Oxon Birding Weblog: November Month-to-month Overview


 Highlights

After a comparatively quiet October, November truly
turned out to be a busy month with a scattering of rarities all through the
month to maintain county birders entertained throughout this often very lean interval
for Oxon birding. Sadly for these unable to be reactive sufficient most of
the rarer birds solely remained current for the day and even for single afternoon.
Given the abundance of rarities unfold pretty evenly all through the month it’s
considerably shocking that the spotlight of the month just isn’t a rarity in any respect.
As an alternative, a reasonably widespread species noticed throughout each migration intervals at
waterbodies and flooded fields unfold throughout the county was current in
unprecedented numbers in a considerably unassuming and sudden place.

With the quiet October and the deluge of moist climate
a flooded area in Cote close to Bampton turn out to be the centre of the
Oxon birding universe with an ever current wader inhabitants ebbing and flowing
with the rising and falling waters of the floodplain. With 13 species of wader recorded
right here between the center of October and late November, the primary
signal one thing possibly a foot got here on the threerd of November when
an unseasonable flock of 16 Dunlin have been current. This flock would develop
and shrink relying on day by day situations on website and showing to peak at 91 on
the 14th, a depend that broke the earlier county report going all
the best way again to 1986 at Port Meadow with 89 right here again then. A number of
days later although, a rare depend of 258 was recorded utterly
smashing the county report and a major inland report wherever within the UK. The
following day nevertheless, issues obtained much more bonkers when the subsequent observer
counted greater than double the earlier depend at a whopping 586! This simply goes
to indicate the significance and worth of short-term habitat comparable to this and the how
simply information comparable to these can go undetected on underwatched land. 

Simply a few of the wader motion at Cote, courtesy of Mick Cunningham

The county yr record continues to tick away properly with an
additional 5 species added in November taken us to 210 for the yr, which is bang
on common for the final 20 years and with December but to return there’s
a chance so as to add not less than one or two extra earlier than 2024.

In attention-grabbing ringing information a colour-ringed Cormorant noticed
at Farmoor on the morning of the tenth November. Fortunately information of
its provenance was forthcoming and it was ringed as a chick in northern Germany
alongside the Baltic Coast again in 2020 at Wallnau Waterbird Reserve,
Fehmarn.
It has been noticed twice since then, each instances at Farmoor – the
first time on the 27thAugust 2022 additionally at Farmoor.

Courtesy of Dave Lowe.



Courtesy of Dave Lowe.


Waders

Except for the joy over at
Cote with the mega Dunlin flock, there was loads of information of
waders this month with a great number of species and numbers current – albeit
with lots of them coming from Cote-upon-Humber. A pair of Turnstone obtained
the month going with each current on Farmoor on the 1st of
the month. Gray Plover appeared to vary between a pair websites with the
first report coming from Port Meadow on the 17th, with presumably
this particular person not having fun with the frequent disturbance and human presence and
popping up at Cote on the 23rd. This was then joined by a 2nd
on the 24th with each remaining right here till not less than the 28th
within the firm of a number of thousand Golden Plover and Lapwing. Additionally
placing in a quick look late within the month at this website was a Ruff current
within the plenty of waders feeding on the floodwaters. 

Gray Plover at Cote, courtesy of Mick Cunningham

 

Black-tailed Godwit have been
seen at a number of websites in November though solely singles have been current. Days
Lock
hosted one on the threerd, while Cote had one from the
9th till not less than the tenth. Port Meadow additionally then
hosted a lone chook for a few days from the 27th. Cote continued
to be the wader magnet with Ringed Plover current in numerous numbers all through
the month, kicking off with a flock of 6 on the threerd. Singles and doubles
have been current once more later within the month the place then 6 once more have been current on the 25th.
Dunlin have been clearly current in large numbers as beforehand talked about in
the highlights with a lowered depend of 200+ nonetheless current up till the tip of
the assessment interval. Different websites additionally hosted birds this month albeit in rather more
typical numbers for the county. Farmoor hosted a single chook on the 1st
and once more on the threerd and 17th, while East Hanney hosted
12-13 birds from the 5th and sometimes by till the 26th.
Port Meadow hosted birds later within the month, presumably birds peeling
off from Cote. Eleven have been right here on the 21st and quantity ranged
from 3-12 till the tip of the yr.

