Monday, 2 February 2015

Saturday and Sunday 31st January and 1st February

Long-tailed Tit (c) JR
It was a cold weekend with a light dusting of snow on the ground on Saturday and a strong gusty bitter northerly wind blowing on Sunday.
Most interest and spectacle revolved around the large numbers of birds. Lapwings and Golden Plovers out on the fields to the west of the reserve, Linnets and Reed Buntings coming down to feed on the grain by the hide and large grazing flocks of Wigeon.
Large numbers of birds inevitably attract predators and all the usual raptors were there this weekend. However Marsh Harrier was only seen to my knowledge on Saturday.
Well filled Peregrine note missing secondaries on left wing (c) JR
We watched a really interesting interaction between a Peregrine, a Red Kite and a Buzzard on Saturday morning over Greenaways. The Peregrine was repeatedly attacking both the Kite and the Buzzard and several times both at once. It clearly swooped down to drive one or other of them off the ground and eventually settled on the ground itself. Several minutes later it got up and flew strongly towards us and over our heads, we were at the first screen, and it  was obvious from its bulging crop that it had been eating. We guessed that it had made a kill and one of the others had tried to take it over, but I suppose that it may simply have been scavenging or indeed misappropriated another birds kill. From its size we assumed that it was a male. It was great to get such a good view of this apex predator. It then made its way over towards the oak trees, where it is often seen perched, to digest its meal. Other predators in action included a Grey Heron dispatching a bank vole by the second screen on Sunday not a sight for the squeamish!
Bullfinches continue to delight in the carpark field. (c) JR
A Merlin is being seen quite frequently along Otmoor Lane, sometimes flying along in front of vehicles. Probably the same bird made a fast pass through the carpark field on Saturday morning.
A Bittern was seen re-locating in the reedbed on Saturday and it will not be very long before we should be listening out for booming. On some RSPB reserves they have already started.
The three White-fronted Geese are still present. I couldn't work out on Sunday whether they were tagging along behind the Canada Geese or out in front of the Greylags, when all of the geese flushed from the direction of the Flood Field.
Marsh Tit near the feeders (c) JR
Marsh Tit only made it onto the yearlist last week but there are now two of them in Morleys, one is coming regularly to the feeders and the other frequenting the bushes in the carpark.
When the weather is so cold animals hunker down out of the wind, if possible in the sunshine and are very reluctant to leave the warm sheltered spots that they have established. So it is with Hares. They like to occupy the drier higher ground now that the fields are much wetter, they particularly like the bunds that surround the reedbed. As one walks along they leave it to the very last moment to burst out of hiding and streak off it can very alarming if you are not expecting it.
Hare (c) Tezzer
The Redshank both seen and heard last week is of course the first of many. As we move through the month we should see the first Curlew appearing and probably a few Ruff feeding on the  wetter fields with  the Lapwings and the Goldies. We are certainly in the grip of winter at the moment but as it loosens changes will occur and the seasons will roll round again.
Chilly Robin (c) Bark


  1. Excellent informative blog. Is this the RSPB Otmoor reserve? I don't know the area but will be there in a couple of weeks - hopefully, and am trying to find a location or two to visit.

  2. sorry meant to add tick to "notify" of replies - could you reply to this one please. Thanks