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Friday, June 21, 2024

Oxon Birding Weblog: June/July overview


Anybody else trying ahead to
Autumn but? The summer season lull will be notably brutal in these elements and extra
usually than not ends in, for myself not less than, chasing a few of our different taxa
– Orchids, Odonata and Lepidoptera. Even then, there’s all the time one eye on what
is going on on the birding entrance, regionally or in any other case – however let’s not discuss
concerning the Black-winged Kite. A lot of the summer season regionally was sometimes
very quiet with a lot of the deal with our native breeding birds whether or not that’s species
in stark decline comparable to Curlew or latest additions on the up comparable to Blenheim’s
Cattle Egret
colony. On the finish of June I used to be beginning to surprise
whether or not I might have something to jot down about come the tip of July. Fortunately
a county mega was unearthed within the 2nd week of July, giving
just about everybody within the county a second likelihood at a species that had
not too long ago brought about heartache with a failed county broad twitch at Otmoor in Might.

An accounting error on my half
meant that I had double counted a number of species over the course of the 12 months,
which implies the county 12 months listing stands at 198 even after including 4 species
to the 12 months listing over the summer season interval. An extra 11 subspecies or non-BOU
species have additionally been recorded to this point in 2023.

Black-crowned Night time Heron

After the chicken discovered flying over Otmoor
at nightfall on the finish of April did not materialise the next
night, regardless of a vigil by lots of the counties birders, who would have
anticipated such a fast flip round for the subsequent file? An grownup in full summer season
regalia was discovered down Peep-o-day Lane on the morning of the 9th
and was a really well-deserved discover by Tom Wickens for all the trouble he
places in down the patch and the broader space. Given we share this patch and been
out of the county regularly I’ve discovered to dread telephone calls from Tom, having
beforehand missed out on a number of good birds regionally together with Yellow-browed
So to get a name from him in early July might solely imply
one thing nice was on the patch and simply my luck I used to be on my manner elsewhere. I
needn’t have apprehensive although, because the chicken did the suitable factor and caught round
till nightfall not less than, affording everybody who wanted/needed to see it to get
nice views from the cycle path while it roosted for a lot of the day.

The Night time Heron courtesy of Ian Lewington



…and a few video courtesy of Badger

Courtesy of Andy Final

Given the latest file again in
April/Might the query arises whether or not that is chicken and that chicken are literally
one in the identical? In a standard 12 months this might sound a logical rationalization even
with such a big hole in sightings, given their nocturnal habits and abundance
of appropriate roosting habitat. However with so many data this 12 months throughout the
nation it might appear that is prone to be a 2nd particular person and solely
the 4th file this century, which incorporates the chicken assessed as a
possible escapee again in 2002. This particular person determined to bunk or on the very
least picked a a lot much less observable roost spot by the next day, with no
signal till the chicken reappeared practically week in a while the identical pool. This early
morning sighting was adopted up by an additional disappearing act with no signal
till reappearing over 10 days later when it was flushed from a ditch reverse
its beforehand favoured pool. It seemingly has been current all this time,
the place is anybody’s guess however a subsequent search with a thermal imager produced
no additional sightings.

Nature of file

Web site


A single chicken – shot


Might 1891

Single chicken


September 1934

Single chicken

Benson Weir

22nd Might 1972

Single chicken

Cassington GPs

6th – 29th July 1976

Single chicken – flushed from Shifford Lock

Shifford Lock

16th April 2000

Grownup – Current on Otmoor however noticed to have color ring and
broken beak. Assumed to be an escapee


19th – 27th Might 2000

Grownup – Photographed
flying over Otmoor’s 2nd display at nightfall


April 2023 (presumably current earlier than with nocturnal calls doubtlessly heard)

