Oxon Birding Weblog: June/July evaluate


Anybody else trying ahead to
Autumn but? The summer season lull may be significantly brutal in these elements and extra
usually than not leads to, for myself a minimum of, chasing a few of our different taxa
– Orchids, Odonata and Lepidoptera. Even then, there’s all the time one eye on what
is occurring on the birding entrance, regionally or in any other case – however let’s not speak
concerning the Black-winged Kite. Many of the summer season regionally was usually
very quiet with a lot of the deal with our native breeding birds whether or not that’s species
in stark decline equivalent to Curlew or current additions on the up equivalent to Blenheim’s
Cattle Egret
colony. On the finish of June I used to be beginning to marvel
whether or not I might have something to write 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
just lately precipitated heartache with a failed county broad twitch at Otmoor in Might.

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

Black-crowned Night time Heron

After the hen discovered flying over Otmoor
at nightfall on the finish of April did not materialise the next
night, regardless of a vigil by most of the counties birders, who would have
anticipated such a fast flip round for the subsequent report? An grownup in full summer season
regalia was discovered down Peep-o-day Lane on the morning of the 9th
and was a very 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 often I’ve discovered to dread telephone calls from Tom, having
beforehand missed out on a couple of good birds regionally together with Yellow-browed
So to get a name from him in early July may 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 anxious although, because the hen did the precise factor and caught round
till nightfall a minimum of, affording everybody who wanted/wished 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 current report again in
April/Might the query arises whether or not that is hen and that hen are literally
one in the identical? In a standard yr this may appear a logical clarification even
with such a big hole in sightings, given their nocturnal habits and abundance
of appropriate roosting habitat. However with so many data this yr throughout the
nation it will appear that is prone to be a 2nd particular person and solely
the 4th report this century, which incorporates the hen 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 hen reappeared almost week afterward the identical pool. This early
morning sighting was adopted up by an extra 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 report



A single hen – shot


Might 1891

Single hen


September 1934

Single hen

Benson Weir

22nd Might 1972

Single hen

Cassington GPs

6th – 29th July 1976

Single hen – 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 screen 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 fascinating information
filtered by way of the grapevine over the summer season months regarding some uncommon
breeding species. The primary of those got here from Otmoor with a improbable
report 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 website absolutely factors to possible breeding makes an attempt and the probably presence of
feminine birds? Let’s hope the autumn brings some showy juveniles – perhaps on one
of the swimming pools alongside Greenaway’s? It’s going to even be fascinating to see what different
websites throughout the county report first ever breeding of the species or doable
report numbers breeding at well-known colonies like Wheldrake Ings up in
Yorkshire and perhaps Otmoor, like the previous will turn into a well-established
colony in future years?

Lastly, a singing male Black
singing in central Oxford was a pleasing shock for one
fortunate observer. The distinctive music 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 report has been
documented within the county with the OOS vp 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 quick visits, however with an abundance of
appropriate habitat its fairly simple to think about birds disappearing amongst the noise
and exercise of town. 

Farmoor Kingfisher, courtesy of Ewan Urquhart


The standout for the interval got here
late within the day with a beautiful summer season plumaged Knot at Farmoor on
the 25th July A cracking ‘Crimson’ particular person and the primary since 2021
with a clean yr in 2022 it caught round till a minimum of the 26th
accompanied by one other staple of the early autumn Farmoor birding
assemblage – a Turnstone which had been current since the day before today
feeding alongside the causeway.

The Farmoor Knot, courtesy of Steve Liptrot

Sanderling both had been
nonetheless shifting by way of on in the beginning of the interval with a flock of seven at Farmoor
on the 1st June. Probably late arrivals to breeding grounds in Greenland
it’s probably we’ll see the primary returning birds inside 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 hen 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 rising 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 hen 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 hen 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 hen
on the 28th amongst the numerous Inexperienced Sandpiper the location is
internet hosting at present. Inexperienced Sandpiper had been logged at 7 websites throughout the county
by way of June and July. As lately Bicester Wetlands produced
essentially the most data with numbers slowly rising 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 17th July. Little Ringed Plover had been noticed breeding
at varied 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 extra 4 birds
at Stoke Row on the 16th, giving hope that this species clings
on as a breeding species inside the county.

Wildfowl, recreation and crakes

Quail had a very good 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 website, had data from the threerd by way of to the 9th
June. Otmoor, a website that unusually doesn’t appear get many data,
had a hen singing on the 16th and sporadically up till the 23rd
June earlier than two birds the place then heard singing on the 21st July.
Extra birds got here from Balscote Quarry on the 28th, Rushey
on the 30th June with the most recent report at Taynton
on the 20th July.

We solely obtained two data over
the summer season of Garganey with a feminine hen at Peep-o-day Lane on the
15th June, while a pair had been current on Otmoor on the
24th of the month. No affirmation of breeding was forthcoming from
both website regardless that pairs or singles have been current nearly repeatedly
for the reason that 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 a minimum of the 4th June. Bicester hosted
2 birds on the 4th additionally with presumably the identical pair at Otmoor on
the 8th June.

After one other profitable breeding
yr for Goosander, with a minimum of 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 18th June
while juvenile birds had been current at Port Meadow and Farmoor on
the 16th and 25th July respectively. A pleasant breeding
report of Shoveler got here from Pit 60 with a feminine and 5 ducklings
recorded on the 17th June.

Ruddy Shelduck had been nonetheless
current within the first half of June with a pair of birds at Kirtlington
on the 5th June with presumably the identical birds current on
Otmoor nearly a month afterward the 9th July. A single
feminine at Peep-o-day Lane on the 25th July coincided
with a nationwide inflow of continental birds and one has to marvel when these
birds will transfer into Cat C with a seemingly robust naturalised inhabitants in
the Netherlands. Mandarin had been current within the ordinary 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 Crimson-breasted Goose continued
at Otmoor within the early a part of June from the threerd to
the 4th, presumably one of many similar birds that was current final yr
though the place it has been within the interim is anyone’s guess.

The Crimson-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 joy 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 yr breeding
efficiently on the website. Hopefully the continued success will push new colonies
to arrange elsewhere within the county with Otmoor and Pit 60 seemingly
favoured websites in the intervening time. Many 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 hen at Enslow on
the 23rd June 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 websites. Presumably most are younger non-breeders though the
occasional one seems to be in breeding plumage and could possibly be failed breeders
from the Somerset Ranges? Pit 60 had essentially the most data with birds
current frequently over each months, with a max depend of 4 approaching the 9th
June. Otmoor additionally hosted birds frequently, albeit from the tip of June
by way of into July. The utmost depend of 5 on the 25th July
was the best within the county over the interval and the joint most seen collectively
this yr. 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 anybody time is difficult
to know, however its doable double figures have already been reached this yr. 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 wonderful information.

Otmoor Cranes, courtesy of Derek Lane

and Terns

A usually very quiet interval for Gulls & Terns
over the summer season, with the primary passage season but to get beneath 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 18th June, though I
am certain there could also be extra data on the market, while single Mediterranean Gull
over at Pit 60 on the 23rd July rounded off the
solely highlights.


Once more, one other usually quiet interval of Passerines with
a lot 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
a minimum of. 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 usually transient Honey Buzzard over Otmoor on the threerd
June 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 Crimson Kites and their nest close to to Cassington and was variety sufficient to share a montage of their exercise and an perception to those beautiful birds of prey. Please be aware that every one these clips had been taken from a frequently 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 night time skies searching for stars, planets and the summer season spectacular of the Perseid meteor bathe.


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

£8.75 members, £10.75 non members

Appropriate for youngsters over 10 years—youngsters £6.75

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


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