Sightings and Photos

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Oct 18th 2 Bearded Tit Otmoor rspb...Sept 19th WRYNECK Otmoor rspb...Little Stint Farmoor Res... 9th WRYNECK Wroxton...3rd MANX SHEARWATER Farmoor Reservoir...August 26th Pied Flycatcher Oxford & Muswell Hill...25th Pied Flycatcher Ardington...24th large influx of Black Terns through Farmoor Reservoir...Talks: 9th Oct: OOS "Colour Abberation in Birds"

Friday, 18 October 2019

Otmoor rspb 18th October

Bearded Tit 2 (m&f) this morning along the bridleway near to the turning for the 1st screen.

(per Peter Milligan)

Port Meadow: 18th October

Port Meadow
40 Barnacle Goose: Large flock grazing on a drier patch of grass amongst marshy areas north of the main body of floods. Lots of usual canada and greylag geese as well. 16:15.

Andrew Siantonas

Farmoor Reservoir 18th October

Rock Pipit courtesy of John Workman.

Sarsgrove: 18th October

Stonechat: fem. 10:30.

Steve Akers

Woodcote 17th October

Ring Ouzel reported in Woodcote yesterday (per RBA) 

Balscote: Balscote Quarry: 18th October

Balscote: Balscote Quarry
Merlin: male. A male merlin in spectacular chase of passerines over the reserve. Caught a pipit/skylark c20 metres in air before landing in an adjoining field. Also 31 lapwing. 08:50.

Steve Holliday

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Lollingdon: 16th Oct

Courtesy of Paul Chandler Cholsey Wildlife

Ring Ousel (m)


Port Meadow 16th October

Short-eared Owl in Burgess Field c17:00 (per Phil Barnett). 

Sarsgrove: 16th October

Stonechat: fem. 10:30.
5 Skylark 10:30.

Steve Akers

Chipping Norton: 16th October

Chipping Norton
2 Stonechat: pair. On hedge near small lake on Cornwell shooting Estate - good views from Bridleway. 13:30.
14 Meadow Pipit 13:30.
Kestrel: male. 13:30.
Mute Swan 13:30.
12 Long-tailed Tit 13:30.

Steve Akers

Sarsgrove: 16th October

Stonechat: fem. 10:30.
5 Skylark 10:30.

Steve Akers

Stanton St. John: 16th October

Stanton St. John
300 Golden Plover: circa 300 Golden Plover in the worked field at SP593099 for the fifth day. SP593099. 11:00.

David Brown

: 16th October

Stoke Row Farm
Stonechat: male. SU681845. 15:34.

John Taylor

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Chinnor: Cement Works: 15th October

Chinnor: Cement Works
3 Stonechat: 2m 1f around brambles west of Lake 2b. 09:30.

David Stracey

Blenheim: Blenheim Lake: 15th October

Blenheim: Blenheim Lake
Great White Egret 12:20.

Nic Hallam

Oxford, 15th October

8:05am - 2 peregrines flying low around Magdalen tower and botanical garden, one carrying prey (possibly a pigeon).  

Monday, 14 October 2019

Sarsgrove: 14th October

5 Swallow: Flying through low and fast. 11:00.
Common Sandpiper: Belated report of single Common Sandpiper at small pond/spring which is the source of Sars Brook close to Sarsgrove Farm - presumably on passage. 11:00.

Steve Akers

: 14th October

3 Grey Partridge: Small covey flew up from hedge while I was running - not seen them here before. SP512175. 11:15.

David Watkinson

Balscote: Balscote Quarry: 14th October

Balscote: Balscote Quarry
Brambling: At least one flew through, part of a small passage of finches, meadow pipits and skylarks. More finches around today with flocks of 48 goldfinch and c20 linnet. Lapwing flock has built to 48 and a male stonechat is on site today. 08:20.

Steve Holliday

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Headington: Warneford Hospital: 13th October

Headington: Warneford Hospital
Little Owl: Seen briefly in flight. 18:15.

Isaac West

Sarsgrove: 13th October

36 Golden Plover: Flying in typical in-line formation overhead. 10:30.
Chiffchaff 10:30.

Steve Akers

Saturday, 12 October 2019

rspb. Otmoor.

Merlin.  (Greenaways)
30+ Golden Plover.
No further reports of Hen Harrier (f.) since Thursday.

Per  R.L.  T.S.