Grownup – discovered
roosting and noticed feeding later within the night

Peep-o-day Lane

15th July 2023

Honourable mentions

A pair bits of attention-grabbing information
filtered by way of the grapevine over the summer season months referring to some uncommon
breeding species. The primary of those got here from Otmoor with a incredible
file of 4 Noticed Crake heard singing over the summer season and
doubtlessly holding territory. Single males can flip up and sing sporadically nearly
wherever (pending appropriate habitat), however for 4 males to arrange territories on
one web site absolutely factors to possible breeding makes an attempt and the possible presence of
feminine birds? Let’s hope the autumn brings some showy juveniles – perhaps on one
of the swimming pools alongside Greenaway’s? It can even be attention-grabbing to see what different
websites throughout the county report first ever breeding of the species or potential
file numbers breeding at well-known colonies like Wheldrake Ings up in
Yorkshire and perhaps Otmoor, like the previous will develop into a well-established
colony in future years?

Lastly, a singing male Black
singing in central Oxford was a nice shock for one
fortunate observer. The distinctive track was heard over the hustle and bustle of Gloucester
and was seemingly holding territory from a TV antenna on high of an
unoccupied constructing – traditional! Just one confirmed breeding file has been
documented within the county with the OOS vice chairman been proven a nest by the
earlier county recorder round 40 years in the past! Our present county recorder was
additionally proven a pair on territory again in 1985 at Didcot Energy Station however
this pairing was by no means proved to have bred. Sadly the singing male was
not relocated over the course of a number of brief visits, however with an abundance of
appropriate habitat its fairly simple to think about birds disappearing amongst the noise
and exercise of the town. 

Farmoor Kingfisher, courtesy of Ewan Urquhart


The standout for the interval got here
late within the day with a stunning summer season plumaged Knot at Farmoor on
the 25th July A cracking ‘Purple’ particular person and the primary since 2021
with a clean 12 months in 2022 it caught round till not less than the 26th
accompanied by one other staple of the early autumn Farmoor birding
assemblage – a Turnstone which had been current since the day prior to this
feeding alongside the causeway.

The Farmoor Knot, courtesy of Steve Liptrot

Sanderling both had been
nonetheless transferring by way of on firstly of the interval with a flock of seven at Farmoor
on the 1st June. Seemingly late arrivals to breeding grounds in Greenland
it’s possible we’ll see the primary returning birds throughout the subsequent week or
so! 5 of this flock remained at Farmoor till the twond
earlier than departing for pastures new. And similar to that the primary returning chicken was
at Grimsbury on the 28th, a mere 57 days after the final of
the northern certain migrants had been within the county.  Whimbrel flying into roost at Balscote
with Curlew for a number of evenings between the 15th
and 27th June was most likely essentially the most uncommon of the durations

Farmoor Sanderling, courtesy of David Hastings


Presumably the final Greenshank
heading north was clocked at Appleford on the 1st. While
presumed returning birds trickled by way of on the 9th with a single at
Pit 60 while two birds had been logged on the tenth with a single
at Otmoor and a flyover birds at Farmoor additionally. Black-tailed
additionally made their return journey by way of the county on the tenth
when a single was additionally at Otmoor with numbers growing to 5 right here on
the 13th. Northward certain Ringed Plover continued by way of the
county with a pleasant flock of 8 at Appleford on the 1st. Venn
had a single the next day while Otmoor had 3 on the twond
additionally. This elevated to 10+ on the 5th with 3 remaining till at
least the 8th. The primary presumed returning chicken got here from Peep-o-day
on the 17th July.

Distant Greenshank at Pit 60, courtesy of Mick Cunningham


Black-tailed Godwits at Otmoor, courtesy of Malcolm Bowey

The final of the Dunlin heading
north by way of the county got here on the twond from Venn Mill which
curiously sufficient seemingly hosted the primary southward certain migrant on the
17th July. Grimsbury additionally hosted a chicken on the 17th
with birds at Farmoor from the 24th, with a most depend of 4
right here on the 26th. Bicester additionally managed to host a single chicken
on the 28th amongst the various Inexperienced Sandpiper the location is
internet hosting presently. Inexperienced Sandpiper had been logged at 7 websites throughout the county
by way of June and July. As in recent times Bicester Wetlands produced
essentially the most data with numbers slowly growing reaching a peak of 16 on the 21st
with double digit counts nonetheless been obtained on the finish of the month.

