Field Event Reports

3 January 2016 - Rushy Common and Tar Lakes

Leader: Jane Bowley, Lower Windrush Valley Project Officer


A grey, cold day and a forecast for rain saw only five members turn out for our first field meeting of 2016. We gathered at the car park for Rushy Common and Tar Lakes, ex-gravel pits near Ducklington. While it is possible to walk around the Tar Lakes, Rushy Common lake is only viewable from a hide for which a key is needed. Our guide was Jane Bowley, Lower Windrush Valley Project Officer. Two local birders also kindly came along: David Rolfe and Keith Clack ('Clackers' to those familiar with Oxford Ornithological Birders). It was raining steadily as we set off around the sites, our birder guides mainly explaining what we might see if we came back on a sunny day and at other times of the year!

The low cover by the pathways yielded robin, blackbird, 3 bullfinch, greenfinch, chaffinch, dunnock, great tit, blue tit and wren. On our walk around the three Tar Lakes we added carrion crow, cormorant, mallard, wigeon, gadwall, great crested grebe, tufted duck, coot, buzzard, jackdaw and rook. Retreating somewhat wet to the welcome cover of the bird hide across the track at Rushy Common the highlight was a hunting peregrine falcon trying to flush the hundred plus ducks etc from the lake surface, without success apart from a buzzard that emerged from the low trees to chase it off. We also saw from the hide mute swan, goldeneye, moorhen, magpie, cormorant, black-headed gull, a flypast by feral greylag geese, shelduck, lapwing and pheasant. A good total of 31 species considering the rain and poor visibility.

Despite the weather the visit was enjoyed by all, especially enhanced by the jovial and informative commentary of 'Clackers', who kindly volunteered to hold another visit for us in the future when hopefully the weather would be better. Thanks were expressed to Jane, Keith and David for hosting the visit.

Cynth Napper/Graham Bateman

Abingdon Naturalists' Attendees:

  • Cynth Napper
  • Graham Bateman
  • David Guyoncourt
  • Felicity and Mike Summers