31st October 2010 - Mostly overcast, occasionally sunny intervals and showers. Still, mild but cooler with light north-easterly wind.
Five Goosander which flew north and a female Pintail in front of Oak Hide were the most noteworthy species today. The Lapwing flock east of the A452, totalling 466, included two Golden Plover and a further 70 Lapwings (at least) were on Railway Pool, and the combined total was the best of the autumn.
Other records of note included a Water Rail on the causeway, 26 Snipe, 20 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (10 bathing on Railway Pool and at least ten over), a Kingfisher (as usual, on the Reedbed Pool), 50 Fieldfare and Redwings on the flood meadows and 15-20 Goldfinches and three Siskins in the alders along the top stream.
Six Pied Wagtails flitted about the muddy ground by the cattle feeder on the flood plain and one, from its clean-cut appearance, appeared to be a White. Two more Pied were on the Reserve.
Coal Tit, Nuthatch and Tree Sparrow fed at the Oak Hide feeder, whilst a Sparrowhawk on the car park feeder cleared the surrounding area for much of the afternoon.
30th October 2010 - Sunny, mild, light south-westerly wind.
After a quiet week, more to report today. 1600 Wood Pigeon flew south-west between 7.15 am and 10 am whilst the area east of the A452 was also lively. At least 30 Skylarks fed in the large winter wheat field and a flock of about 50 Chaffinches nearby included a Brambling. Thrushes were also on the move - an estimated 170 Fieldfare and 60 Redwings flew over to the south-west in the morning and 11 Siskin and three Redpoll (the latter the first of the autumn) fed in the alders on the concrete road.
The waterfowl / wader and other counts were as follows: One Great Crested Grebe, 21 Cormorant, 18 Mute Swans, 248 Greylag and a single Canada, eight Farmyard and a cross Canada / Greylag, 192 Wigeon, 35 Teal, 24 Gadwall, 31 Mallard, 30 Shoveler, 42 Pochard, 10 Tufted, nine Moorhen, 61 Coot, 453 Lapwing, 17 Snipe, 140 Black-headed Gulls, four Common Gulls, three Lesser Black-backed, two Collared Dove and five Rooks. Noticeably, all duck numbers, save for Pochard, are well down on last week.
29th October 2010 - Windy from south-west. Mostly overcast. Mild.
Records that I received today were of eight Redwings on the railway embankment, 14 Fieldfares going south, the regular Green Woodpecker and the often seen male Sparrowhawk upsetting everything including the Lapwings.
28th October 2010 - Sunny start, clouding over in the afternoon. Brisk south westerly
20 Redwings flew south over Railway, four Common Gulls were amongst the Black-heads and an immature Peregrine caused havoc amongst all the birds this morning.
27th October 2010 - Sunny, light south westerly, mild.
26th October 2010 - Showery most of the day. South westerly.
Relatively quiet. A Great Crested Grebe was a new arrival, the first for October. A Kingfisher was vocal and showy on the reed bed pool but otherwise, little else of note.
25th October 2010 - Frosty start, sunny all day. Cool variable winds.
Little to report, aside from a flock of 40 Golden Plovers and approximately 200 Starlings going to roost in the reed bed.
24th October 2010 - Sunny after frost, cool northerly.
Probably the best of the days’ birds were three female Pintail which showed well in front of Oak Hide. Golden Plover only reached 60. 23 Fieldfare over the wood were the only thrushes recorded in the log. A large flock of tits along the central streamline included at least 25 Long-tails with a further ten on the Old Road.
Eight attended the work party and sections of particularly thick and lodged reed were cut at the south end of the reed bed together with 2/3 rides on either side which can double up either as ringing rides or, hopefully, viewing areas for a wintering Bittern. The container in the car park was also tidied up. Mice had obviously been busy as there were a number of stashes of peanuts - in a pair of boots, in some bags and in the corner of various containers!
23rd October 2010 - Heavy overnight rain(19mm). Sunny intervals, cool south westerly
160 Golden Plover both over the Reserve and east of the A452 was the best count so far of the Autumn. A handful of birds came down to preen and wash with the Lapwings. At least 35 Skylarks went over, although some lingered in the tip field and there were undoubtedly others on the fields to the east of the A452. Two Goldcrests, a Tree Creeper and 15 Blue Tits formed the bulk of a small mobile tit flock on the Old Road and there were at least six Song Thrushes, six Redwings and 12 Greenfinches along the Old Road as well. Water Rails were seen both at the Causeway and the Marsh and a very vocal Dunlin dropped in about 11am but did not linger for long.