Sonning Eye GPs: 12th October

Sonning Eye GPs
Black Tern: juv. A late bird but seen well enough to rule out surinamensis. 10:15.

Marek Walford

Bicester Wetland Reserve 12th October

Ducks look happy!

49 Gadwall
13 Shoveler
2 Wigeon
87 Teal
20 Moorhen
2 Heron
1 Cetti's Warbler
1 Sparrowhawk
Green and GSW

Alan Peters
Key Holder Reserve

Friday, 11 October 2019

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Chinnor: Cement Works: 9th October

Chinnor: Cement Works
4 Stonechat: 3m 1f around brambles west of Lake 2b. 14:30.
Barnacle Goose: 1 with flock of Canada Geese Lake2b. Presume Cat C bird, showing red and silver rings. 14:30.

David Stracey

Bicester Wetland Reserve October 9th

120 Teal
36 Gadwall
10 Shoveler
2 Wigeon
2 Heron
1 male Sparrowhawk being mobbed by party of Magpies

Alan Peters
Key Holder Reserve

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Adderbury: 8th October

Probable 4 Raven: Near Stilgoes Farm. 23:34.

Paul Conlan

Balscote nature reserve: 8th October

Male Ring Ouzel seen briefly at 11:40 in bushes at south-east corner (along trail from screen).  Not seen since despite searching surrounding area.
8 Snipe

Pit 60 Bittern Taken Yesterday

Courtesy of Sam Prior

Monday, 7 October 2019

Headington: 7th October

Ring Ouzel reported in the area behind Headington crematorium at 15:00, per Birdguides.

Chinnor: Cement Works: 7th October

Chinnor: Cement Works
2 Stonechat: 2 males around brambles west of Lake 2b. 15:00.
5 Swallow: Flying south. 15:00.
3 House Martin: Flying south. 15:00.

David Stracey

Standlake Pit 60: 6th October

Standlake Pit 60
Bittern: Landed opposite small hide between break in the reeds. 13:30.

Sam Prior

Farmoor Reservoir 7th October

Red-breasted Merganser at Farmoor today
Courtesy of Peter Alfrey. 

Henley Road GPs: 7th October

Henley Road GPs
9 Mandarin Duck: 7m+2f. 10:20.

Marek Walford

Farmoor Reservoir 7th October

Red-breasted Merganser (per RBA) 

Oxford 6th October

South Park, 5:30pm
1 peregrine flying just above tree height heading toward city centre
2 ravens mobbed by crows
1 sparrowhawk

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Chipping Norton: 6th October

Chipping Norton
5 Snipe: On Cornwell Estate. 18:00.
3 Grey Heron 18:00.
5 Teal 18:00.
3 Kestrel 18:00.
Green Woodpecker 18:00.

Steve Akers

Blenheim: Queen Elizabeth Island: 6th October

Blenheim: Queen Elizabeth Island
Cetti's Warbler: calling from the island.

Blenheim: Blenheim Lake
Little Egret
7 Little Grebe
53 Shoveler
73 Gadwall
7 Wigeon

Bob Pomfret

Otmoor: 6th October

Pintail: eclipsed drake. at first screen.
35 Snipe: at first screen.
80 Lapwing
5 Stonechat: at least five on Greenaways.
3 Cetti's Warbler: heard in song.

Ian Elkins

Headington: Warneford Hospital: 6th October

Headington: Warneford Hospital
27 Redwing 09:30.
2 Skylark 09:30.
2 Swallow 09:30.
Meadow Pipit 09:30.
2 Lesser Redpoll 09:30.
3 Chiffchaff 09:30.

Isaac West

Sarsgrove: 6th October

15 Meadow Pipit 10:30.
10 Swallow: Flying through heading South. 10:30.
50 Goldfinch 10:30.
2 Kestrel: One persued by two Rook. 10:30.

Steve Akers

A40: Carterton turn: 6th October

A40: Carterton turn
2 Corn Bunting: SP274085. 08:34.
Stonechat: SP274085. 08:34.

George Best

Saturday, 5 October 2019

New Marston: New Marston Meadows: 5th October

New Marston: New Marston Meadows
5 Ring-necked Parakeet: Noisy group in area of Rainbow Bridge. 23:42.
6 Teal: all fem. First of the winter, arrived same week as rain revived their preferred pool. 23:42.
Snipe: First of winter. 23:42.
2 Chiffchaff 23:42.
Blackcap: male. 23:42.
2 House Martin: Also 4 other martins, not ided due to poor views. 23:42.

