|Budgie or Beardie ? (c) Mark Chivers|
|No just an aberrant Reed Bunting (c) Tezzer|
|Green Sand and Little ringed Plover (c) Tezzer|
|Juvenile Little Ring (c) Tezzer|
|Starlings are starting early (c) Lyn Ebbs|
|Stunning Sunset (c) Lyn Ebbs|
|Female Brown Hairstreak (c) Peter Law|
|Male Brown Hairstreak (c) Peter Law|
Waders are beginning to drift through with a couple of juvenile Little Ringed Plovers on the Greenaways scrape on Sunday morning and several Green Sands and a Greenshank mobile around the reserve. The immature Marsh Harrier was seen several times but certainly seems to avoid the main part of the reserve. A family group of Kestrels seem ever present over Big Otmoor and Greenaways often perching on fence posts and gates. They have presented some excellent photo-opportunities. One of the Bearded Tits was heard and seen briefly on Sunday morning in the scrubby reeds by the hide it subsequently moved off along the hedge beside the bridleway probably favouring the reed fringe of the Closes. There is a very odd bird out in the reedbed. When we first came upon it we thought Beardy then Budgie! Careful observation when it appeared at the top of a reed stem showed it to be a leuchistic Reed Bunting. It is white and orange with clear Reed Bunting markings underneath a very unusual individual. There are at least three different Little Grebe families to be seen from the first screen and they seem to spend quite a lot of time in disputes with each other. It was very noticeable this weekend how many Water Rails are calling from the reedbed and the reedy margins, which suggests they have had a good breeding year and have replaced the losses they sustained in recent very cold winters.
Butterflies and Dragonflies continue to be seen in very good numbers and on Sunday we saw at least seven Brown Hairstreaks with two along the trail to the second screen and the others along the Roman Road. It is currently possible to find anything up to fifteen butterfly species on any visit to the moor.
Over the next few weeks we will be hoping to find the first returning passerines: Wheatears, Whinchats, Redstarts and Stonechats are all possible but only the Stonechats will stay throughout the winter.