28th June

Sorry for the lack of updates but I've been occupied with other things and haven't actually had much of a chance to visit the Meadow of late. There is finally some bird news to post about: first of all a WHITE STORK was seen circling over Summertown on Saturday late morning before heading southwards where it was eventually relocated at Culham in a field near the Thames. Whilst this is just outside the Patch catchment area it's still great to have such a rarity in the general area. Regular readers may remember that we had a bird actually on the Meadow briefly back in May 2011.

The White Stork at Culham courtesy of Badger
The second piece of bird news is more mundane but did at least happen on the patch. Today I finally visited the floods to find them still looking very healthy with the recent rain having topped them up nicely. There were loads of Black-headed Gulls about including lots of juveniles so they've had a great year breeding. The interesting bit is that I did manage to turn up a GREEN SANDPIPER working its way along the North Shore which was great as this is in fact a year tick.

I've rather been neglecting the Trap Grounds as well but fortunately there are some very keen and regular visitors there so we have news of the first sightings of some larger dragonflies with a Common Darter and a Southern Hawker both seen there by Nicola Devine.

Female Southern Hawker courtesy of Nicola Devine

June 13th

So, June is progressing pretty much as expected at present. The recent rain has ensured that we've still got remarkably good floods for the time of year though the only bird life to report really is the plethora of Black-headed Gulls with lots of juveniles in amongst them - they've clearly had a good breeding season so far. There have been one or two LITTLE EGRETS still around and the odd SHELDUCK and OYSTERCATCHER but it's otherwise just a few straggler ducks now.

One of many juvenile Black-headed Gulls on the floods at present

On the insect front we're starting to get the summer butterflies on the wing now. I spotted my first Large Skipper and a Common Blue in Burgess Field though the rather poor weather over the last couple of days is rather limiting things. I've managed to spot all the expected smaller odonata now with Common Blue, Azure, Red-eyed, Large Red and Blue-tailed Damselflies all seen as well as Banded Demoiselle. However, as far as the larger dragonflies are concerned, the only one I've seen so far has been a female Broad-bodied Chaser and that was several weeks ago.

Broad-bodied Chaser, taken a few weeks ago

The flowers are of course less weather dependent. I've managed to come across a colony of half a dozen or so Bee Orchids which I was very pleased to see. Apart from that there are all sorts of interesting plants to find that I'm still very much learning about - I'm finding new stuff most days.

Bee Orchid

Friday 3rd June

So here we are in "flaming" June though the weather has been quite frankly freezing. My talk of the end of the birding season in my previous post may have been a little premature, partly indeed because of this weather as everything is several weeks behind at present. For starters, all the Cow Parsley and May Flower is still in full bloom and Burgess Field is looking wonderful with an absolute riot of flowers and lush greeness - it's fantastic! On the bird front, we're still getting a trickle of late passage migrants coming through:  today there were 7 RINGED PLOVER along with the usual OYSTERCATCHERS and SHELDUCK. The floods are looking pretty good still with the algal scum being held at bay by the regular top-ups of rain. There are lots of Mute Swans and a motley miscellany of ducks enjoying feeding off the aforementioned scum and along with the Black-headed Gulls it makes for quite a birdy scene still. It's still possible that we could get another late Wood Sandpiper or even another Spoonbill and I keep reminding myself that only an hour's drive away in Warwickshire this week a Broad-billed Sandpiper spent a few hours on a local reserve there so it's not impossible that it could turn up on the Meadow.

Yellow Belle
I've not made much mention of my mothing of late, partly because the cold weather is making for dire catches. Still I have had a few noteworthy moths to mention so far this season. I've actually caught a couple of TOADFLAX BROCADE, still a rather scarce moth for the recording region though it seems to be a speciality of my garden as I seem to get it fairly regularly. I also caught another PSYCHOIDES FILICIVORA, a fern-loving micro that again is rather rare in the recording area. Finally, a couple of days ago came across a YELLOW BELLE in my garden shed. This is a coastal species so to find it inland is highly unusual and it turns out that it is the first record for the VC23 region that I'm in - hurrah! So very much quality over quantity at present.

Toadflax Brocade - a garden speciality
Psychoides filicivora