Monday, 17 September 2018

Saturday and Sunday 15th and 16th September

Whinchat ant the cattle pens.

This week continued much as the others of late with little that was particularly new or different to report. Autumn continues to creep on and the changing colours are increasingly evident in the trees and bushes.

However, this week there is a major development to report. If we are to believe the transport planning authorities (my beliefs are always strongly tempered with cynicism when they involve government) the whole of the Otmoor Basin is no longer being considered as part of the route for the Oxford to Cambridge expressway. I am delighted that the threat has been lifted from area that I care passionately about and that people who live in the surrounding villages can breathe a sigh of relief. Nonetheless it would be churlish just to glory in our good fortune when there are bound to be other special places and habitats that will now come under threat. We must be prepared to argue for the protection of any valuable wildlife sites that may now be in the firing line.

Whinchat at cattle pens and wind blown at Noke

I finally managed to catch up with passage Whinchats on Sunday having once again managed to be in the wrong places at the wrong times on Saturday. I found three hunting from the wires at Noke in a very blustery wind and caught up with another that has based itself in a large bramble at the eastern end of the cattle stockade on the edge of Greenaways. The particular bramble patch also held a fine fresh Common Whitethroat and a Lesser Whitethroat as well. In amongst the stakes and bars of the corral many of the weedy feed plants that we put out in the winter have grown and set seed and these are attracting a small flock of juvenile Goldfinches.

At Noke I counted four young Green Woodpeckers feeding on the short grass fields and Jays are to be seen and heard gathering acorns and flying noisily along the hedges.
We saw Hobbies on both days this weekend and the Kestrels seem to be everywhere. A female peregrine was seen during the week and this weekend a smaller male.
juvenile Peregrine first screen

We had four Wigeon drop into the first screen on Saturday morning and their evocative whistling calls were yet another reminder that winter is now not so very far away.

Squirrel hiding nuts and Michaelmas Daisy signs of the season

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