Inexperienced Sandpipers at Biscester Wetlands, courtesy of Alan Peters

Widespread Sandpiper got here from
8 websites all through the summer season interval. The very best depend got here from Kings Lock
on the 13th when 7 had been logged, however different excessive counts embody 5
at Pit 60 on the 12th with a number of websites logging 2-3 birds
all through June and July. Exterior of Otmoor Redshank had been recorded
at Bicester on the 20th June and Peep-o-day Lane on
the 17thJuly. Little Ringed Plover had been noticed breeding
at numerous websites throughout the county with many attending to younger chicks. A pleasant
shock got here within the type of a number of Woodcock data with one at Little
on the 12th June and an additional 4 birds
at Stoke Row on the 16th, giving hope that this species clings
on as a breeding species throughout the county.

Wildfowl, recreation and crakes

Quail had an excellent unfold of
data throughout the county with a minimal 5 birds recorded from the very north
of the county to essentially the most southerly half. The Devils Punchbowl, a
traditional web site, had data from the threerd by way of to the 9thJune. Otmoor, a web site that unusually doesn’t appear get many data,
had a chicken singing on the 16th and sporadically up till the 23rdJune earlier than two birds the place then heard singing on the 21stJuly.
Extra birds got here from Balscote Quarry on the 28th, Rushey
on the 30thJune with the newest file at Taynton
on the 20thJuly.

We solely obtained two data over
the summer season of Garganey with a feminine chicken at Peep-o-day Lane on the
15thJune, while a pair had been current on Otmoor on the
24th of the month. No affirmation of breeding was forthcoming from
both web site though pairs or singles have been current nearly repeatedly
because the finish of April. Shelduck data all got here from the northern
half of the county with birds persevering with to be recorded at Port Meadow with
as much as 3 birds till not less than the 4thJune. Bicester hosted
2 birds on the 4th additionally with presumably the identical pair at Otmoor on
the 8thJune.

After one other profitable breeding
12 months for Goosander, with not less than two household teams noticed round Waterstock and outer
Oxford data had been a bit skinny on the bottom with birds presumably
dispersing. Waterstock nonetheless hosted one birds on the 18thJune
while juvenile birds had been current at Port Meadow and Farmoor on
the 16th and 25thJuly respectively. A pleasant breeding
file of Shoveler got here from Pit 60 with a feminine and 5 ducklings
recorded on the 17thJune.

Ruddy Shelduck had been nonetheless
current within the first half of June with a pair of birds at Kirtlington
on the 5thJune with presumably the identical birds current on
Otmoor nearly a month in a while the 9thJuly. A single
feminine at Peep-o-day Lane on the 25thJuly coincided
with a nationwide inflow of continental birds and one has to surprise when these
birds will transfer into Cat C with a seemingly sturdy naturalised inhabitants in
the Netherlands. Mandarin had been current within the common locations over the
summer season month with as much as 3 at Sonning Eye GP’s and a single birds current
all through at Sutton Courtenay. The dodgy Purple-breasted Goose continued
at Otmoor within the early a part of June from the threerd to
the 4th, presumably one of many identical birds that was current final 12 months
though the place it has been within the interim is anyone’s guess.

The Purple-breasted Goose at Otmoor, courtesy of Maurici Burnet

egrets and so forth

Other than the beautiful grownup Night time
down Peep-o-day Lane the thrill from this group got here in
the type of profitable breeding from the now established Cattle Egret breeding
colony at Blenheim. Three juveniles had been noticed on the tenth
July and the birds are of their 3rd consecutive 12 months breeding
efficiently on the web site. Hopefully the continued success will push new colonies
to arrange elsewhere within the county with Otmoor and Pit 60 seemingly
favoured websites for the time being. A lot of the data got here from these 3 websites with
a peak depend of 10+ at Otmoor on the 9th July, while a peak
depend of 8 and 6 had been logged at Blenheim and Pit 60 respectively.
Extra websites to data birds included a single chicken at Enslow on
the 23rdJune and 4 in flight over the A34 close to Hampton
on the 18th July.

