Friday, 31 August 2012

It Was Bugging Me.

The Micro Moth previously posted, that apparently none of you were able to identify and as I became more and more determined to name, eventually resorting to emailing the "great bugger" himself Richard Lewington.
So hurrah ! At last I now know the little devil flitting about in the early evening at Hardwick is----- wait for it durrumm da da da durrumm  Common Tortricid Moth - Celypha Lacunana so there you have it and of course my thanks go to Richard, although he did mention that "it was a crap photo" (not in those words) he obviously doesn't read my blog or he would have known the photo was par for my course.
Haven't had time to insult or upset anyone lately or get out into the marvellous, even if this year it has been mainly wet and grey Oxon countryside, due to a combination of visiting friends in hospital, family commitments, and OOS responsibilities. The Oxford Ornithology Society is exhibiting at the Wychwood Forest Fair this sunday 2nd September please make a point of making yourself known to me. Our stand will be alongside the Pat Wixey OOS Barn Owl Project and also sharing our space will be Louise Spicer who does so much for the farmland birds in the Charlbury/Chippy area. Another date for your diary is the upcoming Thames Water Bioblitz/OOS Farmoor Open Day when along with a huge list of activities we will be holding an evening Gull Roost Watch led by Ian Lewington and holding a feather identification competition with a first prize of an Ian Lewington framed bird print, a second prize of the paper back edition of the Collins Bird Guide and the third prize is a three dimensional framed picture of a Golden Eagle, this free event is to be held on Sunday 16th September and I will give out more details shortly.
Common Tortricid Moth - Celypha Lacunana Unfortunately I accidentally deleted the better shots. There is a marginally better picture on "Out in the Cold" a previous recent blog entry.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

I was a Day Dipper Tripper Yeah.

A phone call from Derek Woodcock (yes that really is his surname) this morning telling me he has seen the Dipper on the Windrush close to Witney by the lasher three times out of the last four days proved to be a better cure-all than any amount of aspirin for my cold.
The bird is showing really well and if you are reasonably quiet it is very tolerant and will let all you flashers and focusers get the photo you want. Some big and not so big Dragonflies are active along the Windrush and should give you camera folk even more interest and opportunity to practise your skills.
What a Poser - Could its name be Barry?

Common Blue from Shellingford Quarry Yesterday.


Sunday, 26 August 2012

Out in the Cold.

Oh! how lucky you have all been not having to listen to my coughing and spluttering as i've suffered a heavy summer cold that has left me rather weak, have carried on with my Tree Sparrow feeding duties and would like to tell you how i've suffered in silence but in truth I don't do suffering or silence very well and yesterday (Sunday ) was my first recent venturing out for the mere sake of gratifying my insatiable quest for enlightment of the natural world.
A trip to the Eynsham area with a bag of millet for one of our Tree Sparrow volunteers gave me the opportunity to call in at firstly Vicarage Pit and later at Hardwick and I will leave you with a few photos  that I will leave you to name in the comments box as I ought to get to bed because i've just woken up in front of the telly and noticed the time is 1.45 am.


Saturday, 18 August 2012

None Of Us Are Guiltless.

Ok so the hedges have given way to huge fields that are mostly wildlife unfriendly and just who is responsible for this sorry state of affairs ? The finger is usually pointed at the rich and privileged and of course they are the people able to exploit a situation brought about by YOU and ME I can hear the shrieks of not me sir oh no not me, in that case tell me who it was that dashed out and took advantage of the two for one and the really cheap Tesco and other similar corporations deals brought about by the screwing down of our farmers and the buying on lowest price only, even if it meant buying abroad and compromising on food safety and more especially on farm animal welfare, so WE the greedy majority could stack up our trolleys and come away from the superstores rubbing our hands and of course most of us still are . So when we take all this on board and practise ethical buying I feel we will have the right to shout louder.
The large landowners have become large because farm incomes have been squeezed by supermarkets resulting in "scale of production" ie a 300 acre mixed farm would have a staff requirement of say 4 plus 4 tractors whereas a 4,000acre arable farm could possibily get by on even less staff using bigger and more powerful equipment and a monoculture crop regime growing a three crop rotation and farming out of  cans of poisons and fertilizers often with no farmed animal inputs.
How many of you have written to the Newbury MP come on now hands up mmmm funny I can't see many hands up I wonder why OK another question who did you vote for last time ? let me guess conservative mainly because the party looked the best bet to keep your taxes down, now silly old me voted for the greens but I seem to have been virtually on my own in West Oxfordshire but I voted on points of principle what a real dumbo I am. If you really want change do it at the ballot box because believe me the revolution aint gonna happen.
So if YOU really want things to change get your pens out and write to all the people you think are doing wrong and tell them why and if enough of us do that there's a chance they might change their stance for most of them are flexible like their principals.
Farming out of a can of poison in a huge field where the horizon is the only feature.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

I've Got My Beady Eyes On You.

