Sightings and Photos

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15th Oct Yellow-browed Warbler Lark Hill...Oct 11th Whooper Swan BWR...Oct 2nd Osprey Standlake...21st Sept Red-necked Phalarope Farmoor Res...Grey Phalarope Bicester Wetlands...19th Sep Little Gull Grims Res...Forthcoming Talks: 11th October: OOS

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Over Norton: 22nd October

Over Norton
Peregrine: fem.

Ian Hobday

Otmoor RSPB 22nd October

Short-eared Owl (apparently also seen yesterday)
Hen Harrier 2 (2ndy m, ringtail)
Bittern 2
Stonechat 10
Marsh Tit 2

(per George Best, Bark et al)

Farmoor Reservoir 22nd October

Cat C Barnacle Geese courtesy of Tezzer

Late Little-ringed Plover courtesy of Dai

Common Scoter 3 F2 off causeway
Little-ringed Plover (juv)
Barnacle Geese c100 again in
field S/W of F2

(per Dai) 09:15

Barnacle Geese courtesy of Tezzer

Sandford-on-Thames: 22nd October

2 Raven

D Moden

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Farmoor Reservoir 21st October

Common Scoter 3 F2 off western end of the causeway 12:20
Barnacle Geese 101 in field S/W of F2 and are presumably part of the Cat C population.
Shelduck 3
Rock Pipit 2

(per Andy Last)

Rock Pipit courtesy of Andy Last.

Radley GPs 21st October

Wigeon 6
Gadwall 4
Water Rail 2
Kingfisher 2

(per Eddie McLaughlin)

Returning Wigeon with Coot courtesy of Eddie McLaughlin

Chipping Norton: 19th October

Chipping Norton
Peregrine: SP303252.

Steve Akers

Foxholes BBOWT 21st October

Marsh Tit 8
Treecreeper 1

Cholsey 21st October

No further sign of the Yellow-browed Warbler at Whitehead Meadow by 14:00.

A329 near Moulsford: 21st October

A329 near Moulsford
Brambling: With the Chaffinches, very unexpected. Fem or 1st winter, too brief a view to be precise and, at 12:05, not returned. SU5985. 11:55.

Mike Amphlett

Friday, 20 October 2017

Farmoor: October 20th - Evening

3 Common Scoter - still present at dusk on F2 western end of causeway
1 Ruff
1 Dunlin
1 Little Ringed Plover (reported)
5+ Rock Pipits


Kingston Bagpuize: 20th October

20th October

Kingston Bagpuize
2 Hawfinch: Flew up from trees behind Hinds Head Pub and flew West. 10:34.
Peregrine: male. Flew fast South. 08:35.

Jed Cleeter

Cholsey 20th October

Yellow-browed Warbler heard calling several times at Whitehead Meadow near Church Road c17:20 but no further sign by 18:00 (per Paul Chandler).

: 20th October

Shenington Airfield
2 Stonechat: Male and female by old airstrip. 30 golden plover and a snipe flew over SW. SP367434. 10:00.

Steve Holliday

Otmoor.A.M. 20th October.

3 Bittern (7 flights)
1 Marsh Harrier
90+ Golden Plover
30 Redwing
1 Marsh Tit.

Farmoor Reservoir 20th October

Common Scoter 3 (2f) still in S/W corner of F2 13:00

No sign of the Great Skua this morning by 10:07.
Short-eared Owl sat along the causeway

(per Dai)

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Otmoor: RSPB reserve: 19th October

Otmoor: RSPB reserve
3 Stonechat: Male and female seen together near path to first screen. Female very agile; catching airborne insects. Further male seen on path to second screen. SP5613.
2 Marsh Harrier: hunting over reed beds. SP5613.

Suzanne Parrott

Farmoor pm

Great Skua still present at dusk on F2

Also 3 common scoter still

Tom, Gavin

Farmoor: October 19th

Great Skua on F2

Farmoor Reservoir - 19th Oct

Great Skua found at west end of Farmoor causeway at 12:50 by Peter Law (record shot).

