September So Far

Despite it being a rather dry autumn so far with hardly any rain and certainly no floods, there has been a definite uptick in sightings in and around the Meadow over the last couple of weeks.

At the start of the month there was a decent sized flock of Yellow Wagtails, perhaps up to 20, in amongst the cattle. I did search for Blue-headed in amongst them but couldn't find any. 

One of the many Yellow Wagtails

There was a Hobby on the 2nd September seen by Ollie Padget. Osprey were seen along the river and King's Lock area on two separate occasions on the 8th (seen by Claire Robinson) and 20th (Mary MacDougall). In both cases the bird was actively hunting in the river and gave the observers some great close up views. Whether it's the same bird or two different ones which are both following the river south is hard to tell.

Our only new year tick came on the 10th when Nick Boyd spotted a Great White Egret flying along the river in the company of a Grey Heron. That same day he also spotted three Tufted Duck circling the Meadow. On the 12th a Ring-necked Parakeet visited my garden briefly before being chased off by some Jackdaws. Finally on the 16th Ollie Padget found a Stonechat in Burgess Field.

On the insect front, the main news is that there have been regular sightings of Willow Emerald in the main Swan Pond in the Trap Grounds. With at least two ovipositing pairs and two others seen by Nicola Devine it seems that a new colony is establishing itself here.

Willow Emerald

Other good insects seen include some Brown Hairstreak sightings, both in the Trap Grounds in the School Yard Meadow (by Nicola Devine) and also on Burgess Field (Ollie Padget) as well as some Vapourer moths also in the Trap Grounds. There are good numbers of Migrant Hawkers and "red" Darters about still and Steve Goddard caught a rare Clifton Nonpareil moth in his Wolvercote garden in the last few days.

Looking forward, we are coming up to the prime time for rare autumn vagrants though whether any will find their way inland to somewhere that is presently rather featureless without any flood waters remains to be seen. Still we should get some more interesting passage migrants in Burgess Field, perhaps a Tree Pipit or Whinchat. Finally, with an invasion of Wryneck in the country at the moment it's not impossible that one might turn up somewhere on the patch.

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