|Wheatear (c) Bark|
Autumn ,whilst not yet upon us, is certainly in the air and the comings and goings of birds reflects it. Blustery and showery at the weekend, the weather has now settled into something more like what one would expect for August. The turbulent conditions have got birds on the move and we are seeing increasing numbers of passage migrants coming through.
|Reed Warbler (c) Bark|
Thirteen Wheatears feeding on a close mown field on the northern side of the moor was notable and they were still there the next day when I visited. There had been three Whinchats amongst them, but they had moved on by the next day to scrubbier areas. There were also reports of other Wheatears across the reserve in twos and threes, out on Greenaway’s and Big Otmoor.
|Wheatear (c) Bark|
Redstarts are popping up all over the place. They have been seen out at the Pill, in Long Meadow, in the fields to the north of the Hundred Acre and in the Roman Road. They can be both seen and heard and favour large isolated bushes and thicker taller hedgerows. A small party of Yellow Wagtails were spotted over Big Otmoor and their numbers will certainly swell over the coming few weeks. It is worth looking for them around the feet of the cattle.
|Blackwit (c) Bark|
At the first screen there have been regular reports of Black-tailed Godwits and one was present all weekend along with the usual Lapwings and Snipe.
|Ne Ne, Goose stepping and swimming. (c) Bark|
The most unusual visitors last weekend was a pair of Ne-Ne otherwise known as Hawaiian Geese. Once one of the rarest birds of all, down to less than fifty individuals in 1947, they were brought back from the brink of extinction by Peter Scott and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. These two must have escaped from a collection or have become feral like many other wildfowl. They had no rings and behaved in just the same way as our other geese. They are very attractive birds and it is a victory for conservation that they are now free flying in the UK. Whilst we can’t count them, we can nonetheless enjoy them.
|Roe Deer (c) Bark|
There are Roe Deer, Fallow Deer and Muntjac on and around the reserve. The latter being seen regularly in the carpark field and along the paths to the two screens. The larger species favour the wider open and more remote spaces but can often be seen feeding out on Ashgrave first thing in the morning.
|Long-tailed Tit and Chiffy (c) Bark|
Our Common Cranes are still around and are most frequently seen on the north eastern part of Greenaway’s. It will not be long now before they undertake their annual migration, all the way back to Somerset for the winter.
|Tezzers vigil (c) JR|