Friday, 30 November 2012

Snatch of the Hatch

Managed a few photos of the Nuthatch that is now putting in regular appearances outside my kitchen window, it's feeding on one of my fat balls-oh! the pain (well the old ones are often the best ones). Yesterday I saw two Jays in my next door neighbours garden they are so beautiful and I find it difficult to believe they are as destructive to other birds eggs and nestlings as controllers of "vermin" would have me believe, I have never seen them taking eggs or nestlings although i've no doubt they do but not to the extent some would have me accept.


Thursday, 29 November 2012

Wonderful things often come in pairs.

Had a great day kitchen window watching today when the apples I had pinned on the Forsythia in the hope of attracting Waxwing or winter Thrush instead became the feeding target for a male Blackcap to be joined later by a female Blackcap and later still by a Nuthatch, now i've never quite understood why this slightly odd bird has never shown up previously because the large gardens of Bampton have an abundance of deciduous large old trees but this is my first here.
Male Blackcap

Female Blackcap

A Room With A View

With rather a lot of things to do lately my birding has been restricted to views from the car of wind-blown Winter Thrushes desperately struggling to find in the now Haw depleted hedges, food, and as is usual they are moving on to less favourite fare such as Cotoneaster, the fields will also be utilised later for invertebrates although so many fields in my patch are carrying great swathes of flood water with Buzzard feeding apparently on the drowned worms that have surfaced and probably also taking Slugs that are quite likely toxic following many applications of Slug Pellets.
From my kitchen I am able to look over my neighbours orchard and garden and take ocassional photos that are of poor quality for as all of you who "butter the shutter" know taking pics through a window seriously down grades them.
Since the devastating loss of my Linner last January my continuing desperation has been helped by the many birding contacts i'm so lucky to meet and also by a Niece living in Plymouth (Charlotte) and by another Niece (Karen) living in Wales who see loads of Siskins and Nuthatch high up on a mountain in the Lampeter area. Both of these wonderful girls write to me regularly - Thanks to both of you.
I will be writing my "piece" for the Oxford Times shortly and a Christmas theme seems appropriate so if any of you have an interesting anecdote about Robin Redbreast please pass it on and I will see if I can include it. Speaking of the articles myself and Clackers write for this super local weekly newspaper, in last weeks edition Clackers wrote in my opinion a magnificent article, I suggest you see if you can get hold of a copy.

Blue Tit

Haw,Haw, Haw it's enough to make me laugh.

Monday, 26 November 2012

No Lark-man but plenty of others.

The ever spiritually up-lifting Pat Wixey called in today to advise me on the best  place to put the newly acquired Owl Box that has recently been made up for me, and after sorting a tree that Pat thought had the potential of attracting any one of our more common Owls including Little Owl, Barn Owl or Tawny Owl, I now look forward to a future of hopefully sharing my garden with any one of them rather than just hearing the occasionl too-whit-tu-woo.
We then motored over to Dr Alan Larkmans' place as he recently told me he is getting three Brambling at Meadow Farmhouse. Alan is just about one of the most interesting people I have the good fortune to count as a friend and after we chewed the birding fat for a while to give a chance for the birds to resettle after our entrance a stunning assortment of birds were putting on a display with some forty Chaffinch, four Yellowhammer, six Linnet, four Brambling, a dozen or so Tree Sparrow, eight Reed Bunting, sixty Fieldfare, five Redwing, two hundred Starling and the usual Tits and more common fare such as Robin.
Hoots Mon! its an Owls home-eventually-I hope 




Fungi - Any ideas ?


Crumby photo of Brambling

Friday, 23 November 2012

Slurping, Crunching and the occasional Burp.

Sounds like pigs at the trough but no! This is the noise of twenty something Birders participating of the excellent cuisine and service dished up by the Cowley road Yeti Nepalese.
The occasion ? Oh no! this was just an excuse for like minded folk to get together and swap mainly birding experiences and of sourse rub shoulders with other obsessives invariably able to relate interesting and sometimes surprising Avian occurences and/or bird behaviour in Oxfordshire and sometimes much further away.
As usual we must once again thank the Badger/Gnome combination for not only setting this up but also for the raging indigestion i'm now suffering (not really) who put in a great deal of time and effort serving the countys Birders.
Spring is on the way.

What a great pair of Tits.

