|The default bird this weekend. Juvenile Reed Bunting|
|One of the newly fledged Reed Warblers|
|Wheatear at Noke|
|One of the Kingfishers|
|Signs of Autumn|
|Migrant Hawker All pics this week (c) Bark|
Another sparkling weekend on the moor with plenty of passage passerines to be seen. The weather whilst a little cooler, was bright with clear bright sunshine early in the day.
There are still significant numbers of Whinchats present. Scattered in small parties both on and off the reserve. Some at Noke, others on the MOD land and six more on the path leading up to Beckley that goes past the hide and beyond July’s Meadow. Most easy to see however, were three individuals that were feeding beside the ditch alongside the visitor trail to the first screen. They were hunting from the wooden posts and also from the blue plastic stakes that carry the electric fence. On Sunday morning there was also a Wheatear with them. Juvenile Wheatears were also feeding from the fence at the western end of big Otmoor close to the cattle. Redstarts and Spotted Flycatchers were also found south of the hide on the same fence as the six Whinchats.
There are good numbers of warblers to be seen and a Reed Warbler was feeding a late brood of at least five noisy juveniles in the ditch alongside the bridleway. There are a pair of great Crested Grebes out on the northern lagoon with two young chicks and we presumed that these too were a later second brood.
Kingfishers are very much in evidence with at three individuals present. One frequenting the northern reedbed, another in the ditch near the pumphouse and yet another on the balancing pond beside the turning to Noke.
There was a small flock of fifteen to twenty Linnets out at the Pill on Sunday and several other small groups of Goldfinches feeding on seed heads beside the paths. The most numerous and the most noticeable seed eaters are Reed Buntings. There are large numbers of juveniles to be seen alongside the moulting adults, which implies that they have had a successful breeding year.
I was informed that most evenings there are still over fifty Yellow Wagtails going into the reedbed to roost.
On the raptor front: a Marsh Harrier is still present and Peregrine, Sparrowhawk and several Hobbies were recorded. There are still at least five juvenile Kestrels spread over the main fields. They are spending most of their time hunting from fence posts and seem to be feeding on the abundant grasshoppers. Ravens were seen flying over and cronking on both days.
There was a ridiculously confiding juvenile Moorhen feeding on the bridleway on Sunday morning. It allowed approaches up about two metres and good photo opportunities.
Sadly the Wryneck found and seen by some lucky people on Tuesday was not seen again. On a brighter note three Grey Partridges were found in the carpark field on Sunday morning and flew over onto the Closes. They became the one hundred and forty-ninth species to be recorded on the moor this year only one species short of last years total. There are still some relatively common birds that have not yet been seen and I am hopeful that our total this year will be higher than last.
Perhaps we might be lucky and have a visit from one of the rarer heron species.......Little Bittern or Great White Egret perhaps.....I can dream.