Sightings and Photos

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To Submit Photos or Video to this blog please email jasoncppk 'at' or adamchartley 'at'

Nov 12th Black Redstart Harwell... 11th Black Redstart still at Chinnor... 9th Scaup still at Farmoor Res... Oct 31st Avocet Port Meadow...27th Great White Egret Otmoor...20th CATTLE EGRET Chimney...Black Redstart Farmoor Res...18th 2 Bearded Tit Otmoor rspb...Talks: 13th November 'RSPB Wetlands'

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Blenheim Park 13th November

Great white Egret 2
Little Egret 
Cetti's Warbler 

: 13th November

Caspian Gull: ad. In ploughed field to S of sports club. All white head, dark eye, P10 mirror. SU4388. 13:15.

Leo Bateman

Port Meadow: Godstow: 13th November

Port Meadow: Godstow
Goosander: fem. Redhead on flooded Thames just past Godstow Lock. SP484089. 10:58.

Matt Livesey

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Harwell Laboratory: 12th November

Harwell Laboratory
Black Redstart: fem or juv. No general access.

Mark Merritt

Otmoor: RSPB reserve: 12th November

Otmoor: RSPB reserve
Hen Harrier: Ringtail . Six birds of prey seen with B.M.R.S.and A.A. From 08.30. to 12:00. 08:35.
2 Marsh Harrier 08:35.
Peregrine 08:35.
2 Stonechat: m/f. 08:35.

Ralph Watts

Monday, 11 November 2019

Chinnor: Cement Works: 11th November

Chinnor: Cement Works
Black Redstart: Male still on rooftops of houses behind fishing lake. 10:00.

David Stracey

Lollingdon: 11th Nov

Merlin (male) flew south over Lollingdon Hill.
Female Sparrowhawk Didcot courtesy of Barry Neale.

Standlake Pit 60: 11th November

Standlake Pit 60
30 Redwing: Langley Lane hide inaccessible, approach path under 30 cm of water and still riding. Brighthampton Cut adjoining fields and North Shore path all form a continuous lake, not sure about North Shote hide probably accessible from Shifford Lane. 11:58.

Antony Collieu

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Farmoor Reservoir: Causeway: 10th November

Farmoor Reservoir: Causeway
Scaup: f. SP442064. 15:30.

Malcolm Teal

Sonning Eye GPs: 10th November

Sonning Eye GPs
Bittern: In the usual reedbed at the northern end of the lake. 16:45.

Marek Walford

Port Meadow: 10th November

Port Meadow
150 Barnacle Goose
40 Lapwing: approx count
10 Golden Plover

Plus the usual Wigeon, Shoveller & Teal.

The birds were all very distant and hidden amongst the flooded Thistles so it was very hard to make out numbers

Adam Hartley

Redshank: On an unsubmerged stretch of river bank opposite the Perch. 15:30.

Andrew Siantonas

rspb. Otmoor. 10th. November.

Ring Tailed Hen Harrier courtesy of Tezzer.

8. species of raptor seen this morning;

Marsh Harrier.
Hen Harrier 2 (juv)
Red Kite.

Sparrowhawk courtesy of Tezzer.

Hen Harrier courtesy of JR.

Balscote Quarry 10th November

Balscote Quarry Nature Reserve
Dunlin: Flew north. Also immature peregrine. S. H. and Colin Wilkinson. SP390428. 08:15.

Steve Holliday

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Blenheim: Blenheim Lake: 9th November

Blenheim: Blenheim Lake
Great White Egret
3 Little Egret
40 Gadwall

2000 Jackdaw: At least 2000 probably more gathering in a kind of 'murmuration' in and around the beach trees alongside the lake.

