Brianpen Birds - Oxford, UK Bird List from 15-16 June, 2010


Bird Sightings, Oxford, UK, 15-16 June 2010

Christ Church meadow
Path along the Cherwell
Lane to New Marston
Hedgerow path
Cherwell near Wolfson Meadows
We spent one full day and another morning in Oxford in mid-June, visiting my neice at the University and seeing the sights, which for me meant mostly the parks, meadows and hedgerows south and east of town. I went out birding both days for about three hours each outing. On our first day in the late morning I walked south along the River Cherwell from the Christ Church Botanical Garden, down to where the Cherwell meets the Thames, then birded in the woods behind the boathouses on the small island at the confluence. Mature trees line the river, which runs about 30 feet wide but flows imperceptibly. Christ Church meadow, between the two rivers at the confluence, is a marshy field of perhaps 20 acres, unmowed but lightly grazed. The woods behind the boathouse is partially torn up by bulldozer tracks but has a number of good-sized trees - cottonwood, ash, willow, maple, cherry, elderberry and hawthorne among others. On our second day I got out early and walked northeast past University Park to the fields and hedgerows on the east side of the Cherwell, near New Marston, up as far as the Wolfson College Natural Area. Some fields are grazed, others reserved for haying. The hedgerows range from hawthorne thickets not quite short enough to peer over, to narrow stands of mature willow, cottonwood, oak and other species.
The weather was fair on both days with variable cumulus clouds and high temperatures around 70F. I carried my camera and tried to for bird photos with the 70-300mm lens as well as some scenery and habitat shots.
I saw or heard 47 species altogether. Counts are cumulative from my two morning outings. I'm sure I overlooked some species due to unfamiliarity with the songs and calls, and counts are doubtless low in part because of the amount of time I spent trying to identify the source of unfamiliar songs.
SpeciesNotes Grey Heron  1 overhead near University Park Mute Swan  Pair with young along Cherwell below Univ Park Graylag Goose  Flocks of 5-30 on lawns along rivers Canada Goose  Flock of 50 in Univ Park, plus occ individuals Mallard  Individuals and small groups on rivers Red Kite  1 over fields east of Univ Park Sparrow Hawk  1 over fields east of Univ Park Buzzard  1 over fields east of Univ Park. Also seen over open country along A43 near Towcester. Soaring birds appear dark below w/ paler windows in primaries and a brownish, sometimes even reddish, tail. Common Kestrel  1 Christ Church meadow Common Pheasant  2 Pair in pasture east of Univ Park Moorhen  5 incl young, in River Cherwell near Christ Church meadow Coot  1 in River Cherwell near Christ Church meadow Black-headed Gull  5 over Thames/Isis around confluence w/ Cherwell Herring Gull  2 One each day overhead near rivers Common Tern  1 over River Cherwell along Christ Church meadow Collared Dove  1 by Christ Church meadow Feral (Rock) Dove  Buildings in town, parks Stock Dove  7 Woods by Cherwell/Thames confluence and 1 by Univ Park. Smaller and darker than Woodpigeon, but like them, in and over woods. Woodpigeon  20 In and around trees Common Swift  5 Green Woodpecker  2 or 3 heard - loud nasal "kyuh kyuh kyuh kyuh" call, one seen poorly. Size of flicker. Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 Skylark  1 meadows near Wolfson College Natural Area Barn Swallow  3 seen both days House Martin  1 probable Pied Wagtail  1 Christ Church meadow Dunnock  4 hedgerow lane, thickets. Song various, like "sreetsreet tsi brrr chiteeeteee" Wren  21 Usually singing, in hedgerows and woods and parks w/ trees Robin  11 Singing in hedgerows, foraging in lanes and pasture edges. Song, of thin clear notes and shivery/stuttery trills, has a wistful or tentative quality, more complex than robin songs in Spain. Hard to spot when singing, otherwise fairly tame. Blackbird  14 Some singing. Female gathering nesting material. Song Thrush  5 Woods and hedgerows. Several singing. song at first mistaken for Nightingale, but sharper, scratchier and more rapid. Blackcap  6 Woods along the Cherwell both days, several singing. Female also seen, and perhaps young. Common Whitethroat  2 Trees and bushes along the Cherwell in Wolfson College Natural Area. Song is a short burry chattery warble. Chiffchaff  8 Mostly singing, more common in hedgerows than woods. Generally olive or brownish gray with little or no yellow tint. Indistinct dark line through eye, obvious split eyering. Dark legs. Willow Warbler  1 Probable, singing in willows behind boathouses. Not seen, and song not recognized at the time. Blue Tit  37 Common in parks, hedgerows and woods, feeding young. Adults pretty scruffy-looking. Great Tit  24 Same habitats as blue tit, also feeding young, not quite as common Treecreeper  3 Family in woods behind boathouses. Jay  2 One each day in trees Magpie  15 Individuals and family groups in woods and hedgerows Jackdaw  17 Common in town Carrion Crow  20 Individuals and small groups, mostly in open areas and riverbanks House Sparrow  3 Near Christ Church botanical garden Chaffinch  7 Mostly singing in trees Greenfinch  5 Hedgerows. "dzheeeer" calls. Goldfinch  4 A pair each day Reed Bunting  1 Male in bushes along River Cherwell in Wolfson College Natural Area
Mute Swans
Wood Duck
Sparrow Hawk
Common Pheasant
Blue Tit
Carrion Crow