|Kestrel (c) JR|
It was certainly cooler and fresher on Saturday morning, but that was not the only change to the preceding weeks. There was also a subtler difference in the look and feel of the moor, we agreed that there was a touch of Autumn in the air, not obvious or easy to define but detectable nonetheless. Greenaways, Big Otmoor and Ashgrave have been topped and tidied.
Our Common Cranes are getting restless and will soon be setting off on their short migration to the Somerset Levels for the winter. On Saturday they moved from one field to another but between settling on the ground flew high and wide. They took advantage of the wind and of thermal up-draughts to gain height rapidly before returning gently to the ground. When the Cranes take to the air they call to each other continually and can often be heard before they are seen.
|All Crane pictures (c) Bark|
On Saturday we found a very obliging juvenile Kestrel that seemed to have little fear of people. It allowed us to get within six or seven metres without showing and signs of fear. We were concerned that it might be injured or sick, but it was quite capable of flight and wings and feet appeared to in good working order.
|Kestrel (c) Bark|
|Kestrel (c) JR|
On Monday there were a large number of Sand Martins and House Martins feeding over the water at both screens. They were almost hovering over the hedges allowing the stiff breeze to blow prey out of the hedges or picking insects off the surface of the water.
|Sand Martins (c) Bark|
|Moulting Gadwall (c) Bark|
The resident Marsh Harriers are much less in evidence than they were when they were servicing their newly fledged young. The juveniles have dispersed, and the remaining adults are looking very tatty as they go into moult, both of the birds I saw at the weekend had some primary feathers missing.
|Sparrow Hawk at the second screen (c) Bark|
I checked out both the Noke Farm and the Pill area at the weekend to se if any Whinchats or Wheatears had arrived, they had not on Monday but by Tuesday there were four Whinchats on the Pill and a further four over on the western side of Ashgrave, doubtless a smattering of Wheatears will follow.
|Whinchats (c) Tezzer|
|Long meadow Redstarts (c) Bark|