.

Little Ringed Plover: male. Dropped into the res this evening. 17:45.

John Friendship-Taylor

Port Meadow: 12th March

Port Meadow
12 Shelduck
2 Oystercatcher

Adam Hartley

Garsington: 12th March

Stonechat: male. Same place as last week. Probable same bird. 11:00.

Stephen Lockey

Monday, 11 March 2019

Henley Road GPs: 11th March

11th March

Henley Road GPs
Smew: f. Redhead, seen distantly. SU735751. 15:50.

Sonning Eye GPs
2 Egyptian Goose: SU747756. 16:30.

Steve Goddard

Farmoor Dunlin

Courtesy of John Workman

Farmoor Reservoir 11th March

Dunlin courtesy of Barry Neale.


(per Barry Neale)

Otmoor Unofficial WeBS

Monday 11th March

Black Headed Gull: 113
Canada Geese: 438
Coot: 95
Cormorant: 1
Curlew: 29
Gadwall: 28
Grey Heron: 2
Greylag geese: 186
Lapwing: 85
Lesser Black Backed Gull: 2
Mallard: 54
Moorhen: 3
Mute Swan: 4
Oystercatcher: 7
Pintail: 3
Pochard: 26
Redshank: 18
Shelduck: 2
Shoveler: 39
Teal: 74
Tufted Duck: 97
Wigeon: 173
Buzzard: 1
Marsh Harrier: 2
Red Kite: 4

Friday, 8 March 2019

Standlake: 8th March

Raven: Flying over field at bottom of garden kronking. SP392026. 10:40.

Antony Collieu

Sonning Eye GPs: 8th March

Sonning Eye GPs
4 Mandarin Duck: two pairs. 12:00.

Henley Road GPs
Smew: rh. 12:00.

Sonning Eye GPs
Goosander: rh. 12:00.

Hugh Netley

Sonning Eye GPs: 8th March

Sonning Eye GPs
2 Egyptian Goose 12:00.
2 Oystercatcher 12:00.

Hugh Netley

Standlake Pit 60: 8 March am

8 Goosander, inc 2 males
2-3 Chiffchaff singing
3 Oystercatcher
1 Lapwing displaying briefly
1 Little Egret
1 Little Grebe
2 Goldeneye - displaying
Many Shoveler - displaying
Wigeon, Teal
Definite signs of spring!

Little Grebe (c) Stephen Burch
For a larger image, go to this page on my website

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Otmoor Thursday 7 March

Marsh Harrier 3
Peregrine 1
Oystercatcher 1
Curlew 15 (flock on Big Otmoor)

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Port Meadow: 6th March

Port Meadow
2 Oystercatcher
9 Shelduck
4 Redshank

Adam Hartley, Thomas Miller
Snipe Pinkhill Reserve courtesy of Barry Neale.

Blenheim Park 6th March

Great white Egret 
Little Egret 2
Water Rail 2
Cetti's Warbler 

(per Dave Doherty) 

Farmoor: 6th March

1 Oystercatcher - (F1 west side grassy bank)
3 Chiffchaff

Henley Road GPs: 6th March

Henley Road GPs
Smew: f. RHS quite close in next to island this afternoon. 16:07.

John Kearns

Henley Road GPs: 6th March

Henley Road GPs
Smew: rh. In the far SW corner of the pit on the right this morning. 11:00.

John Edwards


2 Stonechat (M&F) Lollingdon Hill.

A small flock of waders flew north, 12 Dunlin and 2 Ringed Plover.

Another Ringed Plover heard calling @22:40 whilst retrieving something from the car, call moving west.

As well as the Chiffy in the garden this morning, it or another was in song in the Millennium Wood.

A male Brambling flew east with 6 Redwing.

A Raven heard calling near Lollingdon Hill.


First Chiffchaff of the year in the garden this morning. Migrant or not?
There have been a couple wintering at Cholsey sewage works around a kilometre away.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

University Parks. 5th. March.

Goosander. m.
 Goosander, m. and f. patrolling the river Cherwell.

2. Ring Necked Parakeets still near Rainbow bridge.
Goosander. f.  

Henley Road GPs: 5th March

Henley Road GPs
Smew: f. Really pleased to finally see this wonderful bird after a number of visits. All thanks to a couple of Birders who allowed me the use of their scopes. 11:58.

John Kearns

Garsington: 5th March

Stonechat 15:00.

Stephen Lockey

Henley Road GPs: 5th March

Henley Road GPs
Smew: f. Diving under trees at the edge of the spit, approx. SU737751. 12:15.
2 Oystercatcher: Flew over heading east. 12:15.

