Monday, 26 March 2012

Saturday and Sunday 24th and 25th March

Singing Reed Bunting

Linnet back on territory

Water Rail in the mist

Snipe in front of the hide.

March Hares

Snake in the grass. All Pictures (c) P. Barker

After a cold and foggy start on both days the sun came out and it was calm and warm.
Undoubted highlight of the weekend was the brief visit on Sunday evening of three Cranes. They had been seen passing over Farmoor ten minutes earlier and two of them set down on Greenaways while one circled overhead they flew again just a couple of minutes later and were last seen heading in the direction of Horton. They seem to have become almost annual visitors over the last few years.
On a slightly more mundane level there is a Little Ringed Plover on the scrapes in front of the hide and still good numbers of Wigeon on both Ashgrave and Big Otmoor. For the last few weeks the most noticeable and vocal small bird in hedgerows and scrub has been Dunnock. This weekend however, I have noticed Reed Buntings more than other species, singing and displaying, especially around the ditches and the reed bed. Both Lapwings and Redshanks have been very vociferous and flamboyant displaying and mating particularly on big Otmoor. Linnets are again setting up territory along the path between the screens where they bred last year.
The warm weather has brought the Grass Snakes out in force and we counted ten along the bridle way sunning themselves on Sunday morning judging by the number of frogs and toads around they will have no trouble in finding food. Hares continue to behave as March hares are supposed to, although not in the numbers and manner that I had photographed earlier in the week. No new warbler species in yet but with the first sedgie turning up at Farmoor this weekend it shouldn’t be long until their manic song is blasting out from the ditches.

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