Monday, 24 June 2013

Saturday and Sunday 22nd and 23rd June

Turtle dove in full song

Moulting Garganey

Great Crested Grebe Family

Goldfinch in the sunshine.


Linnets by the cattle pens.

Broad bodied Chaser

Scorpion Fly

Cricket.     All pics this week (c) Bark
 Another weekend of indifferent weather, showery and windy.
On the bird front there was nothing new to report...until I received a message as I wrote this on Monday morning, of a Spoonbill flying over the reedbed, across Big Otmoor and out onto Ashgrave. The grass there is getting very long and as yet it has not been relocated.
The three Turtle Doves in the area around the pumphouse, cattle pens and along the bridle way have been giving exceptional views. I have met an increasing number of visiting birders who have come specially to see them as they are so scarce elsewhere. I have heard a number of people saying that they feel that this iconic summer dove is destined for UK extinction as a breeding species. Let us hope that they are wrong.
Quail, another iconic summer bird was heard from Greenaways on Sunday, there were clearly two different individuals, as the calling was coming from either side of the stone track. We stood there for about an hour hoping to see one or other of them cross the open ground but to no avail. By the gate there is a small flock of Linnets beginning to assemble. They are taking advantage of the fine seed that we are scattering to help the Turtle Doves. Out in the reedbed the Marsh Harrier is still patrolling from time to time and the Common Terns are sitting out on the raft. Snipe are drumming almost all the time over Greenaways and Big Otmoor and their cryptic plumage and smaller size helps them to avoid aerial predation.
The most interesting and calm part of the reserve is still the Roman Road area, where a fascinating range of bugs and caterpillars could be found in the lush undergrowth. The most bizarre amongst them are the scorpion flies, they look as if they were made by taking a random set of parts from different and unrelated bugs and gluing them together to make a monster. Hopefully next weekend will be calmer and warmer and we can explore some other parts of the moor.

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