31 Oct 13

Swindon: Amongst the birds on the feeders in the garden this lunchtime were 14 Starlings, 13 Goldfinch, 4 Great Tits, 4 Blackbirds, 3 Blue Tits and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. (Trevor and Sue Clayson)

BTO Cuckoo Project

During the last 25 years we have lost over half of our breeding Cuckoos in the British Isles, so since May 2011 the BTO have been tagging Cuckoos in an effort to find out more about their life cycle.

30 Oct 13

Swindon: A large roost of gulls, mostly Black-headed gulls, on the roof of Boots at Greenbridge from about 4pm. (Felicity Cobb)

Stanton Park: I went to Stanton Park this morning and saw more of the usual suspects plus a Sparrowhawk circling the car park and a Buzzard sat in a tree deep in the wood. (Gary Chalker)

Robin (Gary Chalker)

Robin (Gary Chalker)

Nuthatch (Gary Chalker)

Great Tit (Gary Chalker)

Lawn: Loudly-singing Jay seen clearly in Bruddell Woods this morning, which is unusual here. (Felicity Cobb)

Coate Water: My first walk around the main lake for quite a few months was quite rewarding with 44 species recorded with highlights being a pair of Grey Wagtails on the dam, a Chiffchaff calling alongside the Pitch & Putt and a lots Great Crested GrebesWigeon, Gadwall, Mallard and Tufted Ducks up at the south-west end of Coate close to Broome Manor Lane. Other birds noted were Grey Heron, Mute Swans, Canada Geese, 3 Aylesbury DuckPheasant, Moorhen, Coot, Black-headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Wood Pigeon, Feral Pigeons, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtails, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Goldcrests, Long-tailed Tits, Marsh Tit, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Wren, Jay, Magpies, Rook, JackdawCarrion Crow, Chaffinch, Siskin, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Reed Bunting. (Martin Adlam)

Grey Heron (Martin Adlam)

The splash in front of the Grey Heron was a pair of Mallard taking cover. (Martin Adlam)

Marsh Tit (Martin Adlam)

Nuthatch (Martin Adlam)

A pair of Wigeon (Martin Adlam)

Wigeon in flight (Martin Adlam)

Great Crested Grebe in winter plumage (Martin Adlam) 

Black-headed Gull in winter plumage (Martin Adlam)

Pied Wagtail (Martin Adlam)

Grey Wagtail (Martin Adlam)

29 Oct 13

Savernake Forest: Today there were 2 brick red males and at least 7 green female Crossbills sitting in a sycamore tree sunning themselves in the sunlight. (Andy Smith)

Common Crossbill - female (Andy Smith)

Stratton Wood: This afternoon I carried out another BTO Winter Thrushes Survey with a pleasant walk in the sun at Stratton Wood. The highlights were 10 Redwing, but only 1 each of Blackbird and Song Thrush. Other highlights were a single Chiffchaff, a pair of Kestrels and lots of Goldfinches (+20). Also noted were 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Wood Pigeon, Dunnock, 6 Robin, Goldcrests, Long-tailed Tits, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Wren, 15 Magpies, Rook, Carrion Crow, just 5 Starling on the pylons, Chaffinch and 3 Bullfinches. There were no butterflies about but on the flowering ivy there were dozens of wasps sp., hoverflies sp., Blue Bottle flies and a few Myathropa florea hoverflies. In amongst the branches of a Dog Rose there was some Robin's Pincushion (Bedeguar Gall) which would have housed several larvae of the Bedeguar Gall Wasp, Diplolepis rosae. Also seen a Grey Squirrel along Kingsdown Lane and there are still quite a few Common Knapweed in flower. (Martin Adlam)

Lesser Black-backed Gull (Martin Adlam)

Wasp Sp. (Martin Adlam)

Myathropa florea hoverfly (Martin Adlam)

Myathropa florea hoverfly (Martin Adlam)

Robin's Pincushion (Martin Adlam)

Knapweed (Martin Adlam)

