|Rufous morph female Cuckoo (c) Bark|
|Sedgie (c) Bark|
|Common tern over the reedbed (c) Bark|
|Newly fledged Lapwing (c) Bark|
|Drummer drumming (c) Bark|
|Newly fledged Goldfinch (c) Bark|
|Whitethroat (c) Mark Chivers|
|Male Turtle Dove (c) Mark Chivers|
|Bullfinch (c) Mark Chivers|
|Glossy Ibis ( c ) Martin Chapman|
|Displaying bachelor Turtle dove (c) Martin Chapman|
Saturday was an improvement after the wet, grey, dank week that we endured and Sunday was warm and sunny, the best kind of early summers day. Yet again there were plenty of interesting birds to see and subtle changes to observe in the vegetation and amongst the invertebrate life.
The Turtle Doves and the Glossy Ibis were probably the star performers and attracted many admirers. The Ibis was elusive, moving from lagoons to thicker cover and on one occasion being driven off the Ashgrave scrape by a protective parent Lapwing. It was also seen twice on Sunday perched up in dead trees. Sadly it now seems likely that both the Turtle Doves by the pumphouse are males, unless a female turns up they are likely to remain bachelor males, which could possibly signal the end of our breeding population.
Cuckoos on the other hand seem to be thriving on the moor. On Saturday morning there were at least four individuals on the reserve and the females chuckling laugh could be heard as well as the more familiar “swiss clock” call. I was fortunate enough to have a close encounter with one such female on Saturday. She was unusual in being the rufous morph rather than the more conventional grey colouring and had a ferrous gold beard or collar. She perched on the cattle pens with reddish drooped wings and scanned the reeds for a suitable nest for her egg, she seemed uninhibited in my presence and gave stunning views. ( see pictures on Otmoor Birding )
As I walked along the bridleway on Sunday I was serenaded the whole way by a succession of different warblers that included Blackcaps and Garden Warblers, in both latter instances the birds showed well enabling the difference between their songs to be confidently appreciated.
On Saturday morning there was a female Garganey feeding amid the grasses growing up in the water on the lagoon at the north eastern corner of the Closes ( the one nearest to the feeders). Given that a male was seen on the reedbed on Friday it is likely that we have hosted a pair, we have still to find concrete evidence that they have bred, which seems likely, but given their secretive nature it will be very difficult to prove.
There are now three fledged juvenile Lapwings in front of the hide still attended by a parent bird, whilst by the Big Otmoor scrapes careful scanning will reveal some very fluffy newly hatched chicks.
Families of newly hatched chicks of a wide range of species were to be found on Sunday including some very confiding Goldfinches, Wrens and Bullfinches.
On the insect front, a Beautiful Demoiselle was found along the Roman Road but sadly no further Downy Emeralds have been seen. Over the next couple of weeks if the weather settles down we can look forward to lots of butterflies appearing, the mild winter and last year’s warm summer should give us a super butterfly summer.