|Yellowhammer (c) Bark|
It seems churlish to complain about rain and snow, when for so long I was bewailing the lack of water on the reserve. Nonetheless this past weekend was awful, with continuous rain on Saturday and persistent wet snow on Sunday. Saturday was particularly disappointing as fifteen Otmoor Volunteers attended first a presentation and then a reserve visit in order to brush up on winter bird id skills.
|Reed bunting and Robin (c) JR|
|Linnets and Finch flush (c) Bark|
There were some birds to be found including a Hawfinch seen by two observers feeding in the car park field on Saturday morning and then reported again on RBA on Sunday. It may well have been feeding on dried up Haws or even sloes. I assume that Hawfinch bills can crack open the stones and extract the kernels.
|Bullfinch in the sleet. (c) Bark|
On Sunday we saw a Redpoll up on the wires in the car park field and several Goldcrests were showing confidently along both the bridleway and the path to the first screen. They are high energy performers, never staying still as they glean the tiniest insects from in, on and under the scrub and leaf litter. The Bullfinches in the carpark field have now switched their attention to blackthorn buds as they are just beginning to swell. There was a time when they were persecuted for the damage that they did to flower buds in cherry orchards.
|Linnet wash and brush up.(c) Bark|
Due largely to the weather the best and most comfortable birdwatching was to be had from the hide and from the first screen. The pools in front of the hide have filled and wildfowl are now using them again. Wigeon, Teal and Mallard are feeding and dabbling at the margins. The finches and other birds coming to the seed scattered as part of the winter feeding programme are the main attraction. We estimated that there was a minimum of a hundred Chaffinches, a hundred and fifty Reed Buntings and well over two hundred Linnets.
|Moorhen and dunnock (c) Bark|
|Hen Harrier over the reedbed (c) JR|
Our regular raptors continue to be seen and a Barn Owl was noted at dusk one evening last week as people left the Starling roost. Two Woodcock were also spotted flying out from Morley’s to feed on the Closes and Greenaways. It is worth remembering that the Green Winged Teal seen at Pit 60 last week disappeared the day after it was found. It would certainly be worthwhile looking carefully through the seven or eight hundred European teal that are currently on the moor. The trick of course is to get them to stay still !!!!
|Marsh Harrier and Red kite (c) Tom N-L|