Song Thrush singing by the feeders (c) P.Barker
Curlew on Greenaways (c) P. Barker
New birds are continuing to be found and this Saturday we saw our first Common Sandpiper of the year. There was also a Green Sandpiper on the northern reedbed. Duck numbers , particularly Wigeon have risen steadily and at least two hundred were feeding from the pools on Ashgrave in front of the hide. Several flocks of Golden Plover can be found on Greenaways, Ashgrave and Big Otmoor and Lapwing numbers have also shown a steady increase. Many of them are starting to display both on the ground and in the air and there were several fierce aerial dogfights going on in front of the hide on Saturday morning. I assume they were males competing over a female. There were at least eight Curlew on Greenaways on Saturday and today there were six, as usual with these birds they seem to feed most often in the tussocky area closest to the reedbed.
The Short–eared Owls are still in residence and the people carrying out the hare survey flushed five from the longer grass areas on Greenaways on Saturday morning. They were apparently hunting over the edges of the reed bed on Friday evening with one individual perching on the screen. Merlin was seen again last week chasing and catching a Meadow Pipit in front of the hide. Sadly the Bittern has not been seen this week....unless someone knows differently. Four Little egrets were present on Saturday and as the water levels start to rise we should see more of them providing there are fish for them to catch.
A Ring necked Parakeet was photographed in a Noke garden last week and so becomes the first record for Otmoor , not yet on the reserve list but I doubt whether it will be long.
Sundays rain was very welcome and hopefully there will be more to come this week, the new scrapes are beginning to look very promising and should start to attract more waders. Not long now to the first returning migrants, I can’t wait.