Inexperienced Sandpiper continued
to be recorded in a lot lowered numbers this month, presumably with birds
establishing attainable winter territories. Curbridge had one chook on the
11th, while Bicester Wetlands had three birds additionally on the 11th.
Ardley ERF additionally hosted a number of birds with two current right here on the 25th.
Redshank, like a lot of the waders recorded by the month, have been virtually
ever current at Cote this month. A most depend of seven right here on the 11th
with a number of birds current many of the month. Fyfield Wick noticed a single
flyover chook on the 11th while Farmoor hosted three birds on
the 13th and a single on the 19th. A single chook was additionally current on the floods at Cholsey.

Redshank courtesy of Alan Dawson.

Woodcock made a good
return to the county within the latter a part of November with the primary of
the month coming from Lye Valley on the 18th. Port Meadow additionally
hosted a single chook on the 21st while persevering with the city theme a
useless chook was picked up on the Dragon College in Oxford on the 24th.
Final winters nicely used flight line over Piddington was watched for the
first time this winter and produced three birds heading out of roost and heading
to feeding grounds within the wider panorama.

Wildfowl and so forth

Simply the standout rarity in
this group this month was a ‘short-stopping’ pair of Bewick Swan at Otmoor
on the 25th. The primary report since 2018 with what was an annual
species for the county beforehand and one of many miserable components of an ever
warming local weather. With birds now trying to winter in elements of Europe en
masse, while birds that do arrive right here arrive later and depart earlier
that is more and more a standout county rarity and there may very nicely be a
time the place these superb swans now not return to the UK. One of many
extra superb facets of Bewick Swan is the flexibility to inform people
aside by the sample of their payments, with every being distinct and distinctive to
people. Fortunately, although these birds remained distant one was not less than
identifiable as ‘Bruton’ and he or she was seen the next day at WWT Slimbridge. 

The 2 Bewick’s Swans at Otmoor, courtesy of Jackie Newcombe

 One other chook that hasn’t been recorded for just a few years got here within the type of Slavonian
Grebe
current on Farmoor on the 18th. The primary report
for the reason that long-staying chook from late 2019 that remained till early 2020. Sadly,
in contrast to that chook, this was to be solely a brief staying particular person who disappeared
over evening with no signal in any respect the subsequent day.

The Farmoor Slavonian Grebe, courtesy of Ewan Urquhart

 

A cracking red-headed Smew was
considerably overshadowed by the above, however who doesn’t love a Smew? Absolutely the
better of all our winter wildfowl in any plumage! This chook was much more particular
by the truth that it was the primary Smew recorded inside Oxford for
75 years, one other superb city report of such an enigmatic species. Sadly,
one other quick stayer with the chook disappearing not lengthy after the preliminary sighting. 

The red-head Smew on Port Meadow, courtesy of Steve Lavington

Given the abundance of inland information surrounding the county in the course of the latter
a part of October it’s no shock that Oxfordshire lastly obtained in
on the diver motion in early November. The largest shock was the
location, with a Nice Northern Diver current on Thrupp Lake at Radley
GP’s
on the 1st. Given the degrees of disturbance and the scale of
the positioning it’s considerably much less shocking that the chook didn’t seemingly grasp round
any greater than an hour or so earlier than departing someplace rather more appropriate. 

