Fly over Raven
Autumn Colour All pics (c) Peter Barker
A great weekend on the moor with today being particularly beautiful,calm and sunny, with some good birds.
Raptors have been very much in evidence with Peregrine seen both days as was Merlin. The Peregrine spent a good deal of time sat out on Greenaways on Sunday morning. Kites, Buzzards and Kestrels were ubiquitous. The Hen Harrier was seen this morning hunting along the northern edge of Greenaways as was a Short Eared Owl. At mid day on Sunday a Raven flew low across Greenaways and right over our heads as we walked back from the Pill.
Large numbers of Lapwing and Golden Plover have appeared this weekend flushing regularly from the farmland adjacent to the MOD fields. We estimated at least seven hundred and fifty of each with a feeling that we probably undercounted the Goldies.
Ducks numbers continue to increase with Shoveller, Wigeon and Tufties increasing slightly but Teal topping the charts with three hundred and forty from the second screen alone. There was also a Water Rail feeding along the edge of the reeds and I assume from its black and not red bill that it was a juvenile.
The game cover strip alongside Saunders Ground continues to attract good numbers of Greenfinches, Linnets and Reed Buntings. Amongst them yesterday were at least one Redpoll and a Brambling. Bullfinches are feeding along every hedge in small parties of threes and fours.There seemed to have been an influx of Robins overnight as I saw at least eight on my way out to the second screen.
Bird of the weekend is without doubt Cettis Warbler. We heard one calling fairly quietly from the ditch to the right of the pump house and on Sunday morning it was heard again further along the bridle way. It is the first that has been heard or seen on the reserve since a brief visit from and individual in May. Last winters cold evidently killed off the population on Otmoor which in the summer of 2010 had numbered at least nine singing males. It’s great to have one back, let’s hope that this is the beginning of a recolonisation and that their distinctive voice, much missed this summer, will once again become part of the Otmoor soundscape.