|Reed warbler (c) JR|
A fine weekend on the whole, with days that started cool but by lunchtime you realised that you really hadn’t needed the extra layer and regretted it!
There was a lot to see but if anything, the moor was a little quieter than last week as birds were setting about nest building and raising young.
|Juvenile Goldfinch and Long-tailed Tit (c) Bark|
|GWE (c) Bark|
A Great White Egret is still on and around the reserve. On Saturday it flew across the southern lagoon and showed well from the first screen before flushing up right in front of us as we made our way to the second screen. As it flew away from us the extreme kink in its neck was very obvious.
|GWE flies onto Big Otmoor (c) JR|
|Four ,Two and one Bitterns (c) Euan Urquart|
Although we didn’t see any Bitterns ourselves this weekend, no less than five had been seen simultaneously on Friday. Four birds were in the air together over the reedbed, whilst another was on the ground out in the middle of Greenaways in the area from which they have frequently been reported. One of them has a secondary feather missing from the centre of its left wing and shows a large gap. This will make it easily identifiable until its next moult.
|Marsh Harrier food-pass (c) JR|
On Saturday morning we watched a food pass between two of the Marsh Harriers. The aerial prowess involved in such a manoeuvre is remarkable and is superbly illustrated by JR’s pictures.
|The battle between Kites and Lapwings goes on. (c) JR|
On the northern lagoon the Tern raft is a very busy place. It is hard to be certain but there appear to be at least ten pairs using it. Birds were sitting, coming and going and sometimes mating. The raft itself has a tendency to swing on its anchors and as it has a bit of a list to one side. Sometimes it is easier to see the birds on it than at other times. Courtship involves males presenting their partners with food to strengthen the pair bond. We noticed a bird coming in that looked as though it was about to present its mate with some tangerine skin, but a quick look with the scope revealed that it was in fact a Goldfish! His mate struggled to swallow it easily, but it went down in the end. It suggests that they might be travelling as far as Oddington, Charlton and Noke to hunt, despite the very healthy fish population in the ring ditches.
|Curlew and Skylark (c) Bark|
We circumnavigated the moor on Sunday as the range was not being used. It is a wonderful walk and takes in a much quieter and less busy part of the reserve. It was lovely to walk across the MOD whilst being serenaded by Skylarks and hearing the calls of Curlews and drumming Snipe.
|Small Copper, Common blue and Damselflies mating (c) Bark|
Butterflies are on the wing and more dragonfly species are emerging. I stopped to photograph a Dandelion “clock” on Sunday and when I got the picture up on my computer screen noticed that there was some kind of small insect on it with the most enormous antennae, which illustrates just how much there is to see and how much we can miss, if we don’t look closely enough. (any help with insect id would be appreciated)
|The closer we look the more we see (c) Bark|