Monday, 19 May 2014

Saturday and Sunday 17th and 18th May

Glossy overhead... (c) Bark

...and on the ground (c) Badger

and then up again (c) Mark Chivers

Cuckoo (c) Bark

Reed Warbler (c) Richard Tyler

Sum. Plum. Ruff (c) Badger

Sedgie (c) Mark Chivers

Turtle Dove (c) Mark Chivers

Drake Garganey (c) Badger

Otmoor this weekend was almost as good as it can be. The weather was perfect and the vegetation was as lush and as flowery as it gets. The colours are at their most vibrant, with every imaginable shade of fresh green contrasting with masses of pale hawthorn blossom and an understory of cow parsley. There is a generous sprinkling of yellow from dandelions, buttercups and fresh flag Irises; with pale pinks and creams from the first dog roses that are now opening in the briars. The soundscape too was wonderful with Snipe drumming, Cuckoos calling, Lapwings and Redshank alarming and a continuous chorus of warblers from the hedgerows, reedbeds and ditches.
The birdlife this weekend matched the richness of the hedgerows and fields. The Glossy Ibis that appeared last week is commuting between different pools both sides of the river Ray. It was tending to favour the pools at the eastern end of the Closes on Sunday and was very popular with the many visitors encouraged out by the weather. The most popular birds however were the Turtle Doves that have set up a territory  just ten or twelve metres along the bridle way. Their purring was a delight to hear, they showed well and brief display flights were a prelude to mating. It is reassuring to realise that we have both male and female present. unfortunately their popularity is also an indicator of just how rare they have become elsewhere.
We had a fly through male Montagu's Harrier on Sunday morning. It was pursued west to east across Greenaways by Black Headed Gulls and Lapwings disappearing over the hedge and onto the MOD land. We walked out to the Pill in the hopes of seeing it hunting over the hundred acre but it appeared to have kept on going. We had some little compensation by finding a very showy and extrovert Grasshopper warbler reeling away on the south pill ground.
A Wood Sandpiper was found on Friday and a summer plumaged male Ruff. The Ruff was still present on Sunday but sadly the Wood Sand moved on. A Whimbrel was heard calling out on the Pill on Saturday, conditions out there look perfect for passage birds with plenty of water still and soft ground. A pair of Garganey were seen but they are very elusive and secretive once they have arrived.
Our single Snow Goose is looking very smart and is currently associating with a party of Grey Lags. It probably originates from the feral flock at Blenheim.
As predicted last week the warm and clement weather has encouraged Dragonflies and Damselflies to emerge in numbers and many fresh and pristine specimens could be seen. There were at least nine Hobbies feeding on them over Greenaways on Sunday but as is normal with this species they are a little like teenagers and tend not to get going until late morning or lunchtime.
Sadly I did not hear last weeks Quail but the summer is only just beginning and I know there is still lots of interest and excitement to come.
Bug and flower Supplement 
Dog Rose (c) Bark

Broad Bodied Chaser (c) Bark

Flag Iris (c) Bark

Four spotted Chaser (c) Bark

Brimstone (c) Bark

Mayfly (c) Badger

Banded Demoiselle (c) Badger

Broad Bodied Chaser (c) Badger

Last but not least female Banded Demoiselle (c) Badger

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