|Juvenile Spoonbill (c) Carl Gray|
It has been a very exciting week on the moor with many new arrivals to add to the year list and two of them species that were not even recorded last year.
I only managed to get down there on Saturday due to family commitments on Sunday. The Roman Road held my first singing Willow Warbler of the year and a singing Blackcap. Chiffchaffs seem to be calling from all of the hedgerows. We also heard our first Sedge Warbler shouting its song from the reeds near the second screen. I wanted to try to find the juvenile Spoonbill that had been seen late on Friday. It had flown up from one of the ditches on Greenaways and been watched heading westwards.
We were unable to find any sign of it so perhaps it
was a very transient passage bird. On Thursday a Hen Harrier was seen over the
MOD land and then later over Greenaways. We must hope that it continues further
north than the English grouse moors, where its future would be all too
|Spoonbill heading west (c) Carl Gray|
|Wheatear (c) Badger|
There has been a major movement of waders through this weekend. As new birds have been arriving so our wintering Golden plovers have finally departed. On Saturday afternoon four Ringed Plovers were found out on Big Otmoor along with a single Sanderling. The latter being the first record on Otmoor for a number of years of this largely coastal species.
Green Sandpiper and Greenshank
were also found over the weekend. There are still three Oystercatchers present
and our other breeding waders are very obvious and very active. Snipe are
drumming, especially over Greenaways and Curlew are calling and displaying over
the same field and over the MOD land.
|Ringed Plovers and Sanderling (c) Badger|
There was a drake Pochard seen last week with a coloured and numbered“saddle”on its bill. Clearly part of a population monitoring project in France. Badger has e-mailed the project leader in France and it will be interesting to find out some more information about this individual bird.
are still no Garganey on the reserve that we have seen. Sadly due to emergency
repair work on a badly leaking bund water levels had to be dropped in one of
their favoured areas, we must hope for some rain to top it up but not so much
that our ground nesting birds are flooded out.
|Banded French Pochard (c) Badger|
|Sand Martin (c) JR|
There are increasing numbers of Swallows and Sand Martins hunting over the lagoons and along the hedges taking advantage of the gnats and flies that have been encouraged by the change to warmer weather. The first Yellow Wagtail of the year was found on the Oddington side of the moor on Sunday. Herons are going to and fro in the reedbed with nesting material and hopefully soon with food for youngsters. Over in the sheep fields there is still a flock of over forty Fieldfares and adjacent to the hide the Linnet flock still numbers over fifty.
|Grass Snake (c) JR|
Grass Snakes are being seen frequently in what can only be described as mating bundles. We are very fortunate in having such a strong population of these beautiful reptiles. It will not be long now until we will be able to spot Common Lizards in the “lizard lounge” and on the pollarded willows of the Carpark Field.
|Herons with nesting material (c) JR|
The Blackthorn is now fully out and frothing over the branches, it will be great over the next couple of weeks to pick out the singing warblers amidst the blossoms and to search for passage Redstarts, surely one of the most beautiful of all our birds.
|Wren in the blossom (c) JR|
Update Tuesday 14th
Yesterday afternoon a Ring Ouzel in Long Meadow and late report of House Martins on Saturday.