|Spring Wren (c) Bark|
A bright and mostly sunny weekend but with frosty mornings and a cold nagging north easterly wind which left one with a strong feeling that winter has still to completely release its grip.
Despite the cold there were Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, Blackcaps and a Sedge Warbler announcing their presence.
|Chiffy and willow warbler (c) JR Dunnock (c) Bark|
|Flighty Redstart Above two (c) Bark below (c) NT|
On Saturday morning a male Redstart was found in Long Meadow and it, or one very like it, was still there on Sunday morning. It was a stunning, brightly coloured male in immaculate breeding plumage, they are one of the most colourful and exotic looking of our regular birds. It was darting out from the base of the isolated bushes to snatch its insect prey from the ground, but as is usual for these birds, it was very shy, flighty and difficult to photograph.
|Good Hare Day..... Above three (c) Bark bottom two (c) JR|
The Otmoor Brown Hares were very active this weekend with four individuals running circuits on Ashgrave on one occasion racing through the flock of Linnets feeding on the ground beside the hide and scattering them in panic. A couple were boxing out on Greenaways and another individual allowed a really close approach as it crouched on the bund, it was relying on stillness to hide it and in the end its courage failed, and it hurtled off down the path. I managed to take several pictures of it, and at one point it was so near that I couldn’t get it all in and annoyingly managed to cut off its ears. There was one shot however where if I enlarge it enough on my screen, I can see myself reflected in its eye.
|Recently arrived Marsh Harrier (c) Bark|
There now appear to be an additional pair of Marsh Harriers in and around the reedbed. There is a quite distinctively marked male that has much paler underwings than the regular male that has been resident for some time. On Sunday the bird was displaying climbing high and then hurtling downwards with a tumbling display. The “new” pair were seen mating several times on both days and food passes were being carried out by one or other of the pairs.
|Blue Tit back in the box on the pumphouse (c) Bark and Blue and Great tits (c) NT|
A Bittern can be heard booming regularly out from the first screen. Last year there were two booming males, with one in the linear strip of reeds that border the northern edge of Ashgrave and the other in the southern half of the main reedbed. The RSPB would like to know if anyone hears Bitterns booming from the area towards Lower farm at Noke.
|G-C-G (c) Bark and Grey Heron (c) NT|
This weekend with rising temperatures and a southerly wind we should record the four remaining regular warblers and in the fortnight or so to come we will be waiting with bated breath to see if the Turtle Doves have made it back…….fingers crossed!
|Early morning Roebuck (c) Bark|