Monday, 16 June 2014

Saturday and Sunday 14th and 15th June

Cuckoo (c) Pat Galka

Common Tern and Red Kite (c) John Reynolds

Hobby (c) John Reynolds

Singing Sedgie (c) John Reynolds

Treecreeper (c) Bark

Great Crested Grebelets (c) Bark

Lapwing with very small chicks (c) Bark

Common Lizard both pics (c) Bark

Broad bodied Chaser (c) John Reynolds

Common Spotted Orchid (c) Bark
A very mixed weekend with interesting possibilities on the avian front and further depressing events on the human front.
The weather on Saturday was warm and humid after the massive thunderstorms of Friday night and on Sunday it was grey and gloomy all morning as if reflecting the mood after England's defeat by Italy.
The good news on the bird front first. The Glossy Ibis seems to have adopted the moor, certainly for the summer and perhaps until it completes its moult. The Marsh Harrier was seen occasionally and the Turtle Doves continue to draw a crowd. Hobbys continue to chase down dragonflies over the whole area as the mornings draw on. As well as the fully fledged juvenile Lapwings seen last weekend there are still active nests out on Big Otmoor. On Sunday there was a Lapwing parent with three very small chicks in front of the hide, perhaps a second attempt at breeding after nest predation. Snipe were drumming on both days and at times up to five individuals could be seen.
I picked up a new species for my BTO square on Thursday morning when I found a family party of Treecreepers to the north of the flood field. On Sunday I saw a juvenile Nuthatch amongst a mixed flock of young birds, mostly Long Tailed Tits, near the feeders, this is an unusual record for this part of the reserve. Cuckoos are still frequent around the reserve and surely will depart very soon. There appears to be an additional pair of Common Terns around the hide and the bridleway ditches. They are different to the the birds out on the Tern Raft that now have three chicks and are very active in chasing off intruders, they are not in the least bit intimidated by size, as the picture from John Reynolds shows.
Most intriguing sighting this weekend was a Bittern seen independently by two different birders flying across Big Otmoor and landing out on one of the large vegetated ditches on Greenaways. I think that this is the first summer record for Bittern on Otmoor. It could be a young bird or a failed breeder but any further observations would be useful. Three Greenshanks flew in on Sunday morning possibly the ones that had been seen at Farmoor earlier and a Quail was heard calling from the eastern side of Greenaways.
There was a fine female Common Lizard basking on a log by the first screen and Common Spotted Orchids in bloom beside the visitor trail. We spent some time on Sunday rescuing a large Brown Rat from the feeders where it had got stuck, it escaped eventually with a little help and hopefully will eventually help feed our owls.
Finally the depressing part. More vandalism occurred on Thursday evening, as ever mindless and pointless in nature. It involved damage to screens and theft of our punt. The boat has been recovered and we have a very good idea of the identity of the two individuals involved. The police have been informed and are actively pursuing the matter. Sadly it doesn’t stop there. On Friday a number of cars were broken into in the carpark and several items were stolen. It is important not to leave valuables in vehicles and to be observant and careful around the whole area.

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