We spent one full day and another morning in Oxford in mid-June, visiting my neice at the University
and seeing the sights, which for me meant mostly the parks, meadows and hedgerows south and east
of town. I went out birding both days for about three hours each outing. On
our first day
in the late morning I walked south along the River Cherwell from the Christ Church
Botanical Garden, down to where the Cherwell meets the Thames, then birded in the woods behind the
boathouses on the small island at the confluence. Mature trees line the river, which runs about 30
feet wide but flows imperceptibly. Christ Church meadow, between the two rivers at the confluence,
is a marshy field of perhaps 20 acres, unmowed but lightly grazed. The woods behind the boathouse
is partially torn up by bulldozer tracks but has a number of good-sized trees - cottonwood, ash,
willow, maple, cherry, elderberry and hawthorne among others. On
our second day
I got out early and walked northeast past University Park to the fields and
hedgerows on the east side of the Cherwell, near New Marston, up as far as the Wolfson College
Natural Area. Some fields are grazed, others reserved for haying. The hedgerows range from
hawthorne thickets not quite short enough to peer over, to narrow stands of mature willow,
cottonwood, oak and other species.
The weather was fair on both days with variable cumulus
clouds and high temperatures around 70F. I carried my camera and tried to for bird photos with the
70-300mm lens as well as some scenery and habitat shots.
I saw or heard 47 species altogether. Counts are cumulative from my two morning outings. I'm sure I
overlooked some species due to unfamiliarity with the songs and calls, and counts are doubtless low
in part because of the amount of time I spent trying to identify the source of unfamiliar songs.