Sunday 20th October

I'm pleased to report that the Meadow finally has some flood waters back on it again. Still only modest in size, nevertheless they are growing gradually thanks to the rather showery conditions of late. At present there are two pools:  one by the Aristotle Lane exit and a long thin one along the North Channel. The water is starting to attract the birds again with Golden Plover, Lapwing and Black-headed Gulls all hanging out in the vicinity. Indeed, the Meadow is even starting to get a bit "birdy" again. Golden Plover numbers have been building progressively but this morning there was a sudden leap from around 100 birds up to about 400. The Linnet flock is now about 100 birds and a few days ago I counted about 50 Meadow Pipits. The first few winter duck are starting to arrive with up to 5 Teal loitering along the Castle Mill Stream and this morning what looked liked 3 Wigeon did a flying circuit of the area before heading off.

In addition to the general background picture, there are some more specific sightings to report this week: the mixed mongrel goose flock of 4 BAR-HEADED GEESE and 6 WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were back in amongst the feral Greylags this week. Some of the White-fronts look rather hybridy and I wonder if they're not White-front/Bar-headed crosses. These are definitely not wild birds but still nice to see this group back again.

Some of the Bar-headed and White-front Geese

The highlight of the week must go to a lovely MARSH TIT that was hanging out along the Castle Mill Stream this morning near the north end in the Hawthorns. It was calling periodically and seemed to be feeding on the Hawthorn berries. Marsh Tit is not that common on the Patch and are generally reported less than annually though we have already had one this year. As this species is fairly sedentary, I imagine that the sightings that we get are first winter birds moving out from Wytham Wood to find territories of their own. There were quite a few other birds about in the same area including a Tree Creeper and I heard a Coal Tit calling across the river.

As it was very mobile, it was hard to get a shot of the Marsh Tit but eventually it 
stayed still for long enough for me to get this record shot.

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