31 Dec 14

Blakehill
Location

1 Short-eared Owl at 3:00pm, 3 Stonechats, 2 Reed BuntingsSnipe and 3 Kestrels. also seen a Fox. Very Very cold wind!! More on the CWP Blog Here. (Felicity Cobb, Mark Reynolds, Robin Griffiths and John Durell)

Barbury Castle area
Location

3 Kestrel, 3 Buzzards, c40 Yellowhammer and 5 Greenfinches. (Malcolm Royal)

Nythe
Location

Highlights from another roost watch were a Little Egret heading west, 80 Starlings heading north and a Sparrowhawk upsetting the local House Sparrows and Starlings. More on my Blog Here. (Martin Adlam)

Coate Water
Location

Besides the usual variety of birds on the water - 2 Nuthatches and a Jay, along with Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, on the bird table next to the "No fishing" sign. (Brian Harris)

Swindon
Location

Two Goldcrests and a few Redwings in the woods adjacent to the Nationwide sports ground. (Brian Harris)

Great Copse
Location

More Goldcrests, Treecreeper, Great Spotted Woodpecker and a variety of tits, all in and around the same tree in Croft Wood (“Great Copse” behind Intel). (Brian Harris)

30 Dec 14

Marlborough - Wroughton
Location Mid-point "ish" 

We walked from Marlborough to Wroughton via Four Mile Clump & Barbury this afternoon, a local walk for a change. We started with 2 Red Kites over the copse west of Maizey Farm and 2 Fieldfares & a Stonechat in the roadside bushes along the road from Marlborough to Rockley. A male Bullfinch & 6 Red-legged Partridge were seen at Old Eagle. 20+ Meadow Pipits, a few Linnets, a Kestrel, 2 Buzzards & 2 Lapwing were on Ogbourne Maizey Down. The 2 Red Kites which had drifted along with us had been joined by a third bird by the time we reached Four Mile Clump where there were 30+ Linnets. A Kestrel was hunting over the southern slope of Barbury Castle and there were 30+ Yellowhammers in the trees on the north side. There was a Buzzard at Midge Hall and 300+ Golden Plover & 100+ Fieldfare in the field between Hackpen Cottages & Alexandra Park. We had intended to walk back to Swindon but the sun was going down by the time we got to Burderop so we caught a bus home. (Trevor & Sue Clayson)

Purton

A female Merlin flew low over the road N end of Purton at 8:15am. Probably the Blakehill bird?
(Jon Mercer)

Oakhurst
Location

In our garden today were 2 Jays, 6 Bullfinches (3m, 3f) and a male Blackcap. (Bob Shiret)

Two male Bullfinches (Bob Shiret)

CWP Pits 29 and 30

5 Smew present late morning. More on CWP Blog Here. (Jon Mercer)

Nythe
Location

There were quite few Starlings feeding on the fatballs this evening, before they headed off to roost. (Martin Adlam)

Love them or hate them, you have to admit the colours on a Starling are pretty amazing. This one is waiting for his turn on the feeders. (Martin Adlam)

Coate Water
Location

Then a family walk around Coate Water's main lake.  No time to stop and look at birds but noticed at least 2 Goosander (1 male and at least one female), Sparrowhawk, Little Grebe, Grey Wagtail and the usual array of ducks. (Nigel Sluman)

Also at Coate Water, the lakes are fairly frozen over and not much was moving around today. But these two ducks made me think of the pantomime season. (Neil George)

A pair of Mallard slip and slide on the ice. (Neil George)

Blakehill
Location

3 Short-eared Owls this evening. More on CWP Blog Here. (Malcolm Royal and Pete Adams)

Barbury Castle
Location

Short-eared Owl (Bob Cooper)

Covingham

Little Egret perched above the River Cole this afternoon. (Dawn Young)

29 Dec 14

Ogbourne St George
Location

Barn Owl early this morning. (Malcolm Royal)

