Sightings and Photos

To submit sightings to this blog if you are not an authorised contributor please use the Going Birding service.
To Submit Photos or Video to this blog please email jasoncppk 'at' or adamchartley 'at'

Sep 21st probable Lammergeier Eynsham...Yellow-browed Warbler Farmoor Reservoir...15th LESSER YELLOWLEGS Farmoor Reservoir...11th Manx Shearwater...Black-necked Grebes Farmoor Res...5th Wryneck Wantage...7 Sandwich Tern Farmoor 4th Osprey...Aug 30th PECTORAL SANDPIPER Farmoor Reservoir...CATTLE EGRET...23rd Spotted Redshank...20th Pied Flycatcher Otmoor rspb...17th Wood Sandpiper Appleford GPs...Common Scoter Grimsbury Reservoir...3 Great white Egrets & 3 Garganey Cassington GPs...16th CATTLE EGRET...Sonning Eye...July 28th ROSE-COLOURED STARLING East Challow...6th Garganey Appleford GPs...Quail Segsbury...June 23rd 3 Quail Crog Hill...16th Garganey Farmoor Reservoir...May 18th HOOPOE Twyford...14th RED-FOOTED FALCON Piddington...Curlew Sandpiper Farmoor Reservoir...

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Crowell: 30th June

Hobby: Seen from the pub garden! 13:00.

Jim Rose

Otmoor rspb 30th June

Black-wits courtesy of Bark.

Black-tailed Godwit 7 over the reserve but no further sign (per Bark)

Oxford 30 June

Peregrine soaring low over Manzil Way Gardens, Cowley Rd, 11am.

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Little Owl courtesy of Paul Chandler.

Goring 28th June

River Thames, above Goring
2 Egyptian Goose: Ad with one small gosling, on restaurant-side water. SU601823. 21:00.

Mike Amphlett

Friday, 28 June 2019

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Bicester Wetland Reserve 26th June

1 Green Sandpiper (first of the "autumn" period)
8 Lapwing
2 Teal
15 Gadwall
50 House Martin
15 Swift

juvenile Sedge Warblers being fed away from nest in the reed bed

Alan Peters
Key Holder Reserve

Pit 60 Standlake 26th June

Black-tailed Godwit 13:30 (per Mick Cunningham)

Courtesy of Mick Cunningham.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Sutton Courtenay: 23rd June

Sutton Courtenay
Grasshopper Warbler: One reeling this morning in meadow by weir. SU504946. 17:44.

Conor MacKenzie

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Otmoor rspb 20th June

Black-tailed Godwit 2 briefly this morning in front of the 1st screen (per Norman Smith) 

All photos courtesy of Norman Smith.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Blenheim: Grand Bridge: 16th June

Blenheim: Grand Bridge
30 Sand Martin: Colony very busy, lots of activity around the nest holes on the Bridge. 12:30.
Little Grebe 12:30.

Bob Pomfret

Blenheim: Queen Pool: 16th June

Blenheim: Queen Pool
4 Shelduck: 2 adults with 2 young (about 1 week old) on the water behind the jetty. 12:30.
32 Gadwall 12:30.

Bob Pomfret

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Friday, 14 June 2019

Standlake Pit 60: Friday 14 June am

2 Common Tern
2m Teal (early or late?!)
Swifts, Sand Martin

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

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Port Meadow: 13th June

Port Meadow
2 Oystercatcher: On the re-formed floods. 08:29.
20 Black-headed Gull: ad + 1 juv. First juvenile bird of the year. 08:29.