Cattle Egret at Otmoor, courtesy of Debbie Cowee

Nice White Egret continued
to be ever current within the county over the summer season months, albeit extra loyal to a
handful of web sites. Presumably most are younger non-breeders though the
occasional one seems to be in breeding plumage and may very well be failed breeders
from the Somerset Ranges? Pit 60 had essentially the most data with birds
current usually over each months, with a max depend of 4 approaching the 9thJune. Otmoor additionally hosted birds usually, albeit from the tip of June
by way of into July. The utmost depend of 5 on the 25thJuly
was the best within the county over the interval and the joint most seen collectively
this 12 months. It appears although from notes over at Pit 60 there’s common
turnover of birds and simply what number of are within the county at anyone time is difficult
to know, however its potential double figures have already been reached this 12 months. Extra
data got here from Farmoor and Peep-o-day Lane all on the latter
finish of July.

Otmoor Nice White Egret, courtesy of Malcolm Bowey


Nice White Egret Otmoor courtesy of Peter Miligan.

Cranes continued to be
recorded by way of the summer season though data turned scarcer in direction of the tip of
the interval. Sadly after the demise of the pioneering Maple Glory it appears any
breeding try by the newer pair of birds hasn’t resulted in success, an actual
disgrace after final years superb information.

Otmoor Cranes, courtesy of Derek Lane

and Terns

A sometimes very quiet interval for Gulls & Terns
over the summer season, with the principle passage season but to get below manner. Solely
two data worthy of point out made it by way of over the interval with a single Yellow-legged
over at Grimsbury on the 18thJune, though I
am certain there could also be extra data on the market, while single Mediterranean Gull
over at Pit 60 on the 23rdJuly rounded off the
solely highlights.


Once more, one other sometimes quiet interval of Passerines with
many of the frequent birds that transfer by way of the county nonetheless on breeding grounds.
The primary southward certain Redstart did make their manner by way of the county
from Mid-July although. Sometimes all juvenile birds the primary appeared at
Grimsbury on the 12th and continued till the 17th
not less than. The downs hosted birds at Lollingdon on the 20th
and at Chilton on the 21st. The primary of the Autumn seasons Wheatear additionally arrived within the county within the latter a part of July, with two current within the typical location of the Oxon Downs at Aston Upthorpe

Juvenile Redstart at Grimsbury Reservoir, courtesy of Mike Pollard

Noticed Flycatcher courtesy of Alan Dawson


A sometimes transient Honey Buzzard over Otmoor on the threerdJune was the one notable species noticed by way of the summer season.

Patchwork problem







Proportion of goal

Aston eyot

Ben Sheldon













Dix pit




Black Tern



Grimsbury reservoir




Sandwich Tern
and Greenshank



Lye valley

Tom Bedford






River Thames

Geoff Wyatt



Wooden  Sand #Patchtick. Gray Plover #Patchtick.



Sutton courtenay




Black-crowned Night time Heron, Nice
White egret, Ruddy Shelduck



East challow

Mark Merritt






Terry Godfrey took some stunning footage of Purple Kites and their nest close to to Cassington and was form sufficient to share a montage of their exercise and an perception to those beautiful birds of prey. Please word that every one these clips had been taken from a usually used public footpath some 125 metres from the nest, with the birds unconcerned or at any level disturbed by Terrys presence.   

Otmoor Sky at Night time

Saturday 12 August 9.00pm-11.30pm

Come to Otmoor and discover the open evening skies seeking stars, planets and the summer season spectacular of the Perseid meteor bathe.


E-book on line at https://occasions.rspb.org.uk/

£8.75 members, £10.75 non members

Appropriate for kids over 10 years—kids £6.75

Electronic mail otmoor.admin@rspb.org.uk or
phone 01865 351163 for extra particulars


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