Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Saturday and Sunday 28th February and 1st March

Stock Dove (c) JR
Failed to make it down to the moor last weekend due to building work at home, so was eager to see and experience to the changes that come fast at this time of year.
The weather was very mixed grey and soggy on Saturday and in complete contrast bright, sunny and windy on Sunday. The birds of the weekend were without doubt the huge numbers of Golden Plovers that are all over the moor at present. They kept up a continuous murmuring and frequently would flush from the ground flying fast and weaving rapidly to avoid either real or imagined predators. In the sunshine on Sunday they flashed white as they wheeled and when they flew low over head you could hear the rush of air over their wings. We estimated two and a half thousand birds in total. Some of them are beginning to acquire the distinctive black belly of their breeding plumage.

Goldies (c) JR
There are both resident and winter visiting Lapwings present, the former beginning to call and display with their distinctive looping flight. The first nest is usually found on or about the twenty first of March. The Curlew are now up to eighteen as of Monday and they are mostly feeding on the northern edge of Greenways. There were Redshank calling on the Closes on both days and as the next few pass so their numbers should also rise. Small parties of Snipe are present but only give their presence away when they relocate or flush from a low flying raptor.
Curlew (c) Tezzer

14 of the 18 (c) JR
The feeding programme near the hide is continuing to pull in the birds . At least a hundred Reed Buntings are taking advantage of it now although the number of Linnets has fallen off a little from their maxima of four weeks ago.
Linnets lined up for lunch (c) JR
The seed is now attracting stock doves and as of today (Monday) there were thirty eight of these beautiful and much underrated Doves taking advantage of the bounty. Two Red legged Partridge were feeding in the same area and helped boost the yearlist by one.
Stock doves (c)JR

Red legged Partridges (c) JR
There is still a regular Marsh Harrier over the reedbed. Merlin was seen on Sunday along with Peregrine and Sparrowhawk. Kestrel, Buzzard and Red Kites are almost always seen.

Marsh Harrier (c) JR
There are still significant numbers of wildfowl on the moor, many of them displaying and pursuing mates with vigour, while others already seem settled into pairs. There were thirty four Pintail on the pools at the western end of Big Otmoor on Sunday morning.

Pintail, paired Shoveller and amourous Pochard (c) JR
A Grey Heron was standing on the nest in front of the hide where two pairs nested last year. The nest appears to have had fresh material added to it. There are also three Little Egrets hanging out in the same area.

Sadly we did not hear any booming from the Bittern this weekend but there have been regular reports of it over the last two weeks. As we move into the next few weeks excitement will grow as summer birds and passage visitors start to arrive, I cant wait.
Bud munching Bullfinch (c) JR

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