|Stonechat (c) Bark|
Otmoor and its bird life have remained very much the same since the turn of the year apart from the rapid collapse of the Starling roost. There are now just a scant one or two thousand coming in to the reedbed to roost. We have had tempestuous winds and heavy rain, as has the whole country and water levels across the moor are high, as they should be on a floodplain.
|Goldies and Lapwings (c) Bark|
The number of Lapwings and Golden Plovers continues to fluctuate from day to day as flocks move around in the vicinity, but there are seldom fewer than three or four thousand of each species either on the reserve or in the nearby fields.
|Long-tailed Tit (c) Bark|
The extent to which fields are flooded or not flooded has a big influence on where they sit out the days. On the reserve Big Otmoor is currently most favoured, but large numbers are also spending some time on the less accessible Flood Field. Thinly scattered amongst the Lapwings are anything up to a dozen Dunlin and up to fifteen Ruff.
|One eyed Buzzard (c) Bark|
From time to time we have picked out a single Curlew flying over the back of Greenaway’s and over towards the Flood.
|Kestrel above (c) Bark and below (c) Tom N-L|
The large flocks are spectacular. In last weekend’s gales they were whirled and tossed across the sky like autumn leaves, their undulating flight and tight formations making the tumult in the air visible. Once again last Saturday we had to explain to a party of visitors and a walking group that it was not the Starling murmuration they were witnessing, but actually Lapwings and Golden Plovers.
|Ducks in a row! (c) Bark|
Duck numbers are reaching their winter maxima. There are currently almost two and a half thousand Teal and well above three thousand Wigeon scattered over the site. Interestingly there were over two hundred Pintail recorded on Monday, a large count compared with recent years.
|Brown Hare (c) Oz|
There are at least sixteen Pochard present and they spend most of their time on the northern lagoon. I understand that they are in serious decline and our group although small in number is nonetheless important and significant.
|Linnets and Reed Bunting (c) Bark|
The mixed finch flock beside the hide is attracting larger numbers of birds and will continue to do so as natural food supplies run down. The most frequent visitors are still Linnets and Reed Buntings with a scattering of other species amongst them.
|Stonechat at the Pill (c) Bark|
There are at least four pairs of Stonechats on the reserve, there is one particularly confiding pair along the path to the second screen around the area that was roped of for Starling viewing. I trudged out to the Pill on Sunday, accessible now that the floods have receded, and found another pair near the small bridge.
|Wolf Moon rising over the lagoon (c) Oz|
I had hoped to flush a Jack snipe but was unable to find one. They have been very few and far between of late and last year was the first when there was no record of them on the moor.
|A melee of birds over the reedbed (c) Tom N-L|
A fly-over Great white Egret has been the highlight of the year so far and the year-list currently stands at eighty species.
|Two Black Swans a surprise last weekend. (c) Bark|