Mouldon Hill
Location

The pick of the birds were a male and female Bullfinch, Kingfisher and a pair of Shovelers. (Mike Ford)

Blakehill
Location

I managed to get out to Blakehill late afternoon joining quite a crowd including Steve Davis - nice to see him after quite a while. As well as Steve I saw 2 Short-eared Owls (Steve and Mike Ford both recorded 4 Short-eared Owls) a Barn Owl, 4 Stonechats, a good number of Fieldfare and a Fox. (Richard Williams, Steve Davies, Mike Ford and et al)

Coate Water
Location

At Coate Water today, 9 Goosanders, 7 Grey Herons, 15 Cormorants, 2 Kingfishers, Teal, Gadwall, Shoveler, Mallards, Pochards, Wigeon, Tufted Ducks, 1 Little Grebe, 6 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Water Rail, 1 Jay, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Wren, 4 Robins, 2 Blackbirds, Chaffinch, 3 Dunnocks, 1 Buzzard and 1 Sparrowhawk.
Also a Fox checking out the wildfowl! and 3 Roe Deer in the Field next to the horses. (Graham Cox, Tony Martin, Helen Sly, Terry Winter, Harry King, Dave Dunn and Brian Waller).

Wildfowl in flight (Graham Cox)

Gadwall in flight (Graham Cox)

Grey Heron (Graham Cox)

Grey Heron (Graham Cox)

Cormorant in flight (Graham Cox)

A drake Goosander (Graham Cox)

A drake Tufted Duck (Graham Cox)

A Fox checks out the wildfowl. (Graham Cox)

Also at Coate today on the main water there were over 20 Mute Swans, and a family group of at least 6 Moorhens near the lower lake with the ice on it. Also a Grey Heron. (Felicity Cobb)

Grey Heron skulking in the twilight. (Felicity Cobb)

Icy lower lake. (Felicity Cobb)

Sunset over Coate. (Felicity Cobb)

Wintry main lake from Broome Manor Road end. (Felicity Cobb)

Nythe
Location

Tonight's highlight of bird flying off to roost was 4 Goosanders heading north over the estate. More on my Blog Here. (Martin Adlam)

Southleaze Farm
Location

At Southleaze Farm a Sparrowhawk. (Richard Williams)

28 Dec 14

Horpit, Wanborough

Noon-ish, Red Kite and c.25 Lapwings flying south. Also Rooks courting and nest building. Also Grey Wagtail seen.  (Martin Savage)

Swindon Sewage Treatment Works 
Location

9 Jack Snipe, 20 Snipe, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Stonechat, Water Rail and 20 Reed Bunting. (Matt Prior and Graham Deacon)

Covingham
Location

In the same Hawthorn bushes as yesterday, along the bank of the River Cole, there were 3 Redwings alongside a few Blackbirds feeding on the berries opposite the Esso garage along Dorcan Way. (Martin Adlam)

Barbury Castle
Location

2 Short-eared Owls (Bob Cooper)

Stonechats were showing well at Barbury Castle today with Yellowhammer, Linnet and Meadow Pipit. Also several Kestrel and Buzzard. plus two Red Kite. (Ian Stewart)

Stonechat (Ian Stewart)

Stonechat (Ian Stewart)

Stonechat (Ian Stewart)

Avebury
Location

250 Tree Sparrow, 400 Yellowhammer, 80 Corn Bunting, 50 Linnet and 50 Skylark. (Matt Prior)

Blakehill

5 Short-eared Owls (Brian & Brenda Heath)

Grange Park
Location

Today in Grange Park some 16 Blackbirds feasting under a crab apple tree with 4 Redwing. (Richard Williams)

27 Dec 14

Aldbourne Area
Location

A total of at least 6 Red Kites was seen during the Ramblers' walk from Aldbourne to Ramsbury and back again. A noisy group of Rooks in a tree in Aldbourne...making nests. (Felicity Cobb)

