Naturalists' News and Sightings


Radley Lakes Trust


The Trust held inaugural events on 25-26 September.

On Saturday 25 September there was a chance to meet the team, hear about progress, view displays and ask questions.  This was in the Silk Hall at Radley College. On Sunday 26 September there were two guided walks at the Lakes, suitable for all ages: one based on Thrupp Lake and one on Barton Fields.

updated: December 2021

Annual Hay Cut Barton Fields


Last week the main meadow at Barton Fields was mown and stacked. The hay is removed to ensure the nutrient levels are kept low - although this year the Thames flowed through part of it  twice for several weeks and the vegetation was high. On Wednesday the meadow was cut by a tractor-powered giant rotary mower. On Thursday and Friday the cuttings were raked into piles for drying and some stacked by members of the Barton Fields Green Team, who were joined on Saturday morning by over 20 of the Abingdon Green Gym and three members of the 2nd Abingdon Scouts with two leaders to complete the staking and re-rake the whole meadow. The compost heaps slowly decompose and provide excellent sites for the Grass Snakes to lay eggs in the Spring, as evidenced by the number of this year's hatchlings relocated from last year's heaps to avoid being smothered by the new hay layers.


from Graham Bateman: 1 September 2021

Development threats to Nyatt Field


Nyatt Field which lies upstream of Abingdon Lock suffered trauma last autumn when the Community Woodland bordering the Thames was felled.  It is a floodplain meadow about 20 hectares in area and has many characteristic floodplain plants, though not the plant assemblages of meadows such as Long Mead at Eynsham and Pixey Mead NW of Oxford, mowed in early summer for centuries, which consequently have developed the species rich Meadow Foxtail / Great Burnet (MG4) plant assemblage.  Nyatt field is mowed in autumn which removes scrub and in spring Marsh Orchids and later Pyramidal Orchids (hundreds) are found there.  In summer tall herbs such as Meadow Rue, Hemp Agrimony, Yellow Loosestrife, Grass Vetchling, Tufted Vetch and many others are found in abundance.  The pictures show Yellow Loosestrife which at present dominates several acres of the site.  Unfortunately there is outline planning permission for this meadow to be dug for gravel!

from David Guyoncourt 29 July 2021

Spring has sprung!


What a weird spring it has been. In Barton Fields yesterday there was a Brown Argus butterfly sheltering in low vegetation from the cool conditions. However the wet weather has provided an unseasonable boost for fungi - in the woodland beside the Sustrans Track I found 5 species. Can anyone identify the inkcap in the photos?


from David Guyoncourt 27 May 2021

Radley Lakes Masterplan

Proposals for a New Future for Radley Lakes

A masterplan launched on 10 May proposes a new future for Radley Lakes, a 136 ha area of former gravel quarries. The plan sets out a vision for the Lakes, focussed on protecting wildlife and providing valuable green space for local people. Major funding for implementing the plan will come from ‘Community Infrastructure Levy’  receipts held by Radley Parish Council. The plan is being launched by the newly-formed Radley Lakes Trust.

 Find out more...

from David Guyoncourt: 10 May 2021


Little Egret return to River Stert

A Little Egret has again been a regular visitor to River Stert in North Abingdon over the past few weeks, since the Environment Agency cleared a build-up of vegetation.

from Adrian Allsop: 15 December 2021

Winter thrushes and fallen apples


This week my fallen apples have attracted 2 song thrushes, 7 redwings, 2 fieldfares and up to 13 blackbirds including this one with white on the head.

from Gillian Taylor: 2 December 2021

What's been eating our roses and tomatoes?


My sharp-eyed grandson spotted this large green caterpillar with yellow ‘go faster’ stripe, eating our tomato plants. It turns out to be the larva of the Bright-line Brown-eye Moth (Lacanobia oleracea) also called the Tomato Moth.

Today I noticed some shiny boldly-spotted caterpillars with erect stance, eating the leaves of our rose. They turn out to be Large Rose Sawfly larvae. I am happy to share my plants with both of these larvae.

from  David Guyoncourt: 11 September 2021

Turkeytail fungi


I saw this remarkable cluster of Turkeytail fungi yesterday on the path along the eastern edge of Bagley Wood, at the bottom of Bagley Close gardens. More walks are called for to see how many survive and develop the colour-banding which give it the scientific name, Trametes Versicolor?

from Adrian Allsop: 31 August 2021

Potter Wasp


This Potter Wasp (Ancistrocerus nigricornis) I thought was feeding on our patch of Marjoram growing in our ‘lawn’, but on closer inspection I could see that it had a small caterpillar in its jaws, possibly a Purple & Gold moth larva which feeds on Marjoram. According to my Collins Guide to British Insects the unfortunate larva will be taken to its mud nest where it will be stung to paralyse it, and stored awaiting consumption by the wasp larva - lovely!

from David Guyoncourt: 22 August 202

Spectacular Brackets


Stretching 25 ft up an old sweet chestnut tree in Boxhill Wood..

from Tony Richmond: 12 August 202

Uncommon moths

DavidH/2107_ScareceErmine.jpg DavidH/2107_ToadflaxBrocade.jpg

I've had two uncommon moths in my garden moth trap recently. First was a Scarce Ermine, which hasn't been recorded in VC22 (Berkshire) since 2011. The second was a Toadflax Brocade, which isn't as scarce, although there are only a few records per year from this area.

from  David Hastings: 29 July 2021


Here's another moth. A Red Underwing which I found at the allotment this morning.

from  David Hastings: 31 July 2021

Purple Emperor Butterfly


Jo took this photo while out for a walk adjacent to the sustrans track, to the southern end of Thrupp Lake. The butterfly was spotted at around 10.30am on Sunday morning.

from Mike and Jo Turner: 20 July 2021

Scalloped Oak Moth


We were having coffee in our garden and a Scalloped Oak Moth fluttered in.

from Mike and Jo Turner: 17 July 2021

Blueberry bandit

Images/TamR/2021_Blackbird.jpg click/tap to view the video…

Here is a short video of our chief Blueberry Bandit, our cheekiest Blackbird that we call Roger, taking a bath under the very bush from which he's been thieving. I have subsequently netted it, but he had that figured out in minutes. I'm going to need a better net, or get up before he does.

from Tam Richmond: 10 July 2021