|Bittern (c) JR|
I did not go down to the moor on Saturday morning as it was raining so hard. I ended up regretting a little. I had a phone call at about eight o clock from JR to say that he was on the bridle way watching a Bittern across the ditch, that was just a few metres away. It had flown along the ditch and landed clumsily in the reeds and then realised that JR was close by. It appeared to be in a dilemma as to whether it should fly away or freeze and point its head towards the sky and pretend to be a clump of reeds. It chose the latter option and JR was able to stand and watch the bird for almost an hour, while the rain trickled down his neck! I was not sorry to miss the rain but sad not to have had such a close encounter with such a beautiful and secretive bird.
|Bittern pretending to be reeds (c) JR|
|Brambling (c) JR|
Sunday was fine and bright and there was still a great deal to see. First thing I was lucky enough to spot the male Hen Harrier on the northern edge of Greenaways harrying the Starlings as they left the roost. Their tactic when threatened by a raptor is to make a tight ball, which must make it very difficult for the predator to single out an individual to take down.
|Raptor food (c) Bark|
|Sparrowhawk, Marsh Harrier and Kestrel (c) Derek Latham|
The finch flock beside the hide is growing and the trimming and pruning carried out by the volunteer work party has made it much easier to see them. There were many Chaffinches and Reed Buntings on Sunday and at least fifty Linnets.
|Linnets (c) JR|
Bitterns made several appearances flying here and there within the reedbed, on several occasions lately when a Bittern has flushed close to us it has made a croaking call as it has flown away. Water
|Water Rail and late Darters (c) Derek Latham|
We looked in July’s meadow and along the edge of Sling Copse (the finger of woodland on the eastern side of Ashgrave) for Hawfinches but with no success. The only migratory flock we did see was of thirty or so Redwings, but the views were fleeting and I had hardly raised my bins before they were gone. I feel sure that if these enigmatic finches are to be added to the Otmoor list they will be seen either there or in Noke Wood. This coming week we will have another really good look.
|Long Tailed Tit and Wren (c) JR|