Adam Hartley
Barn Owl courtesy of Brian Walker.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019


2 Spotted Flycatcher
2 Lesser Whitethroat
1 Raven
1 Little Owl
1 Willow Warbler

Bicester Wetland Reserve Wednesday 12 June

2 Oystercatchers- first of the year at reserve
7 Lapwing
1 Little Grebe
20 plus Gadwall

Alan Peters
Key Holder Reserve

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Ringed Dunlin – 25 May - Farmoor Reservoir

I’ve mixed views on ringing,  initially wondering why 3 rings then becoming increasingly curious what history may be available – I can’t have it both ways.  Just received the following response from the Mid Wales Ringing Group 

>>> This is the first report since it was ringed (BT74263) as a juvenile on 19th September 2016 at Ynyslas National Nature Reserve near Aberystwyth, Wales
The colour-ringing is part of a project aiming to study the origins, destinations and turn-over rates of Dunlin using this important (RAMSAR designated) migration stop-over site on the West Wales coast. In the last three years over 4,000 Dunlin have been individually colour-ringed with many sighting reported around Britain and Ireland as well as movements recorded to or from Greenland, Iceland, Faero Islands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Mauritania, Senegal and The Gambia. <<<

Port Meadow: The Perch: 11th June

Port Meadow: The Perch
Oystercatcher: Seen at different points on or close to river bank between the Perch and sailing club. 14:15.

Andrew Siantonas

Sunday 9th June, Port Meadow

Three Gargeney, courtesy of Matthew Lloyd
Belated report of 3 Garganey (2 male, 1 female) on the riverbank at Port Meadow opposite Medley Sailing Club early Sunday morning before being flushed.

per Matthew Lloyd

Grimsbury Reservoir 11th June

Kittiwake (ad) 12:58-13:15 but no further sign since (per JFT)

Bicester Wetland Reserve Tuesday 11th June

5 Lapwing
26 Gadwall
20 House Martin feeding low over water in rain
Reed Warbler, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Blackcap
2-3 Reed Bunting

Alan Peters
Key Holder Reserve

Monday, 10 June 2019

Thame: Cuttle Brook: 10th June

Thame: Cuttle Brook
Little Egret: Flying around the Cuttle Brook area for approx. 30 minutes. SP700059. 17:30.

Mike Bond

Otmoor: RSPB reserve: 10th June

Otmoor: RSPB reserve
7 Redshank 15:00.
2 Shelduck: pair. 15:00.
Marsh Harrier 15:00.
2 Cuckoo: One over Moorleys; one calling from large tree close to 2nd screen adjacent to path. 15:00.
6 Sedge Warbler: At least six singing males. 15:00.

Steve Akers

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Standlake Pit 60: 8th June

Standlake Pit 60
Hobby 18:40.

Mick Cunningham

Churn Area 8th June

Corn Bunting 5 singing males
Yellowhammer 3 singing males
Common Whitethroat 6 singing males

Grey Partridge 1

Friday, 7 June 2019

Otmoor. Sad news.

Paul Greenaway, a familiar and much loved face to many Otmoor regulars and visitors, has sadly passed away. He died, peacefully in his chair at home on the 28th. May.

A simple service will be held at the Oxford crematorium at 2.30pm, on the 24th. June.

We will miss him.

Thame: Cuttle Brook: 7th June

Thame: Cuttle Brook
Little Egret: Flew SE along Cuttle Brook. SP700059. 17:45.

Mike Bond

Farmoor Reservoir 7th June


Sanderling 1
Common Redshank 1

Common Swift 80+
House Martin 30+
Sand  Martin 10+
European Swallow 10+

Yellow legged Gull 2

Balscote: Balscote Quarry: 7th June

Balscote: Balscote Quarry
Cuckoo: Flew in from north and left to southeast. 08:25.

Steve Holliday

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Sydlings Copse nr Beckley 6th June

2 Quail calling in fields either side of Sydlings Copse this afternoon (per Will Langdon) 

Farmoor. 6th June.


Detail of colour rings on the Godwit

Bar Tailed Godwit.( Colour ringed)

Per. Dai and Tezzer.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Thame: Cuttle Brook: 5th June

Thame: Cuttle Brook
20 Swift: various. Previously only seen a few adults. These were clearly several family groups. SP700058. 19:30.

Mike Bond

Beckley 5th June

2 adult Mediterranean gulls circling over Folly Farm, Beckley this afternoon (per Fergus) 

Belated report of an Osprey over the reserve last week. 

Garsington: 5th June

Cuckoo: Bird seen, probably the same bird heard in Denton & Chippinghurst. 15:49.
2 Grey Partridge 15:49.