Rooks nest building at Aldbourne (Felicity Cobb) 

Covingham
Location

The Hawthorn bushes along the bank of the River Cole have always been popular with thrushes and this year is no exception, with over a dozen Blackbirds feeding on the berries opposite the Esso garage along Dorcan Way. (Martin Adlam)

Blakehill
Location

3  Short-eared Owls, Merlin, 2 Stonechats and c40 Fieldfares. (Robin Griffiths)

Oakhurst
Location

Along Tadpole Brook near Garsington Drive a Little Egret landed on railings about ten metres away.
In our Oakhurst garden were five Bullfinches (3m,2f) and a Jay. (Bob Shiret)

26 Dec 14

Hannington
Location

A family walk around Hannington produced little of note except a Green Woodpecker.  However driving through Lushill by the road is a flock of c150 Fieldfare with some Redwings,Chaffinches and Goldfinches mixed in, while at Eysey in the field opposite CWP Pit 305 an impressive flock of 250 Lapwing. (Richard Williams)

M4
Location

An early start on the M4 meant that large groups of birds could be observed on the journey, Swindon to Bath. Large groups of pigeons, Rooks and Lapwing all resting together. About 4 Buzzards seen by the side of the motorway. (Felicity Cobb)

Wroughton
Location

A friend is adamant that she had a Tree Sparrow feeding in her Wroughton garden today. Likely? (Martin Savage)

25 Dec 14

Brinkworth
Location

2 Goshawks over heading East (caused quite a stir with the local corvids), also 6+ Lesser Redpolls and Little Owl. (Ian Searle)

Lawn
Location

A Green Woodpecker heard yaffling outside the house at 10:00am. (Felicity Cobb)

Liden Lagoon

2 Little Egret (Pete Cranswick)

24 Dec 14

Brinkworth
Location

Seen this morning were 11 Lesser Redpolls, Siskin, Little Owl, 90 Redwing, 20 Fieldfare, and a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers. (Ian Searle)

Swindon Sewage Treatment Works 
Location

4 Jack Snipe and 46 Snipe (Matt Prior)

Wroughton
Location

18 Little Egret (Bob Cooper)

Coate Water
Location

At Coate Water today 12 Goosanders, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Little Grebe, 6 Great Crested Grebes, Teal, Mallards, GadwallShovelers, Pochard, Tufted Ducks, 1 female Sparrowhawk, 2 Dunnocks, 2 Robins, 2 Magpies, Blue Tits, Great Tits and 1 Wren. (Tony Martin, Graham Cox and Harry King)

Mallard (Graham Cox)

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Graham Cox)

Goosander (Graham Cox)

Blakehill
Location

6 Short-eared Owls from 3.20pm until dusk. Also a Peregrine, male Stonechat, 25+ Meadow Pipits and 50+ Fieldfares. (Jon Mercer and Darren Tonge)

23 Dec 14

Purton
Location

A nice flock of 50+ Redwing feeding in the field opposite the house this morning. (Jon Mercer)

Blakehill
Location

2 Short-eared Owls present. More on CWP Blog Here (Bob Philpott)

A419

Travelling along the A419 today we saw a Kestrel, a Buzzard on the fencepost at close quarters (looking rather large) and a Sparrowhawk flying directly over the car at Blunsdon Hill. (Felicity Cobb)

Lawn

In the garden, surprisingly, the birds have not yet spotted the feeders. They are located near cover. Garden birds consist of a lot of pigeons (too many!), Jackdaws roosting in nearby Oak tree, Magpies, Starlings, pair of Carrion Crow, Dunnocks in firs, the odd Blackbird or two and a solitary confiding Robin, but very little else.
Any ideas why food (peanuts, fatballs) untouched?
I always put scraps out for birds; always snatched by large birds and any passing gulls.
Garden visited regularly by Fox and Badger. (Felicity Cobb)

