28 Feb 15

Barbury Castle
Location

This afternoon / evening there were 2 Red Kites and a Kestrel. (Leanne Newton)

Kestrel (Leanne Newton)

Also at Barbury Castle this afternoon I headed to the western side hoping to see Short-eared Owls. On the drive up a group of c20 Fieldfare left a tree by the road. I walked along the "race course" road just as the rain began.  A Kestrel hovered close by. No sign of Leanne Newton who I see was there today but a group were heading towards me and it was Malcolm!  It was really good to see him and walk together. We didn't see any owls though just a flock of c250 Starlings heading in the direction of Royal Wootton Bassett. (Richard Williams)

Coate Water
Location

At Coate today, Cormorants, Great Crested Grebes and lots of ducks including Pochard and a pretty "fawny" coloured duck with a male Mallard too. There were 3 species of tits, and a Treecreeper and Bullfinch. I noticed a pair of Mute Swans performing a strange mating ritual, which I've not witnessed before. They were performing a synchronised 'loop' in the water, circling anti clockwise through several rotations and tucking their necks in etc. (Richard Bowen)

A pair of Mallard (Richard Bowen)

A "fawny" coloured female Mallard (Richard Bowen)

Old Town
Location

Unusually tame (and long-term resident) Pied Wagtail outside the Co-op supermarket in High Street/Newport Street. (Brian Harris)

Ravensroost
Location

Marsh Tit, 30 Redwing, 5 Fieldfare and 2 pairs Lapwing. (Robin Griffiths)

Blakehill
Location

Short-eared Owl disturbed by Buzzard at 12 noon, Brown Hare, Meadow Pipit and singing Skylarks. The Buzzard had white upper tail so beware! (Robin Griffiths)

Purton
Location

Learned behaviour? The biggest bird I've ever seen at my peanut feeder !...... (Jon Mercer)

Wood Pigeon eyes up the peanuts (Jon Mercer)

Definitely the biggest bird I've ever seen on a peanut feeder (Jon Mercer)

27 Feb 15

Barbury Castle
Location

A cold biting wind but plenty of sunshine this morning. Noted Blackbird, Chaffinch, Robin, Stonechat, Skylark, Carrion Crow, Rook, Kestrel, Buzzard and Red Kite. (Maurice Carne)

Buzzard (Maurice Carne)

Red Kite (Maurice Carne)

Stonechat (Maurice Carne)

Also at Barbury Castle, this afternoon 4 Short-eared Owls, 3 Buzzards, 1 Kestrel, 2 Red Kites and 1 male Stonechat. (Graham Cox and Helen Sly)

Short-eared Owl (Graham Cox)

Short-eared Owl (Graham Cox)

Short-eared Owl (Graham Cox)

Short-eared Owl (Graham Cox)

Short-eared Owl (Graham Cox)

Short-eared Owl (Graham Cox)

Short-eared Owl (Graham Cox)

Short-eared Owl (Graham Cox)

Chiseldon
Location

Today a Barn Owl hunting in the fields, and a dozen or so Red Kites and a couple of Buzzards over another field, which possibly had something dead in it. Also a Raven and female Merlin. (Martin Murray)

Coate Water
Location

Little Owls still present at the back of Coate Water with the largest female I've ever seen. And also this week I've managed to see Long-eared, Short-eared and Tawny Owls in and around Swindon. (Martin Murray)

Also at Coate Water. This morning 6 Goosanders, 2 Kingfishers, 15 Grey Herons, Gadwall, Shovelers, Pochard, Mallards, Teal, Tufted Ducks, 2 Common Gulls, 15 Cormorants, 2 Little Grebes, 6 Great Crested Grebes, Mute Swans, Coots, Moorhens, 1 Reed Bunting, 3 Bullfinches, 2 Buzzards, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tits, 2 Robins and 3 Dunnocks. (Graham Cox and Helen Sly)

Grey Heron (Graham Cox)

Grey Heron in flight with nesting material. (Graham Cox)

Wroughton Reservoir
Location

29 Gadwall, 8 Little Grebe, Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 5 Black-headed Gull, no Tufted Ducks, male Sparrowhawk. (Malcolm Royal)

26 Feb 15

Haydon End
Location

Another moth in the house today, a Mompha epilobiella. (Nigel Sluman)

Mompha epilobiella (Nigel Sluman)

Barbury Castle
Location

2 Short-eared Owls, 2 Buzzards and 3 small flocks of Fieldfare. (Malcolm Royal)

Old Town
Location

On a wet morning spent time birdwatching from the warmth of the conservatory. Birds seen were 4 Greenfinches, 10 Goldfinches, 6 ChaffinchesGreat Spotted Woodpecker, male Blackcap, male BullfinchBlackbird and 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls on a neighbours roof. (Mike Ford)

Greenmeadow
Location

The male and female Blackcap are still regular visitors, but this morning another male has appeared. Plenty of aggressive activity from both males towards each other. (Leanne Newton)

Covingham
Location

This evening around 5:30pm a flock of finches sp. in excess of 1000 birds flew over the A419 west towards Covingham. (Nigel Sluman)

Oakhurst
Location

In our garden today this male Sparrowhawk flew onto a bush next to our conservatory, I just managed to sneak upstairs and take a few shots from a bedroom before he flew off. (Bob Shiret)

Sparrowhawk (Bob Shiret)

Sparrowhawk (Bob Shiret)

Sparrowhawk (Bob Shiret)