28 Oct 13

Stratton Wood: I went to Stanton park this afternoon. In between showers at the bird table we saw Nuthatches, Coal Tits, Blue Tits, Marsh Tits, Great Tits, Robins, Chaffinches, a Wren and a Goldcrest in the Elder bush next to the table. (Gary Chalker and Dave Butcher)

Blue Tit (Gary Chalker)

Goldcrest. (Gary Chalker)

27 Oct 13

Wanborough: This afternoon my Grandson and I, under louring skies and in a strong wind, went to Wanborough Sewage Treatment site and saw: 1 Grey Wagtail, 30+ Pied Wagtails, 11 Collared Doves, 4 Meadow Pipits, Dunnock, Great Tit, Blue Tits, a hovering Kestrel being mobbed by lbj's, Starlings, Black-headed Gulls, Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Wren, Jackdaws, Rooks, Magpies, Carrion Crows, Sparrowhawk, Yellowhammers, Chaffinches and Blackbirds. Not a bad selection for what was just intended as a brief walk in the rain with binoculars "just in case". (Martin Savage and Liam McElroy)

Foxhill: Rather wet and windy at Foxhill, but did see Robin, Great Tit, Linnets, Goldfinches and a Pied Wagtail. (David Butcher)

Robin (David Butcher)

Linnet (David Butcher)

Pied Wagtail (David Butcher)

Coate Water: Grey Wagtail, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, 3 Mistle Thrush, 2 Redwing, Stonechat, 2 Snipe, Kingfisher, 2 Little Grebe, 18 Great Crested Grebe, 120 Tufted Duck, Teal, c50 Wigeon, 5 Shoveler, good numbers of gulls, mainly Black-headed Gulls with a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls. (Malcolm Royal)

Also from Coate Water: There were a lot of  Shovelers, 20 Cormorants, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper and Chaffinch. Also seen a Red Admiral. (Steve Harper)

Shoveler (Steve Harper)

Shoveler (Steve Harper)

Cormorants (Steve Harper)

Cormorants (Steve Harper)

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Steve Harper)

Treecreeper (Steve Harper)

Treecreeper (Steve Harper)

Chaffinch (Steve Harper)

Red Admiral (Steve Harper)

26 Oct 13

Lydiard Park: My second BTO Winter Thrush Survey of Lydiard Park at midday and they remain notable by their absence...just two Blackbirds right at the end of my marked route. Highlights within the park were a group of c50 Starlings near the church and 20 Pied Wagtails in the field opposite. Highlight on the way was a confiding (as they say in the bird mags!) Grey Wagtail in the brook by the subway under Whitehill Way and a Redwing (heading towards the Park!). (Richard Williams)

Toothill: A Red Admiral seen near home on the way back from Lydiard Park. (Richard Williams)

25 Oct 13

Liddington Hill: At Folly Farm and South of Liddington Castle 25/10 U3A Birding Group sighted ~50 Golden Plover circling and turning for many minutes before heading E towards Aldbourne direction. Also seen 2 Buzzards, 1 Mistle Thrush, flock of Fieldfare and a Yellowhammer. 15 species seen this afternoon plus a good crop of Field MushroomsAgaricus campestris. (Felicity Cobb and Martin Savage)

Coate Water: A walk around the lake this morning turned up 3 more fungi species. On the water 4 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Cormorants, 8 Tufted Ducks, 3 Grey Herons, 18 Mute Swans, 39 Mallards, 30 Coots plus the usual Canada Geese and Black-headed Gulls. After crossing the causeway bridge and taking the lower path back to the car park, I saw 5 female Partridges on the grass bank, but was not able to get a photo as they headed for the farm field and disappeared through the railings. (Maurice Carne)

Many-zoned Polypore, Coriolus verisicolor (Maurice Carne)

Panaeolus sphinctrunus (Maurice Carne)

Stag's Horn, Xylaria hypoxylon (Maurice Carne)

Grey Heron (Maurice Carne)

Swindon: In the garden this afternoon 25+ House Sparrows, 2 Collared Doves, 5 Starlings and 2 Blue Tits. I just managed a distant shot of a Red Admiral on the cherry tree before it took flight. A Silver Y moth was soaking up the sun on the patio, a good match for the slab!. Also seen 4 Harlequin and several 7 Spot ladybirds. (Maurice Carne)

Red Admiral (Maurice Carne)

Silver Y (Maurice Carne)

24 Oct 13

Liden Lagoon: On a quick visit today a female Common Darter enjoying the late October sunshine.