Swindon

We were sitting watching the usual gang of Starlings and House Sparrows on the garden feeders while having a cup of tea this lunchtime. The Starlings were giving a Goldcrest a hard time pecking at it if it came in range. Suddenly a Sparrowhawk dropped down plucking an unfortunate Starling off the fat, sighs of relief that it wasn't the Goldcrest that was taken. The Sparrowhawk then killed the Starling on the ground before flying off with it. Also later a male Blackcap was seen briefly on the feeders before it was disturbed by two squabbling female Blackbirds. (Trevor & Sue Clayson)

A Sparrowhawk with an unfortunate Starling (Sue Clayson)

22 Dec 14

Brinkworth
Location

A Raven flew south over the garden this morning plus the male Blackcap was back feeding on the berries. Mid afternoon saw a movement of gulls heading West including 800+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 100+ Herring Gulls, 70+ Black-headed Gulls and 50+ Common Gulls. (Ian Searle)

Nythe
Location

You always know it's bin day, when the local Vixen screams her head off outside the front of the house. At 6:00 in the morning it was no wonder I woke up with my heart pounding. My word I jumped, perhaps it was something she ate or she was annoyed that all the bins had blown down the street in the strong gusts! (Martin Adlam)

21 Dec 14

Toothill
Location

Local Rooks appear to be pairing up. (Richard Williams)

Stanton Park
Location

Walking, rather than birding at Stanton Park today, however following observed: Fieldfares, Blackbirds, Robins, Blue Tits, Coal Tits, Great Tits, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Nuthatches, Goldcrest, Wren, Great Spotted Woodpecker, inevitable Wood Pigeons, Carrion Crows and Pied Wagtail. Lake quiet, only Mute Swans, a pair of "Tufties", Great Crested Grebe, Moorhens, Coot, Black-headed Gulls and Mallard. (Martin Savage)

Coate Water
Location

At Coate today 2 Water Rails, 1 Kingfisher, 4 Grey Herons, 7 Goosanders, 1 Little Grebe, 6 Great Crested Grebes, Teal, Shovelers, Pochard, Gadwall, Mallards, Tufted Ducks, 14 Cormorants, 1 Jay, 2 Treecreepers, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Wren, 2 Dunnocks, 2 Chaffinches, 4 Robins, Blue Tits and Great Tits. (Graham Cox, Tony Martin, Terry Grant, Harry King and Andrew Sloane)

Goosander (Graham Cox)

Kingfisher (Graham Cox)

Kingfisher (Graham Cox)

Treecreeper (Graham Cox)

20 Dec 14

Purton
Location

The best I can do from my record shots through glass of 7 Long-tailed Tits on the feeder for 2-3 mins this morning .....6400 ISO! (Jon Mercer)

Long-tailed Tits (Jon Mercer)

Long-tailed Tits (Jon Mercer)

Waterhay

A Peregrine flew S over Waterhay CWP at 9:30am. (Jon Mercer)

Blakehill
Location

5 Short-eared Owls, 2 Stonechats, Fox, 2- 3 Kestrels. The Owls quartered all over the uncut area of the plateau and regularly put up Common Snipe, though they showed no interest in them. One Owl was seen to catch a round dark creature presumably a vole. (Robin Griffiths, Darren Tonge, Dave Soons, Leanne Newton & Steve, et al.)

Savernake
Location

20+ Coal Tit, 3 Marsh Tit, 2 Treecreeper, Nuthatch, 4 Bullfinch, 3 Goldcrest and Raven. (Malcolm Royal)

19 Dec 14

Brinkworth
Location

Now 2 female Blackcaps overwintering in the garden, but no sign of male in last few days. (Ian Searle)

Stratton
Location

On the rooftops in Ermin Street 5 Black-headed Gulls with one bird sporting a metal BTO ring on its left leg. Further down by the White Hart roundabout, a dozen Redwings, 3 Blackbirds and 6 Blue Tits in the paddock on the left. (Martin Adlam)

