Category Archives: wildlife

Peregrine Falcon, Harvest and Baptism at Trinity

Gareth, who is a keen bird watcher and works at Trinity Church, shared this picture taken by a resident in Conduit Road.

It shows a Peregrine Falcon on the steeple of Trinity Church.

In Trinity church today we had Harvest and the first Baptism since the start of lockdown. The harvest offering were not as big as usual and will be taken to the Asylum Welcome Food Bank in Oxford. The baby was carried round the church by Ian, the Minister, and slept through the whole event.

We hope the Peregrine Falcon will nest and make babies.

Abbey Fish Ponds – September 2021

When I visited the Abbey Fish Ponds nature reserve last week there were 20 volunteers from the Earth Trust cutting back grass, and some of the summer growth, using scythes, clippers, and rakes. At lunch time they all gathered for sandwiches.

It was a sunny day and, as I passed the ponds that are closest to the path, I could see more dragon flies than on any previous monthly visit.

They did not settle for long.

A pair were flying quite slowly together linked from tail to head.

This video shows an attempt to chase a flitting dragonfly with a camera phone.

There were still a lot of blackberries and other fruit such as these haws next to the spider’s web.

The stream, through the reserve, is culverted for a short way before emerging, under the Radley Road, into the reserve.

The stream is wider where it leaves the reserve, under Audlett Drive, having been joined by at least one spring.

Abbey Fish Ponds – August 2021

Abbey Fish Ponds - August 2021
On my monthly visit to the Abbey Fishponds Nature reserve in Abingdon, I did see Marjorie White, from a distance, cutting back some of the sedges. Marjorie was looking after this area long before the Earth Trust took over its management.
Abbey Fish Ponds - August 2021
Today was cloudy and there was not a lot of direct sunshine. I visited mid morning. This is the view over one basin of sedge and other water loving plants. There are lots of mauve fluffy flowers on long stems below the houses.
Abbey Fish Ponds - August 2021
There is another meadow area, lower down, where far more varieties of wildflower thrive.
Abbey Fish Ponds - August 2021
In terms of wildlife the most visible bird is the wood pigeon. I heard a robin chirping an alarm call from a tree, but there was none of the sing song heard earlier in the year.
Abbey Fish Ponds - August 2021
Blackberries and elderberries are out, as are the fruits of hawthorn and wild rose. Thistles are letting go clouds of fluffy seeds.  There were quite a lot of bees, and fewer butterflies. Here is one butterfly on the mint like flowers in the marshy area.
Abbey Fish Ponds - August 2021
There were plenty of caterpillars.
Abbey Fish Ponds - August 2021
Over twenty caterpillars were munching their way through the leaves and up into the flowers of this particular ragwort. I don’t know why it was singled out.
Abbey Fish Ponds - August 2021
Finally a view of the stream that bisects the nature reserve from top to bottom. It is only visible in short sections through all the overhanging plants.

Wild Flowers edge Barton Meadows. Thrupp Lake memories.

Last year the cycle path through the Abbey Grounds and Barton Fields was much improved with rubber tarmac. The border of Barton Fields was seeded with wild flowers beside the cycle path.

After Barton Fields the cycle path becomes muddy and  overgrown until you get to the tarmac cycle path beside Thrupp Lake.

Today the bright sunshine on Thrupp lake was dazzling.

There is a beach area on Thrupp Lake, popular with young families and water birds. A dozen juvenile swans  were there today, with a similar number of geese and ducks.

A mound of crushed bricks and breeze blocks are all that remains of Sandles, the house with fabulous lake views. It  was bought, along with the lake, by NPower when they planned this to become a site for putting the fly ash produced by the coal fire Power Station at Didcot. There was a determined campaign to stop them, run by the community group Save Radley Lakes. The lake is now looked after by The Earth Trust with the help of the Friends of Radley Lakes and the blessing of NPower who no longer burn coal at Didcot.

This is the view of Thrupp Lake from the top of the heap that was once Sandles.

For a short time in 2007 it was occupied by Greenpeace protestors – squatting until a court order allowed NPower bailiffs to throw them out. After that the bailiffs patrolled the lake in hi viz jackets and balaclavas and stopped further occupations until it was decided the lake could remain as a lake.  The house was eventually torn down.