Monday, 9 July 2012

Saturday and Sunday 7th and 8th July

Loafing Redshanks (c) J.Coppock

Juvenile Blue Tit (c) J. Coppock
Juvenile Great tit (c) J. Coppock

Reflective Green Sand (c) J.Coppock

Sunset last week. (c) J.Coppock

Singing Gropper (c) Paul Greenaway
Young Whitethroat (c) P. Barker

Despite having had misgivings about the impact of the unusual summer weather on breeding passerines, there are good numbers of juvenile birds to be seen in the car park field. There are many custard coloured Blue Tits and Great Tits making use of the feeders, while juvenile warblers chase each other around and forage in the bushes. Adult birds are singing again in preparation for second broods. There were at least three Grasshopper Warblers reeling this weekend with two in the car park field and another along the path between the bridle way and the first screen. When I arrived on Saturday morning there were Bullfinches, Linnets, a Reed bunting, two Whitethroats,a Yellowhammer and a Turtle Dove all seen on the wires before getting to the pump house.
Waders were again in evidence with two Little Ringed Plovers and three Green Sandpipers on the Big Otmoor scrapes. Juvenile Redshanks are noticeable around the same scrapes distinguishable from adults by their more speckled backs, plain bills and their yellowish-orange legs. There are a substantial number of Lapwings, both adults and juveniles around over Ashgrave and Big Otmoor. There are still one pair near the bridle way protecting a late chick and it is interesting to see that twenty or thirty Lapwings are still flying up to harass red Kites when they come over the field. The bulk of the Lapwings, a flock we estimated at about one hundred and twenty, are spending a lot of time around the invisible scrape in the centre of Ashgrave. They can be seen when the birds flush for passing raptors. Along with them are two Black Tailed Godwits, a couple of Dunlin and possibly other wader species. They are only visible in flight and at a considerable distance. As the water draws down on Big Otmoor and more mud appears there will be better feeding opportunities there and thus more chance of seeing them. If anyone has managed to photograph them it would be good to identify which subspecies they belong to.
There are also increasing numbers of ducks using the open water on Ashgrave, at least thirty Teal were there on Sunday and a substantial flock of Mallard. Tufted Ducks, Gadwall, Pochard and Shovellers are also out there.
A Kingfisher was seen on Saturday morning and a pair of Ravens spent several hours sitting on the posts in the middle of Big Otmoor. Having decided that the Cuckoo I saw last weekend was likely to be the last of the year we saw another this Sunday. There have also been reports of a juvenile being fed, halfway down the lane from Beckley.
The lack of sunshine meant that again there were few butterflies to be seen which is very disappointing......but as the song says “things can only get better” least I hope so!

Just a footnote ! There is no holding some birders back.

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