Monday, 16 January 2012

Saturday and Sunday 14th and 15th January

Frosty Meadow Pipit (c) Peter Barker
Fieldfare flying in to feed (c) P.Barker
And about to feed (c) P.Barker
Frozen Reeds (c) P. Barker

It has become something of a joke in the group that I bird with at the weekend that: “You can’t have too many pictures of frosted reeds / seed heads /spiders webs etc..” This was the weekend for those subjects par excellence. Sparkling hoar frost gave way to cloudless skies of intense blue and photographers were out on the moor in numbers. I am even thinking of putting a supplementary posting on the blog of wintry pictures. Just to compound our problems with lack of water, what water we have is now frozen fast, apart from a portion of the reedbed lagoons.
There were birds to be seen however. Large numbers of Fieldfares and smaller numbers of Redwings were gleaning the last berries from the hedgerows and by standing quietly and patiently by a bush that still had fruit it was possible to get very close views of what can be shy birds. Peregrine was seen on both days with a large female sitting on a post in the middle of Big Otmoor for about an hour on Saturday morning. The Merlin has also been seen twice over the weekend. The Short eared Owls put in brief appearances at dusk but might have been put off by the very large numbers of people who have been turning up to see them. There were more Meadow Pipits around and several Skylarks. Siskins were seen once again along the bridle way between the pump house and the Roman road.
We have added a niger feeder to the feeding station and are looking forward to seeing Goldfinches and Redpolls using it soon, it would be good to hear if anyone sees it in use. The seed scattered by the gate is attracting good numbers of Reed Buntings, Yellowhammers and Chaffinches.
Hares have been very noticeable chasing, boxing and even mating, out on Ashgrave and Big Otmoor. Even the frost has not slowed them up although I thought that March was the month for those antics.

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