Monday, 23 July 2012

Saturday and Sunday 21st and 22nd July

female Blackcap(c) Bark

Reflective Badger (c) Bark

Juvenile Redstart (c) Bark

Lucky shot of Emperor Dragonfly (c) Bark

Silver Washed Fritillary(c) Bark

Devils Coach Horse (c) Peter Coombes

Juvenile Turtle (c) Peter Coombes

Reed Warbler (c) Mike Kosniowski

Obliging Gropper (c) Mike Kosniowski
Summer finally arrived this weekend and it was long overdue. It meant that there were more birds to be seen out and about in the hedgerows and both Butterflies and Dragonflies were on the wing in significant numbers making up for lost time.
Redstarts are still present with at least four on Sunday, one of which is a very young juvenile (see picture on otmoor birding) still speckled and with a yellow gape showing. Elsewhere the Grasshopper Warblers near the feeders have put on a great show this weekend offering excellent photo opportunities for the patient. I suspect that they are a family group and individuals have been seen on the fence and in the willow tree that is about ten metres out and to the right of the seat. Whitethroats, Willowchiffs and Blackcaps were also easy to find.
There were fewer waders to be seen this weekend with the large flock of Lapwings loafing around in the middle of Ashgrave and a lone Green Sandpiper flying over on Saturday morning. Several broods of Tufted Ducks could be seen with very young ducklings including one with eight balls of fluff, in the channel dividing the two halves of Big Otmoor. Both Turtle Doves and Hobbies were reported on both days.
Having found Silver Washed Fritillaries on the edges of the reserve in previous years, it was great to actually find them on Sunday morning flying over the fence and onto the southern tip of Ashgrave, to take on minerals in the heavily puddled and poached mud. On the pond in July’s Meadow an Emperor Dragonfly, resplendent in blue and green, has taken up residence and posed a challenge to photographers, by never settling for a moment. The wet weather has been good for flowering plants and there is a colourful display of wildflowers to be seen along all the paths.

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