Coate Water
Location

Some images below from the U3A trip to Coate today, where we recorded 34 bird species between 2:00pm - 4:00pm. Species seen included 7 Goosander (3m, 4f), Song Thrushes, Mistle Thrushes, Marsh Tit, Nuthatch and Treecreepers plus the usual suspects. (Martin Savage, Felicity Cobb et al)

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Felicity Cobb)

What looks like the remains of this years Hornets nest.  (Felicity Cobb)

U3A group members looking out across the reserve from Hide 1. (Felicity Cobb)

18 Dec 14

Coate Water
Location

At Coate today 3 Water Rail down at Hide 2 showing well, up to 6 Goosander 3 of each, all the usual ducks and 2 Kingfishers. Back down at Hide 1 lots more Long-tailed Tits now with the Jay still coming for the nuts. A Sparrowhawk is still trying its luck and there were 2 Treecreepers feeding on the trees around the hide. (Tony Martin)

Water Rail (Tony Martin)

Long-tailed Tit (Tony Martin)

Great Crested Grebe with a Perch. (Tony Martin)

Treecreeper (Tony Martin)

Treecreeper (Tony Martin)

17 Dec 14

CWP Pit 74
Location

Of note viewed from Twitcher's Gate: 2 Goldeneye, c200 Wigeon, c30 Lapwing, Common Gull, 3 Redwing, Fieldfare, Bullfinch, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff and a c30 mixed tit flock of Blue, Great & Long-tailed. (Nigel Sluman)

CWP Pit 28A
Location

A drake Smew this morning (Via BirdGuides)

Liden Lagoon
Location

It looks very much like the resident pen Mute Swan and her 3 juveniles are about to be evicted from the lagoon. Also close-by a Buzzard made for interesting viewing as he preened himself. More on my Blog Here. (Martin Adlam)

A newly arrived Cob sets about evicting the resident pen and her 3 offspring. In the background the Cobs mate looks on. (Martin Adlam)

A Common Buzzard preens himself and reveals his "third" eyelid. (Martin Adlam)

Oakhurst
Location

In our garden today were  a Long-tailed Tit, 3 Bullfinches (2m, 1f), 3 Greenfinch and a Jay. (Bob Shiret)

Jay (Bob Shiret)

Jay (Bob Shiret)

Jay (Bob Shiret)

Royal Wootton Bassett
Location

2 Blackcap (John Edwards)

16 Dec 14

M4
Location

Dead Barn Owl on the hard shoulder early am. About two miles east of junction 15. (Malcolm Royal)

Coate Water
Location

12 Snipe, 6 Goosander (3m,3f), Teal, Gadwall, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Pochard, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, 3 Meadow Pipit, Stonechat (f) and Great Spotted Woodpecker. (Malcolm Royal)

Lawn
Location

A Grey Wagtail on roofs in Lawn. (Jon Mercer)

15 Dec 14

Folly Farm
Location

Large mixed flock of corvids (1000+), Buzzard, Kestrel, 30 Yellowhammer, 4 Corn Bunting, 5 Skylark, 8 Blackbirds and 2 Long-tailed Tits. (Malcolm Royal)

Nythe
Location

This evening 6 Greenfinches and 2 Pied Wagtails headed west to roost! (Martin Adlam)

14 Dec 14

Oakhurst
Location

After an absence of five months a pair of Bullfinches returned today to our garden. Also seen in the garden were two Jays and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. A Grey Wagtail was seen in the drainage ditch near Taw Hill CO-OP and at the same time a Little Egret flew over. (Bob Shiret)

Bullfinch (Bob Shiret)

Bullfinch (Bob Shiret)

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Bob Shiret)

CWP Pit 301
Location

At least 30 Lapwing and a Cormorant left the pit and headed west over the A419. (Martin Adlam)

A419
Location

Juvenile Mute Swan in pool at the bottom of Blunsdon Hill and in all the hedges on the central reservation and banks, dozens and dozens of Redwing flying back and forth this morning. (Martin Adlam)

