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David

Oxfordshire: birds of prey

Oxfordshire: red kite

A red kite and a buzzard. It’s true that I’ve seen both from within Wolverhampton’s city boundaries in the past few months. But only occasionally, and only on the leafier west side of town.

Buzzards have been resident on Tettenhall ridge for some decades now, so sightings of them are quite likely in the Smestow valley area. Red kites have been spotted flying over much the same area every spring for the past few years.

But for the few days we were staying in Burford, on the edge of the Ctoswolds, last month, we were seeing both species pretty much every day while walking round the town itself.

Admittedly, Burford is a small market town. Countryside with woods and open fields is only perhaps a minute away as the crow (or a larger bird) flies.

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David

Oxfordshire: cup and saucer vine flowers

Oxfordshire: cup and saucer vine flowers

Round the corner from the car park and river where yesterday’s muscovy duck hands out, the riverside houses on the way to Burford’s historic church are quite large.

One of them, in the middle, seems to have set itself up as a mini garden centre, specialising in cup and saucer vines. In a flourish of advertising, the flowers were spilling all over the garden wall.

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David

Oxfordshire: Muscovy, Burford

Oxfordshire: Muscovy, Burford

At Burford, a car park by the river is evidently the spot where toddlers are brought to feed the ducks. A crowd of mallards hang out there for the pickings. Sometimes, a swan with a air of growing cygnets muscled in at feeding time.

On the river bank a single muscovy duck, a drake, sat, just watching the proceedings.

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David

Oxfordshire: brandy bottle water lilies

Oxfordshire: brandy bottle water lilies

Brandy bottle (yellow) water lilies in the River Windrush at Burford, the ones the grass snake (yesterday’s post) slithered across. Some in flower, others already moving to set seed.

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David

Oxfordshire: grass snake crossing the Windrush

Oxfordshire: grass snake crossing the Windrush

A few August days in Oxfordshire, and an opportunity for different wildlife. The most spectacular, on our first evening.

The River Windrush, crossed by a narrow bridge at the lower end of Burford. A grass snake swimming across the river. The pictures start as the snake climbed on to the lily pads at the middle of the mill leat which separated from the main river at this point, After crossing the lilies, it started swimming over the rest of the placid open water, heading towards the low weir which returned water to the main river.

As it reached the weir, its body was aligned in parallel, and remained so as it was carried over and disappeared.

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David

Exallonyx (tiny, tiny wasp)

Exallonyx (tiny, tiny wasp)

A tiny, tiny wasp, a mere fraction of the size of the late summer, picnic-interrupting wasp types. Identified, by the pattern-recognition software of iNaturalist, as an Exallonyx species.

Exallonyx (tiny, tiny wasp)
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David

Younger elder berries

Younger elder berries

Elderberries, hanging heavy as they ripened.

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David

Hornet mimic hover fly, thistle flower

Hornet mimic hover fly, thistle flower

A hornet mimic hver fly feeding on a thistle flower, and standing where I got a less than clear view wherever I moved

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David

Flowering currant, ripening

Flowering currant, ripening

The fruit ripening on a flowering current, a gardening shrub. These were on a shrub in a front garden.

Flowering currant, ripening
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David

Anting: magpie, Barley Field

Anting: magpie, Barley Field

A young magpie at the edge of one of the Barley Field paths, spreading its feathers widely as it presses its body to the ground. It’s anting: encouraging ants to climb over tis feathers, possibly to control parasites.

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David

Staghorn sumac: bright red

Staghorn sumac: bright red

The flowers on a staghorn sumac, bright red.

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David

Thistledown

Thistledown

Thistledown, looks so soft. Is so soft.