The main waterfowl and other counts included two Dabchicks, 21 Cormorants, three Herons,14 Mute Swans, 287 Greylags, 21 Canadas, 13 Farmyard Geese, 282 Wigeon, 26 Gadwall, 65 Teal, two female Pintails, 85 Mallard, 39 Shoveler, 25 Pochard, 14 Tufted Duck, ten Moorhen, 50 Coot, 187 Black-headed Gulls, seven Common Gulls, one Lesser Black-backed Gull, 460 Lapwing and 32 Snipe. A Grey Wagtail fed in the Marsh and on the Oak Hide feeders, Tree Sparrow, Coal Tit and Nuthatch fed there.
22nd October 2010 - Mostly sunny, south westerly
The only records in the log referred to 24 Golden Plovers flying over and two Ravens over the wood again.
21st October 2010 - Sunny, cool north-westerly wind.
On the pools, four Goosanders were the first of the autumn and the female Pintail showed again. To the east of the A452 counts included 67 Golden Plovers, 50 Stock Doves over, 25 Skylarks and over 200 Starlings.
20th October 2010 - Frosty start, sunny, light northerly wind.
Between 7.30 and 8 am, 145 Wood Pigeons flew south but, by 8 am when the sun got up above the horizon, the passage almost completely ceased with only seven birds through after 8 am. 11 Linnets left the roost in the Blackthorn by the car park and flew west. The Old Road was relatively quiet, but aside from two Yellowhammers and a couple of Song Thrushes, there was nothing else of much note. 60 Starlings flew west, a pair of Bullfinches showed well on the railway embankment and the Kingfisher hunted from various perches in the Reedbed.
This morning 36 Golden Plovers and 70 Fieldfare flew west, whilst on the pools a count of 76 Canadas, six Common Gulls and an immature Herring Gull were of note. Two Nuthatches visited the Oak Hide feeder.
19th October 2010 - Sunny, cool north-westerly wind.
The female Pintail was showing well in front of Oak Hide this morning, but aside from 11 Redwings, four Song Thrushes and a Yellowhammer on the Old Road, it appeared fairly quiet and there appeared to be relatively little on the move first thing.
A thorough walk through Siden Hill Wood failed to discover anything much more exciting than the usual array of Nuthatches, Tree Creepers, Woodpeckers, Tits and Goldcrests.
Other records during the day included the reappearance of Sunday’s flock of 50 Golden Plover, east of the A452, two Green Woodpeckers, two Kingfishers and a Jack Snipe in the Marsh again.
18th October 2010 - Sunny intervals, westerly wind.
Needless to say, no sign of the Lesser Yellowlegs this morning, but an impressive 40 Pied Wagtails, mostly on Railway Pool, a Fieldfare in the car park, 20 Redwings over and yesterday’s female Pintail was still present.
Additional birds noted yesterday in the log were 20 Siskins, a late Blackcap (a female) on the railway embankment, and a pair of Ravens over the wood.
17th October 2010 - Sharp frost, misty start, sunny all day, variable but mostly south-westerly, cool.
Probably the best day of the autumn, with certainly the best bird of the year. As the mist cleared an adult Mediterranean Gull was on the point just in front of Oak Hide, two Green Sandpipers fed on Car Park Pool and a Stonechat (not put in the log!), was in the marsh. These birds all moved on fairly quickly. Then, viewed from Tower Hide, the first Golden Plovers of the autumn flew backwards and forwards over the field east of the A452 and totalled 50. A Brambling flew into the wood and there did seem to be a small increase in Chaffinches. At least four Nuthatches fed together in the wood, together with Treecreeper and at least 20 Long-tailed Tits were components of at least three Tit flocks.
In the early afternoon a Peregrine was causing the birds to be flighty, and a few of us had cause to be frustrated by this as, at 3 p.m., Paul Johnson found a Lesser Yellowlegs on Railway Pool. It was feeding in the channel between the main islands on Railway Pool, but the fidgety Gulls and Lapwings got up once too often and the bird departed, calling, over the railway embankment shortly after being found. This seems likely to have been the bird present at Port Meadow floods near Oxford, from where it departed at just after 8 a.m. and flew north. This is Paul’s third American wader find at the Reserve after Spotted Sandpiper and Pectoral Sandpiper.
In searching for the Lesser Yellowlegs, a female Pintail was found.