Tom Evans

Otmoor, 5th October




First Screen;

Common Snipe (20+)
Water Rail
Cetti's warbler (3)
Chiffchaff (4)
Wigeon (4)

Farmoor AM - 5th Oct

2 Rock Pipit
3 Dunlin
Water Rail from Pinkhill Hide

per The Wickster's Walkers


Barnacle Geese

Rock Pipit (record shot)

4 Rock Pipit along causeway mid-afternoon (per RBA)

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Standlake Pit 60: 3 Oct AM

1 Green Sand
1 Little Egret

Distant Great Crested Grebe with large fish!

Lark Hill 3rd October

5 Stonechat
c70 Golden Plover
c50 Meadow Pipit
c100 Swallow
Yellow-legged Gull (3w)

Otmoor: 3rd October

20 Swallow: 20 plus from second hide. SP558140. 14:47.

Adrian Johnstone

Farmoor Goldcrest

Courtesy of John Workman

Northmoor: 3rd October

27 Redwing: Early morning vis attempt Crawley no good. But just had 27 redwing milling over church before heading south west Anyone else had late am arrival? 12:00.

Mick Cunningham

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Sarsgrove: 2nd October

47 Meadow Pipit 09:00.

Steve Akers

: 2nd October

Neals Farm
Raven: SU683829. 18:20.

John Taylor

Crawley: 2nd October

Merlin: juv/female. Trying yet another site for vis. Trickle mips and chaffs south on Monday but need to determine if only local. Today, wind wrong and sky too clear but, at c 7 30 am Merlin flew south after a brief tussle with kestrel. SP330137. 13:09.

Mick Cunningham

Stanton St John 2nd October

Probable Eagle sp reported Stanton St John
10:30 flew ESE towards Thame (per Birdguides).

Cumnor: 2nd October

2 Ring-necked Parakeets over the village this morning, per Cindy Cave

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Balscote Nature Reserve: 1st October

09:45 - 11:30
 2 Stonechat
9 Golden Plover
50+ Meadow Pipits over

Mike Pollard

Grimsbury Reservoir: 1st October

Grimsbury Reservoir
Redwing: Dropped in to trees on eastern side of the river, c.07:30. 11:12.

Gareth Blockley

September Review

Autumn passage Wryneck © and courtesy of Ron Louch

September in Oxfordshire stayed on the quiet side for much of the time, but in amongst all the expected sightings for the time of year a number of notable and good county records stood out. Highlights included Manx Shearwater, two separate Wryneck, White-tailed Eagle, Knot at two sites and Little Stint; while passerine movement continued to keep our assorted patch watchers on their toes.

The month opened with an outstanding item when a Manx Shearwater visited Farmoor Reservoir on the afternoon and evening of 3rd. Our bird of the month was the first active and observable one of it's kind in Oxon for 10 years, the previous two occurring in the respective Septembers of 2009 and 2004.

Manx Shearwater, courtesy of Terry Sherlock
Click on any image to enlarge

A mystery then developed through the review period when a Manx was reported to have been taken into care near Oxford, then a dead one was found at Blenheim (first site record) towards month's end. It seems unlikely that three individuals should occur locally in such quick succession but whether these were one and the same bird is unclear. An exhausted juvenile Gannet was also rescued in Wantage on 27th.

September is when southbound Wryneck make their skulking and cryptic way through Great Britain and are a favoured patch target everywhere. There were two Oxon records this month, the earlier of which was in the first week from a private garden in Wroxton near the border with Northants.

Wyneck at Wroxton, courtesy of Jan Hall

On 19th news of an unknown Otmoor notable leaked out via Facebook and this was in fact a second Wryneck. Found near the RSPB reserve's first viewing screen by a visitor in the early afternoon, the bird was sighted briefly by just two diligent observers twice more before dusk. But otherwise it remained elusive and was not seen again after that date.

This month's second Wryneck © and courtesy of Ron Louch

An inevitable outcome of August's re-introduction of six juvenile White-tailed Eagle to the Isle of Wight will be many more "non-countable" records as the satellite tracked raptors range further afield. One of these adventured as far as Essex via central London soon after their release, and the first of the group to be noted in Oxon airspace was seen over Cholsey on 15th. More sightings will clearly be something to look out for in the months ahead.

