Sunday, 15 May 2016

RSPB Otmoor :: 14 May 2016

Dropped into RSPB Otmoor early morning for my annual pilgrimage to see the turtle dove. Sedge WarblerAs I got to the car park I could hear a turtle dove "purring" on the other side of the hedge. Not bothering with walking boots or a coat I picked out binoculars and my camera and shot off to find it. A couple of hundred metres and I found it high in a tree with the sky and light behind, not conducive to good photographs. I too some all the same. I returned to the car, suited up and headed down the track. At the first gate I met one of my work colleagues with his wife, coming the other way - they had been on the organised dawn chorus walk which had started at 5.00a.m. Bit early for me after the long week I'd had.

Heard both the turtle dove and a cuckoo calling as I continued along the path but didn't set eyes on either. WrenDid start to see sedge and reed warbler (and hear many more) in the reeds running either side of the path. As I got near to the turn for the wetlands hide I had garden warbler to my side and snipe plus oystercatcher over. A skylark ascended, as they do, and hoped for what seemed a couple of minutes before dropping back to the field beyond the trees. Apparently the greenshank had moved on and the cuckoos had been giving a show in the sun, predictably before I got there at 8.30a.m. A few redshank were visible from the gate. Linnet, reed bunting and yellowhammers were still hanging round the wetlands hide.

Common tern appeared at several points as did marsh harrier and red kite, the raptors being mobbed by lapwing. The lapwings were also having a go at any crows if they came near. Stopped to talk to a chap who tried to point out the location of the barnacle goose but it appeared to have dropped from view, although Ross's geese were visible but very distant.

At the first screen a single male pochard was diving front left and two common terns were balancing on various poles swooping and perhaps passing food? At the second hide there was not much to report but as I sat a cuckoo flew straight over the hide (no call) and off over the conservation area - a female up to no good? - so quick that I only had time to pick up the camera but couldn't get a shot off.

On the way back I stopped looking out over Otmoor and talked with Derek Latham. He had his big lens on (Sigma 300-800mm) and was waiting for the hobby. Turtle DoveEventually the could be seen across Big Otmoor and slowly they got closer - we waited patiently but eventually they disappeared again and I left to head home.

As I neared the turn for the feeders I could see a couple listening to the turtle dove, again it was behind the tree line. They eventually bored of waiting and As no one was around I had a try at playing "turtle dove call"; it certainly had an effect and the bird took off, circles and landed in-view a couple of trees along. A better view for photos.

As I turned to the carp ark I heard chiffchaff again but they were in the dense bushes. ChiffchaffBuoyed by the success of my playing birdsong I had a go with chiffchaff. Wow ... They certainly took notice and started flying across my head, back and forth across the path. I readied my camera, played again and got quite a nice shot.

A very pleasant visit.

Sightings (48) included: turtle dove, chiffchaff, common whitethroat, sedge warbler, goldfinch, mute swan, skylark, mallard, red kite, lapwing, chaffinch, swift, greylag goose, rook, carrion crow, blackbird, reed bunting, snipe, oystercatcher, canada goose, cormorant, reed warbler, redshank, garden warbler, robin, little egret, yellowhammer, linnet, coot, jackdaw, blue tit, house martins, woodpigeon, shoveler, ross's goose, wren, tufted duck, common term, swallow, dunnock, pochard, buzzard, cuckoo, marsh harrier, gadwall, hobby, pheasant and long-tailed tit.

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