|Cormorant in the sunshine|
On Saturday morning I had to scrape ice off the windscreen for the first time since the spring. It was a bright, sharp, sunny and still morning. Looking down from the top of Otmoor Lane I could see the tops of the trees sticking up out of the mist that was pooled on the moor. I was totally unprepared, lacking scarf, hat and gloves and the cold was a real shock, having spent the last week in Spain. Autumn has truly arrived bringing its soft mellow colours and misty atmosphere.
|Frost on a Guelder Rose|
On Ashgrave there were four fallow deer looking very beautiful in the fading mist and golden light. This little herd has evolved from the fawn that thought it was a cow (as I have reported over the past five years). We have watched that particular doe with several different fawns of her own and now we have a young antlered stag with them, that may or may not be one of her progeny.
From first screen there were a scattering of ducks that appeared and disappeared in the steadily vanishing mist. A Bittern flew rapidly across the lagoon before slipping down into the reeds. A young male Peregrine came low across the reeds and over our heads before jinking into the oak trees behind us.
On Sunday morning we picked up two Siskins in the bushes beside the bridleway, close to the volunteers hut. They were with a group of five or six Greenfinches, which have been much less common of late, than they used to be. Let us hope that they will start to breed back up again now, having been hit very hard by the parasitic disease trichomonosis.
Ravens are being seen and heard regularly over the reserve with four being seen together on Sunday. They are more often heard before they are spotted as it is surprising just how far the sound of their harsh cronking calls carries.
|Raven and Stonechat|
There were four or five Stonechats out at the Pill on Saturday and Sunday, as usual busy flycatching from the harshly cropped hedge that runs from north to south. Although we didn’t see any this weekend there are regular reports of up to four kingfishers on the lagoons. What is need now is some rain to wet the moor up again.….but preferably not at the weekends.