Thursday, 23 April 2015

Midweek Update Terns and Cranes

Black Tern (c) the Gunslinger
It has been an exciting few days on the moor. There have been some scarcer species seen and the visiting Common Cranes have thrown up some interesting information.
On Monday there was a Little Gull feeding with Black headed Gulls over the distant lagoon on Ashgrave, a species that has not been seen on Otmoor for quite a number of years.
There  has been a fine male Whinchat visible from the second screen. It has been using a willow to hunt from that just elevates it above the surrounding reeds.
Wednesdays Cranes (c) the  Gunslinger

Sundays Cranes (c) JR
The two Cranes present at the end of last week and over the weekend were replaced by a pair from the Slimbridge reintroduction programme. The more recent pair hatched in 2012 and are fully colour ringed and fitted with transmitters. The weekend pair were unringed. It will be interesting to see over the next few weeks if any or all of these birds hang around.
Yesterday a Black Tern was found out at the  second screen .It was seen to be feeding on the abundant hatch of flies along with a number of Martins. I feel it is always better to see these beautiful marsh terns in what is their European breeding habitat. It was reputed to have bred on Otmoor in the 1850's.
Tern (c) JR

Tern (c)The Gunslinger
Finally the first of the Hobbies has been seen and hopefully over the next  few weeks we will have a good number of them arriving and feeding up before they disperse to breed. They often feed on St Marks Flies, so called because they always emerge around St Marks Day the 25th April. They are the large flies that meander across the reserve. The females are almost 1.5 cms in length and so for a hungry post migration Hobby they are filling nuritious and easy to catch.
Busy Redshank (c) JR

Kite and Harrier interaction (c) JR

Battling Coots (c) Tom Nicholson -Lailey

Great Crested Grebe (c) Tom Nicholson-Lailey
All of this excitement has been accompanied by a regular cast of supporting players including Harrier, Redshank, Greenshank Ruff and battling Coots.

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