Monday, 15 June 2015

Saturday and Sunday 13th and 14th June

Busy feeding young.(c) JR
To quote Sir Van Morrison (topical !) this weekend on both mornings Otmoor was “...all misty wet with rain..”. But despite the continuous drizzle on Saturday and first thing on Sunday there was lots of activity on the moor. Birds could be seen everywhere foraging for insects to feed their broods. Already there were newly fledged tits, wrens and warblers working along the hedgerows some still being fed by the parent birds. A hare bounded through the fields to the left of the footpath to the second screen, leaping above the wet grass to see which way it was going. It must have been completely soaked through.

(c) Bark
Tiny drops of water like strings of pearls outlined every spiders web, blossom and seed head. Snipe were still actively drumming overhead while their mates “chipped” from among the tussocks and sedges where they nest. For the first time they were displaying over Ashgrave which is not usually an area that they favour.
Drummer (c) JR
Two Turtle Doves continued to purr, one from the pumphouse area and the other from the edge of the MOD land and Long Meadow. As usual they attracted a lot of attention and admiration from visiting birders, further accentuating just how uncommon they have become in the UK.

Common Terns failing to mate (c) JR
There is evidence of success on the tern raft. two small fluffy chicks could be seen tottering around on the shingle surface. Elsewhere another pair of terns are also trying to breed but as yet we cannot work out where they might nest. They had an unsuccessful attempt at mating in front of the first screen which resulted in the male having a rather humiliating fall into the water. Undeterred he was later pursuing the female around in the air calling loudly and carrying a small fish in his bill.
Four Ravens flew over Greenaways probably a family party as two seemed slightly smaller than the others. It has now become as unusual not to see them as it used to be to see them at all. There now appears to be just one Marsh Harrier present, the one whose wing feathers are moulting.
Marsh Harrier over Greenaways (c) JR
It is no longer confined to the reedbed area and hunts a lot over Greenaways. A pale Bittern has been seen over the northern reedbed several times in the last few weeks and it may well be one of the individuals that wintered here one of those was very pale.

Grass Snakes (c) Bark

The weather improved by mid morning on Sunday and the watery sunshine encouraged the Grass Snakes out of cover to bask on and under the pollarded willows beside the track in the carpark field. On one stump alone at least five were showing several of them quite large
Hairy Dragonfly (c) Bark
. A very fresh looking Hairy Dragonfly landed just beside us and we wondered if the emergence of dragonflies had been delayed by the cool spring and early summer. Over the next few weeks we will be looking very closely at chaser dragonflies to see if we can find another of the Scarce Chasers that we found last year. There is always something to look for on Otmoor.

Sedgie,  Whitethroat and Wren (c) JR

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