Monday, 15 December 2014

Saturday and Sunday 13th and 14th December

Winter Robin (c) John Reynolds
A quiet weekend both in terms of the  birds and the weather. The emphasis was very much on small passerines with the hedgerows and scrub busy with the buzzing of wrens, with a different confiding Robin almost every twenty yards and Blackbirds chacking away in the leaf litter under the bushes. Higher up there are still significant numbers of winter thrushes finishing off the haws and Bullfinches giving their quiet little wheep calls.
Wren (c) Bark
The bright sunlight and windless conditions on Saturday helped the sharp eyed Pete Roby to find a Bearded Tit. It was feeding in the reedy fringe beside the path to the first screen. It appeared to be in the company of a couple of blue Tits and several Reed Buntings. It only showed for two  minutes and was probably the same female that Roger Wyatt photographed a couple of weeks ago. Nonetheless I was very pleased to see it and hope that we can connect with the larger group that were also reported at around the same time.
Frosty Robin (c) Bark
A large female Peregrine was seen to pursue a Common Buzzard across the fields to the west of the visitor trail and the buzzard itself was chasing a Red Kite. It was most unusual to see all three raptors interacting. There may have been a prey item that they were disputing but the Peregrine gave up and  sat high in a tree on the edge of Big otmoor for the next hour. There have been no reports of Marsh Harrier for the last three weeks and we may well have seen the last of them for the winter. More disappointing is the absence of Hen Harriers this year and that itself is indicative of the parlous state of their population in this country. Persecution by the grouse shooting industry looks sure to make these stunning birds extinct in England as a breeding species. Something of which we should all be ashamed; allowing a rich minority to deprive the rest of us of a beautiful raptor, in order that they have more flying targets to shoot down.
The Starling roost is again not predictable as to the quality of the display, but I have heard that there were really good performances on both evenings this weekend. There is an excellent piece of video  below by Andy Last that gives some idea of how good it was yesterday. We are currently estimating in excess of 40,000 birds coming in each night. There have been owl sightings in the carpark field as people make their way back.

Please click the cog and view at 720p or 1080p HD

Stonechat near the kissing gate (c) John Reynolds
Stonechats are well established and the pair by the kissing gate seem the most reliable and there is another pair to the south of the hide. Ducks are increasing slowly and the highlight was a party of twelve Pintail on Big Otmoor on Saturday, comprised of four males and eight females.
Our yearlist is somewhat moribund on one hundred and fifty species, four short of last years record. There is still time to find something new however and optimism is a virtue I share with most of the birders I know.
Moody Heron (c) Andy Last

No comments:

Post a Comment