Fat Robins?

In my garden, I have watched Robin's over last six years successfully transition from being mainly ground feeders to being adept at hanging on to fat ball feeders and frequently seen feeding on these each day and also now taking fine bird seed from feeders to a lesser extent. Worms and other soil invertebrates are of course still exploited when I disturb soil and once the juveniles are around, vegetation is actively gleaned for more live prey.  But fat now appears a dominant part of the diet and is continuously relied upon through the darker months of the year. The product is very noticeably gaining weight on the shelves of bird food retailers in recent years and I know I am buying far more each passing year.
So; is this, year round, abundant and very high calorific value food source now enabling Robins to breed much earlier these days ?
Discuss !

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from Ian Smith: 05 April 2017

The Early Bird

Returned from holiday to find first fledgling juvenile Robin of the year in my Marcham garden on 2nd April and flying quite strongly. This time they nested some distance away in a neighbouring garden and  from previous years' observations, when they have nested in my garden, I would be happy suggesting this bird had been out of its nest for a day or so before this. I say this because, first garden appearances of juvenile Robins each year is as a fluffy whirring, short distance, projectile crashing into their chosen/(accidental?) landing area. A much stronger, longer and decent level of flight accuracy is only gained in subsequent couple of days.
The British Trust for Ornithology website indicates fledging dates starting from 18th April !

from Ian Smith: 05 April 20177

Heron taking frog from garden pond

Herons are on the lookout for garden ponds

So that's why the frogs are disappearing from my garden pond.

from Graham Bateman: 22 march 2017

A Tree Creeper climbing a chimney

Tony just managed a photo of the bird on his chimney

Way back in 2005 we saw a Tree Creeper in our garden. That was our most recent garden record of this species until today. This morning whilst coiling a hosepipe I noticed a movement near the  base of a tree and hedge beside me. A tame Robin follows me around the garden, so it was probably my faithful friend hoping that I dig up a tasty worm. But no, a small brown bird flecked with white crept round the base of the tree (a Silver Birch) barely 7 feet away - it is a Tree Creeper. As I make for the cottage to fetch my camera, the bird remained where I had found it. On returning with my camera, the bird flew. However it didn't go far - imagine my surprise to find it climbing up our chimney! I have never before seen a Tree Creeper on a building of any sort.

from Tony Rayner: 12 February 2017

Little Egrets and Heron by R. Stert

I saw  a Little Egret by River Stert in N. Abingdon today. This my the earliest winter sighting since I first noticed Litttle Egrets in the area a few years ago.

from Adrian Allsop: 1 December 2016


I have not seen the Little Egret for a few days but there was Heron in the stream this morning.

from Adrian Allsop: 23 December 2016

The Little Egret is still around , with company – I saw three in the stream at dusk today.

from Adrian Allsop: 26 December 2016

Jack Snipe at Cholsey

Jack Snipe is smaller than Snipe aith a shorter bill.

On Oct 11th it came as a huge surprise to find a Jack Snipe in our Cholsey garden.
It was crouched in the grass just 4 feet from where I stood removing diseased leaves from a pear tree. It didn't move, so concluded that it was either dead or injured. Went back to the cottage for my camera. Came back to discover that it had moved a few feet. Photographed it almost below me, but when I tried for a closer photo it flew off at high speed - very much alive & well!

from Tony Rayner: 14 October 2016

Wasp Spider at Marcham

The Wasp Spider is quite distinctive

Just seen wasp spider in the Wild Celery site at Marcham.  Judy Webb found it next to her bag.  My first and photographed !  Did a Google search to get distribution map and then on county and got the ANS sighting at Nyatts Field (September 2015)

from Ian Smith 13 August 2016

Black and Yellow Longhorn Beetle

This is an  impressive beetle

This Longhorn Beetle (Strangalia maculata) turned up on a Hollyhock in our back garden.  Apparently the larvae develop in the wood of deciduous trees.

from David Guyoncourt: 3 July 2016

Small Emerald moth

The moth was on a climber near the front door

I noticed a pale green moth on an Alpine Clematis growing around our front door. Looking it up, I found it to be a Small Emerald (Hemistola chrysoprasaria) which has 'Local' status, so not as common as the Large Emerald. The caterpillars normally feed on Travellers Joy, but also like cultivated Clematis.

from David Guyoncourt: 3 July 2016

Robin Murder

21 April 2016: Robin Murder

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20 April 2016: Early Swifts at Cholsey

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09 April 2016: A Redstart in Abingdon

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Early Bluebells

23 March 2016: Early Bluebells

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11 March 2016: early garden frospawn

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Little Egrets

24 December 2015: Little Egrets

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Reed Buntings and Linnets at Barton Fields

04 March 2016: Reed Buntings and Linnets at barton Fields

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25 January 2016: Polecats in Oxfordshire

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Cinnamon Bug

3 January 2016: A Cinamon Bug in Abingdon

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Song Thrushes around Barton Felds

23 December 2015: Song Thrushes around Barton Fields

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