Richard Marsh

Standlake Pit 60: am 5th March

2 Oystercatcher
Chiffchaff singing

New Marston 4th March

Unconfirmed report of a YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER yesterday on Arlington Drive. 

Monday, 4 March 2019

Radley GPs 4th March

Oystercatcher 2

Port Meadow: 4th March

Port Meadow
Caspian Gull: 2w. the regular 2w bird, found by Thomas Miller.
Mediterranean Gull: ad. a different bird from last time, found by Thomas Miller.
7 Shelduck
2 Oystercatcher

Adam Hartley, Thomas Miller

video courtesy of Gnome

courtesy of Thomas Miller

Henley Rd GPs 4th March

Smew (rh) on 2nd pit on right though distant (per RBA) 

Stratfield Brake: 4th March

4th March

Stratfield Brake
Pintail: fem.
9 Golden Plover: High to south. 09:55.
Chiffchaff: In song. 09:15.

Derek Evans

Blenheim Park 4th March

Great white Egret 
Little Egret 3 
Pintail 2

March 4th Cowlease Wood

Pair of Common Crossbill
Plus the usual woodland birds including:
Marsh Tit
Tree Creeper


Otmoor rspb. 4th. March.

5. Marsh Harrier. 1.m.  2.f.  2. imm.
12. Curlew.
2. Oystercatcher.
5. Redshank.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Standlake: 3rd March

Sparrowhawk: ad male. A stunning adult male made 3 unsuccessful attempts to catch birds at my garden feeders.

Mick Cunningham

Otmoor: 3rd March

Dunlin: Amongst 400+ Golden Plover. Also approx 8 Redshank and 30 Lapwing. 09:00.

Peter Alfrey
Marsh Tit Farmoor Reservoir courtesy of John Workman.

Sonning Eye GPs: 3rd March

Sonning Eye GPs
Goosander: rh. 13:25.

Marek Walford

A329 near Moulsford: 3rd March

A329 near Moulsford
Brambling: Fem, back again, briefly on sfh feeder. SU5985. 10:45.

Mike Amphlett

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Friday, 1 March 2019

Cowleaze Wood: 1st March

Cowleaze Wood
5 Brambling: 3 fem 2 male. Feeding with large flock of chaffinches. 10:44.
6 Common Crossbill: Collecting nesting material in larch woods. 10:44.

Paul Butler

Port Meadow: 1st March

Port Meadow
Caspian Gull: 1w. One of the regular birds.
2 Yellow-legged Gull: 1w.
14 Redshank
2 Oystercatcher
3 Shelduck

Adam Hartley, Thomas Miller

Blenheim Park 1st March

Great white Egret 2
Little Egret 
Water Rail 
Cetti's Warbler 

February Review

The last month of winter was to some extent a matter of "as you were" in Oxfordshire, with much of the interest being a continuation of January's county bird news. But despite my wondering at first exactly how a round-up might be put together for this February, a certain amount nonetheless stood out as I read through the records. Then things rather picked up with more good sightings and pictures towards month's end.

The top new headliners were red-head Smew. One that arrived on 2nd at Henley Road GPs in the far south-east remained at what is a difficult to view site throughout the review period. But sightings must always have been distant since no pictures were forthcoming. A second bird at an even less accessible, private GP site west of Oxford was watched there distantly at intervals from a public right of way near Worton, and filmed by an authorised patch worker.

Whooper Swans, courtesy of Barry Hudson

A pair of Whooper Swan found at Kelmscot near Faringdon on the last day of January, missing inclusion in that review, chose to move across the county border with Wilts in the new month. Also remaining elusive was west Oxford's Rose-coloured Starling, that though reported once in Botley via RBA on 8th failed to produce any anticipated public performance.

Short-eared Owl, courtesy of Ian Marriott

It was a good month for Short-eared Owl with a long stayer tracked just west of Oxford between 3rd and 23rd; plus reports of up to five on the Downs above East Hendred from mid-month and others at Baulking (24th), and Otmoor (25th) where Barn Owl were also photographed. Amongst less frequent raptors Merlin were noted at Otmoor on 13th and Lollingdon Hill (15th), while Peregrine records continued to flow from various sites including a pair hunting over Oxford's South Park on 7th.

Otmoor Barn Owl, courtesy of Terry Sherlock

Caspian Gull still frequented the Port Meadow roost regularly through the month, with three individuals present on 9th. The first-winter Mediterranean Gull was recorded again there on 5th and 6th, then a smart adult on 25th. The floods also hosted a regular early-spring visitor, Shelduck a number of times peaking at 10 birds present on 18th.