After the monsoon like conditions it was good to get a little respite although the weatherman is talking of more soon.
A super pair of Coal Tits in the garden along with several Great Tits and about eight Blue Tits.
Parties of Winter Thrushes everywhere at the moment busy stripping the Haws and already some have moved on to the fields- that is the saturated fields- where Buzzards are busy taking the drowned Worms that are everywhere, hope its not Slug pelletted Slugs they're eating as they are toxic and may bring long-term problems.
Blue Tit.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Alright Cock!

Three Woodcock and six Grey Partridge seen on the Marsh today. Lesser interest included two Buzzard, Mixed small focks of Fieldfare and Redwing, two Mute Swan, three Jay and mixed Finch flocks also a few Starling, and of course lots of Corvids and Woodpigeon.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Look Out! There's a Thief About.

Thieving Jackdaw.
Still a few apples on the trees that I hoped would be a feeding bonus for either or both Winter Thrush or maybe Waxwing but no, my local band of Jackdaws are helping themselves big-time.
With the sharpish frost this morning a better showing of birds in the garden taking advantage of the various bird food I have on offer. For the first time in ages there were several Coal Tit stopping briefly and grabbing morsels also some ten Chaffinch are back and a non-stop band of Long Tailed Tits breezed through, and the Mistle Thrush was prominent on a high Conifer branch.
The usual crew of Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Wren, Great Tit and Blue Tits and a few House Sparrows.
An old photo taken in neighouring Aston previously of a Waxwing, hoping to see some locally soon.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

If the cap fits-wear it.

Two little gems have appeared in my next door neighbours garden (Lord Donnagamore-Yeah I really bring the level down from very posh to really common) that have given me good views from my kitchen window, A Blackcap and a dainty tireless little Goldcrest. Also a partially white Blackbird has been putting in a regular appearance. The garden has been preventing me suffering birding withdrawal symptoms as i've been tied up with 'things' keeping me at home.
My late lovely Linda's favourite bird was Goldcrest and Lewbelu Lewington very kindly sold me a fantastic painting he painted of this exotic bird (not a print) that hangs just two yards from where i'm sat and she was able to enjoy this painting before her death. Be warned Lewbelu doesn't usually do this. I suspect he wanted to show his gratitude for all the times i've had to put him right when he has identified birds wrongly - if you believe that last sentence you must be from planet Zog.
Blue Tit pretending to be The Lone Ranger

Black & White Blackbird

Friday, 9 November 2012

Thousands on the Marsh

An early morning call from a mate to meet him on the marsh was a sure sign that he had something special to show me and I arrived to find him waiting in his landrover, it took a short time for me to sit myself next to him. In the back were his dogs sprawling over the back of the front seat and sticking their noses in my ears.
He had brought me to show me the sight of in excess of ten thousand Fieldfare/Redwing in a ratio of two thirds Fieldfare to one third Redwing that he had witnessed yesterday, numbers after a lifetime spent in the countryside that amazed him, in fact there were so many the sky was black with them and he thinks it may have been many more. Just before I arrived a female Peregrine Falcon dropped into a flock of winter thrushes and although it failed to kill, as it flew across the marsh it dispersed huge numbers of birds, so we knew this would make it a much less exciting trip than we were hoping for. Rode round the marsh but only saw about one thousand Fieldfare and some four hundred Redwing, other birds were Red Kite two, Buzzard three,Yellowhammer one,Chaffinch forty, Mistle Thrush one, Great-Spotted Woodpecker one, Starling several Hundred, Grey Heron one and mixed Gull flocks on the flood water.
Winter Thrush


Mistle Thrush


Mistle Thrush


Blackbird from yesterday with white markings photographed on my garden wall

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

I Got Thrush and You Sinners

Must have been over 300 winter Thrush (Fieldfare) on Carswell Marsh today, circa 40 Snipe, 1 Jay, 3 Buzzard, 7 Long-Tailed Tit, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Grey Heron, 200 Starling, 1 Raven and flocks of mixed Gulls on the many floods covering much of the pasture land. Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Rook and Wood pigeon were everywhere along with a few Stock Dove.
Great opportunity for OOS members to pay homage to that great man Bernard Tucker by turning out last night and attending a really interesting talk by a super speaker Chris du Feu after all it was just up the road and didn't require driving miles and miles on a possibility of merely adding another tick - still I guess some of you are collectors and some of us think wild bird welfare is important believing without the second the first may become greatly diminished.
Jackdaw & Stock Doves