Monday, 20 February 2012

Saturday and sunday 17th and 18th February

Brent out of water (c) Terry Sherlock
Roe Deer Saunders Ground (c) Paul Greenaway

Brent Goose (c) Paul Greenaway

Redhead Goosander (c) Andy Last

A very good weekend on the moor and one that pushed this year's bird count up to eighty nine.
It was great to see the first Bittern of this winter. Between the drought and the freeze there hasn't been anywhere for Bitterns to be at all. The bird was first glimpsed by a visitor as it disappeared into a clump of reeds on Greenaways. When we met him he had been waiting in the cold for it to emerge for nearly an hour. I don't know if his patience was rewarded but we saw it fly over the reed bed a good half an hour later, it was watched in the afternoon feeding along the edge of the northern lagoon.
The Brent Goose is still on the moor as I write (monday morning) having first been found by Paul Greenaway on Thursday. I only know of two previous records for this species and those were very brief visits. It seems to spend most of the time now in the company of the Greylags. A White- fronted Goose was out on Greenaways on Saturday morning and was seen again, briefly in flight with Greylags on Sunday.
A party of fifteen Dunlin were out on Big Otmoor around the central pools along with Golden Plover, good numbers of Lapwings and three Ruff.
Another new species for the year was a female Goosander seen on the northern lagoon on Sunday morning. Duck numbers have grown with the thaw but are still well below normal levels for this time of year. There is for instance only one Pochard, a female, currently present on the reserve.
Although I havn't mentioned them lately the Short eared Owls are continuing to give excellent displays in the late afternoon and I will be posting a supplement of pictures taken in the carpark field on Saturday evening, by Andy Last. A well known local birder said that it was one of the best displays he had seen by the owls.
Finally as can be seen from Badgers video the otters put on a splendid show in one of the ditches. There were three of them and from their comparative sizes they looked like two adults and a juvenile.
The reserve is becoming very popular with visitors the fine weather on Sunday meant that by twlve o clock the carpark was full, I guess that it must have been equally busy in the afternoon.
This week we should have some new arrivals Curlew usually turn up in the middle of February so maybe they are a little late!

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