Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Last of 2013 28th and 29th December


Teal Flushing

Over two hundred in this pic alone

Corvid versus Buzzard

Bittern from the screen All pics (c) Bark
 Saturday and Sunday offered a real respite from the run of wet and turbulent weather that has characterised the past few weeks. Both days were calm and mostly sunny and bright. There were plenty of birds to be found and some of them were particularly obliging.
Bittern was seen on both days from the second screen and on Sunday was feeding along the northern edge of the lagoon quite close to the screen and looking wonderful in the sunshine.
Two Peregrines were present in the fields to the west of the path to the second screen and judging by their size are probably males. They make frequent forays out over Big otmoor causing consternation amongst the Wigeon, other duck species, Starlings and the Lapwings. A Merlin was seen in Otmoor Lane by two different birders at least half an hour apart. There are many passerines feeding in the hedgerows there and perhaps there is less competition there with other predators.
Duck numbers are now much higher and the southern lagoon is hosting very large numbers of Teal which we estimated, when they flushed, at at least five hundred and possibly even more. There were several Pintail and larger numbers of Shoveler. It was good to see about seven or eight Pochard as they appear to have been absent for some time. The Whooper Swans are still present and are keeping company with at least sixteen Mute Swans on the fields to the north of the reedbed.
At least thirty finches are feeding on the grain by the cattle pens and there are Greenfinches, Reed buntings and Linnets among the more numerous Chaffinches. Further along by the hide there are a regular party of Yellowhammers and on Saturday I saw a Siskin in the same area. From the hide there are regular Stonechats and several Kingfishers are patrolling the water to the south of the hide.
One of the Otters was seen briefly from the second screen on Saturday and it is encouraging to know that they are still around.
I will be writing a summary of the year later and I wish all readers a very happy new Year and lots of exciting encounters with wildlife in 2014.

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