Friday, 29 November 2013

Are you ready for a little Chat?

I have been suffering manflu (a cold in girl terms) and its been a miserable time, but today I felt up to getting out into the great Oxon countryside, so chose the ridgeway as I didn't want to come into contact with anyone and risk giving them a dose of this rather nasty cold.
Drove past the White Horse car park and left the motor just off the ridgeway and then walked south towards Lambourn after a disappointing mile or so and having seen only a few Goldfinch and Chaffinch I retraced my steps and joining the ridgeway set off in an easterly direction. The ridgeway here runs behind White Horse Hill and a pleasant surprise in the form of a Stonechat presented itself. The next delight was a Kestrel hunting the rough grassland that covers much of this ancient and historical site.Looking southwards three large birds came tumbling and cronking by, they were of course Ravens and finished off a very nice return to the world of birding.
The Oxon Feather.

                                          Looking east as the ridgeway drops away
                                        Fence posts looking stark in this harsh high environment

Friday, 22 November 2013

Out and About

The Ridgeway yesterday only turned up a couple of Corn Bunting. Last night King Camera gave another entertaining and knowledgeable  presentation to the 'Friends of the Ridgeway' this event was littered with the great photos the king has taken over the years.
Today in the Dix Pit area I clocked 3 Buzzard, 6 Red Kite, 2 Kestrel, 2 Goldeneye , in excess of 100 Teal, 4 Shoveller, 30 Tufted, 6 Pochard, 50 Mallard and numerous assorted Gulls, on the tip were many Corvids and Cormorant were plentiful on the lake along with many Great Crested Grebe. This once great stretch of water has been spoilt with inappropriate tree planting making observation so difficult.
The Oxon Feather.

                                          A few Gulls for the Lari-Loonies
                                           Poor quality Kestrel
                                          White Pheasant on the Ridgeway
                                          Corn Bunting with the sun making a decent photo unlikely 

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The cold wind almost made my teeth Chat-Chat-Chatter.

Walked the Ridgeway from Court Hill to Hendred and back in a really cold wind that signaled that Winter is nearly on us. The compensation apart from the most beautiful scenery was in the form of an obliging Stonechat , a couple of Kestrel, two Raven (heard but not seen) about a dozen Yellowhammers, I guess a dozen Red Kite and a small Pipit-like bird that just would not keep still and let me identify it.
That well known Oxon birder and Author Clackers has asked me to include this piece of info on my blog and I am pleased to do so. I quote "On Thursday night, between 7.00 and 8.00pm, Richard Crossley, author of the famous guides, and well known journalist, author and birder, Dominic Couzens will have a live discussion, on line, and this link will get you to the princeton univ press website giving you the details and link to join in this discussion. it's a unique event and one which all birders ought to know about."
The Oxonfeather


Friday, 15 November 2013

Another High Brow- Eyebrow.

A round trip of some five plus miles over mostly water meadow terrain starting in Stanford in the Vale and walking to Goosey on the Green and then on towards Challow Station (actually there is no station now -due to the Beeching axe in the seventies) gave me a count of about sixty Redwing and forty Fieldfare also a couple of Buzzard along with A Great Spotted Woodpecker and  mixture of Finches including Green, Gold, Chaff and a pair of the striking Bullfinch. The Tit family were represented by Blue, Great and Long- Tailed. Flocks of Starlings were feeding in the meadows and in one instance they were sharing the pasture with Fieldfare . Several Roe Deer were noted.
The Oxonfeather.
       Starlings perching and imitating everything from a plane to a car backfiring
 The rear of the quaint Goosey church that I know so well from my childhood
                     Found this spider on one of my OS maps - perhaps it's lost
                       Even after some early morning frosts a few flowers are blooming

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Get the tick of the year at the "Kings" talk.

The date is Wednesday the 13th November the time is 7.45pm the talk is by King Camera (Roger Wyatt) at the OOS indoor meetings venue Stratfield Brake Sports Ground Kidlington. This rare opportunity to hear from a great local birder, who is determination personified, both in the execution of the technicalities of the camera and his willingness to go not just the extra yard but the extra mile in pursuit of the often near perfect, interesting and unusual bird photograph.
Entry free to members, non-members a donation is appreciated £2 suggested. Tea/Coffee and a biscuit for just 50p. Served at a convenient break in the Kings talk. Any questions please phone the OOS secretary Barry Hudson on 01367710342 (the oxonfeather).
After the massive high of luckily finding the Arctic Skua at Farmoor yesterday comparable with finding the first Oxfordshire Great White Egret at Dix Pit a few year ago I returned to quieter but nevertheless thoroughly enjoyable birding today with a trip to Baulking Fullers Earth Pit.
A fairly run of the mill species list including 8 Long Tailed Tits, 2 Bullfinch's, 150 Winter Thrushes mixed with a bias I guess of 60/40 in favour of Fieldfare, plenty of Blue Tits and on the water the Ducks were represented by Tufted, Mallard and Pochard, whilst Lesser b b  and Black h Gulls were plentiful. Some 6 Dunnock's and a Muntjac were others I remember from todays birding adventure.
the oxonfeather.

                                            Mainly Fieldfare
                               The soon to be demolished Didcot power station cooling towers        


                             The attractive scarlet colouring of Elephant Grass (Miscanthus)

Monday, 11 November 2013

The Oxonfeather finds Juvenile Skua at Farmoor

Finally got to Farmoor to have a look at the Red Necked Grebe , Missed that but had a super bird as I returned along the causeway in the form of a Juvenile Arctic Skua . It seemed to be holding a wing at a bit of an angle when settled so I guess the probability is that it will still be at Farmoor tomorrow either recovering from exhaustion or nursing an injury although the effort it put into trying to catch and kill a Gull or more probably to get the Gull to disgorge its crop contents was a spectacular demonstration of how vicious these birds can be when they are hungry.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

No Lindo-NoLoss We have King Camera Instead.

The Oxford Ornithological Society talk for next Wednesday 13th November at Stratfield Brake will NOT now be David Lindo as he has withdrawn but it really doesn't matter as KING CAMERA that's Roger Wyatt has kindly taken his place by pulling forward his April scheduled talk and will be a most worthy replacement, indeed Rogers is the talk on this years programme I had singled out at the start of the season as my 'must not miss at any cost talk' He is a super cameraman and is one of the regulars I use to accompany our OOS Oxford Times Articles.
A trip to the Hideaway to look for a reported flock of Golden Plover proved fruitless so moved on to Sparsholt and then Crows Hole Bottom where the usual Buzzards and Red Kites were much in evidence a Mistle Thrush was guarding a bush on the ridgeway several dozen Lesser Blacked Backs were on the now growing wheat and an extremely large Buzzard that on size alone I thought could be a Rough Legged but I decided it had too much white on the breast as many of our local Buzzards now seem to.
The Oxon Feather.