Monday, 28 May 2012

Saturday and Sunday 26th and 27th May

Sedge Warbler
Little Grebe take off.

I was astonished to see the change on the moor after a fortnight’s absence. The vegetation has shot up in response to first the wet and then the warmth.
Birds across the reserve were in great voice although I failed to hear Lesser Whitethroat which seems to have gone temporarily quiet. Cuckoos were very much in evidence with at least three individuals calling simultaneously on Saturday morning. Turtledoves are also purring along the bridleway and the roman road, they seem more difficult to see this year than previously but they may not yet have fully established their territories and their songposts. Sedge Warblers and Reed Warblers are very noticeable at the moment and one birder that I spoke to had recorded twenty calling Reed Warblers along the bridle way. With so many birds nesting it is clear why our Cuckoos are managing to hang on here, Reed Warblers being the species that Otmoor cuckoos parasitise.
Lapwings are continuing to mob any overflying raptors on Big Otmoor at least forty birds were engaging one Red kite in aerial combat. Snipe were drumming both mornings and excellent views can be had from midway along the path to the first screen, they seem to give up mid morning but can still be heard “chipping” from the field. There are excellent pictures taken by Roger Wyatt on the Oxon Bird Log.
Curlew, Redshank and Oystercatcher were on the new scrapes on Greenaways along with at least four well fledged Lapwing chicks. A Little Ringed Plover was on the scrapes on Big Otmoor. Up to four Garganey were seen on Saturday morning. Hobbies continue to put on a great display and now that there are increasing numbers of dragonflies on the wing they seem to be getting going a a bit earlier in the morning. There were still at least five feeding over the reserve on both days. There were many newly emerged Four Spotted Chasers to be seen this weekend as well as the earlier but less numerous Hairy Dragonflies.

Swimming Grass Snake
A large Grass snake was seen swimming across the balancing pond at the Noke end of the bridleway, which offered good photographic opportunities.
Bird of the weekend for me was a Spotted Flycatcher seen by the dead elms along the bridleway. I heard that the Blagdon Squacco Heron has moved on and the habitat on Otmoor looks absolutely perfect for one, along with hundreds of other sites in the country I know............but I can dream.

Oystercatcher over Greenaways
Newly emerged Four Spot Chasers all pics this week (c) P. Barker

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