Still present off western bank of F2 14:37 per DL

3 Common Scoter
2 Rock Pipit

Photo courtesy of DL

Otmoor.A.M. 19th October.

1 Hen Harrier (m)
2 Siskin
2 Kingfisher
1 Coal Tit
1 Swallow (over)
1 Raven (over)
1 Marsh Harrier
40+ Golden Plover.

per:  DD. PG.

Farmoor. 19th. October.

5+  Common Scoter.   Southern end of F2.   (Scattered, not in group)
Grey Plover.  Over.

Per.  G.B.   Dai.
Common Scoter. 3 still present.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Farmoor Brent Geese

courtesy of John Workman

Farmoor October 18th 5-6pm

Common Scoter - 1 drake west side of F2
Rock Pipit - 1 near causeway hide
Common Gull - 3 (1 first winter, 2 adult)

Sent from my iPhone

Otmoor.A.M. 18th October.

Dark-bellied Brent Goose.

Farmoor Reservoir 18th October

Brent Geese 6 on west side of F2 12:25 (per Barry Batchelor)
Common Scoter F2 10:54

(per Dai)

Otmoor RSPB 18th October

Brent Goose in front of the first screen c09:00 then flew off (per Paul Greenaway)

Monday, 16 October 2017

Farmoor 16th October.

1 Rock Pipit
10 Barnacle Geese

Aston: October 16th

8 Grey Partridge
1 Peregrine 

Lollingdon Hill: 16th Oct

An early movement of birds over the hill this morning:

c120 Redwing,
3 Fieldfare,
2 Mistle Thrush,
70+ Starling,
60+ Chaffinch,
at least 1 Brambling and 2 Redpoll.

Kingston Bagpuize: 16th October

Kingston Bagpuize
3 Hawfinch: Flew low over the garden towards Kingston Church/House. 09:54.

Jed Cleeter

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Lark Hill 15th October

Yellow-browed Warbler no further sign 15:30-17:50 (per Vic Wren, Mark Merritt)
Seen briefly once, a few calls, 14:45.
In copse c300m beyond reservoir (same area as last year's bird).

2 Stonechat (pair)
9+ Corn Bunting

Otmoor rspb. 15th. October.

2. Bittern.
Marsh Harrier.
81 Golden Plover.  (over)
7. Stonechat.
5. Cetti's Warbler.  (calling)
5. Water Rail.  (calling)

Per.  Otmoor M.


Kingston Bagpuize: 15th October

Kingston Bagpuize
Peregrine: fem. Flew Steady SW at medium height. 09:38.

Jed Cleeter

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Otmoor 14th October

Marsh Harrier
4 Redpoll along track to 1st screen
10 Redwing
11 Golden Plover
c100 Lapwing

Wheatear - Near Pill

Friday, 13 October 2017

: 13th October

Bayswater Road
400 Golden Plover: A mobile flock of about 400 golden plovers was moving between the farmed fields on either side of Bayswater Road near the junction with B4027. SP567098. 12:30.

Lyn Ebbs

Otmoor. 13th. October.

Brambling.  (f.)    Still in mixed flock feeding by Wetland hide.

Farmoor 13th October

Grey Plover flying around F2 3 Rock Pipits along the causeway.

Rock Pipit

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Otmoor 12th October PM

Female Brambling in mixed finch flock from Wetlands Watch Hide

c150 Pied Wagtails

Sparrowhawk at Pinkhill, Farmoor

courtesy of John Workman

Farmoor 12th October

4 Raven
1 Redshank
1 Ringed Plover
1 Common Sandpiper
5 Cetti's Warbler

12th October Curbridge

"At 12.30 today whilst driving between Brize Norton and Curbridge, close to Caswell House I think a female (Hen) Hen Harrier flew across the road in front of me at a distance of about 30 yards, flying in a Westerly direction. Slow flight, just above hedgerows. Brown buzzard/gull sized with with distinct white rump. I could not "follow" it as I had a car coming towards me but I did get a good view and have a confirmed sighting about 5 years ago on a walk near Swinbrook where one flew below me at very close quarters ( I was on a hill) carrying a partridge kill. Can't think of anything other than HH, visibility was excellent."

per Phil Buck

Rushey Common lake, 12th October

11am -3 pm
A day of comings and goings!
122+ Lapwing
32 Teal
above flew in and straight through
Swallow 1 through heading south
Settled- 3f 2m Pochard
              2f Wigeon
              Common Sandpiper
Lesser Black Backed Gull killed a Black Headed Gull on centre small island and while fighting off 2 Carrion Crows continually, reduced it to just the pair of wings.


