Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Otmoor Saturday and Sunday 12th and 13th July

Juvenile Reed Bunting (c) Bark

Juvenile Tree Creeper (c) Andy Last

Purring Turtle Dove (c) Mark Chivers

As is usual at this time of year our main interest  has shifted to away from birds and onto the wonderful and varied butterflies, dragonflies and other invertebrates on the reserve. This weekend was no exception and there were lots of interesting species to be found.
First however, on the bird front, there were still some good things to see and some encouraging news about the Turtle Doves. On Saturday morning a very experienced birder saw at least four Turtle Doves along the bridle way, two purring and two possibly even three flying off. We are looking for juvenile birds at the moment to confirm successful breeding and would welcome any confirmed sightings. The first juveniles were found last year on the 10th of July and so a careful look at any birds seen feeding by the cattle pens could be useful. The Glossy Ibis is still around and has been seen most easily from the first screen when it comes in to roost on the muddy island with Little Egrets, however some evenings it goes elsewhere.
There was some very exciting news in the week when two very experienced birders heard a Cettis Warbler calling from the scrub in the ditches along the bridle way. This would be a very welcome return as we have not had any Cettis on the reserve for almost two years. We did have a significant breeding population with at least six calling males, but two consecutive very cold winters wiped them out. Any further records would be welcomed.
There were two different Marsh Harriers present on Sunday. The regular very tatty moulting sub-adult male hunting over Ashgrave and a large mature female seen briefly over the Flood Field.
Redstarts were found in Long Meadow on  Saturday morning, but seemed to have moved on by Sunday.
Blackcap (c) Andy Last
There are large numbers of juvenile birds around in the hedges and the reedbeds and many adult birds are singing again preparatory to second broods, notably at least two Blackcaps along the Roman Road.
Purple Emperor (c) Steve Roby
The highlight of the weekend was a Purple Emperor found in the Roman Rd area on Saturday morning. I only know of one other record of this stunning butterfly on the moor and that was of a male seen along the bridleway about eight years ago. There were lots of other species seen in the same location including a Silver Washed Fritillary, Small Skippers and a fine Brimstone.
Brown Hawker (c) Bark

Female banded Demoiselle (c) Bark

Brimstone (c) Bark

Subtly coloured Small Skipper (c) Bark
Amongst the dragonflies there were freshly emerged Brown Hawkers, Black tailed Skimmers and a metallic emerald female Banded Demoiselle, looking almost jewel like. I missed the Fritillary yet again and I will have yet another go at catching up with her this week.

1 comment:

  1. I guess by 'vey experienced' you mean 'old'... L&R