Wednesday, 23 January 2013


Bird records for Standlake Common Nature Reserve and Rushy Common Nature Reserve and Tar Lakes 2012
Thanks to a few dedicated bird recorders who visit the bird hides regularly and to other visitors who also record their sightings we now have fantastic species lists for these two sites.
Standlake Common Nature Reserve

The total recorded list is now up to 163 since 2000 with 101 species recorded in 2012.

From the lists of the latest Birds of Conservation Concern 3 (BoCC 3) compiled in 2009 the following numbers of species have been recorded at Standlake Common Nature Reserve

BoCC 3 Red listed
SCNR 2012
SCNR since 2000
National number of species          52
BoCC 3 Amber listed
National number of species      126

Rare species seen in 2012

A black-winged stilt appeared in April for only the second time that this beautiful bird has been recorded in Oxfordshire. A great deal of birding interest was generated but it only stayed for one day and disappeared into a misty morning the next day.

Rushy Common Nature Reserve and Tar Lakes

The total recorded list is now up to 120 since 2005 with 105 species recorded in 2012

BoCC 3 Red listed
RC and TL 2012
RC and TL since 2005
National number of species            52     
BoCC 3 Amber listed
National number of species          126

Rare species seen in 2012

The greatest rarity for 2012 was a Temmincks stint which stayed for a few days in January and caused a lot of birding excitement over a couple of days. Some of it not too helpful  as people climbed over fences to get a better view.

If you would like a copy of the full list of species recorded please contact the project office on 01865 815426 or email

Keys for access to the bird hides at Standlake Common and Rushy Common nature reserves can be purchased from the project office please email for more details.

Fantastic photographs

If you haven’t seen the photographs of local photographer Matthew Jellings take a look at his website . Matthew has kindly let me have some of his photographs for the Project and I will be using them on leaflets and interpretation boards that are currently in preparation. Hopefully he will be taking more as the reserve develops and matures over time.

Matthew has won several local photography awards including the Friends of Wychwood competition two years running.

These photos focus on the island at Rushy Common Nature Reserve at different times of the year. This first one was taken in 2006 when the restoration process had only just started.

Winter 2010 
This is the most recent taken in the summer of 2012


Friday, 11 January 2013

Volunteers start the New year on their knees

Volunteers start the New Year on their knees 10th January

 On Thursday Diego and Marcus were glad to get out and get moving again even though removing tree guards is not the most exciting of work jobs to do. Crawling around on your hands and knees taking the guards off is not what people think about when they are happily planting young trees and protecting them with plastic spirals, but someone has to get them off years later. It is satisfying though to see so many trees that are now sturdy enough to go it alone.

Luckily there were a few old trees to saw up and drag about and that always keeps volunteers happy.

When you are doing conservation work you can never get it right for everyone and everything and we did upset one local resident as it was just too cold for them to move out of the way.

This Common toad was burrowed in at the bottom of a spiral where the sapling had died. It was none too pleased at being disturbed but once it had done its photo shoot it was covered over again with twigs and leaves and should be fine until the warmer weather puts it in the mood for mating. I love their Latin name ‘Bufo bufo’ and it will be good to make a record for toads which are very under recorded in the valley. In conservation terms the Common toad is on the IUCN red data list but in the category of ‘least concern’ so although not immediately in danger of extinction it is struggling to maintain good population numbers.
The volunteers did a great job with good humour and enthusiasm as usual and it is good to see a lot less plastic down the Windrush Path section of Langley Lane on the approach to the nature reserve.
If you would like to join the LWVP volunteers please call the Project office on 01865 815426 or email

Starlings, sunset and hungry peregrine 9th Jan

It was one of those sunsets when I wished I had a decent camera that I knew how to use properly but these are my best efforts to capture a moment of pure magic as the sun set over the flooded lake.

The starlings were still about in good numbers and put on a fabulous display for half an hour again. They had a short panic when a peregrine shot through the flock. But it seemed to give up very quickly and spent the next twenty minutes watching the display from a pylon and must have had a hungry night (Spot the peregrine or Where’s Perry?)

There were some great formations and in the photo below you can just see the start of a pink vapour trail as a plane came in from the south, a few minutes later this made a fantastic pink streak across the sky in brilliant contrast to the starlings, but true to form the battery had run out in my camera by then.


Friday, 4 January 2013

New Year starling roost, gulls and a goldeneye at
Standlake Common Nature Reserve  3rd Jan 2013

Hundreds of ducks were on the lake today with some of my favourites, the  goosanders being very lively and chasing each other around. In the midst of all the teal, wigeon, mallards and coots I spotted just one beautiful male goldeneye which is a first sighting for me.
Just before four o’clock the sight I was hoping to see appeared before my eyes. At first just a faint smudge in the distance, then building and building to a flock of several thousand starlings wheeling and swirling in the darkening sky for 20 minutes.
At one point a flock of gulls flew in across the lake to take part in the swirling flock contest and I didn’t know which way to look there was so much going on. But they gave up fairly quickly and flew off elsewhere.
Then all of a sudden the starlings decided to roost and poured out of the sky down behind the hedge just to the north of the reserve. I couldn’t tell exactly where they ended up for the night but they were probably somewhere around the neighbouring lake.
The water is still really high on the reserve and the north shore hide is not accessible without wellies, I just had an inch to spare before I got wet feet and you can see from the heron how high the water level is along the path. The Langley Lane hide is still completely inaccessible with the water above floor level again.