Bob Pomfret

Farmoor: 9th November

Scaup 1, NW FI then flushed
Goldeneye 5
Common Sand 1

Bicester Wetland Reserve 9th November

1 Green Sandpiper
190 Teal
5 Mute Swan

Alan Peters
Key Holder Reserve

Dix Pit Stanton Harcourt 9th November

Great white Egret 08:30 (per Jim Hutchins) 

Male Sparrowhawk Cholsey courtesy of Paul Chandler.

Friday, 8 November 2019

8th November Farmoor

Scaup still present on F2 at western end of causeway late morning

Stanlake Pit 60: 8 November AM

1m Goldeneye
1m + 4f Pintail
1 Little Egret
Wigeon numbers increasing.
Hides still surrounded by water. Path to W of N shore hide partially flooded. LL hide access OK.

Goldeneye (c) Stephen Burch
Go to this page on my website for a larger image

: 8th November

Balscote Quarry Nature Reserve
475 Golden Plover: In ploughed field west of reserve. SP390428. 08:50.

Steve Holliday

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Otmoor RSPB Thursday 7 November

Whooper in the gloom (c) Bark

Whooper Swan arrived with two Mutes that then chased it away behind the island.
1 S.E.O Greenaway's
1 Barn owl
Tawney Owl calling from Roman Road.
2 Marsh Harriers
poss 2 Sparrow Hawks
Hen Harrier around midday also seen mid afternoon in Morley's
2 Otters

Courtesy of Andy Coates.

Chipping Norton: 7th November

Chipping Norton
Peregrine: ad. 08:00.

Steve Akers

Farmoor: 7th November

1f Scaup - F1 near W end of causeway
1 Common Sand - F2 W side
2 Stonechat - Pinkhill

Scaup in the sun (c) Stephen Burch
Go to this page on my website for a larger image

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Bladon: 6th November

6th November

Great White Egret: On flood field close to river. 21:32.

4th November

Blenheim: Queen Elizabeth Island
Great White Egret

Bob Pomfret

Chipping Norton: 6th November

Chipping Norton
Peregrine: ad. Appears to be return of same Adult Female. 09:20.

Steve Akers

Lockinge 6th November

3 Hawfinch in treetops with Fieldfare at 13:05, just E of Lockinge Lake

Farmoor Reservoir 6th November

Scaup (f/imm) still on F2 11:06 (per Mark Pidgeon). 

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Otmoor RSPB pm 5th November

Short-eared Owl over bridleway
Hen Harrier ringtail again over Greenaways
Peregrine Juv over reedbed and landed in Greenaways
Sparrowhawk 2 around reedbed
Water Rail
Stonechat 2
Mike Pollard

Oxford 5th November

Probable Black Redstart between Walton Street and the Woodstock Road on the Radcliffe Observatory Tower 13:30 (per Nick Boyd). 

Farmoor Reservoir 5th November

Scaup (f/imm drk) on F2 near causeway 10:25 (per RBA). 

Monday, 4 November 2019

Chipping Norton: 4th November

Chipping Norton
Peregrine: ad. 09:30.

Steve Akers

rspb. Otmoor. Dusk. 4th November.


2. Sparrowhawk.

Greenaways from the bridleway.

Ringtail.  First report since 10th. October.  Hunting along hedgerow, and attacking a Barn Owl.
3. Barn Owl.
2. Bittern.
2. Woodcock.  1 on Greenaways, 1 out from Morleys to Closes.

Per; P.+S.R.   R.L.  S.P.  T.S.
Marsh Tit Pinkhill Reserve Farmoor courtesy of John Workman.

Chinnor: Cement Works: 4th November

Chinnor: Cement Works
Black Redstart: Male still on rooftops of houses behind fishing lake. 09:45.

David Stracey

Blenheim Park 4th November

Great white Egret 
Little Egret 3
Water Rail 

Farmoor Reservoir 4th October

Scaup (f) in N/W corner of F1 10:50 (per Ewan) 

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Farmoor. 3rd. November.

Scaup F2
2. Goldeneye.
2. Stonechat.
Marsh Tit.

