Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Saturday and Sunday 10th and 11th March

Cettis partially! (c) P. Barker

Cettis whole but moving! (c) Andy Last

Toad on the move. (c) P. Barker

Bee on Coltsfoot (c) P. Barker

Wren singing. (c) P. Barker

The moor was alive with birdsong this weekend as resident birds started to get on with the serious business of finding mates and setting up territory.
Most obvious among them were the Lapwings calling and displaying over all the main fields. Some of their flights would put stunt fliers or crop dusters to shame it is amazing that they don't ever seem to lose control in their headlong rushes towards the ground, never stalling and always pulling out of their dives at the last moment and yet still calling the whole time. The Cettis Warbler that has taken up residence near the path to the hide and the screens was behaving in a very non Cettis like way. It appeared frequently in the bare bushes and gave excellent close view although it was still very mobile and difficult to photograph ( our best efforts can be seen on the otmoorbirding blog).
The transfer of water from Ashgrave to Big Otmoor has been very successful and has resulted in the flooding of the two very large new scrapes that are viewable from the bridleway. There were at least ten Redshanks taking advantage of this new feeding area and two Dunlin. There is still water in front of the hide and any rain that falls will drain down the hill and make good any shortfall. A Ruff was with almost a hundred Golden Plover further out on Big Otmoor. Curlew can be seen in flight and displaying over the reed bed and there are probably between twenty and thirty of them present at the moment. There are some excellent shots of them taken by Nigel Forrow on the Oxon Bird Log.
Two different Bitterns were seen on Friday and although I didn’t hear of any other sightings over the weekend it is quite likely that they are still there. ( per Nick Truby) Redpolls and Goldfinches continue to show well on the feeders and a Yellowhammer was singing from the regular spot in the Carpark Field.
A Grass Snake was seen swimming in one of the ditches and there a number of amphibians on the move. Coltsfoot is blooming along the bridleway and the first Blackthorn is out in the Carpark field.
Sand Martins and Wheatear next weekend?

I have just received an E-mail saying that a Chiffchaff is singing in the car park field (per Roy Jackson)

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