Wednesday, 29 July 2020

A Birders Guide To Challow.

I have now walked through, round, over, and under East Challow. I have even entered the Churchyard, incidentally the very churchyard where my Grandmother and Grandfather on my Fathers side were married either the late 1800s or early 1900s coincidentally her christian name was Rose but that's where the similarity ends for I know where my Granny is now resting but I have no idea where the elusive Starling is. My walking of East Challow means that if a tourist guide of the village is needed , well here I am, having peered in peoples gardens become somewhat intimate in my conversations with the locals and taken in anything of interest and after arriving at 6.30 am put myself in the position of being labelled "A Peeping Tom"  as I scoured local rooftops for some action, no, no, no ! not that type of action, for the half naked or even naked human form cannot compare with the pinky hues of the Starling and the emotional release that I would have experienced upon locating the blessed bird, but alas its doesn't seem likely to happen now , for I fear its encounter with the Hobby has quite possibly moved it on.
A photo of 'ordinary' if declining Starlings taken in East Challow.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Little and Large.

 In the carhide and motoring to one of my Tree Sparrow sites, after driving through Clanfield turned right onto the road leading to Buscot/Lechlade and on the corner left side noticed there were 18 Little Egrets feeding and I think this is the largest flock of these birds I have seen in one field. Further along this road where there is water laying in the fields I noted a flock of mainly LesserBBGs with circa 100 Peewits and a mile or so on another flock of Gulls with circa 200 Peewits feeding with them.
The Oxon Feather.

My cock Reeves Pheasant.

I have noted this presumably immature Wood Pigeon for several months now and am beginning to wonder if it is hybrid of Stock Dove and Wood Pigeon.

Monday, 5 August 2019

Ears of Wheat and Wheatear.

The combines are busy reaping this years harvest and among the ears of wheat being harvested I found this Wheatear, such a charming and flitty bird. This bird was in the Dix Pit area.

Friday, 19 July 2019

As usual the blog doesn't register comments.

A report of some twenty odd Tree Sparrows feeding near Shifford Church on the blog today brought the following response from me.                                                                                                               The area mentioned is part of the Oxford Ornithological Society Tree Sparrow Project and is fed by our Chairman Alan Larkman he along with other dedicated supporters of the project have spent many years doing the best we can for this threatened small farmland bird and have taken this project from a few Oxfordshire stragglers to what we believe is a fairly stable population. We have a couple of sites where at the end of the breeding season there can be as many as 1,000 birds on site .                                   I have blogged this, as the comments section on the blog seems unable to cope with comments.                The Oxon Feather.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Cross the Ts Dot the Is and don't forget the Comma's.

Treading the local paths and places of natural interest I have photographed (not very well sometimes) a variety of what's on offer on our doorstep. I will let the pics speak for themselves.
The distinctive comma shape on this Comma Butterfly can just be made out.Now here's a challenge Willow or Chaff




Silver Washed Fritillary.

Comma enjoying the sun.

It's amazing to find this Yellow Wagtail with food in its bill in the middle of a cornfield feeding young.

Large Hoverfly pretending to be a Hornet.

Broad Bodied Chaser.

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.

A Birders Guide To Challow.

I have now walked through, round, over, and under East Challow. I have even entered the Churchyard, incidentally the very churchyard where m...