|Morleys Barn Owl (c) JR|
A warmer but sometimes a wet weekend, as spring struggled to replace winter. The soundscape has altered on the moor. Redshank can be heard calling, as are the Lapwings whilst they perform their aerobatic territorial displays, from time to time the courting Curlew also add their voices to the medley.
Underlying these sounds is an
almost continuous honking chorus from the Canada and Greylag Geese. They are at
their most vociferous at moment as they pair up and dispute with neighbours for
The first singing Chiffchaffs were heard this weekend and in the
next few weeks they will be joined by many more and by all the other warblers
in succession. Cetti’s Warblers seem to have survived the cold spells well and
are calling all along the bridleway and from the reedbed itself, there seem to
be just as many now as there were before the freeze. Water Rails too are making
their presence known both with their squealing piglet call and with their
slightly quieter chittering. From the frequency of their calling and their
widespread distribution, they too appear to be present in very good numbers.
|Redshank (c) Bark|
|Amorous Greylags (c) Bark|
|Barn Owl (c) JR|
There have been frequent sightings of Barn Owls hunting by day both in the carpark field and over the reedbed from the second screen. It may be that hunting has been difficult on rainy nights or that the owls are feeding additional mouths, whichever it is it is always a delight to see them ghosting over the reeds or through the scrub on Morley’s. The Marsh Harriers are very active and showing well from both screens, they frequently spook the Grey Herons that, just as last year, are nesting in the reedbed. The herons are coming and going all the time between the reedbed and favoured feeding sites out on the flood Field and Greenaways.
|Reedbed Herons above (c) Bark and below (c) JR|
The numbers of Golden Plover have gone down greatly over the last week but there are still two or three hundred although they are very mobile and spend time on Noke Sides and the fields beyond. Four Oystercatchers have been dividing their time between Ashgrave and Big Otmoor as have the same number of Shelduck. There are still flocks of Wigeon feeding on all the fields although they will soon be leaving.
|Drake Pochard at the first screen (c) Bark|
The year list has made somewhat erratic progress over the last few weeks, but we are now well over the one hundred mark. The latest additions are a Jack Snipe flushed on Sunday by a member of staff looking for a rare plant out on Greenaways and a pair of Grey Wagtails spotted by the sharp bend in Otmoor Lane just before the hill gets steep to go up to Beckley.
|Reed Bunting and Linnet (c) JR|
I am sure that the Easter weekend will bring a host of new sightings for the year as the summer migrants and passage visitors start to pour in.
|Pheasant that wants to be a wader (c) Bark|