White-tailed Eagle (archive photo) © and courtesy of Mike Crutch

15 White Stork, thought to originate from another release scheme in the Surrey / Sussex area, also flew over Cholsey at dusk on 18th. So that location may possibly have mystic powers of attraction, though rather more likely some very observant local birders. A Great White Egret was seen in Blenheim Park on 29th. Another long-legged item, our annual visiting pair of Common Crane, departed Otmoor on 6th for their wintering ground the Somerset Levels.

The Best of the Rest

Juvenile Ruff and Knot at Farmoor Reservoir, courtesy of Peter Law

Passage waders continued to trickle through the county at Farmoor Reservoir and other sites, but with no real headliners amongst their ranks. The highlight came towards the end of the third week when juvenile Ruff, Knot and Little Stint - each good county records - could all be encountered closely along the causeway. The reservoir margins are badly affected by blue green algae again this autumn as the pictures show. Two Knot also stopped off briefly at the Appleford pits.

Farmoor Ruff, courtesy of John Workman
and Knot, courtesy of Peter Law

Little Stint, courtesy of Ewan Urquhart

Wader sightings elsewhere included:

  • Common and Green Sandpiper at Chinnor Cement Works (4th)
  • Greenshank and Green Sandpiper at Lower Radley (9th)
  • Black-tailed Godwit and Green Sandpiper at LWV Pit 60, Standlake (17th)
  • Black-tailed Godwit on Otmoor from 21st and Little Ringed Plover earlier in the month
  • The aforementioned Knots in the Appleford working GPs complex
  • An early Jack Snipe at a private site on 27th

Two Knot at Appleford, courtesy of Badger.

Otmoor Black-tailed Godwit, courtesy of Terry Sherlock

Continued Tern passage was very light indeed with just two Black Tern and an Arctic Tern recorded this month at Farmoor on 12th, then an Arctic again on 29th with another at Pit 60. And there were no sightings of the annual early autumn staple, Little Gull at all.

Garganey at LWV Pit 60, courtesy of Mick Cunningham

The prime wildfowl performer in September was a Garganey at Pit 60 for much of the month. Farmoor hosted a Common Scoter on 12th and three Shelduck on 19th, while Mandarin continued to be viewed at Sonning Eye and Henley Road GPs in south-east Oxon. The category C Barnacle Geese that often frequent the Thames Valley west of Oxford became an attractive feature of the feral flocks at Farmoor through this month.

Barnacle Geese, courtesy of Peter Law

Migrant passerines maintained a strong presence as in August. Prominent amongst these were Northern Wheatear, with records from 14 locations including best counts of 13 at Lark Hill, Wantage (11 & 13th) and eight at Sarsgrove near Chipping Norton (5th).

Northern Wheatear, courtesy of Jeremy Dexter

Common Redstart were logged at eight locations, while Whinchat continued to be noted in various places including five at Lark Hill on 13th and seven in the Otmoor basin on 22nd. Numbers of resident Stonechat appeared to build ahead of winter, with sightings coming from nine separate sites county-wide, peaking at month's end when 14 birds were counted at Otmoor on 30th. The last named included only the second site record for Stonesfield Common on 15th

Redstart (fem), courtesy of John Workman
and Stonechat, courtesy of Alan Dawson

Amongst pre-departure parties of Yellow Wagtail, an individual of the continental Blue-headed Wagtail taxa was frequenting Port Meadow in amongst the cattle there. Patch workers also noted a significant autumn influx of Meadow Pipit, with counts of up to 100 at Sarsgrove in the north, 60 at Lark Hill in the south (21st) and 60 in Port Meadow (30th). And as in August Spotted Flycatcher continued to be recorded in above average numbers at multiple sites.

Blue-headed Wagtail, courtesy of Adam Hartley
and Spotted Flycatcher, courtesy of David Stracey

This review's novelty item is Farmoor's leucistic Coot that has become a fixture there in recent months. And finally, following their breeding success in central Oxford this year, five Ring-necked Parakeet observed in flight over Banbury on 19th suggested those colourful characters' further colonisation of our county.

Leucistic Coot, courtesy of David Hastings

So now just one autumn passage month remains and as the evenings draw in the upcoming few weeks are sometimes described as the best time of year for truly remarkable sightings, though possibly not as far inland as Oxfordshire. But with a Black-winged Stilt present in neighbouring Berkshire for much of this review period, and a Long-billed Dowitcher in Gloucestershire in the final week, we can but hope for something a little out of the ordinary in October.

Peter Law