Otmoor.A.M. 12th October.

1 Siskin (over calling)
1+ Redpoll
2 Marsh Harrier (m/f)
1 Hen Harrier
2+ Bittern
6 Stonechat
1 Kingfisher.

per  Otmoor M.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

A329 near Moulsford: 11th October

A329 near Moulsford
7 Grey Partridge: Moving N along hedgerow separating the two fields I regularly mention. Distant but good view, male and female belly patches could be discerned. SU591855. 09:45.

Mike Amphlett

Otmoor 11th Evening

5 - 6:30pm

Hen harrier (m) attacked the starlings over the reedbed before drifting over to the flood field.


Bicester Wetlands Reserve 11th October

Whooper Swan courtesy of Justin Taylor

Whooper Swan on main reserve at 12.25pm (Reserve first) then flew off south
c12:40 (per Bill Foley, Justin Taylor).

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

September Highlights & News

Red-necked Phalarope Farmoor Reservoir courtesy of Tezzer

September is traditionally a month where we're more likely to get some good birds in the county and thankfully this month did manage to produce some noteworthy sightings. Of course the star bird has to be the wonderful juvenile Red-necked Phalarope that graced the concrete shores of Farmoor from 21st to the 25th.

Red-necked Phalarope Farmoor Reservoir courtesy of Gnome (please view at 1080p)

Make no mistake, this is a proper county Mega though the one day bird at Bicester Wetlands a couple of years back meant that most county listers already had it on their lists. Previous records of Red-necked Phalarope in Oxfordshire (with thanks to Terry Tossel & Justin Taylor) are as follows:

  • Winter 1834 Shotover bird found exhausted
  • 30th Sept-1st Oct 1944 Sandford Sewage Works
  • 25th June 8th July 1960 female Marsh Baldon ponds
  • 27th June 1969 non adult male Stanton Harcourt trapped and ringed
  • 17th May 1974 male Farmoor
  • 8th June 1974 Farmoor (possibly same bird as above)
  • 1st June 1995 juv Dix Pit Stanton Harcourt
  • 24th May 2015 Bicester Wetlands Reserve

Grey Phalarope has been pretty much annual in the county over the last few years but this year we really managed to out-do ourselves in the form of no less than four different birds. This was very much part of a national wreck of Phalaropes, blown inland by some very stormy weather mid month. To kick things off there was an adult from 11th to 14th with another one overlapping at Farmoor from the 13th for a few days. Meanwhile at Sonning Eye GP there was one from the 13th to 14th and finally Bicester Wetlands struck again with a bird from the 18th to the 22nd. Quite amazing!

Adult Grey Phalarope Grimsbury Reservoir courtesy of Badger (please view at 1080p)

Grey Phalarope Grimsbury Reservoir courtesy of Richard Tyler
Grey Phalarope Bicester Wetlands Reserve courtesy of Alan Peters
Good County Birds
Kicking off the "good county birds"section we start with a Kittiwake at Farmoor Reservoir 12th.

Kittiwake Farmoor Reservoir courtesy of  The Gun-slinger

A tantalising Yellow-browed Warbler was heard-only in a Headington Garden on the morning of 26th. This species was once a county Mega but a spate of sightings over the last few years (very much mirroring a national trend) has somewhat taken the shine of this though had it been actually seen and twitchable it would definitely be higher up the highlights section.

A Greenish Warbler was reported at Middle Barton on the 2nd of September, and as with all potential firsts for Oxfordshire, requires a submission to the Oxfordshire rarities committee before possible acceptance.

A pale phase Honey Buzzard was seen over Ardington on 16th.