Caspian Gulls (adult above and 2w below), courtesy of Thomas Miller

Adult Mediterranean Gull on Port Meadow, courtesy of Gnome

Port Meadow was moreover a favoured location for new season waders, with Oystercatcher and Redshank both moving through consistently during February. A temporarily stranded Knot was an added item at Wolvercote on 2nd. Other Oystercatcher records came from LWV Standlake and Rushey Commons several times, Sonning Eye (17th), east Oxford (21st) and Otmoor (28th). Green Sandpiper were logged at Henley Road GPs (3rd), Rushey Common (16th) and from Worton (25th); while Bicester Wetland Reserve's first of the year dropped in on 18th, remaining till month's end.

Curlew at Grimsbury Reservoir, courtesy of John Friendship-Taylor

Possibly our most evocative returning waders were the Curlew that breed at select sites in Oxfordshire. The fluting calls of these true harbingers of spring announced their arrival of a sudden from 20th at LWV Pit 60; then Otmoor, Balscote Quarry and Grimsbury Reservoir all on 21st, and another in Port Meadow on 26th. On the last day of February 23 Curlew were counted at one breeding site, Otmoor.

Black Redstart, courtesy of Ewan Urquhart

In the early days of the month the Black Redstart at Christ Church, Oxford continued to attract attention, as did the pair of Ring-necked Parakeet in New Marston Meadows. The first of those was last reported on 10th, while the latter are still in situ having been observed prospecting nest holes.

Ring-necked Parakeet, courtesy of Jim Hutchins

February is reputedly the best time for encountering Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. One was both heard and seen at Letcombe Regis on 17th, but despite searching there was no further sight or sound of another heard in the University Parks, a once classic site at the end of January.

Common Crossbills at Shotover, courtesy of Pete Roby

To round off an exceptional winter for Common Crossbill in our county, new sightings came from Ardington (3rd), Wychwood (20th), an impressive 15 at the Shotover estate on 26th and another 9 over Headington on 28th. Best counts of other less frequent finches were 8+ Brambling at Ardington (3rd), 20+ Siskin in Blenheim Park (11th) and 15 Redpoll at BBOWT's Warburg reserve near Henley (16th), as winter played out it's final chapters. The great and gregarious flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare that fill our cold-season countryside will likewise soon be gone.

Fieldfare, courtesy of John Workman

So it has turned out to be a reasonably interesting round-up after all in what is often a low-key birding month. Hopefully there will be still more to talk about in March as the first new migrants of another passage season arrive and the smell of county list additions could be in the air.

Peter Law

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Port Meadow: 28th February

Port Meadow
6 Goosander
3 Oystercatcher
3 Shelduck
6 Redshank

Adam Hartley

Bicester Wetland Reserve 28th February

2 Green Sandpiper
1 Little Egret
95 Teal
4 Wigeon
7 Gadwall

Alan Peters
Key Holder Reserve

Wootton 28th February

Wootton nr Woodstock
Great White Egret: SP445198. 13:00.

Trevor Young

Otmoor RSPB 28 February

Curlew in flight over Big Otmoor
leucistic pochard and gadwall at 2nd screen
Pochard at 2nd screen
Male marsh harrier (one of a pair flying together across the reserve)
Barn Owl hunting over the CP field at first light

Otmoor rspb 28th February

Curlew 23
Oystercatcher 4
Pintail c10
Marsh Harrier 
Barn Owl 
Chiffchaff singing

(per Dave Doherty et al) 

Oxford 28th February

Crossbill 9 heading S/E over Headington Hill 
c13:10 (per Dave Doherty). 

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Port Meadow: 27th February

Port Meadow
Caspian Gull: 2w. the regular 2w bird.
3 Oystercatcher
6 Redshank

Adam Hartley, Thomas Miller

Lockinge: Lockinge Lake: 27th February

Lockinge: Lockinge Lake
Mandarin Duck: male.

Leo Bateman

Blenheim Park 27th February

Great white Egret
Little Egret 2
Pintail 2

Raven over Woodstock

(per Dave Doherty)

Rushey Common lake, 27th February

Oystercatchers  4  (2 pairs)
Great White Egrets 2  1 joined by a second, not happy and so first bird flew off over road

Clackers & Mrs Clackers
Goldeneye at Farmoor Reservoir courtesy of Steve Lockey.

Cowlease Wood: 27th Feb

Nice mixed finch flock near the entrance to the car park consisting of several dozen birds including;


Raven flew over also

A329 near Moulsford: 26th February

A329 near Moulsford
Brambling: Fem on seed feeder. SU5985. 08:40.

Mike Amphlett

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Port Meadow: 26th February

Photo courtesy of Thomas Miller
Port Meadow
Curlew: Good bird for the Meadow.
3 Oystercatcher
6 Redshank

Adam Hartley, Thomas Miller