|Sedge warbler (c) Bark|
Storm Hannah and its aftermath meant that it was a chilly, cloudy and very windy weekend. Birds were reluctant to sit out in the open and sing, which made seeing anything very much extremely difficult, especially on Saturday.
|Foraging Blackbird (c) Bark|
The good news was that the first of the Turtle Doves has returned. It was seen on Friday and was heard purring in the Car Park Field on Sunday. It now remains to be seen if it will be joined by others. It has arrived a week or so earlier than they have in recent years.
|First Turtle dove back (c) Paul Wyeth|
We were also able to confirm the last of our nine regular Warbler species this weekend, with at least two Garden Warblers, one calling from the bridleway and the other from beside the track to the second screen. It was also very noticeable that more Common Whitethroats had come in during the previous week and were making their presence heard from bushes and brambles across the reserve.
|Singing Blackcap and Wren (c) Bark|
|Sedge Warbler (c) JR|
The Swallows that nest in the barns at the Noke sheep farm are back. They are displaying and hunting low over the fields occasionally perching on the wires to preen and rest. I saw my first Otmoor House Martin of the year on Sunday feeding over the northern lagoon, as yet we have not had any Swifts reported.
|Mistle Thrush (c) Bark|
|Swallows at Noke (c) Bark|
There are still two male Cuckoos calling and roaming over the whole site, we have yet to hear the bubbling call of the females. A female Wheatear was seen out on Big Otmoor on Saturday but there have been fewer passing through than we would normally expect to see, it might be that they moved straight on through, during the spell of fine warm weather earlier in the month. There was a Ringed Plover out on the muddy edges of the Big Otmoor scrapes on Saturday, but no more interesting waders have dropped in.
|Redshank from the hide (c) Bark|
Two Common Terns were present on Saturday over Big Otmoor and it will not be long before the tern raft is put out again on the northern lagoon. The timing is critical as if it is put out too early it can be occupied by Black-headed Gulls and the terns cannot use it. Last year it hosted seven pairs and they fledged a good number of chicks.
|Hope fully next week this will be a Whinchat instead of a Robin (c) Bark|
As we move into the start of May the last of our summer visitors will arrive and we will be looking out for a surge in the number of Hobbies feeding over the reserve before dispersing to breed. The first Hairy Dragonflies have emerged over the last week and the dangly legged Hawthorn Flies ( a.k.a.
St Marks Flies ) will also be on the wing, offering a ready source of food for them.
|Mallard ducklings hoovering up seed intended for the Turtle Doves (c) Bark|
The hare that spends a lot of time on the bund and near the first screen was once again much in evidence and offering abundant photo opportunities. It is surprisingly confiding for what is usually such a wary species.
|Disappearing Dandelion stem From the front (c) JR from the side (c) Bark|