Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Spring Bank Holiday

Bearded Tit

Pochard and ducklings

Just three goslings

Turtle Dove on Cattle Pen

Singing Reed Warbler  All above pics (c) Bark
Despite a chilly start to Saturday it was a warm, sunny weekend, not at all what we expect from a Bank Holiday. The flora and fauna on the moor responded readily to the mild conditions with more insects on the wing, birds were calling and feeding busily and there has been a huge spurt in the growth of the vegetation.
Bird of the weekend was a female/juvenile Bearded Tit which we found on Sunday morning. The bird was in the reeds that fringe the ditch beside the bridleway, it was initially picked up on call as it seemed to “ping”in response to a Sedge Warbler. There have not been any spring or summer records of this species in Oxfordshire that we know of and it is a pity that the bird was on its own. Perhaps it was the one from the Bicester wetlands site or has even overwintered out on Greenaways a survivor from our autumn visitors. It should have no difficulty in thriving in our reedbeds over the summer and perhaps may be joined by others in the Autumn, when we regularly host small irrupted flocks.
Other good news included three separate calling male Turtle Doves, they are starting to occupy favourite song posts and are most easily seen near the pumphouse and on the cattle pens (see the superb picture by T.S. on the Oxon Bird Log). We are very fortunate in hosting these beautiful birds and over the weekend I spoke to several birders from other counties who were visiting specially to catch up with this iconic summer visitor. For me their purring song and swift straight flight epitomise the season.
On the reedbed lagoons the Common Terns were still courting although by Monday one of them looked as if it might be sitting. There were two female Pochard with just three ducklings in tow, which seems like a small brood, likewise a pair of Greylags with just three goslings. It may be that the adverse conditions resulted in poor clutch size or hatching rates.
Hobbies were very much in evidence but tended to feed high except when resting on posts across Greenaways. The female Marsh Harrier was seen intermittently and annoyingly always seemed to be at the opposite end of the reedbed to me!
Snipe continue to drum and “chip” over much of the reserve but are most loud and visible between the bridleway and the first screen. In the same area is what must be the most photographed and obliging Sedge Warbler on the moor. It regularly calls and perches out a matter of feet away, I wouldn’t be surprised to find it had its own face book account and an agent!
A late Golden Plover was an interesting record on Monday. The Grey Herons in front of the hide have three chicks in the nest and as they develop I am sure that they will need regular feeding flights from the parent birds it was interesting to see the brooding parent shading them from the sun on Sunday.
Grass snakes were also taking advantage of the sun to warm up. On Monday the first Four Spotted Chasers appeared to join the Hairy Dragonflies and the Damselflies species that are already on the wing. Along the Roman Road sheltered from the breeze there were all kinds of Beetles, Flies, Bees and Hoverflies to be seen. It is brilliant just how much there is to see if only you take the time to stand and look.

Bug Supplement
Four Spotted Chaser (c) Bark

Bee Fly Sp. (c) Bark

Hairy Dragonfly (c) Bark

Cardinal Beetle (c) Badger

Froghopper (c) Mrs Badger

Damselfly Sp. (c) Bark

1 comment:

  1. Hi Pete, the last damsel pic is a red eyed damsel.Wayne