Monday, 28 October 2013

Saturday and Sunday 26th and 27th October

G.W.E. in ditch beside trail (c) Bark

and flying on Sunday(c) Bark

One of several hundred Fieldfares (c) Bark

Fieldfare fare (c) Bark

Stonechat (c) Bark

White bird against a stormy sky always tempting (c) Bark

G.W.E. again (c) Tezzer

Raven passing (c) Tezzer
Still warm for October and increasingly windy over the weekend. I kept finding my attention caught by something flying out of the hedge only to realise it was yet another falling leaf!
There were plenty of interesting things to see although it was more difficult on Sunday as the winds began intensify and most birds were keeping their heads down.
The Great White Egret was very much in evidence and by Sunday had become very flighty, moving from area to area and occasionally feeding in the reed fringed ditch beside the bridle way, thus offering very close views.
In the first half hour of my visit on Saturday I saw Hen Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel and Merlin. The latter, a female, briefly flashing past over Greenaways.
The Bearded Tits were seen briefly in the northern reedbed. Although we only saw two individuals the directions and the variety of the calls that we could hear suggested that there may very well have been more than the regular two.
There are at least seven Stonechats present with two pairs out at the Pill and another three birds along the hedge and ditch beside the path to the first screen. Large numbers of Fieldfares with a few Redwings are taking advantage of the abundant berry crop in the larger hedges. At times they could be seen being scattered across the sky like autumn leaves as they were flushed by real or imagined predators. Skylarks could be seen and heard all the time and the moor is currently hosting a significant number of them. Duck numbers are creeping up with a notable increase in Shovellers and a few more Wigeon. At least one hundred and fifty Lapwings are loafing on Ashgrave and a small flock of Golden Plover were seen.
Jack Snipe, seen during the previous week, was again found out at the Pill and several parties of Common Snipe were flushed from Greenaways by low flying Red Kites.
Ravens passed through on both days. An interesting sighting was a Tawny Owl in the willows along Otmoor Lane, seen at first light on Saturday morning.
After the storm of Sunday night who knows what unusual birds may have been blown in. There will be plenty to look for next Saturday morning when we take part in the annual birdrace, hosted again on Otmoor.

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