Marlborough STW
Location

At the Sewage Treatment works (STW) - 10 White Wagtails, 120 Pied Wagtail, 22 Grey Wagtail, 3 Chiffchaff and 10 Goldcrest. (Matt Prior and Simon Wicks)

Swindon
Location

A Red Kite over Gablecross in the afternoon. (Jon Mercer)

13 Dec 14

Blakehill
Location

3 Short-eared Owls, Stonechat and 2 Ravens. (Robin Griffiths)

Swindon

I went on a bike ride this afternoon: more for exercise than birding.  It was an out and back through Westlea, along the old railway from Barnfield past Mouldon Hill Lake and on to the level crossing near Purton. At the lake on the way out a really good sight of a Kingfisher flying by.  On the way back in the field beyond the Woodland Trust area was a mixed flock of about 20 Starlings and 40 Redwings plus 30 Jackdaws - all sent up by a Sparrowhawk.  Also round here 12 Magpies and a Fieldfare. At Barnfield a Dunnock. (Richard Williams)

Nightingale Wood
Location

Woodcock, 150 Fieldfare, 400 Redwing and Water Rail. (Phil & Graham Deacon)

12 Dec 14

Savernake
Location

7 Lesser Redpoll, Nuthatch and Coal Tit. (Malcolm Royal)

Rudge
Location

10 Grey Partridge. (Malcolm Royal)

Draycott
Location

2 Little Owls. (Malcolm Royal)

Brinkworth
Location

A pair of Blackcaps visiting the berries in the garden this afternoon - first ones of the winter - hope they stay! (Ian Searle)

Swindon

A Goldcrest in the garden today seen briefly this morning and again this afternoon. Also seen fleetingly on Wednesday morning. Other birds around the feeders included Starlings (20+), House Sparrows (13), a Dunnock, a Robin, Blue Tits (3) & a Great Tit. (Trevor & Sue Clayson)

Wroughton
Location

480 Golden Plover, 2 Red Kite and 20 Fieldfare. (Paul Castle)

11 Dec 14

Swindon

This morning a Woodcock flew over Junction 15 of the M4. (Nigel Pleass)

Great Moreleaze Farm

This morning, in the field just north of the Farm, there were 3 Roe Deer feeding and a light phase Buzzard perched on the fence overlooking the A419. (Martin Adlam)

Coate Water

I just had to send in this photograph of a Goosander having a good scratch before eating a Perch. The enlarged image below shows the "sawbill" that helps the Goosander grip the fish. Also photographed a Jay still taking all the nuts. (Tony Martin)

A Goosander has a scratch..............

....before tackling a perch.

This close-up shows the sawbill teeth. (Tony Martin)

A Jay makes off with another peanut. (Tony Martin)

Note: The lovely enlarged shot of the Goosander above just shows you why this bird is a member of the Sawbill family, which is a group of ducks with pseudo-teeth, which are actually keratinous spikes, that grow out of the bill tissue. This species along with Merganser and Smew (also members of the Sawbill family) are formidable predators and there are very few fish that escape those beaks.

10 Dec 14

Ravensroost
Location

2 Marsh Tits. (Robin Griffiths)

Blakehill
Location

Barn Owl at 4.50pm, Raven, no sign of Short-eared Owls. (Robin Griffiths / Geoff Whittle / Jane Deacon)

Coate Water
Location

At Coate today a male Pintail down at Hide 2 where there was also a female Goosander feeding, a pair of Ruddy Shelducks that flew in and the Kingfisher which showed five times but did not land. There were up to 10 Pochard, lots of Teal, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Shoveler and a Little Grebe. (Tony Martin)

A drake Pintail (Tony Martin)

A female Goosander (Tony Martin)

A female Goosander (Tony Martin)

Ruddy Shelduck (Tony Martin)

A drake Pochard (Tony Martin)

A female Shoveler (Tony Martin)