The Radley Nice Northern Diver, courtesy of Ben Carpenter

The years first Brent Goose was
additionally logged this month when a single chook dropped into Farmoor on the afternoon
of the 7th. Sadly, like lots of this months rarities it did
not linger lengthy and was passed by sundown. Additionally at Farmoor the feminine Scaup
continued its extended keep having arrived the earlier month, presumably
this particular person will now spend a lot of the winter right here with a possible foray
to Dix Pit as different birds have often carried out in recent times. Shelduck
have been pretty widespread throughout the county with a number of teams of a number of birds
current. 4 have been on Port Meadow on the 6th with birds returning
right here on the 25th and 27th. Cutteslowe Park hosted
a single on the 12th, while Cote continued to be the epicentre
of birding exercise with birds right here on the 13th and 23rd rising
to 11 people by the 25th.  Grimsbury then hosted a single chook on
the 28th


The Farmoor feminine Scaup courtesy of Gnome

Ruddy Shelduck have been
recorded at a single website with Blenheim internet hosting a pair of birds on the 16th
a pleasant bonus for the Patchwork Problem patcher there. Goosander have been
at 4 websites with all birds been reported within the latter a part of the month. Chinnor
hosted a pair on the 17th, while Port Meadow hosted the
most birds with 7 on the 21st and once more on the 27th. Two
different websites hosted a number of birds in the direction of the tip of the month – Standlake on
the 24th and Grimsbury on the 26th. Goldeneye additionally
returned to the county in larger numbers this month with not less than 5 websites internet hosting
birds – Blenheim, Pit 60, Dix Pit, Farmoor and Radley GPs. Just a few
notable Mandarin information for the county this month with a excessive depend of
20+ at Blenheim current for a lot of the month, while a single chook at Farmoor
on the 21st was notable for its rarity worth for the positioning. 

A drake Mandarin at Pinkhill, Farmoor, courtesy of Dave Lowe

 

Herons,
egrets and so forth

Cattle Egret continued to linger within the county by
November, albeit with some seen departures from the primary post-breeding
flock peaks of the autumn. Otmoor hosted probably the most birds with as much as 13 on
the 11th with not less than 4 remaining till the 20th. Wytham,
Port Meadow
and Days Lock additionally hosted birds this month with 4 at Wytham
on the 11th, a single at Port Meadow on the identical day and
a small flock of 4 at Days Lock on the 24th.

Nice White Egret have been at 7 websites this month made up of
principally single birds, though the very best depend got here from Blenheim with
4 birds right here on the 15th. Information of different a number of birds got here
from Farmoor on the 19th and Standlake on the 24th.
Lye Valley recorded solely its 5th ever report of the species
on the 20th though that is the 4th report this yr. Different
information got here from Radley GP’s, Cote, Chipping Norton, Port Meadow and Waterstock.
Surprisingly Crane have been nonetheless recorded this month when two have been at Otmoor
on the 6th, though not once more after having presumably made their means
all the way down to the Somerset Ranges to winter. 

Nice White Egret at Radley, courtes of Ben Carpenter

 

Gulls
and Terns

With winter nicely and actually set in the primary staple for this
group depends on Caspian Gull to maintain information ticking over with the faint
hope of a white-winger within the latter phases of winter the last word prize. Just a few
information of Caspian Gull this month principally relating to 1 or two 1st
winter people roosting on the identical couple of websites. Farmoor hosted
a single 1st winter on the 1st of the month joined by a 2nd
on the 15th. Appleford village hosted a single grownup on the
17th, while Port Meadow hosted a single 1st
winter on most evenings from the 21st of the month. Grimsbury on
the opposite hand hosted a possible hybrid chook or considered one of not less than some combination in
its genes having been noticed as lower than typical instance of the species. 

