Monday, 20 January 2014

Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th January

All Pics this week (c) Bark
 Grey and damp on Saturday but bright sunshine on Sunday. Whatever the weather the major excitement on the moor is the huge numbers of birds that are currently around. Lapwings predominate with an estimate of well over four thousand and Golden Plover come a close second with around three thousand. There are also large numbers of wildfowl present with a huge flock of Wigeon out on the MOD floods and a large number of Teal on the reedbed. There are at least fifty Shoveler and a few Gadwall and Pochard.
From time to time on both days great smudges of birds would rise up above the hedgerows as a raptor passed over. The Golden Plover on Sunday sparkling against the sky as the light caught their pale undersides as they wheeled and turned in tight formations. It really is a wonderful spectacle, but will cause the RSPB staff some problems when they come to do the regular WEBS count on Monday morning.
The two Peregrines when not causing panic amongst the ducks and waders were easy to find, sitting in their regular tree to the west of the visitor trail. Hen Harrier passed through occasionally and there are regular reports now of a Short Eared Owl.
The Black Tailed Godwits seen on Friday have moved on and a Grey Plover was seen flying over at the Noke end. Interestingly we had thought that we had heard one on Saturday but could not be sure.
I led a guided walk on Sunday for the Abingdon Natural History Society, right on cue just as we reached the second screen a Bittern flew across giving brief but excellent views. Sometimes we just get lucky.

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