Tuesday, 2 July 2019

A Friend in Need ::

A couple of days ago I took up an invitation to meet with "The  Friends OF Farmoor Group" this new organisation is all about appreciating and making the most of what Farmoor has to offer and as most of us know it has so much to offer from the Sailing Club,The Fishery and the abundant wildlife that Hanna Jenkins the Pinkhill wildlife officer oversees. We met inHacketts the coffee/restaurant facility and the enthusiasm was quite literally infectious and it quickly became apparent that the some dozen or so sat round the table sipping their beverages were not going to be fair weather friends as they demonstrated their commitment and dedication with the thoughts and dreams of how to maximise the enjoyment that they intend to bring about. From a birders point of view it was so good to see that our own favourite birder Dai is a member and will no doubt be fighting for the birds that grace this Avian hotspot including the many rarities that make this site one of the most interesting in Oxfordshire.
There is a Farmoor Open Day this Saturday 6th July and please - please Oxon Birders do come along to the Oxford Ornithological Society stand that will be in the marque the other side of the rangers office, Alan Larkman and myself will be manning our display and I can't tell you how much more enjoyable these events are when we see fellow birders and are able to chew the fat.
I have posted a few photos of things that have caught my eye in the County recently.

Monday, 20 May 2019


I have missed some really good birds recently due to being tied up visiting other places, I prefer to go to quieter sites that other birders don't cover and I personally get more of a kick finding my own rarities, although in all truthfulness finding commonplace nature is my biggest turn on if I find it doing well, unfortunately many things are increasingly doing less well.
My garden is host to a Blackbird with a white flash through its forehead and the rather obvious nickname of Badger, this bird is feeding youngsters made obvious by its frequent visits to claim any titbits thrown on the lawn, also a pair of Robins have reared a brood in a nest built in Ivy close to my front door . Greenfinches have raised a brood close by as the young are coming to my feeders and its close relative the Bullfinch was spotted on a walk over part of my late Dads farm between Challow Station and Sparsholt where I saw Peacock,Common Blue, Holly Blue and Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies.
The now virtually dried out Shellingford Pit is a local wildlife disaster due to the draining in the near vicinity by gravel extraction. This site was building up to be an important refuge for a wide variety of Dragonflies but big business has killed them off. The Cinnabar Moth and a pair of English Partridges was all I found there. Thank goodness the plant life is still interesting and presently still holding on.
The Oxon Feather.
Badger the Blackbird


Grey Partridge

Cinnabar Moth

Deer browsing.

A view from the farm I grew up on.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Tom Bedford Rocks!

At last nights OOS AGM, Stalwart of the birders curry evenings Tom Bedford gave a superb talk on his previous birding patch at Cuddeston. His talk included a most interesting appraisal of the Green Belt and its failings and also the rarer birds he had managed to "turn up" on his mainly intensively farmed locality. My thanks to Tom for this most entertaining and informative insight into his birding life and if he has more to say and I think he has I am hopeful that he will be talking to us again.              The Feather.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Take A Tip.

Rambled along the road that runs from The Blowing Stone to Seven Barrows, this road is usually good for Corn Bunting and yesterday it also turned up several pairs of Orange Tip Butterflies.
My computer has been on the blink due to my cleaning the keypad that had become dirty, overdone things a bit and a new keypad has resulted in a spend of 79 Quid .
Please make a point of coming along to the Oxford Ornithological Society Annual General Meeting when our own Tom Bedford of 'Birders night curry fame' will be giving a talk and our chairman Alan Larkman will also be talking , probably giving an update on the state of play of our Tree Sparrow project and an insight into the City Farm Project.
The Feather.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Boring Barry.

With the marvellous recent finds of Wagtails in the county I am afraid I will be posting - not lesser fare- but more mundane fare. These birds are quite common in our vicinity but if things continue as they are that may not be the case in the not too distant future. At least there is a growing revulsion against the blatant abuse of our wildlife personified by the old man of British wildlife film making David Attenborough to the Norwegian schoolgirl and the many who turned out to object in London to the awful inaction to deal with plastics and global warming. I sometimes feel that if only my birding friends were able to get as excited about doing something to register their horror at the appalling state of our countryside as they are to jump on a plane to see a rare bird we might get more done.

YellowhammerCoot Young



Holly Blue

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

My Recent Birding.

Although I have not seen any unusual birds recently, nevertheless the birds I have seen have been diverse in appearance and habitat.
The Yellowhammers and Bullfinches just to the south of Bampton were pure beauty and the bullies were busy feasting on the emerging spring buds that the farmland hedgerows are producing, these particular hedges had thankfully escaped the attentions of the flail hedger.
My garden has played host for some months now to an oddly marked Blackbird with a white forehead and it has again been prominent and I hope it will nest close by, this bird has been in the vicinity of a rather handsome and melodic Song Thrush that has several Snailing anvils nearby. Rather more unusual as a garden species were the recently visiting Ravens that spent the biggest part of the day filching any tit-bits they could lay their beaks on and showing well both in my own, and my neighbours gardens, there were four in total.
Today Tuesday 2nd April was interesting in that the heavy rain meant I felt ok about abandoning the work that the garden requires to bring it up to scratch. Travelling to the Dix Pit area I was pleasantly surprised by a flock of some one hundred Golden Plover and managed a few poor quality distant photos. The rain had replenished the puddles and Meadow Pipits were bathing in them. The last birds I saw today in the same area were a flock of Fieldfares numbering in excess of two hundred birds.
The Oxon Feather.
Bathing Meadow Pipit

Song Thrush

Blackbird unusually marked




Village Alpaca I think

Far distant Golden Plover

Far distant Fieldfare

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Golden Days.

Yesterday Friday 15th fancied a trip to the ridgeway in the whitehorse hill area, its always a good spot for overwintering Stonechats, and encountered two females and a male the females photographed pretty good but the male was feeling less like posing so I had to accept not getting the handsome little brute. Circa ten Corn Bunting in the hedgerow running up to and behind the white horse and a Weasel scurried across carrying the remains of a half eaten Rabbit, there were many Skylark about giving me views of twenty plus and a brief display by circa eighty of what I'm sure were a flock of Golden Plover as they disappeared into a fold in the downs south of the ridgeway.
Met an interesting chap by the name of Colin Duncan on the ridgeway who played professional football for Oxford United in the seventies or as we Swindon Town supporters say 'the enemy' it was good to get an insight into a profession that so many of us aspire to but lack the level of talent to achieve that standard. Also of note was a flock of two hundred Pee-Wits in a field just off  the  Baulking Turn alongside the road to Baulking.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
The Oxon Feather.
Golden Plover - sorry only photo I managed

Corn Bunting


Corn Bunting

Remains of Weasel eaten Rabbit

A Friend in Need ::

A couple of days ago I took up an invitation to meet with "The  Friends OF Farmoor Group" this new organisation is all about appre...