Stephen Lockey

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Farmoor Reservoir 4th June


Sanderling 3
Mediterranean Gull 2 adults
Yellow Wagtail 4
Common Swift 30+
House Martin 2
Swallow 1


Farmoor Reservoir 4th June

3 Avocet causeway 10:15
Sanderling, Dunlin and Oystercatchers also seen. 1 Greenshank 18:00

Possible Great White Egret flew over
the west end of the reservoir 14:50 (R.T)

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Headington: Warneford Hospital: 2nd June

2nd June

Headington: Warneford Hospital
5 Grey Wagtail: 2 ad + 3 juv. 08:40.
Reed Warbler 09:15.

Isaac West

Henley-on-Thames: 2nd June

2 Egyptian Goose: At Henley Lock. 10:55.

John Kearns

Henley Road GPs: 2nd June

Henley Road GPs
Oystercatcher 16:10.

Marek Walford

Stanton St. John: Stanton Great Wood: 2nd June

Stanton St. John: Stanton Great Wood
Cuckoo 11:48.

David Brown

Rushy Common car park.

Notice for Rushy Common and Tar Lakes visitors:

Improvement works will be starting on the Rushy Common car park during week commencing 3rd June 2019. The car park will be closed during the works for up to 2 weeks.
Apologies for any inconvenience.

Crog Hill & Woolstone Down: 2nd June

4 Curlew
2 Raven
2 Grey Partridge
20 Skylark
19 Corn Bunting
2 Meadow Pipit
4 Yellow Wagtail (inc. 'channel' type)

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Garsington: 1st June

Hobby: Flew over sports ground. 18:00.
Cuckoo calling below Sports ground 15:00

Adrian Bletchly

Farmoor Reservoir: 1st June

Farmoor Reservoir
Common Sandpiper 09:28.
Dunlin 09:28.
Ringed Plover 09:28.
4 Sanderling 09:28.

Tom Wickens

May Review

Red-rumped Swallow at Grimsbury Reservoir, courtesy of Nick Truby

As spring progressed with more twists and nuances of the passage season, the early days of May produced two outstanding records for Oxfordshire. Thereafter migration pulses matched a changeable weather pattern through the month with movements of Terns, waders and passerines all featuring on and off in this log, and more besides.

Grey-headed Wagtail in Port Meadow, courtesy of Thomas Miller
Click on any image to enlarge

Continuing April's theme of infrequent flava-type Wagtail taxa, a male Grey-headed Wagtail was discovered on the dried out Port Meadow floods on the evening of 1st. The sub-species M f thunbergi is most usually found in Scandinavia, with just a few turning up in the British Isles each year, so it was quite a find locally. This variety had visited our county only twice before, both times in 1992. The new Port Meadow bird drew an excited contingent of Oxon's finest birders that evening, but in the morning it had moved on.

Video courtesy of Gnome

Given the number of British records through April it always seemed likely Oxfordshire would score a Red-rumped Swallow this spring. The Oxon birding airwaves duly came alive on 3rd when the nationally rare hirundine materialised early in the day on the perimeter fence at Grimsbury Reservoir, Banbury. This bird returned in the evening then, with cold northerly winds holding up onward migration repeated that pattern on Saturday (4th) and lingered into Sunday; allowing some grateful growing listers (<230) in the county to add it to their life totals.

The image that announced this find to the Oxon and wider birding communities
Courtesy of John Friendship-Taylor

The fourth record for Oxon and the first since 2012 was a huge local mega for the patch affectionately known as "Grimbo" or "The Soap Dish", and the rarest bird ever recorded there. As one of the dedicated band of birders who watch the site through every day commented this is the stuff that any patcher at a lesser known inland water body dreams about. The "Rumper", that continued to return with low cloud for another eight days until the weather changed after 11th, must also be our county bird of the month. It was certainly the most testing of our photographers' skills as many endeavoured to capture it well.