Had a look down Chimney late afternoon today and the place was absolutely a-flutter with butterflys the most impressive being a gorgeous Peacock there were a few birds about but most of them were staying under cover in the humid heat of the day the ones I did get a gander at were Linnet, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Buzzard and Kestrel. Chimney is a super wildlife reserve that deserves all the public support it gets.

Five Spot Burnet & Possibly Transparent Burnet


Roe Deer


Roe Buck hiding in a Field of Wheat

You Tell Me

You want to have a guess?

White-Lipped Banded Snail

Monday, 13 August 2012

Well I'll Be Dog-Gone.

Had a look for the Dipper between Crawley and New Mill this morning but i'm afraid I failed to connect although I did get a flock of in excess of seventy Goldfinch, a Heron and a gull flock of around one hundred and fifty individuals mainly Black-headed Gulls and a few Herring Gull. The rushey water meadows are an ideal site for Snipe and the straggley hedges typical of Redstart habitat, so why were they not there? Well a major factor must be the unleashed dogs, I guess I saw several dozen walkers and with the exception of about three without dogs all the others were accompanied by their pooches or at least when the curs decided to stay with their owners that is. It's a pity more and more people seem to be unable to make human friends and have to resort to a dumb and rather brainless animal for company that knows no better than to see its human  owner as a pack leader. Of course I know we can't just bump them off but I am very tempted to take a couple of bricks with me another time and use them on the dogs as a method of castration and for the bitches book them in at the nearest vets for an operation - a bit harsh I hear you say but I reckon any wildlife living and breeding less than a yard from ground level can not breed due to dog predation so it seems reasonable to me to even up the score.

The Dogs Bollocks before being introduced to a pair of bricks
Purple Loosestrife

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Definitely not Lady Muck.

Busy in the garden catching up on a few jobs when : lo & behold ! a Painted Lady graced my garden wall with its presence - beautiful girl.



Along with Alan Larkman I spend a fair bit of time at an Oxon farm identifying the natural history of the place as this helps to justify the farms inclusion in the Higher Level Stewardship scheme. Lew does occassional bird identification for us and can usually find 20% more species than we can. The flora is fascinating as it stays where it is and I can then photograph it and check it out back home. Yesterday we found some now pretty rare arable farmland flowering species along with some more common ones and the sun was so hot we were both relieved to get back to the car and take it easy on the drive back home.

Musk Mallow

Corn Spurrey


Corn Marigold


A now rare type of Hemp Nettle

Swathes of seeded Corn Spurrey.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Mainly Shellingford Quarry

In a busy day chasing about after other people managed to call in at the Quarry late on and disturbed a flock of about thirty Mallard, also saw a Buzzard close up as it rather lazily flapped by and was scolded by a Whitethroat, the only other birds of note were in excess of one hundred Lapwing in a nearby field.
Plants were represented by Fleabane and Wild Parsnip and insects by Five-Spot and Six-Spot Burnet, also a Black-Tailed Skimmer Dragonfly.
Black-Tailed Skimmer



Six-Spot Burnet

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Admirable Admiral and Name that Bird.

Had a walk along the Ridgeway today and noted Yellowhammer,Warbler looked like a Whitethroat, Sparrowhawk, 3 Kestrels, 3 Linnet, 8 Goldfinch, 12 Chaffinch, 4 Stock Doves, 2 Buzzard and many Wood Pigeon & Corvids. The plants were represented by a nice stand of Tansy, Meadow Cranesbill, and Field Scabious. The insects turned up with an impressive Red Admiral.


Meadow Cranesbill

Field Scabious - on right

Red Admiral blow up the picture and see those eyes

Name that bird.
It was rather muggy and the thunder bugs were most uncomfortable.