Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Oxfordshire Weekend

Steve (business partner) is back from his five week trip so pressure is off at work now so did my weekend plus one at Holly's. Did some work at the Old Vic on Saturday, visited Farmoor with Jacob on Sunday and on Monday visited a new site, Cuttle Brook Nature Reserve in Thame where I failed to find a Pied Fly despite them seemingly being everywhere at the moment. Also did a couple of hours at Staines Res on way home. 

 Juvenile Common Sandpiper at Farmoor 
 Red-crested Pochard- presumably an adult female. A male in eclipse would have a red eye and a juvenile would not be moulting this time of year. 
Not completely sure of the age and sex of this Gadwall but the speckled belly points it to being a juvenile. Seems fresh with a full set of fresh primaries too which supports that. 
 Being a bit new to reservoir birding - interesting to see big flocks of Tufted Duck at both Farmoor and Staines. Had 200+ at Farmoor and about 400+ at Staines. Seemed to be a majority of adult males in eclipse at Farmoor. Presumably post breeding/ primary moult flocks. Interesting to see female Tufted Ducks elsewhere are still tending broods and a lot of young have only just hatched.  Also flocks of Great Crested Grebe at both sites and big numbers of Great Cormorants at Farmoor too- presumably all post breeding related gatherings. Last week Kojak and I failed to find a Shelduck on the Swale Ramsar site and only got it for the day when we had three juvs at Beddington. Also saw a lone juv Shelduck at Staines yesterday. Shelduck are famous for all (adults) migrating to key sites such as Bridgewater Bay in Somerset and parts of the Netherlands to stage a mass primary moult gathering. 
 Didn't know what to make of it this (Farmoor)- looks Scaup like but yellow eye suggests an adult so white blaze too restricted, bill shape and extent of black on tip/nail looks too restricted for Tufted Duck- a hybrid? Maybe a just a female Tufted Duck that has moulted it's tuft and bill darkened in summer? 
 Adult winter Yellow-legged Gull at Farmoor- quite a hooded appearance on this bird. Had four adults and a second calender year at Farmoor. Yellow-legged Gulls do sometimes like to be the only large gulls during the day at certain reservoirs at certain times of year-  I remember also seeing that at Queen Mary in London. 
 Adult Yellow-legged Gull (adult) and Second-calender year (first-summer) below (Farmoor) 

 Presumably these are all Continental Cormorants (sinensis) ? (Farmoor) Could not be arsed to get the protractor out. 
 Jacob enjoying the walk round Farmoor 
 Southern Hawker at the Old Vicarage (new for site). Also had Water Mint and Orange Swift this weekend. 
 The Old Vic Wildflower meadow is coming along- needs a lot more work as some of the seed mixes have not taken at all 
 Cuttle Brook Nature Reserve- bang in the middle of Thame- looks perfect for an inland passerine vagrant- will keep an eye on this in October 

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