Per.  Tom Wicken's monthly birding group.

Scaup (f.), found by the Wickster.

LWV Pit 60: 3rd November

Great White Egret 1
Pintail 6

Chipping Norton: 3rd November

Chipping Norton
Raven: On Cornwell Estate and environs. SP283268. 10:30.
2 Stonechat: ad male and fem. Perched on reeds and vegetation in the marsh. SP283268. 10:30.
33 Lapwing: SP283268. 10:30.
5 Grey Heron: SP283268. 10:30.
2 Reed Bunting: male. SP283268. 10:30.
66 Canada Goose: SP283268. 10:30.

Steve Akers

Port Meadow: 3rd November

Port Meadow
Black-tailed Godwit
2 Shelduck
140 Barnacle Goose: Up near Wolvercote.
20 Golden Plover

Adam Hartley & Ian Elkins

Sunday 3rd November: Southfield Golf Course, Oxford

1 Woodcock flushed from the scrub between Barracks Lane and the golf course, 09:15.

Tubney: Tubney Wood: 3rd November

Tubney: Tubney Wood
Common Crossbill

Mark Merritt

Friday, 1 November 2019

Fyfield Wick 1st November

Courtesy of Jed Cleeter.

Marsh Harrier 11:59 'Circled up as if it had been hunting close by and flew E/N/E' (per Jed Cleeter).

South Leigh - 1st Nov

Woodcock this morning by old railway line SP407085 (per Sally Taylor)

Bicester Wetland Reserve 1st November

340 Teal - highest count at reserve since 2007
23 Gadwall
5 Shoveler
1 Little Egret
1 Cetti's Warbler

Alan \Peters
Key Holder Reserve

Buscot Park 31st October

Great white Egret at large lake (per RBA) 

October Review

White-tailed Eagle, Red Kite and Buzzard in Oxfordshire

This five week month in Oxfordshire remained resolutely uneventful for the first three of them as the prevailing Atlantic weather pattern served to shut out even those notables that might otherwise have stood a chance of reaching us. Things picked up on the weekend of 18th to 20th over which three scarcer finds were recorded, then some more headline items stood out before month's end.

On Friday 18th a pair of Bearded Tit, the first to visit RSPB Otmoor in almost four years were pictured near the Wetlands Watch crossroads. More sightings followed on the next day, though with Oxon birders' attention possibly lying elsewhere the event was confined to social media; perhaps a sign of evolving times.

Bearded Tits (m & f) courtesy of Peter Milligan
click on any image to enlarge

2019 is said to have produced a very good breeding season for our birds of the month nationally and hence is an irruption and dispersal year. So hopefully more "Beardies" might occur in the county this coming winter.

Farmoor Black Redstart Ⓒ and courtesy of David Hastings

Next up a female or first winter Black Redstart was discovered within the water treatment works at Farmoor (20th). Those buildings have provided a number of past sightings of this species, most recently in 2013 and 2009. That bird was seen again on 24th then two more "Black Reds" frequented Chinnor Cement works from 28th, these being three of numerous late October records across southern England.

Chinnor Black Redstart, courtesy of David Stracey

On the evening of 20th at dusk a lone Cattle Egret was seen in flight over the Chimney / Duxford area of west Oxon, the year's first county record of what is becoming an irregular annual visitor. Not too far away a Great White Egret was logged at Rushy Common on 23rd then 30th, and other sightings came from Otmoor (27th), Blenheim Park (31st) and Buscot Park (31st).

Cattle Egret, courtesy of Jeremy Dexter

Departing migrant Ring Ouzel were logged just prior to this time at Lollingdon Hill (16th) and Woodcote (17th). Movement of the upland Thrush through Great Britain had begun in the second week, producing earlier Oxon sightings at Headington (7th) and Balscote (8th).