1w Yellow-legged Gull and Caspian Gull on Port Meadow, courtesy of Thomas Miller

 

3w Caspian Gull at Appleford, courtesy of Ian Lewington

Passerines

With all of the discuss and subsequent proof of main inflow of
Waxwing into the nation we’re actually within the grips of a ‘Waxwing winter’,
with flocks of 1000+ in Scotland and lots of flocks of 100+ throughout the
north of the nation. Given the abundance it was solely a matter of time earlier than
the primary report this far south with birds within the midlands and to the east of Oxfordshire.
Sadly the report was a fleeting one with lone ‘trilling’ name
heard over basic habitat in an industrial property in north Banbury. Given
the variety of information within the nation and nonetheless but to maneuver south searching for
berries hopefully Oxfordshire will get its fair proportion of twitchable
birds but!

Additionally fairly fleeting was a report of Water Pipit on
the 27th from Port Meadow, jotted down as a attainable heard
calling over the floodwaters. A report of Rock Pipit on the 6th
was additionally probably recorded as both species and will feasibly relate to
the identical unidentified particular person that can hopefully give itself up sooner or later.
Hawfinch have been recorded twice this month with each coming from calling
birds heard over Blenheim on the 17th and 20th
though neither report was capable of be pinned down. Crossbill have been
reported from two places with a flock of three+ reported from Aston Rowant on
the 11th while Blenheim hosted a flock of 11 birds on the 19th.
The primary Siberian Chiffchaff of the winter was caught and ringed in Burgess
Area, Port Meadow
on the 29th, a unbelievable ringing report for
the positioning and a pleasant chook to see up shut for the ringers. 

Siberian Chiffchaff courtesy of Thomas Miller.

Firecrest have been additionally reported from two websites – Warburg
on the threerd and West Hendred on the 24th. Brambling
have been unfold properly across the county with principally singles and pairs in combined
finch flocks. The best depend nevertheless was a unbelievable c50 over a Blenheim in
a combined flock of 300+ finches feeding in sunflower area. Information got here from a
additional eight websites with the subsequent highest depend coming from Fyfield Wick on
the 17th with a small flock of seven birds over.

Stonesfield Brambling, courtesy of Paul Wren

Raptors

A Hen Harrier was current sometimes in the direction of the tip of
the month, with the primary report coming from a chook making the most of the Starling
roost on the 23rd. It was then reported once more on the 29th
though particulars weren’t forthcoming as to the place and what age/intercourse the chook was.
Brief-eared Owl information principally got here from the identical location on the downs with
as much as 4 across the Ridgeway and Crowhole Backside all through the
month. Further information got here from Oxfordshire Golf Course with two
seen quartering the tough floor by the day. 

A Marsh Harrier harrying the Starling roost at Otmoor, courtesy of Malcom Bowey


Merlin have been reported from 4 websites this month with Cote
probably the most ceaselessly used with a chook current on the 4th and 10th.
Water Eaton hosted a chook on the 11th, while one other was at Farmoor
on the 14th. West Hagbourne additionally hosted a single chook on
the 26th.

Patchwork problem

Patch

Birder

Factors

Species

Spotlight

Goal

Share of goal

Aston eyot

Ben Sheldon

58

56

 

90

64.44

Blenheim

Gareth
Casburn

131

115

 

100

131.00

Dix pit

Simon
Bradfield

114

91

 

75

152.00

Grimsbury reservoir

Gareth
Blockley

126

111

 

130

96.92

Lye valley

Tom Bedford

98

87

 

80

122.50

River Thames

Geoff Wyatt

159

135

 

122

130.33

Sutton courtenay

Conor
MacKenzie

156

130

 

140

111.43

East challow

Mark Merritt

84

80

 

83

101.20

Freeland

Glen Pascoe

90

80

 

80

112.50

Credit score the place it is due.

Congratulations to Peter Barker, Richard Ebbs & Tim Abbot who obtained the award for 25 years of volunteering on the Otmoor rspb reserve. All obtained the celebrated and far coveted silver Avocet

and certificates.

David Wilding Otmoor rspb Web site Supervisor giving out the awards.

Properly carried out chaps.

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