Mixing Spiders with Celery

Wasp Spiders are well named.

At least three Wasp Spiders seen on the morning of 3rd August 2018, during the annual count of rare Wild Celery plants at Manor Farm, Marcham.  The photograph shows the large female spider and the very distinctive - unique - zig zag pattern that she adds to her web.  In this case there are two patterns visbible, both below and above her position.  When first seen, she immediately dropped for cover low amongst the grass and was very difficult to see, but her web, with this unique zig- zag pattern was still obvious.  After a couple of minutes, she ascended again, at similar fast speed, to reoccupy her favoured position in the overall web.  Thereafter she appeared not fazed at all by having camera lenses repeatedly shoved a matter of a few inches away.

Some will recall that the first record of Wasp Spider for this area was just east of Barton Fields in 2015.   The next year at this same Marcham site, a Wasp Spider was seen but had not yet made a full web and there was no hint even of a zig- zag pattern.  One of the other Wasp Spiders seen on the 3rd had neatly wrapped a favoured prey item of a large grasshopper in silk and she was nearby, as was clumped remnants of the destroyed web structure above.  

This botanising lark can be very interesting at times...  and someone counted well over 400 Wild Celery plants as well !

from Ian Smith, 3 August 2018

Badger joins AbNats visit to Warburg Reserve

There were good daylight views of a Badger.

On the final stage of our ferns orientated visit to Warburg BBOWT Reserve on Sunday 20th May having found Adders Tongue Ferns in a lush meadow, a young badger poked its head out of the adjoining woodland, tested the air, entered the grassland, snuffled through the dense foliage to join our group and even sniffed the boots of our host Nick Hards, before in no rush ambled back to the woods.

from Graham Bateman: 21 May2018

Scarlet Elfcup fungi

The fungi are bright and beaufiful.


There is a small area of willow carr beside the River Ock south of Tesco, a really damp area which hosts quite a few fungi species - I have identified 19 species there so far.

Yesterday I found a rather beautiful group of Scarlet Elfcups (Sarcoscypha austriaca) or could possibly be Ruby Elfcups (S. coccinea) which are almost indistinguishable.

from David Guyoncourt: 15 February 2018

The Fragrant Bracket fungus.

The Fragrant Bracket is a large white fungus

I recently found a rare pure white bracket fungus: 'The Fragrant Bracket' (Trametes suaveolens) on a fallen willow near Abingdon.  It is listed as  Vunerable B on the British Mycological Society Red List.  It smells of  aniseed!

from David Guyoncourt: November 2017

Sparrowhawk stuck in bush.

The bird struggled to free itself from the bush.

At dusk a sparrowhawk attacked the 100-plus sparrow and starling roost in a Pyrancatha bush and got its leg stuck in the thick thorns tryng to catch a bird. It took a quarter-of-hour to extricate itself.  All the birds had fled!

from Graham Bateman: 06 September 2017

Fat Robins

05 April 2017: Garden Robins feeding on fatballs

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The Early Bird

05 April 2017: Very early fledged Robins

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Heron with Frog

22 March 2017: Heron with Frog.

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Tree Creeper

12 February 2017: A Tree Creeper climbing a chimney.

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Little Egret

1 December 2016: Little Egret by R. Stert

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Jack Snipe at Cholsey

11 October 2016: A Jack Snipe at Cholsey.

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Wasp Spider at Marcham

13 August 2016: A wasp Spider in the Wild Celery field at Marcham.

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Black and Yellow Longhorn

3 July 2016: This beetle looks quite spectacular.

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Small Emerald

3 July 2016: Small Emerald moth on Alpine Clematis

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Robin Murder

21 April 2016: Robin Murder

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Swifts

20 April 2016: Early Swifts at Cholsey

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Redstart

09 April 2016: A Redstart in Abingdon

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Early Bluebells

23 March 2016: Early Bluebells

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Frospawn

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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Polecats

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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