16th October 2010 - Sunshine and heavy showers, northerly wind.
A change in the weather and a change in the birds. The cooler weather further north has obviously been sufficient to drive more winter visitors south, and these included the first Fieldfare of the year. The first substantial Siskin flocks of the autumn, with a total of 50 birds (the majority being a flock of 35 to the rear of Oak Hide), ten Song Thrushes (mostly along the Old Road), ten Skylarks and seven Pied Wagtails over. 42 Reed Buntings left the Reedbed roost, again the best count of the autumn.
On the pools, the cooler weather led to another substantial increase in Wigeon numbers. Shoveler also increased as did Lapwing and Black-headed Gulls. The counts were as follows: four Herons, 14 Cormorants, 17 Mute Swans plus the hybrid, 430 Greylags, 48 Canadas, 243 Wigeon, 35 Gadwall, 46 Teal, 23 Mallard, 52 Shoveler, 25 Pochard, 28 Tufted Duck, 12 Moorhen, 38 Coot, 400 Lapwing, nine Snipe, 575 Black-headed Gulls, eight Lesser Black-backs, one Herring Gull, 120 Starlings on the car park pool, 13 Rooks on the flood meadows, eight Redwings over and a Coal Tit at the Oak Hide feeder.
15th October 2010 - Overcast start, sun and showers. Westerly wind and heavy evening rain.
Other than approximately 25 Redwings seen distantly flying over the flood plain, and 15 Greenfinches around the car park, it was a quiet early morning.
14th October 2010 - Overcast, cool, light north-easterly wind.
A dozen each of Reed Buntings, Greenfinches and Long-tailed Tit were on the hedgeline / game crop. A Grey Wagtail flew over and at least six Song Thrushes were around the orchid field behind Oak Hide.
13th October 2010 - Overcast, light north-easterly wind turning sunny and warm as the day progressed.
Relatively quiet. 13 Meadow Pipits flew low over the car park towards the tip field and eight Greenfinches were feeding on the rose hips by the gate. A Yellowhammer also called from the car park area.
At mid-day a Raven again flew over Siden Hill Wood and, in the late afternoon, the first Jack Snipe of the autumn showed well in the marsh together with a Water Rail.
12th October 2010 - Occasional sunny intervals, mostly cloudy, north easterly wind.
Seven Snipe, a pair of Ravens over Siden Hill Wood, a pair of Green Woodpeckers at the Dragonfly Pond and a Water Rail at the causeway screen were the main sightings during the day. In the evening, Pochard reached a new autumn best of 45, 60 Starlings went to roost in the Reedbeds, five Pied Wagtails flew west at dusk and a Water Rail called from in front of River Hide.
11th October 2010 - Brisk north-easterly wind, mostly sunny.
A brief car park watch about 9 a.m. yielded ten Redwings north-east, three Song Thrushes south-east, two Meadow Pipits, two Skylarks and a Brambling over, but other Finches and Buntings were more distant and could not be identified. On the pools, 36 Pochard, 15 Cormorants, seven Herons and three Common Gulls were all on Car Park Pool. A Little Egret also flew over going towards Patrick Farm.
Later in the morning, other birds of note included two late Swallows south together with two Siskins. Wigeon increased again to 180, a pair of Ravens again prospected the wood, a Water Rail showed in the marsh and Coal Tit and Nuthatch were at the Oak Hide feeder.
10th October 2010 - Warm, sunny, light north-easterly wind.
The fine weather finally arrived. Nine Buzzards and two Ravens over Siden Hill Wood were a reflection of the warmer weather. Some rather distant visible migration included five Skylarks, two Meadow Pipits, five Redwings, a Song Thrush and a Wagtail sp., whilst a Great Black-backed Gull flew over to the north.
9th October 2010 - Overcast all day, cool north-easterly wind.
Despite the weather man’s predictions, the cloud remained all day although it was mild. In the early morning ten Pied Wagtails, four Meadow Pipits and 20 Redwings flew over, but little other visible migration was noted later in the day.
The wildfowl and other counts were as follows: two Dabchick, 16 Mute Swans, 120 Greylags, 66 Canadas, 74 Gadwall, 168 Wigeon (another significant increase), 23 Teal, 88 Mallard, 46 Shoveler, 25 Pochard, 12 Tufted Duck, three Heron, 12 Cormorant, 13 Moorhen, 70 Coot, 165 Black-headed Gulls, one Common Gull, one Lesser Black-backed Gull, 89 Lapwing, 12 Snipe; and, at the various feeders, Nuthatch and two Great Spotted Woodpeckers at the Oak Hide feeder, and two Tree Sparrows at the Oak Hide feeder. A Raven also flew over Siden Hill Wood.
