A much quieter weekend on the moor after the excitement and endeavour of last weeks bird race. Notable additions to the regular winter visitors were Redpolls and Brambling.The Redpolls were seen in the Carpark field on Saturday and Sunday. They were accompanying a good sized flock of Gold Finches. There were also several others associating with a very large flock of Greenfinches that were feeding in the south eastern corner of Saunders Ground (first mod field that you come to) flying between a set aside game strip and the hedge. It was very encouraging to find a flock of almost a hundred Greenfinches as they seem to have been very heavily hit by the parasitic disease and had become uncommon on the reserve. Brambling was seen under the new feeding station adjacent to the hide and flying over and calling by the roman Road on Sunday. Short–eared Owls were seen both days as well as Merlin, Sparrowhawk and Peregrine. The latter made several spectacular stoops into a party of Wood Pigeons that it flushed and came within inches of snatching a bird that it had separated from the flock. Kites, Buzzards and Kestrels were ever present but I had no reports of the Hen Harrier and would like to know if anyone else saw it. Duck numbers are creeping up slowly but I feel that they are unlikely to grow much more until we have further heavy rain and some of the small pools, ditches and scrapes fill up. Green Sand was still on the northern lagoon along with a Dunlin on Sunday and one or possibly two Greenshanks were heard over Big Otmoor. There was a substantial flock of Lapwing and Golden Plover that could occasionally be seen flushing from the farmland to the east of the rifle range.
Golfinch (c) Peter Barker