Common Darter - female (Maurice Carne)

Common Darter - female (Maurice Carne)

Toothill: Today I did my quarterly RSPB style garden Birdwatch. While thinking the garden has been quiet of late it is really gratifying to find activity when one actually has an hour to stop and observe birds. Highlights were four each of Blue Tit and Great Tit which are probably record numbers of each for the garden and strongly suggests successful local breeding, plus 9 House Sparrows, 6 Starlings, 4 Collared Doves, 2 Wood Pigeons, 2 Magpies, 1 Dunnock, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Jackdaw and 1 Blackbird. So a pleasing 11 species. Further sightings here today: a small group of Goldfinches turned up while a Sparrowhawk flew over while we were sat out at lunchtime (the weather being that nice!). (Richard Williams)

Westlea: Over Westlea 2 Buzzards.  (Richard Williams)

Swindon: Up to 200 Starlings were gathering on the pylon and cables at Meads Roundabout (the one North of Mannington Roundabout) at c4.00pm (all gone by 5.00pm). (Richard Williams)

Coate Water: At Coate today the Black-headed Gull is still giving the Canada Goose a hard time down at Hide 2. Also still a few flowers about and I came across this Borage, Borago officinalis  just up from the causeway. (Tony Martin)

Canada Goose and Black-headed Gull (Tony Martin)

Canada Goose and Black-headed Gull (Tony Martin)

Canada Goose and Black-headed Gull (Tony Martin)

Borage, Borago officinalis (Tony Martin)

Stratton Wood: What a difference a day makes, with the sun out I managed a couple of hours at Stratton Wood as part of the BTO Winter Thrushes Survey. Thrushes recorded were 4 Blackbirds, 2 Song Thrushes and 19 Redwings. Also noted was a Common Buzzard carrying a large bird in its talons, a Kestrel, 10 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 3 Black-headed Gulls, Wood Pigeon, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 19 Skylark (1 singing above the wood, and flocks of 11, 3, 2 and 2), 7 Meadow Pipits, Dunnock, 19 Robin, 2 Chiffchaffs with one singing, Goldcrests, Long-tailed Tits, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Wren, 21 Magpies, Rook, Carrion Crow, 67 Starling, Chaffinch, 8 Redpoll, 4 Linnet, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and 3 Bullfinches. Butterflies seen were 1 Comma, 4 Red Admiral and 1 Speckled Wood. Also heard were one or two Field Grasshoppers and in the tall trees there was a Grey Squirrel. On the fungi front I have one to identify. (Martin Adlam)

Common Buzzard with a large bird in its talons (Martin Adlam)

Common Buzzard feeding on large bird, with Magpies and Carrion Crows around him. (Martin Adlam)
Kestrel (Martin Adlam)

Kestrel (Martin Adlam)

Kestrel (Martin Adlam)

Kestrel (Martin Adlam)

Goldfinch (Martin Adlam)

Hare'sfoot Inkcap - Coprinopsis lagopus (Martin Adlam)

Hare'sfoot Inkcap - Coprinopsis lagopus (Martin Adlam)

Hare'sfoot Inkcap - Coprinopsis lagopus (Martin Adlam)

 Inocybe grammata. (Martin Adlam)

 Inocybe grammata. (Martin Adlam)

Banded Mottlegill, Panaeolus cinctulus (Martin Adlam)

Rosy Bonnet, Mycena rosea. (Martin Adlam)

Rosy Bonnet, Mycena rosea. (Martin Adlam)

Nythe: A Sparrowhawk made a beeline for the House Sparrows on the feeders this afternoon. Fortunately they evaded his talons, but one male bird flew into the kitchen window in a bid to escape. After a quick health check and a pose for the camera he flew off non the worse for his ordeal. (Martin Adlam)

House Sparrow - male (Martin Adlam)

House Sparrow - male (Martin Adlam)