8th October 2010 - Overcast, mild light south-easterly wind.
Some Thrushes had obviously moved in overnight, with at least six “ticking” Song Thrushes with a couple of Blackbirds along the Old Road and the first Redwing of the autumn flew over. Other birds on the move included five Meadow Pipits, two Siskins, a Pied Wagtail and two Yellowhammers. Eight Pheasants fed at the Oak Hide feeder and all but one of 11 Snipe on view were in the vegetation below Car Park Hide.
Wigeon were up to 130.
7th October 2010 - After the mist cleared it was a warm sunny day, with a light southerly wind.
The three juvenile Common Terns were present on and off during the day but the only other records of note were a Grey Wagtail and two Ruddy Darters reported from the causeway and path to Oak Hide.
6th October 2010 - Rain clearing quickly to give a mostly sunny day on a warm south-westerly wind.
Both the Ruff reappeared and were present on and off, along with the lingering three Common Terns. A day for Raptors included Hobby, Peregrine, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard. Seven Snipe, Kingfisher, two Meadow Pipits and both of the Common Woodpeckers were also seen along with a patrolling fox by Oak Hide.
5th October 2010 - Overnight rain, partly overcast, south-westerly wind increasing during the day.
The rain has lifted the water levels on both pools and there appears to be some commuting of wildfowl and Gulls between the Reserve and the floods. Today most of the Geese were on the new scrapes with a few Mallard.
The Ruff was present again, at 9 a.m., but flew north and was probably on the flood meadows. 13 Skylarks flew over Patrick Farm at 9.30 a.m. Between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., the two mobile Common Terns flew in to Car Park Pool to roost although one was chased around by Jackdaws and flew off towards Railway Pool. At the same time, an adult and a juvenile Hobby were feeding in the lee of the central stream and over the Reedbed, catching Dragonflies on a regularly successful basis, consuming them on the wing. I believe that this is the latest date for this species at the Reserve.
4th October 2010 - Sunny and warm with a southerly wind.
No records in the log, but at least two of the Common Terns were still mobile around the site.
3rd October 2010 - Wet.
A male Sparrowhawk attacked a Snipe in front of Car Park Hide but was unsuccessful. The Peregrine was present again, four Swallows flew south, two Ravens were over Siden Hill Wood and 30 Goldfinches fed on thistles by Railway Hide. Eight House Martins, ten Pied Wagtails and a Meadow Pipit went south in the late afternoon.
2nd October 2010 - Mild, sunny intervals with a southerly wind.
The three Terns and the two Ruff were all present at first light, but tended to disappear for much of the day. The regular juvenile Peregrine again coasted low over the pools just after dawn, made a failed attempt at a Coot and then departed. A little movement overhead included ten Swallows, three Mistle Thrushes, eight Skylarks (which landed on the Tip field), three Pied Wagtails, one Grey Wagtail, seven Meadow Pipits and two Siskin. 34 Greenfinches fed at the Old Road game cover and three Chiffchaffs were spread across the Reserve.
The regular counts included the following: two Dabchick, 16 Cormorants, four Herons, 22 Mute Swans, 380 Greylags, 27 Canadas, 129 Wigeon, 38 Gadwall, 87 Teal, 23 Shoveler, 67 Mallard, 11 Pochard, ten Tufteds, 17 Moorhen, 75 Coot, one Water Rail (Marsh), 200 Black-headed Gulls, two Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 117 Lapwing, 16 Snipe, five Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk.
A pair of House Sparrows were inspecting a nest hole at the cottages, a Treecreeper called in the copse, Coal Tit, Nuthatch, Tree Sparrow and Great Spotted Woodpecker all visited the Oak Hide feeder. The sunny weather was sufficiently good for a few Red Admirals, four Migrant Hawkers, 14 Common Darters and 20 Common Blue Damselflies to be all on the wing.
Later in the day a Little Egret flew in to roost.
1st October 2010 - Strong southerly wind, wet nearly all day.
Similar to yesterday in that both the two Ruff and the three Terns were present on and off, Snipe increased to 21, Wigeon to 150 and Tree Sparrows at the Oak Hide feeders to three. Nuthatch and Coal Tit also visited the feeder whilst other birds of note included a juvenile Great Black-backed Gull and a Hobby again.