23rd October

I'm pleased to report that we have some embryonic floods back on the Meadow now! The recent spell of rain has left a thin sliver of water along the North Channel and a small pool near the Trap Ground allotment gate. The only birds that seem to have taken advantage of this water so far as the Golden Plover which are starting to congregate for the winter. The peak count that I've had over the last few days has been 72 birds together with a smattering of Lapwings. Linnet numbers continue to grow and a peak estimate is about 150 birds and there are modest numbers of Meadow Pipits about as well.

It's good to have the Golden Plover back at last

The first few Redwing are now back as well, mainly in the Castle Mill Stream hawthorns, which always seems to be a favourite place of theirs. On the stream itself there are now a handful of Teal, waiting in the wings for the floods to be properly restored. Adrian Gray also reports a few winter duck up at Wolvercote in the Gullet.

Whilst we have a bit of water on the Meadow now, we really need a lot more rain to turn it into proper sized floods that will last through the winter. Otherwise, sadly it's just going to dry up again.

Thursday 16th October: Meadow Plant Survey Report

Readers may recall that a while ago I tagged along on a Creeping Marshwort survey conducted by Dr Judith Webb and fellow expert Camilla Lambrick. Well, the report is now finished and can be found here. Basically the plant is doing well despite the couple of recent years when the Meadow was flooded all year (ah happy days!) which whilst being excellent for birds is bad for plants as it kills them off. 

Creeping Marshwort
In addition to the Creeping Marshwort we managed to find plenty of the rare (and tiny!) flower Mudwort which the two expert botanists got very excited about.

It's good to know that the Meadow's plant life is doing well. It certainly keeps me occupied during the long lean birdless summer months.

Sunday 5th October

There's been a bit of excitement (for me at least) on the Meadow over the last few days. On Friday just as I was finishing an early morning walk around the Patch I saw a raptor which I initially thought was a buzzard though when I saw a notch in the tail I started to get more excited. It's dark colouring and relatively compact wings had me thinking about the possibility of a Black Kite though I never got a good enough view of it. Later the same day I saw it again and it certainly seemed dark though this time the notch in the tail looked too deep for Black Kite. 

The next day I went looking for it again though could only turn up the usual RED KITE that hangs out near the Perch Inn. So, one that got away or just me getting a couple of poor views of the usual Red Kite? Who knows! At least it's given me something to look out for on my Meadow walks.

The usual Red Kite on the Meadow earlier in the year

Thursday 2nd October

September was officially the driest on record which sadly certainly hasn't helped out need to re-flood the Meadow. Still, the extended Indian Summer has meant that there has been lots of insects around for the birds which seem to be around in good numbers. Meadow Pipits are accumulating nicely on the Meadow with several dozen now around and the Linnet flock numbering about one hundred birds now. A couple of dozen Lapwings are now hanging around though there have been no Golden Plover as yet. There has been a noticeable influx of Jays, with them often being seen in flight or squawking away in the trees. The highlight of the last couple of weeks has been a pair of Kingfishers which I've seen hanging around the moored boats on a couple of occasions.

One of the two Kingfishers
On the moth front it's been very quiet as well. I caught my first Sallow of the autumn overnight - these are yellow-coloured noctuids which fly in the autumn months. However numbers in the trap have dropped right off though the nights have been rather clear of late which doesn't help.

Fleur du jour: Musk Thistle
With the good weather finally due to break this weekend we might start to get some much-needed rain to start the long haul back to floodage. Fingers crossed!