31st August

I can't quite believe that it's been so long since my last post, my apologies for that. The truth is that there hasn't been a great deal to post about though of course the usual insects and plants are about in the usual places and they're always nice to see.

On the bird front, without the flood water we're left looking around for scraps. By far the most interesting news was the find by Tom Bedford of a male REDSTART (a patch year tick no less) up near Godstow lock. I did go to look for it the next day but sadly there was no sign of it. Apart from that the most noticeable thing has been the shift to "Autumn Mode" in the bird world: tits are now moving around in large feeding flocks, the Swifts have left Jericho already (indeed they were gone by the start of the month) and House Martins are gathering in large flocks overhead as well. In the hedgerows there is a steady trickle southwards of juvenile warblers, mostly Chiffchaffs though I did have a Blackcap in the garden today. I've been keeping an eye out for Yellow Wagtails in amongst the livestock though I've not personally seen any so far this half of the year. On the Meadow itself the Linnet flock is already impressively large and the first Lapwings are now starting to gather in their post-breeding flock.

The first of the post-breeding Lapwings are back on the Meadow

Insects are still around in good numbers with a regular Souther Hawker dragonfly visiting my garden and in the Trap Grounds and along the Castle Mill Stream there are plenty of Common and Ruddy Darters and Brown Hawkers. I've not personally seen any Migrant Hawkers yet but I expect that they are around if one cares to look.

Male Ruddy Darter
On the plant front, the Hawthorn trees are starting to change colour already and many of the plants have gone over though there is still some Chicory and Purple Loosestrife along the river. I did have a little look for Creeping Marshwort on the Meadow itself and though it's quite hard to pick out I did manage to find a few clumps.

Creeping Marshwort - still hanging on though as the floods ended early this year there's been more competition from other plants
Looking ahead, this transition to autumn mode is going to carry on apace over the coming weeks. The next big change will be if/when the floods return: then we can expect the winter duck back as well as some lovely gulls.