Red-rumped Swallow, courtesy of Steve Burch (above)
and Ewan Urquhart (below)

Not quite so obliging was the Hoopoe which graced an Aston garden with its presence on 13th. Unfortunately and despite valiant attempts to gain access for the wider birding community, the opportunity was frustratingly denied by the owner.
Courtesy of Paul Wren.

The second week of May brought a major movement of Black Tern through inland sites across England, and Oxfordshire got its share of the action. A flock variously counted at 35 and upward made an impressive spectacle for most of the day at Farmoor Reservoir on 7th, that date's second highest national tally amongst more than 230 sightings. The best counts from other sites were 10 at Baulking Pit (7th), 9 at LWV Pit 10 (8th) and 7 more through Sonning Eye GPs (8th). A further influx moved through just over a week later, with 10 Black Tern visiting Farmoor on 16th then more in the next few days.

Farmoor Black Terns, courtesy of Kyle Smith

Black-necked Grebe, courtesy of John Workman

Amongst other notable birds during the latter half of May a smart Black-necked Grebe in breeding plumage visited Farmoor Reservoir just for one afternoon on 16th. The following morning a Little Tern passed through there. Five Bittern were seen in one morning at RSPB Otmoor on 24th, including four circling over the reed bed together, while a Great White Egret was noted at the reserve on a few occasions.

Bittern cluster over Otmoor, courtesy of Ewan Urquhart

The Best of the Rest

Intermittent blustery conditions with heavy showers in the first half of May ramped up wader passage through the county, with watchers of different sites logging up to 10 different species in a single day. The two best examples, both on 8th were:

  • Grey Plover, Turnstone, Knot, Ringed Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Oystercatcher, Dunlin and Sanderling at Farmoor
  • Knot, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher and Redshank at Otmoor

Passage Grey Plover, Knot and Turnstone at Farmoor Reservoir, courtesy of Terry Sherlock

Whimbrel, Curlew, Greenshank, Golden Plover and Little Ringed Plover were also recorded in the first half of May either at those or other sites. Amongst all this, numbers of two of the less frequent annual waders to visit our county, Grey Plover and Knot perhaps stood out; those records also reflecting a marked national displacement at the time. An Avocet flew over Farmoor on 11th.

Greenshank at LWV Pit 60, courtesy of Dave Murphy

Wader passage continued steadily right through to month's end. Sanderling in summer plumage are often an attractive feature at this time of year, and good numbers of such birds were noted at Farmoor and also Grimsbury Reservoirs from mid-May onward.

Sum plum Sanderling at Farmoor (above), courtesy of Nick Truby
and Grimsbury Reservoir (below), courtesy of Kyle Smith

Oxon patches attracting waders in this review period were (and I hope I have got them all): Port Meadow, Chinnor Cement Works, Appleford GPs, Henley Road and Sonning Eye GPs, LWV Pit 60, Stratfield Brake, Blenheim Park, Grimsbury Reservoir, Balscote Quarry and Baulking Pit; perhaps underlining the quantity of waders on the move. Pictures this month are mostly of species not highlighted in the previous two reviews.

Farmoor Ringed Plover, and Dunlin (below)
Courtesy of Ewan Urquhart

Another feature of any May is the dapper and diminutive summer visiting Falcon, Hobby. Otmoor held several individuals on some days, while Pit 60 hosted another cluster amongst which one posing close to a hide drew some attention. But I can only include one picture herein and so it's from Otmoor. No offence guys. Another summer notable viewed at Pit 60 a number of times was Garganey, though records of that duck elsewhere remained few and far between in this review period.

Otmoor Hobby, courtesy of Norman Smith

Garganey at Pit 60, courtesy of Dave Murphy

Lastly, the latest arriving small passerine each spring is usually Spotted Flycatcher, and these were noted from a number of locations county-wide. 

Spotted Flycatcher, courtesy of John Reynolds

Now as spring turns to summer another passage season has played out its scenarios, with much that is familiar but also some surprises. Unless next month produces a good number of notable records there will be no June review, then a combined round up for the usually quieter months of June and July. I am happy to continue as your monthly reviewer but things remain open for more Oxon birders to take a turn. So if anyone else would like to have a go please contact either Adam or Jason.

Peter Law

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