Highworth
Location

There was a lovely Starling murmuration over Highworth this evening. The images below only show small groups as it was difficult to get them all together. Apologies for the quality as they were taken through my double-glazing.
There’s a very poor quality video Here that shows the moment they all went to bed here (you have to select the HD option to make it worth watching at all) (Neil George)

Starling murmuration (Neil George)

Starling murmuration (Neil George)

Starling murmuration (Neil George)

Starling murmuration (Neil George)

Starling murmuration (Neil George)

25 Feb 15

Haydon End
Location

I'm not sure what was in the air this morning, but even though I'd run out of fatballs and nearly run out of nyjer seed I was down to one feeder, I had more birds than ever before I think! At one time I had 12 House Sparrow, 10 Goldfinch, 10 Starling, 4 Carrion Crows, Wood Pigeon, 2 Great Tit (pair), Blue Tit, 2 Magpie and Robin. 43 in total and a record number of Goldfinch, Crow and Starling. (Nigel Sluman)

CWP Pit 74
Location

Viewed from Twitcher's Gate (12:00pm - 12:30pm): Highlights were 6 Pintail (4m, 2f), 3 Goldeneye (2m, 1f) and c40 Lapwing. More on the CWP Blog Here. (Nigel Sluman)

CWP Pit 200 (Kent End)
Location

13 Red-crested Pochard (7m, 6f). . (Nigel Sluman)

Pinehurst
Location

A record shot of a Red Kite over Pinehurst at 1440. (Maurice Carne)

Red Kite over Pinehurst (Maurice Carne)

Swindon
Location

Peregrine over Fleming Way, circling the Debenhams building. (Matt Pringle)

Nythe
Location

A Red Kite at altitude this afternoon. (Martin Adlam)

24 Feb 15

Haydon End
Location

Found a little arachnid in the house today.  It turns out it's a male Clubiona corticalis. (Nigel Sluman)

Clubiona corticalis. (Nigel Sluman)

Clubiona corticalis. (Nigel Sluman)

Note:
From a Spider Group on Facebook - The ground spider families Gnaphosidae have 33 species and the Clubionidae family (Also known as sac spiders) have 24 species. A lot of these spiders look very similar so usually need closer inspection to be sure of what they are. This spider above looks more like Clubiona sp.

Latest News on the above Spider:

Clubiona corticalis male.

The abdomen pattern and palps pressed tightly together indicate clubionidae rather than gnaphosidae and the pattern, colour, bulbous palps indicate it is species corticalis.
Whilst this species is most often associated with trees, is actually pretty common in houses.

More on the British Spiders Website Here

Males are often found in Spring - I had one indoors in Groundwell Road in 2012 on the 23rd March. (Nigel Sluman)

Elgin
Location

The female Blackcap that has been visiting the garden recently was around the feeders again for its ninth consecutive day. She was briefly joined by a male this morning but she didn't allow it on the feeders & saw it off. We hardly ever see a finch in the garden these days so the first Goldfinch seen since 11 January was very welcome. (Trevor & Sue Clayson)

A female Blackcap (Sue Clayson)

Lawn
Location

Seen directly over the house at 2:00pm, and challenged by gulls, a beautiful Red Kite. It drifted further down the road in a northerly direction. (Felicity Cobb)

Nythe
Location

Same / different bird as Felicity's Red Kite above, over Nythe at 2:10pm, being harassed by "same" gulls. At 2:35pm it was over Nythe pool being mobbed by Carrion Crows. There are definitely one or two showing their presence at the moment. (Martin Adlam)

Ridgeway

The Tree Sparrow below had a ring on it and the details I had back from the BTO were this:

Ring says Brit Museum SW, London TX73038
Ringed as a chick in may 2014
Place: Selside, near Kendal, in Cumbria, grid reference SD5399
Distance travelled 326 km.
(Gary Chalker)

A well travelled Tree Sparrow (Gary Chalker)

Coate Water
Location

A bright and chilly morning with plenty of species noted including Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Canada Goose, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Mallard, Mute Swan, Cormorant and large numbers of gulls. Seen from Hide 2: Gadwall, Shelduck, Greylag Goose and Kingfisher. Other birds seen were Blackbird, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow and Grey Wagtail. (Maurice Carne)

Juvenile Mute Swan (Maurice Carne)

A drake Pochard (Maurice Carne)

A drake Tufted Duck (Maurice Carne)

Moorhen (Maurice Carne)

Possible 1st winter Lesser Black-backed Gull (Maurice Carne)

Grey Wagtail (Maurice Carne)

Also at Coate Water today: on the fence stumps on the path adjoining Broome Manor Lane there were several Marsh Tits, Coal Tits, Long-tailed Tits and Nuthatch. These birds are being fed regularly and are fairly confiding. (Bob Shiret)

Coal Tit (Bob Shiret)

Long-tailed Tit (Bob Shiret)

Marsh Tit (Bob Shiret)

Nuthatch (Bob Shiret)

Robin and Nuthatch (Bob Shiret)

Lots of birds at Coate Water today. They included Tufted Ducks, Gadwalls, Shovelers, Herons, Treecreeper, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Robin, Dunnock, Mallards and Mute Swans. Also near the diving board 3 Pochard. (Marlene Finlayson)

Gadwall in flight (Marlene Finlayson)

Female Mallard (Marlene Finlayson)

A drake Mallard (Marlene Finlayson)

A drake Pochard (Marlene Finlayson)

A bit of a stretch from a drake Pochard (Marlene Finlayson)

A cob Mute Swan (Marlene Finlayson)

Treecreeper (Marlene Finlayson)