Monday, 29 June 2015

Saturday and Sunday 27th and 28th June

Marsh Harrier (c) JR
Saturday was one of the most beautiful days so far this summer, Sunday reverted to the damp grey norm that we have experienced over the past few weekends. The wildlife really responded to the warmth and the calm sunshine. There were lots of good birds to see and increasing numbers of interesting invertebrates.
The Turtle Doves are still putting on a great show near the pumphouse and another was calling from the Roman Road/Long Meadow direction. A Bittern flew out from the reedbed and flew along the broad ditch beside the path to the first screen landing near the bridleway after about ten minutes it took off and flew back into the reedbed. It was later seen making a similar flight from the second screen.

Bittern and Harrier (c) JR
The two resident Marsh Harriers were very much in evidence both over the reedbed and the adjacent fields, one of them showed superbly just to left of the hide, out on Ashgrave. We were pleased to see two juvenile Mistle Thrushes fly over our heads at the second screen. We could be sure of their youth because JR’s photograph shows the fringing on their feathers.
Juvenile Mistle Thrush (c) JR
There is still a very elusive Grasshopper Warbler reeling in July’s meadow, just once or twice it forgot itself and called in plain view. We found a Spotted Flycatcher in the Roman Road area again, whilst looking for Black Hairstreaks. The Flycatcher was very obliging showing well and using prominent perches.
Gropper (c) JR

Calling Gropper (c) Bark

Spot Fly (c) JR
The Hairstreaks were less obliging, flicking around the tops of the bushes and seldom settling in plain sight. They are becoming stars in their own right and on both days we met visitors who had come to the moor specially to see them and incidentally the other butterfly species that are more prolific and noticeable. We were accompanied by at least twenty Small Tortoiseshells fluttering ahead of us as we walked along the path to July’s Meadow.

Small Torts (c) Bark
On Sunday morning there were three leverets by the cattle pens on Greenaways all at different stages of growth. Another almost ran into us along the path to the second screen, as it fled ahead of two visitors coming from the opposite direction. The indications are that they have had a very good breeding season.
Racing Leveret (c) JR
For the first time this summer I noticed a mixed flock of juvenile Tits and Warblers and these parties will become more and more frequent as the weeks progress. The security of feeding in a flock with a multitude of eyes and ears cannot be underestimated.
Whimbrel (c) Helaine Cadman
A Whimbrel seen last week was a good record although not the first this year. It seems to be either very late going or very early returning. The Common Cranes were seen briefly both last week and at the weekend. Later this week I will be posting an extra supplement on here describing what they have been up to since April, I hope you will all enjoy it.

STOP PRESS: Steve Roby had a calling Little Owl in Otmoor Lane on Sunday evening.

Soggy Bullfinch on Sunday (c) Bark
Video clip courtesy of Paul Thomas of a juvenile Cuckoo 
being fed by its host parent a Reed Warbler.

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