|Sedge Warbler (c) Bark|
One of the hottest Saturdays that I can remember for quite a while, by Sunday the weather was cooler but still sunny and pleasant. Although we are getting to that time of year that many birders refer to as the “doldrums” there was still much to see and to comment on.
|Lesser Whitethroat (c) Bark|
I am now able to report once again on our regular pair of Common Cranes, perhaps one of the worst kept secrets in Oxfordshire! Sadly, they failed to raise any young again this year. We monitor their breeding progress by observing their behaviour which indicates when they are nesting, when they are incubating and when they are protecting a chick or chicks away from the nest site before fledging.
|"Our" Cranes (c) Bark|
|Nest and infertile eggs. (c) RSPB|
|Interloper and our bird challenging (c) Bark|
The Cranes are still present on and around the moor and are seldom more than a few metres apart at any time. A careful scan of the northern edge of Greenaway’s will often reveal them, their necks stretching up above the long grasses where they are feeding. They are likely to stay around now for at least another month before “migrating” back to Somerset.
|Two newly fledged Marsh Harriers (c) Bark|
On a more positive note our resident Marsh Harriers have once again bred successfully and on Sunday morning we watched four newly fledged chocolate coloured being called up from the reedbed willows to have food dropped for them by one of the adults. The male is now hunting frequently over Closes and Ashgrave.
|male Marsh Harrier hunting over the closes (c) Bark|
There are still Common Terns in different stages of development out on the raft, from tiny balls of fluff to just about flying. The adults are bringing in plenty of fish and one was seen last week to bring in a tiny pike for one of the larger chicks. There are abundant fish in the ring ditches, and I assume in the River Ray. Staring into the water close to the pumphouse we saw abundant fry and below them some very large Perch and Rudd.
|Fish by the pump house (c) Bark|
Evaporation is starting to draw down the water levels in front of the first screen and areas of mud are starting to be exposed. On Saturday the first Green Sandpiper of the year was seen out there. As the waders start to return now the solstice has passed, we can expect to see more. On Sunday seven black tailed Godwits came up off the flood field and flew over towards Big Otmoor, but the grass out in the middle is now totally obscuring the scrapes and so we were unable to relocate them.
|Blackwits (c) Bark|
There is a male Sedge warbler that has taken up residence along the bridleway just a bit past the bench. Just as last year it is a fearless and frenetic individual that belts out its song at point blank range whilst clinging to the old reeds that still stick up above the new growth. Just as last year he looks likely to become the most photographed bird on the moor.
|Photogenic Sedgie (c) Bark|
The warm sunshine has brought on the insect life rapidly.
|Banded Demoiselle (c) Bark|
Stop Press. Tuesday evening Quail calling from the MOD land.