|Tufties in the Azolla|
|Small Tortoiseshell All pics (c) Bark. pics from two weeks ago|
It is staggering how much the moor has changed during the two weeks that I have been away. Grasses are seeding, pools are evaporating, more and more butterflies are on the wing and the invasive water weed azolla is enveloping the southern lagoon. All of these factors driven by the sudden appearance of summer.
There are large loose mixed flocks of juvenile tits, warblers, Dunnocks and Robins moving around the car park field and the hedgerows. One on Sunday morning included both species of Whitethroat, Willow/Chiffs and at least two Grasshopper warblers. The adult “groppers” had started reeling again presumably to start second or third broods. There were at least thirty juvenile Chaffinches by the cattle pens and the Turtle doves were purring continuously on both mornings. Both species were coming down to feed on the fine seed mix scattered in front of the gate.
At least two and probably three Quail could be heard calling, one from the MOD land to the east of the Roman Road.
Waders were seen on some of the scrapes during the previous week. Water levels are dropping rapidly now and I hope that they may be topped up, if the forecast thunderstorms happen over the next few days.
I was considering the list of birds recorded on the reserve and in the Otmoor basin this year and there are several commoner species that have yet to be seen. They include: Little Owl, Grey Wagtail, Common Sand, Spotted Flycatcher and for me the most missed of all, Cettis Warbler. There may well be other surprises and additions but it would be good to hear of any records of these species.