Ring Ouzel at Lollingdon Hill, courtesy of Paul Chandler

A particular item of interest this autumn has been continued appearances in our county by a juvenile White-tailed Eagle from the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation Isle of Wight release scheme. This individual has been present in Oxfordshire since its first appearance over Cholsey on 15th September.

White-tailed Eagle in Oxon

'The project aims to restore a population of White-tailed Eagles to the South Coast of England. This will involve the release of young White-tailed Eagles from Scotland at a confidential site on the Isle of Wight. The released birds will regard the area as home, and remain to breed in future years. White-tailed Eagles have been successfully reintroduced to both Scotland and Ireland and we will use the same long-established methods on the Isle of Wight. The first six birds were released in August 2019'

The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation

Very sadly the remains of one of the male eagles has been found with tests now under way to discover the cause of death. A second bird called 'Culver' has disappeared at the same time its tracker stopped working.

White-tailed Eagle in Oxon

As this review period drew to its close a good national influx of Short-eared Owl brought two back to Otmoor where they were watched at dusk on 28th, and another was reported from the Thames meadows at Farmoor. There had been an earlier sighting at Burgess Field Nature Park in Oxford on 16th. And the month's final day served up one more special sighting when an Avocet visited Port Meadow.

The Best of the Rest

Local news nearer the start of October mostly concerned familiar returning species ahead of approaching winter. These began on the first weekend when Rock Pipit were logged passing through Farmoor Reservoir from 7th, with four there the following day. The Scandinavian breeders are a regular seasonal migrant at the site as they re-locate to mainly coastal British wintering grounds.

Rock Pipit Ⓒ and courtesy of Terry Sherlock

More good county records followed when early Merlin were viewed in west Oxon (2nd) then Otmoor soon afterwards, after a first for this autumn at Lollingdon Hill on the final day of September. As usual the diminutive raptors' arrival coincided with a continued influx of Meadow Pipit across the county. Further records came from Balscote Quarry and Otmoor regularly thereafter, and another was logged later on the Downs (27th). A ring-tailed Hen Harrier also passed through Otmoor on 10th but was not seen subsequently, though another record came from in form Balscote Quarry on 31st.

Redwing in The Chilterns, courtesy of C J Kearns

The earliest Redwing record of autumn came on October's opening day at Grimsbury Reservoir. More soon followed before numbers truly built-up mid-month, when Fieldfare also began to arrive or pass through in quantity. Incoming Redpoll were first reported at Headington (6th) and Brambling at Balsote Quarry (14th), while Stonechat records persisted from multiple sites throughout the month.

Stonechat (fem) on The Downs, courtesy of Peter Law

Whinchat sightings continued on 1st & 2nd when individuals were noted at Balscote Quarry in the north and the Downs in the south. The latest hirundine records submitted herein were House Martin in Cholsey on 10th and Swallow near Chipping Norton (14th).

Whinchat at Balscote Quarry, courtesy of Alan Peters

Warblers still offered interest as Cetti's were heard in some locations, being especially vocal as adult birds defended territory against their dispersing offspring. Chiffchaff lingered in various places through the month and Blackcap were encountered occasionally.

Common Chiffchaff, courtesy of John Workman

Miscellaneous other sightings of note through October were:
  • A Bittern at LWV Pit 60, Standlake (6th) and a Garganey there on 19 & 20th
  • A Red-breasted Merganser at Farmoor Reservoir briefly on 7th and a Marsh Harrier on 30th
  • Late Black Terns through Sonning Eye GPs (12th) and Farmoor (23rd)
  • A late Common Redstart on the Downs at Lowbury Hill on 22nd
  • A Caspian Gull at Didcot landfill on 23rd
  • Peregrine at five different locations

The Port Meadow floods return, courtesy of Adam Hartley

The wet weather through much of this review period has served to re-create birding friendly conditions across the county, flooding recently dry areas and raising water levels at Oxon wetland sites. Let's hope there might be a surprise or two to be found out there in November.

Peter Law