Filed under: wildlife

Why no Ducklings?

Why no Ducklings
One thing has been puzzling us on our lockdown walks. Why have we not seen any ducklings on the River Ock and the millstream

Somebody tonight told us that in the last two years mink have become so rife that they are eating the ducklings, and the young of other native species.

12 Comments May 29, 2020

Birds and Bees

Birds and Bees
Flying must be easy when you are a bird. You just open your wings
Birds and Bees
and glide.
Birds and Bees
Bees need to buzz a lot more.
Birds and Bees
They also need frequent nectar stops.
Birds and Bees
The birds were seen by the Millstream in Abingdon.
Birds and Bees
The bees were in Old Abbey House gardens this evening. This was part of a walk after work.

Riding back from work at about 3:30pm I saw a long queue at the Drayton Recycling Centre. They are using the golf area next door to queue cars rather than the main road. The process is slower as only half the bays are in use for social distancing reasons. There is also a big demand for the dump after the shutdown for a couple of months.

1 Comment May 27, 2020

Barton Fields in May

Barton Fields in May
I am visiting Barton Fields for a picture report every month this year.

The blue sky shows some vapour trails – more than previous weeks. There was also a lot of white cottony stuff blowing around in the air – tree seeds.
Barton Fields in May
May has been mostly sunny and today was ‘the hottest day of the year so far‘ – according to Radio 4. The pools and marshy areas in Barton Fields are drying out.
Barton Fields in May
There were lots of Common blue damselflies flitting about around the meadow.
Barton Fields in May
The 20th May has been declared as World Bee Day and this acrobatic bee can be seen sucking the nectar from a Comfrey flower.
Barton Fields in May
The Woody nightshade (or Bittersweet nightshade) is easy to identify. The purple and yellow flowers turn to poisonous red berries. They are fairly common but they look dangerous and are apparently very bitter, and so poison very few people.
Barton Fields in May
There are areas covered with nettles, and on this particular nettle is an iridescent damselfly.
Barton Fields in May
Wild flowers are appearing in masses in some places, such as Oxeye daisies,
Barton Fields in May
Ragged robin and Buttercups.
Barton Fields in May
Other flowers are more solitary such as this orchid.

There have been more people out walking and exploring nature, during the lockdown, and the pathways across the meadows have probably become more marked than they would be in an average year. We did cause a Pheasant to fly out in alarm.

I saw another photographer waiting patiently for damselflies and dragonflies by one wetland area. I enjoy seeing pictures from Barton Fields and elsewhere on other blogs, twitter feeds, and facebook. How things have moved on since the days we posted a film of 24 or 36 shots to Tru Print or took it in to Jessops to get it processed and printed.

2 Comments May 20, 2020

Ock Valley Walk – some wildlife

Ock Valley Walk
Yesterday I put up a video from Boxhill Wood. Today we were in the other nature area looked after by Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council -The Ock Valley Walk. There was a mixture of sun and shade as we walked between the two streams.
Ock Valley Walk
Below the weir a group of geese were paddling in the sparkling water.

We saw Martin Wackenier - Devine Times Photography  and said hello from a Social Distance. Martin has been taking pictures every day on his exercise walk during the lockdown. With his sharp eye and lens he sees and identifies lots of birds and insects. First time we have seen him out.
Ock Valley Walk
It is a good time to learn to identify birds but not easy to get decent pictures.
Ock Valley Walk
Blackbirds and Robins are not that difficult to photograph but other birds like wrens are more elusive to the camera lens..
Ock Valley Walk
The other issue is identification. This bird is a wagtail and not pied. Both the grey and yellow wagtail can have yellow underneath. Most likely it is a Grey Wagtail, even though it does not look that grey. It is near flowing water and Greys are more common.
Ock Valley Walk
Further along by the other weir was a heron.

There used to be a blog about wildlife by the Ock. It has moved to be a more occasional twitter feed these days.

6 Comments May 6, 2020

Bird Song from Boxhill Wood, Abingdon


The video ends with four pictures just outside the wood, including one rainbow picture at St Nicolas School.
Bird Song from Boxhill Wood, Abingdon
If people can help identify bird sounds at specific timings in the video I will try to add some birdsong identification tags so we can all learn more bird songs.
Bird Song from Boxhill Wood, Abingdon

8 Comments May 5, 2020

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