Sunday, 17 February 2013


A morning that began with enough mist to photograph the surface of the sun and even pick out the odd sun spot. This one is probably about the size of our planet:

The flood meadows have had standing water all year, but not a single duck. By sheer coincidence there is an extremely loud bird scarer in the woods at the back. These devices consist of a big canister of compressed air and a long tube, they produce loud bangs that mimic gunshots and are designed to frightened off birds, especially Woodpigeon. Except the one in this wood is a monster and sounds more like open cast blast mining is being carried out. Every 10 minutes there are three enormous explosions. I wonder if this is the reason for the lack of wildfowl here? 

Unfortunately the local Woodpigeons just move a short distance away. This morning I counted a huge flock of over 800, so despite the frequent noise pollution the bird scarer is having little effect:

There has been more depressing habitat loss in the last few weeks. This stump below is all that remains of the tree in which I found Oxfordshire's first ever winter record of Whitethroat last January (details here). There are virtually no hedgerows or low cover left to the north of the village now. I hope that the 2 or 3 pairs of Corn Bunting that breed here will manage to hang on. 

2 Roe Deer in typical flight mode:

Despite the continuing habitat loss and the frequent explosions from the bird scarers, I work my way south along the River Thame and finally 2 duck rise from the floods, 2 Wigeon, the first of the year. It is not easy seeing wildlife out here:

However, this set of tracks by the river got me excited. The 5 toes ruled out cat or dog and having just got this post from friend Richard, the wild possibility of these being Otter tracks crossed my mind. But perhaps they are a little big and the central pad looks too large. Badger tracks? 

I took this picture of the local Little Owl through the tree branch I was hiding behind! Modern camera equipment never ceases to amaze me, but through the view finder I could only see tree. Somehow the camera has managed to bend light and pull out a record shot:

Back home you can tell it is February: there are Siskins on the feeders. 
These small, brightly coloured finches are only regular in the garden in February, presumably as natural resources of seeds are running low. A reminder to keep the supplies of bird feed topped up. 62 species for the year. 


  1. Yep! looks like a Jason (badger) to me - The Siskins look great.

  2. Thanks Camboy, looks like I'll have to wait a while longer for the first local Otter record... although if Otters eat North American Red Clawed Crayfish, then we have plenty of those in the River Thame!