|Goldcrest (c) Mark Chivers|
It seems as though it is never going to stop raining! On the rare occasions it does stop and the sun appears through the watery gloom it always seems to be at a time when I cant get down to Otmoor. The water is making a difference to the wetland though, levels on scrapes , in ditches and in lagoons are steadily rising although there is still some way to go to reach optimum levels. The mildness too is a benefit as birds are having an easier time than they do when there is a run of frosty nights. On the down side, perhaps the warmth has meant that some species that come south in normal winters have not yet been prompted to move.
|Harrier at the back of Southern Lagoon (c) JR|
There was nothing unusual or new to be found this this weekend. Yet again the Harriers showed well with one individual spending a long time sitting on the fallen willow at the far end of the southern lagoon. It was probably spending its time digesting a starling. Yet again I had reports of how spectacular it can be at dawn when the Starlings leave the roost. As for the evening roost it appears to be the case that good displays occur when it is fairly calm and a light evening rather than grey and blustery, as has been the default mode so far this winter.
|Goldfinch and ReedBunting (c) JR|
The finch flocks by the hide are beginning to grow again and on Sunday we felt that there were going on for two hundred Linnets present with forty or so Reed buntings and a similar number of Chaffinches. We noted one male Yellowhammer but there was no sign of the Bramblings that had been there a couple of weeks ago. It is also worth noting that although the birds can be flighty and nervous all the time, when the Sparrowhawk does show up they disappear completely for ten or fifteen minutes. It was nice to see a couple of Stock Doves feeding along the path, last year they showed up in large numbers towards the end of winter.
Siskins have been reported both in the carpark field and in the hedgerow up to corner behind the first screen. It would be nice to have some pictures of them to feature here !
It was encouraging to find the first drake Pintail of the season on the southern reedbed on Sunday morning. Many more Teal can be seen now, with the males bobbing their heads in display. Wigeon are out in small parties all over the reserve feeding on the grass which looks unseasonably fresh and green, another benefit of the mild weather.
|Greenaways Snipe on a sunnier day last week (c) Derek Lane|
On Sunday morning I saw a minimum of thirty Snipe around the second scrape on Greenaways. On Ashgrave from the hide careful scoping showed at least forty feeding and loafing around the poached and muddy edges. Again the weather has contributed to creating perfect conditions in which they can find their food.
|Golcrest (c) Mark Chivers|