June & July Update

I didn't mean for it to be so long since my last post but somehow the days have slipped away and then I was away for a while and suddenly here we are on the threshold of autumn already (at least in the birding world). So I'm going to do a big round-up post of all the news over the last couple of months.


Despite it traditionally being a very quiet time of year on the birding front we in fact have several things to report including a real patch Mega! This was in the form of a Little Tern that was seen by Denise Wawman, fishing briefly at the south end of the Meadow by the boats. It was seen to catch a fish and then flew off with it. This is presumably the same bird that has been seen at Farmoor a few times over the last couple of months but in terms of Port Meadow to my knowledge there has only been one previous record when a bird spent the afternoon fishing on the floods back in April 2009. It's a shame that this current bird didn't hang around as it would have been much admired. Through sheer rarity value this must be a contender for Port Meadow Bird of the Year though it's a pity it was only seen by one person.

Some video of the 2009 bird. Miraculously this was shot digiscoping
whilst it was flying around - no mean feat!

Less rare though still wonderful to see has been a family of Little Owls that are being raised somewhere on the greater Port Meadow catchment area (I'm being deliberately vague here). There are three young birds, now nicely fledged. This species is recorded a bit less than annually on the Meadow though is probably more or less resident.

Little Owl courtesy of Joe Tobias

Some great footage courtesy of Matthew Lloyd

Talking of Owls, there was also a Barn Owl which was seen for a couple of nights in the fields around Binsey. This too is less than annual and a most welcome year tick.

Barn Owl courtesy of Ben Sheldon

The only other thing to report is a Hobby that was seen over Burgess Field by Thomas Miller towards the end of June.


I don't usually write much about flowers here as it's generally the same ones in the same places each year. However, I would like to report that it's been another good season for orchids in Burgess Field. I went to take a look and found 22 different Pyramidal Orchids and 5 Bee Orchids. There were probably a lot more than this and I didn't search everywhere but it was lovely to see them out in force in Burgess Field. There used to be Pyramidal Orchids in the Trap Grounds but I haven't seen any there for quite a few years now.

Bee Orchid

Pyramidal Orchid


This time of year is very much about insects. There have been the usual butterfly species on the wing which have been nice to see. This year I have also been appreciating more and more just what a good site the Trap Grounds is for Odonata. We've been very lucky with Downy Emerald seemingly starting to establish itself as an annual visitor as well as all the usual species. Luckily Nicola Devine has been capturing a lot of the Odonata action there. Below are some of her photos.

Emerging Southern Hawker courtesy of Nicola Devine

Brown Hawker courtesy of Nicola Devine

Beautiful Demoiselle courtesy of Nicola Devine

Thanks to the keeness of some observers who have been visiting Burgess Field in the dark, there have been Glow Worms recorded there again this year.

Glow Worm courtesy of Zichen Zhou

Looking Ahead

Autumn is usually the best time of year for birding though without any floods it's going to be slim pickings for us on the Meadow. The best we can hope for are some passage birds such as Redstarts and Spotted Flycatchers which we have yet to get on the list. The very dry first half of the year (the driest in the last 48 years across the country) meant that our year list is rather low this year with quite a few of the rarer waders missing. With luck we might break 130 which is my measure for a reasonable year though it could be a tough few months trying to winkle out these extra ticks. Still you never know what might be around the corner.