|Splendid Beardie (c) Andy Last|
|And again both pics (c) Bark|
|Singing Sedge (c) Bark|
|The froth of Blackthorn (c) Bark|
|and Free. (c) Bark|
The weather this weekend flipped between grey then bright and damp and windy. At least it didn’t rain until later on Sunday.
New additions to the yearlist included several Sedge Warblers and a Common Whitethroat. There are now a number of Willow Warblers and at least two Blackcaps singing in the Roman Road. At this time of year it does live up to its other name among local birders of “warbler alley”.
The hedgerows are frothing with blackthorn flowers and it is quite wonderful to see such a profusion of blossom. It really is spectacular, I don’t remember it being so prolific in other years. Last years warm summer and the mildness of the past winter may be partly responsible.
Snipe are drumming over Greenaways and when the Ring Tailed Harrier passed over at least twenty birds flushed from the sedge beds on the western side of the field. The drake Garganey showed most of the weekend on Ashgrave, although sometimes it was distant or round the corner and out of sight. There were also up to three Oystercatchers around the main pool on Ashgrave. They are very mobile and have been seen over on Big Otmoor, Greenaways and Maltpit.
Our single female Bearded Tit was seen regularly and as yet there has been no further records of a male. She is very beautiful and has been much photographed, the photo by Andy Last shows her fabulous subtle, ochre and red-gold colouration to perfection. She is regularly seen at the top of small bushes and appears confident and confiding.
Yet another animal rescue this weekend with a female Mute Swan having got entangled in some string. This rescue involved the use of the reserve boat and whilst paddling down the river both Zoe Edwards (assistant warden) and myself heard our first Whitethroat of the year. The swan duly swam off with only saturated primaries on its right wing to show for its misadventure. I later saw it feeding and then up on the bank preening.
Interestingly when we pulled the boat from its mooring and turned it up the right way there were a large number of leeches looping about on the surface, a good reason not to swim in the reedbed!
This coming week is often one of the busiest and most exciting, there will be more comings and goings and the pace of migration will really step up. What with the Red-necked Grebe at Farmoor and several Ospreys passing through I feel that we are due a something scarce or rare, we will be looking.