|Singing sedge Warbler (c) Mark Chivers|
As we move into early June the countryside looks fresher cleaner and more verdant than at any other time of the year. So it is on the moor. Arriving in the carpark there is still a riot of birdsong coming from every direction but as the morning wears on things quieten down much more. Birds are busy feeding chicks and the urge to proclaim a territory loses out to the need to provision the next generation.
|Reed Bunting still singing (c) Bark|
I immediately heard two different Turtle Doves purring, one from the Roman Road and another from the familiar area near the pumphouse. Snipe were drumming over both the Closes and Greenaways, but again as the morning progressed they stopped. Two or three Cuckoos chased up and down the bridle way calling. Over Big Otmoor Lapwings and Redshanks flew up to challenge Kites and one or other of the two Marsh Harriers. There are lots of chicks to be spotted among the tussocks and along the ditches, some fluffy and just out of the egg others close to flying, all of them accompanied by vigilant parents.
|Challenging Lapwing (c) JR|
The Dog Roses are coming into flower and the briars are flecked with pink blooms that shade through to white and attract nectar gathering insects. The Flag Irises too are splashing the ditch edges with strident vivid yellow.
|Flag Iris and Dog Rose (c) Bark|
There are a small but indeterminate number of Ringed Plovers on Big Otmoor and a single Black-tailed Godwit. The number of Little Egrets has increased and they are mopping up small fish and tadpoles as the pools shrink. Two Shelduck flew over our heads at the first screen and headed out towards Ashgrave. There are now two Bar-headed Geese on the moor and they are accompanied by a lone Barnacle Goose, they were seen both days. The other new addition to the yearlist was another Spotted Flycatcher, one had been seen on Thursday on the wires up Otmoor Lane, this one was in the Roman Road area. Another yearlist addition was a Grey Wagtail seen today (10 June)
As more and larger dragonflies are emerging so the Hobbies are starting hunting earlier in the day and on Sunday there were four different individuals swooping down at high speed sometimes almost disappearing into ditches before shooting up to eat their prey.
|Broad Bodied Chaser ? (c) Bark|
|Four spotted Chaser (c) Mark Chivers|
|Common Blue (c) Bark|
As the birding quietens down over next few weeks and before the first returning waders start to appear, the rich variety of invertebrates will give us lots to look for and admire.
|Flying Squirrel (c) JR|