Juvenile Turtle Dove Otmoor RSPB courtesy of Paul Greenaway
There was welcome confirmation that the Turtle Doves bred once again on Otmoor this year with juveniles being seen and photographed on the reserve.

Two Manx Shearwaters were discovered way off course of their normal pelagic habitat last month, with an individual picked up at Banburys railway station on the 8th and taken in to care with a second bird photographed within a Bicester garden on the 11th though by dawn this bird had gone.

The Best of the Rest

Osprey Radley Gravel Pits courtesy of Eddie McLaughlin 

It was a fantastic month for Osprey in the county allowing county birders and photographers an opportunity to catch up with these beautiful and enigmatic migrating raptors. At Radley gravel pits a juvenile bird arrived on the 30th of August and remained faithful to these well stocked lakes until at least the 18th, making a stay of an impressive 19 days.

Osprey Radley Gravel Pits courtesy of John Reynolds
Individuals were also noted over Kingston Bagpuize on the 8th and the 17th, at Farmoor on the 10th and 11th with birds also seen drifting over the first screen on Otmoor on the 13th and along the Thames at South Stoke; a further individual was again over Otmoor on the 24th.

Osprey at Radley GPs courtesy of Badger please view at 1080p

The male Hen Harrier remained on the Otmoor RSPB reserve throughout changing plumage subtly to the ghost like grey of an adult. A ringtail Hen Harrier was also present briefly on the reserve from the 9th-12th

Away from Otmoor RSPB, Marsh Harriers were seen at Roke on the 6th with two present at Lark Hill
on the 7th with a female seen at Sparholt Down on the 10th. A further bird was seen briefly at Farmoor reservoir on the 15th, at Warborough on the 16th and over Kingston Bagpuize on the 21st with another bird at West Challow on the 30th.

An early Short-eared Owl was seen at Farmoor reservoir on the 6th.

Black Terns stopped off in Oxfordshire on the 4th with a pair at Farmoor res and a single present at the same site on the 22nd. Three birds at Baulking pit on the 25th was a great record especially away from the two reservoirs and west Oxon gravel pits. A pair of Sandwich Terns dropped on at Farmoor on the 24th.

Caspian Gull Didcot Landfill courtesy of Lew

A first winter Little Gull continued the purple patch at Grimsbury Reservoir on the 19th. Up to three Caspian Gulls were being seen regularly on the Didcot Landfill throughout.

Turnstone courtesy of Dai
Waders arrived throughout with three Black-tailed Godwits at Otmoor on the 4th with two Turnstone
at Farmoor on the 8th and three Ruff at Farmoor on the 11th. Numbers of Green Sandpipers throughout the county seemed down on last year perhaps in part due to the lack of suitable habitat.

Green Sandpiper Bicester Wetlands Reserve courtesy of Nick Truby

Two diminutive Little Stints delighted birders and photographers at Farmoor on the 15th with a further individual appearing at the Oxford reservoir on the 20th.

Little Stint Farmoor Reservoir courtesy of Tezzer

Knot at Farmoor Reservoir courtesy of Badger please view at 1080p

Two Knot were at Farmoor reservoir on the 3rd. The first and only sighting this year of a Spotted Redshank was of a bird that touched down in front of the first screen on Otmoor on the 16th but unfortunately didn't linger.

Scaup Farmoor Reservoir courtesy of John Workman

An eclipse drake Scaup was a superb find at Farmoor resrvoir on the 21st and remaining until at least the 23rd

Shag Farmoor Reservoir courtey of Stephen Burch

The original eleven Shag which first arrived at Farmoor reservoir in August had dwindled in number during September with at least three of the birds unfortunately later being found dead though a single juvenile remained at the Oxford reservoir until at least the 29th

Whinchat were well represented with birds frequently seen at Lark Hill near Wantage and up to six birds seen on Otmoor on the 5th

Redstart numbers although down on last month's impressive numbers on Otmoor, still managed a total of ten on the RSPB reserve on the 6th

Leucistic House Martin with Sand Martin Farmoor Reservoir courtesy of Jeremy Dexter

Tree pipit is now unfortunately a scarce bird in the county with records solely of birds seen and heard on migration, and may well now be lost as a breeding bird in Oxfordshire. Individuals were recorded at Harwell Laboraty on the 6th-7th at Kingston Bagpuize on the 9th and at Lark Hill on the 23rd.

