Monday, 13 August 2012

Saturday and Sunday 11th and 12th August

Mother Tufty with five well grown young. (c) Bark
Small Copper on Fleabane (c) Bark

Bubbles coming in to land.

Fresh Peacock (c) Bark

Nineteen Snipe (c) Bark

Magpie Moth (c) Bark

I would like to start by welcoming the new blog about Otmoor, that has arrived while I have been away. It is good to get another perspective on the moor and there is always lots to see, plenty to write about and to photograph. It is great to celebrate such a wonderful site.
Green Sand (c) Peter Coombes

After a two weeks away it was good to get back to normal with a couple of visits to the moor. Birdwise we are really into the August doldrums, with a smattering of waders moving through, that are difficult to find on Otmoor, with the vegetation around the scrapes being so lush and long. The compensation is Butterflies and Dragonflies that are at their most prolific now.
Redstarts are around with at least five present on Saturday morning. There was no sign of the Whinchat that had been seen earlier in the week, but it is still probably a little early for them. The last juvenile Cuckoo was seen last Wednesday, and was reported as being fully feathered and able to fly, so has probably now departed. It would seem to have been a very successful year for them, I know of four different individuals that have been seen and it is fair to assume that there would have been others in the unvisited parts of the reserve. The most significant waders seen this weekend were a flock of around forty Snipe that seemed to split into two smaller flocks and flew over Greenaways and Big Otmoor calling frequently. Elsewhere there were Black Tailed Godwits, Greenshanks, Greensands and a Common Sand on the tern raft. There are large numbers of juvenile and eclipse adult ducks on the reserve but they are spending a lot of time out in the big lagoon on Ashgrave and are only visible when flushed by a raptor or, as on Saturday morning, by a hot air balloon. It just managed to avoid the power lines and landed over the hedge on the western side of Ashgrave, a close run thing. It is evident that Mallard, Pochard, Tufted Duck and Shoveller have all bred successfully this year. We also have a picture taken a week ago that shows, what appears to be a Garganey with a duckling.
We may have seen our first Brown Hairstreak on Saturday morning but it moved too quickly for a positive id. and couldn’t be relocated. Other butterflies seen this weekend included Brimstone, Peacock, Small Copper and Common Blue. Another unusual sighting was a Magpie Moth by the first screen.
We should start to have more migrant birds coming through in the next few weeks and amongst them I hope to find Stonechat, a species that used to over winter here in good numbers, but has not been seen on the moor since a single passage male last Autumn.

Blackwit (c) Pat

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