Sunday, 3 February 2019

RSPB Otmoor :: 03 February 2019

Another cold day (4°C) but it felt warmer with the sun out. There was still quite a bit of snow on the ground but it Marsh harrierhadn't stopped people turning out; the car park was almost full.

All the usual birds round to the feeding station and then to the hide. A flock of linnets flew off at the slightest movement; these were joined by reed bunting, a few chaffinch and a couple of yellowhammer. In the hide a couple mentioned that they had seen a short eared owl at the first screen and so we headed there next. No dice ... but we did have female marsh harrier and a fly through peregrine. Off to the left of the screen water rail called. Ahead and right I saw what I thought may be a water rail in flight, low to the water, but too far away to be sure. Stonechat

Down to the second screen and we saw mute swans ice breaking - really strange noise. A pair of stonechats continually dipped into the water at the edge of the pool and sat on overhanging twigs and stalks.

Sightings (31) included: blackbird, blue tit, buzzard, canada goose, carrion crow, chaffinch, coot, cormorant, dunnock, gadwall, great tit, grey heron, kestrel, linnet, mallard, marsh harrier, moorhen, mute swan, peregrine, pheasant, pied wagtail, red kite, reed bunting, robin, rook, shoveler, stonechat, teal, tufted duck, woodpigeon and yellowhammer.

WkWT Brandon Marsh :: 02 February 2019

Another cold one. This time a visit to WkWT Brandon Marsh - Charlotte came with, and asked for somewhere with a cafe and not to go round a large expanse of water. This fitted the bill. Whooper swan

We started round New Hare's Covert to the Wright hide, but other than tits and a few chaffinch we didn't see much. A buzzard low over the golf course and a few very persistent robins were all that caught the eye.

Round at the Wright Hide, we were disappointed by the extent of the ice covering the East Marsh Pool. Some birds on the ice but most on the scrape or on the few pools formed in the ice. In the distance we spotted the two whooper swans [#83] which we thought might not be visible from the East Marsh Hide as they would be obscured by a reed bank.

Sure enough, the whoopers were indeed obscured when we got to the EM Hide. Just the usual gathering of ducks and geese, so after a hopeful wait to see if the bittern showed, we moved on.

Two fieldfare over but nothing to add. Back to the Visitors Centre for a sandwich.

Sightings (36) included: black-headed gull, blackbird, blue tit, buzzard, canada goose, carrion crow, chaffinch, coal tit, common gull, coot, cormorant, dunnock, fieldfare, gadwall, goldfinch, great spotted woodpecker, great tit, greylag goose, lapwing, magpie, mallard, moorhen, mute swan, nuthatch, pheasant, pied wagtail, reed bunting, robin, shelduck, shoveler, song thrush, teal, tufted duck, whooper swan, woodpigeon and wren.