Norwegian ringed Rock Pipit Farmoor Reservoir courtesy of Jeremy Dexter  
Rock Pipits started to arrive along the causeway at Farmoor with a single bird on the 25th.

Female Blue-headed Wagtail Port Meadow courtesy of Gnome
A (retrospectively identified) female Blue-headed Wagtail was on Port Meadow on the 1st.

A Firecrest was seen at Aston Rowant on the 30th.


Notice to Pit 60 (Standlake Common) key holders

Please note that the padlock on the field gate at Langley’s Lane has now been replaced.

The parking area outside the Langley’s Lane hide is for Blue Badge holders only, or those accessing the site for management purposes with prior agreement from LWVP. If you are a Blue Badge holder and need the access code for the gate, please contact or 07557 082575.

Access to the hides for key holders without a Blue Badge should be via public footpaths. A map showing public footpaths and bridleways can be found here:

Lucy Kennery
Lower Windrush Valley Project Manager

Tel: 07557 082575

Lower Windrush Valley Project | c/o Oxfordshire County Council | Ron Groves House | 23 Oxford Road | Kidlington | OX5 2BP

BBOWT Appeal  (Some good news)

Camera Found

A Nikon Coolpix camera was found in the Otmoor Hide on Sunday 8th Oct. It's currently in the Otmoor Reserve office, phone 01865 351163 if it's yours.

Otmoor rspb. Evening. 10th. October.

Grey Plover.  Eastern scrape, Big Otmoor.

Per.  Gary Smith.

Wheatley 10th

Redwing flew over calling this morning

Didcot Landfill - 9th October

The two long staying Caspian Gulls are still around.

Saw X480 on the water for the first time where it appeared to take on a convincing resemblance to Mark's bird at Baulking from the other day.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Baulking: 9th October

Yellow-legged Gull: 1w.

Mark Merritt

Bicester Wetlands

Cetti's Warbler 1 seen and heard calling at lunchtime. Found by Bill Foley seen by Bill and JT
First site record.

Lollingdon: 9th Oct

60+ Redwing
2 Stonechat
1 Little Owl
2 Bullfinch

Otmoor. rspb. 9th. October.

Hen Harrier (m) seen early evening over the Reed beds (per Luke O'Byrne)
Water Rail.
2. Kingfisher.
Merlin.  (Greenaways)
3. Stonechat.
35. Redwing.  (over)
2. Marsh Harrier.  (m. and f.)
2. Marsh tit.
Coal Tit.

Per.  P..G.  T.S.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Banbury: 8th October

7 Redwing: Several calls heard in a few minutes, assumed each call a different individual. 23:00.

Gareth Blockley

Oxon Downs nr Lands End 7th October

Belated report of a Ring Ouzel (per Roger Wyatt)

Otmoor RSPB 8th October

Hen Harrier (male) Circling with four Red Kites over 100 acre field. Occasional interaction between kites and harrier. Fifth Red Kite joined group and the harrier drifted away. SP572143. 15:00.

(Suzanne Parrott)

Bittern 2 reported
Wigeon 2
Snipe c25
Water Rail 4
Raven 2
Stonechat 2 (f) the Pill (m) 1st scn
Cetti's Warbler 3+
Grey Wagtail

No sign of the Whooper Swan.

Stanton St. John: Stanton St. John Pit: 7th October

Stanton St. John: Stanton St. John Pit
200 Golden Plover: Flying over Shepherd's pit, 8.00am.

Richard Ebbs

Radley GP: 8th October

Radley GP
7 Lesser Redpoll

Ian Elkins

Saturday, 7 October 2017

White Horse Hill: 7th October

3 Stonechat
120 Golden Plover
A loose gathering containing Mipit, Skylark, Linnet and Reed Bunting didn't appear to hold anything more exotic but optics and observer both thoroughly soaked by this point!